Part I: Dr. Fuhrman, Fast Food Genocide
Joel Fuhrman, M.D., is a board-certified family physician and nutritional researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods. Dr. Fuhrman is the research director of the Nutritional Research Foundation. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestsellers Eat to Live, Super Immunity, Eat to Live Cookbook, The End of Dieting, and The End of Diabetes.
Part II: Mike Boss, The Edible Nursery Project
Mike Boss is a Plant Ecologist, Permaculturist, and a certified Plant Geek. He is the founder of the Award-Winning: Rock & Rose Landscapes, based in San Francisco.
The second part of the interview with Mike Boss can be viewed in the video below.
Since 2009, It’s All About Food, has been bringing you the best in up-to-date news regarding food and our food system. Hosted by Caryn Hartglass, a vegan since 1988, the program includes in-depth interviews with medical doctors; nutritionists; dietitians; cook book authors; athletes; environmental, animals and health activists; farmers; food manufacturers; lawyers; food scientists and more. Learn about how we can solve many of the world’s problems today and do it deliciously, here on It’s All About Food.
Transcription Part I:
You’re listening to PRN: Progressive Radio Network.
Caryn Hartglass: Hello, everybody. Hi, everybody and welcome to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me today. We have a very wonderful program for you.
I’m actually sitting at the New York Blood Center on Long Island. It’s a wonderful place where people can donate blood. People are talking more and more about the importance of donating blood, especially when we’re feeling helpless about a lot of violence in the world. There are wonderful things that you can do, and one thing you can do to help save a life is give blood.
I’m not giving blood today, although I’ll promised myself I really need to up my donations. ‘Cause a little over ten years ago, I got a bunch of transfusions when I was going through cancer treatment. I’m actually here with my eighty-nine-year-old dad who’s doing a little immunotherapy program. I’m taking a break because I want to do my show right now. So here we are. I’m also freezing, and perhaps we’ll find out in a little while why medical clinics are always kept so cold.
I want to bring on my most wonderful guest, Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He’s been on this show many times, and you know that I always call him my favorite doctor because he is. He’s a board certified family physician and nutritional researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through the nutritional and natural methods. Dr. Fuhrman is the researcher at the Nutritional Research Foundation and the author of several books, including the New York Times bestsellers Eat to Live, Super Immunity, Eat to Live Cookbook, The End of Dieting, The End of Diabetes, —and now what I think is his best book ever, the best book ever— Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food Is Killing Us And What We Can Do About It.
Thank you so much for writing this and for being on my program today. How are you, Dr. Fuhrman?
Joel Fuhrman: Hi, Caryn, I’m great. Good to talk to you today, good to hear from you.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you. Can you tell me why medical facilities are always so freezing?
Joel Fuhrman: No, I don’t even know why.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I’ve been spending a lot of time in them, unfortunately.
Joel Fuhrman: You just have to wear coats.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t know, I’m just sitting in a cold one right now.
Joel Fuhrman: Did you get a chance to read the whole book? The whole Fast Food Genocide yet?
Caryn Hartglass: I read the entire book and I made a lot of notes.
Joel Fuhrman: Beautiful, great. Wow. I’m excited about it. It comes out in two weeks now.
Caryn Hartglass: This is the best book you’ve written.
Joel Fuhrman: Oh, thank you. Thanks so much.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, and I love them all.
Joel Fuhrman: The other books are self-help books and how to get rid of heart disease, how to get rid of diabetes, how to get rid of food addictions. But this is a book that can really become the book that changes America. People who’ve read it, they told me they couldn’t put it down. It’s so much information, so important for people to know. The people just got to know this information.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. Back in 1987, you know the John Robbins’ Diet for a New America. It was groundbreaking for its time and changed a lot of lives. This is one of those books.
Joel Fuhrman: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: This connects the dots and goes so much further than nutrition. You know, my show is called It’s All About Food because it is all about food and it connects to so many things.
But before we dig into the book, I have one question that I want to ask you. You’ve always been promoting healthy eating and how we can reduce our risk of chronic diseases, which are the major causes of death today. Our friend, Michael Greger, he wrote How Nice to Die a little over a year ago, telling us how to not die of chronic diseases. I always hear you. I love it when you say, “Don’t you want to live forever?” Because don’t we all want to have quality, long lives?
What I want to know is, what does healthy dying look like if we’re doing everything right? What would that look like? What do we die of?
