Well, it's the Fourth of July, so I thought we'd talk about the US of A. When it comes to America and health, we hear a lot of negativity and criticism. Health and food activists like to pick on the United States as the epicenter of poor eating habits, unhealthy food, and sedentary lifestyles. We hear a few reasons over and over:
- Culture - The U.S. lacks a national cuisine to act as anchor on our food and eating habits (as European countries have)
- Corporations - We aggressively create and market processed foods (fast food, HFCS, etc.)
- Government - Corn subsidies and other federal policies subsidize processed food
But is it all doom and gloom? In many ways, America can be the healthiest country on the planet:
- Culture - the lack of a national cuisine means Americans may be more open to experimenting with and developing a completely new healthy cuisine (like a hunter-gatherer diet). We also have a tradition of wanting to be the best and strongest at anything.
- Corporations - The U.S. is the largest and most dynamic market for finding solutions for people's health problems. All the food trends point to fewer ingredients, organic ingredients, and more health consciousness. Grocery stores have gotten consistently better over the last couple decades. Our companies respond to demand.
- Government - The historical errors of U.S. government health policy (encouraging low fat, high grain, wrong-headed subsidies) actually play quite nicely into the anti-government / anti-expert strain of American history. We can be healthy in a distinctly American away -- despite the federal government, not because of it.
So on our Independence Day from those terribly unhealthy Brits, go get some grass-fed steaks and throw them on the grill -- and let's raise a fork to the US of A and to your health. Happy Fourth of July.
As a postscript, I'll add that in addition to the Declaration of Independence being an important historical document, it's also well written: clear, succinct, and moving. For as long as I've been alive, my family has read the text out loud. As a teenager, I found this a little hokey, but now I think it's pretty cool. It's a bunch of dudes who essentially flipped the bird to the most powerful monarch on the planet. Pretty bad ass.
Here's the full text
, should you want to give it a try. And don't forget to read aloud the names of the signers.