22 September 2009

Now it's your turn

Alright. Now it's your turn. Today at TF, you will find a letter I have been working on for about 2 weeks now regarding the national health care crisis. The letter poses that the health care crisis is in fact closely related to our our nation's poor health caused by subsidized and processed food. It is addressed to senators, representatives, and even the president. I know that writing the president is much akin to writing Santa Claus, but something must be done. I hope that you will read the text, decide whether or not you can get behind this with me, print out a few copies, and take a few minutes to send it to whoever you will. Just type in your name and information at the bottom, print out 4 or 5 copies, write in the name of who you are addressing, sign, and send. It's incredibly easy. What excuse do you have to let this continue?

"As you are most assuredly aware, our country is in the midst of a great healthcare reform debate. Medical bills are through the roof. Insurance bills are through the roof. The fact that people cannot pay these bills only makes the situation worse for everyone involved.

"The American people are becoming increasingly overweight and diabetic. My personal research on this subject has led me to question the current guidelines set forth by our government through the USDA. I am only left to assume that our current food system and the diet recommended to us are contributing greatly to our rising health care costs.

"Insulin is the only hormone in the human body that promotes fat storage and is produced in the pancreas to deal with elevations in blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar levels are caused by the obscene amounts of carbohydrates (bread, chips, rice, pasta, crackers, snacks, etc.) and sugars (soda, candy, snacks, etc.) our population consumes on a daily basis in the form of processed food products. Chronic elevated insulin leads to a resistance to insulin, which prompts your pancreas to produce more and more. Ultimately, obesity, elevated cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes are the result. What is most upsetting is the fact that the USDA recommends our population eat more and more of these high carbohydrate foods.

"The government grants large subsidies to farmers for growing wheat, corn, and soybeans. These subsidies are solely responsible for the mass amounts of cheap, unhealthy, processed, and high carbohydrate food made from the products they encourage farmers to produce. Very often, these are the only sustainable source of calories that many of our lower income Americans can afford. These are the people that don’t have insurance. These are the people that can’t pay their medical bills. This is why our insurance costs so much. My hope is that you will push Congress to at least take a second look at our current dietary guidelines and farm subsidies. Why are we not recommending high quality protein and vegetables and helping people afford them? Why are we subsidizing corn and soybeans when we should be offering subsidies to farmers who practice sustainable and responsible polycultures and raise livestock and cattle in a humane and natural manner? Why are the American people’s voices being drowned out by corporations like Kraft, Kellogg’s, Nabisco, Tyson, and so on? I am very much in favor of a free market for these corporations, but when the government continues to help these large, industrial food corporations that are continuing to put the nation’s health at risk, something has got to be done.

"I encourage you to read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes for an in-depth look at the case against a grain-based, high carbohydrate diet. I also recommend The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan to help you better understand the current state of subsidized farming in our country. Pollan also recently did an article in the NY Times titled 'Big Food vs. Big Insurance.' You may also elect to see the documentary film Food Inc. These pieces of media will provide you a much more in depth look at the science behind my request.

"It is a truly unfortunate reality that cheap, processed food product has taken the place of real, whole food that our bodies were designed to eat to function in a healthy manner. A look at the American diet may provide the answers you are looking for regarding our health care situation."

The letter is available for you to download here. Make sure to download it as a Word Document so that you can enter your own contact information at the bottom.

Here are a few ideas on who to send your letters to. I encourage you to find your own state's senators and representatives at opencongress.org.

Sen. Kay Hagan
521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Sen. Richard Burr
217 Russel Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Rep. Collin Peterson
2211 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Mike McIntyre
2437 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Virginia Foxx
430 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Larry Kissell
512 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

We killed tobacco. Now, let's kill the junk they pass off to us as food.

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