Joel Fuhrman: The same way animals die. Mostly, our bodies give out. We get weaker in our later years and hopefully pass away in our sleep very comfortably. I’ve been in practice for almost thirty years now, and I’ve had lots of patients who’ve lived to be centenarians, to be in their hundreds.
A good example might be Scott Nearing who wrote the book, The Good Life. He passed away at 101. He had a party; he invited all of his family and friends. He said that he couldn’t really work full-time anymore in the fields and cultivating his gardens, he’s getting too weak, and he wanted to have a celebration of his life. And they had a big party and celebration. Then he passed away. He was eating less. I think he may have been facilitating death a little bit by not eating much. He passed away at 101 in his sleep. So many people have passed away without having a definitive cause of death as though animals in the woods. They get to the end of their life—hopefully pass a hundred years.
That’s the thing that we’re talking about. Most Americans—their eyesight, their body aches, their mental faculties decline. They really have a horrible, poor quality of life in the last ten years of life.
One thing that we want to achieve as nutritarians is having a full health expectancy: full physical and mental faculties intact and living our lives to the fullest at the end of our lives. Having a guy 65-80 suddenly being in bad shape, live to be a hundred and only have the last year or so be maybe not as physically fit. The point is that you not just extend your life, you’ll extend your years of healthy life. That’s what modern nutritional scientists make possible today.
Caryn Hartglass: As I mentioned at the beginning of the program, I’m sitting at the New York Blood Center and they have a lot of snacks here for people who donate blood. We’ve got Lorna Doone’s chocolate chip cookies, a variety of different cookies, an apple juice, and all these white-flour, high sugar foods. Is that what we should be eating when we donate blood?
Joel Fuhrman: I guess if you’re donating blood and you want to support the hospital with more sick people. I mean, I don’t know if they’re purposely trying to make more people sick. When I went to medical school, they had a McDonald’s in the lobby. In the hospital of University of Pennsylvania, they had a McDonald’s in the lobby. I’m assuming that they’re treating kids with childhood cancers and they’re trying to feed them. Do they have adult cancers now?
The one thing we’re talking about today is the fact that people have very little understanding of the direction of the food industry went and how it has devastating effects not just on treating cancer and dementia, heart attacks and strokes, but also on depression; mental illness; lowering intelligence; taking what will make you addicted to where you can’t; creating a mental fog; lack of performance; and ability to make the right decisions in your life. Food that doesn’t just destroy our brain, it destroys our body.
So obviously they’re feeding foods that I think most modern nutritional scientists and doctors would think that that it’s not very favorable to be giving people junk food. May as well just give them cigarettes, whisky, or cocaine when they take blood. It’s the same thing. Releases in our brain disruptive fluids.
Caryn Hartglass: I will tell the nurses that here when I leave.
Joel Fuhrman: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: I think this book is timely for many reasons but especially in the last few years. We have seen so much violence and we’ve had another unfortunate violent, big episode recently. You tie poor nutrition with violence, with bullying, with crime. How does that happen?
Joel Fuhrman: I just want to say right at the beginning of this conversation to the people listening: I’m not really giving my personal opinion here. I work very hard to be unbiased; I’m giving scientific studies and interpreting that data, and putting studies together and showing people what that evidence shows. I don’t want people to say, “Dr. Fuhrman has an opinion, I have a different opinion.” This is really not opinion.
So let me state about what you just said about crime and food. There’s a study that was published just recently in The British Journal of Psychiatry, and it showed that the link between candy, junk food, criminal behavior, adult drug use and drug abuse is more closely linked than any other variables of study. In other words, a considerable consumption of candy and junk food links with crime and drug abuse more than lack of parenting, more than poor education, and more than poverty. The number one biggest parameter of linking criminal behavior—and we’ll talk about mental illness as well; right now, we’re talking about criminality and drug abuse.
People should recognize that more than half of the people who are incarcerated in federal prisons are there for nonviolent drug-related offenses. They’re there because they either became addicted to food when they were young like sweets and soda, and they turned onto alcohol and more serious drugs later on, and they couldn’t control their addictions; these addictive substances took over their mind. So they would have to break the law to get their drug habits and now they’re in federal prison for the rest of their life. We support millions of people in federal prisons because of drug addiction which, in many cases—I could probably stretch it and say most cases—, they probably started from the addictive food that we gave them as children.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow. That’s just one big wow. And we’re seeing so much violence everywhere, on so many levels. I woke up this morning to screaming outside in the streets. Two people were fighting over a parking spot, and I just kept thinking, “What did you folks eat this morning that’s making you full of rage?”
Joel Fuhrman: Or what did they eat their last twenty years of their lives too.
Caryn Hartglass: (chuckles)
Joel Fuhrman: My book, Fast Food Genocide, the data is showing what you eat affects your intelligence, performance in school, the ability to economically move up the ladder and realize the American dream.
The tragedy of especially the people in urban areas where they’re not taught the tremendous effect that food has on their brain functioning ability, to fully realize their potential. And furthermore, they don’t have access to the foods that could allow them to reach their human potential. So many obstacles in their path to succeeding and breaking out of poverty.
I, as well as you are, Caryn, want people to have at least have the right information, so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential in health, in emotional well-being, in physical health, in longevity. If a person wants to smoke cigarettes or wants to smoke cocaine or wants to eat junk food, of course I’m not taking away that right. But all the same, the people should be informed about the risks. Just like in the 1950s and ‘60s when people were told that smoking wasn’t hurtful. If you want cocaine, if you want to smoke, the risks should be well-known. Then if you want to choose to abuse yourself, you can.
But now people don’t understand the full magnitude to how serious these risks are. One quick example: people who live in these urban areas who eat mostly processed foods and fast foods. They have seven times the risk of a stroke before the age of 45, destroying the lives of the young families and vibrant people. We’re talking about the destruction of people due to the food they’re putting in their body.
And who’s talking about this? These are things that should be taught in school like reading, writing, and arithmetic. ‘Cause what’s more important? I realize that your show is all about food, and it’s the most important thing. What’s more important than what we put in our bodies that makes us; controls our intelligence; our whole destiny; our whole performance; our happiness; whether we’re depressed or not; whether we could become medical cripples; whether we live or die? What’s more important than the food that we put in our mouth?
Caryn Hartglass: I’m right there with you. A lot of this book goes back in history and explains a lot of our food system, how we got where we are today. But you went further and you connected nutrition to how it was applied with eugenics, Nazism, and racism. There’s so much powerful stuff in this book.
Joel Fuhrman: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: I was surprised to read about California and how they promoted eugenics. There’s so much history that we don’t know enough of that’s in performance today.
Joel Fuhrman: Right, so we don’t make the same mistakes. And also I had to make the point here that when the slaves were freed, they had a higher amount of centenarians—more black Americans living to be 100 years old than whites in those days. The blacks embraced education, they had access to better food back then, of course, than they had today. In comparison to Southern rural whites, they were succeeding more economically and healthwise.
It’s important to bring that up because there’s so much prejudice and bigotry going on today. And one of these things is thinking that blacks are “physically inferior.” For example, they have more heart attacks; more diabetes; more strokes; more dementia; more cancers. And I’m demonstrating that that wasn’t always the case.
There’s no “inferiority” because of the color of your skin. The genes are the same. We have tremendous genetic potential. Even the medical sessions—we’ve got African-Americans at higher risk for diabetes. I just want to make that clear that these things we’re taught are incorrect. That black Americans are not at a higher risk for these diseases. It’s the diet there that’s placed in front of them that places them at higher risk, and this condition that we’re placing the urban black men in is leading to bigotry and racism instead of pride and accomplishments.
I don’t want people to think that they don’t have the full opportunity. I want people to grab everybody in America an equal opportunity to succeed in life. We can only grant equal opportunity for all if we have equal food opportunity for Americans, and we understand this concept and we work together as Americans to achieve, so all Americans have the right to happiness and well-being. It’s a human achievement.
Caryn Hartglass: Equal food opportunity. I would like to think that our government was going to help us in this, but right now we don’t feel like we’re supporting the well-being for everyone in this country, let alone the rest of the world. So there are things that we need to do ourselves. And one of that is—
Joel Fuhrman: —spreading—
Caryn Hartglass: —doing the best thing that we can do on our plates.
Joel Fuhrman: I was going to say put on the oxygen mask on yourself first. That’s what I’m all about, being in great health. Since food determines our mental faculties, our ability to think clearly, intelligently, our happiness!, our ability to affect others, that I really want people to take that opportunity to take great care of themselves and recognize that these advancements in nutritional science are enabling us to be healthier than ever before in human history. We have the knowledge today.
We can actually tell people that they can live to be a hundred years old in good health and with full mental faculties, without getting demented, and this opportunity is available for almost everybody if they apply these recent findings in nutritional science.
Caryn Hartglass: Another concept you presented in the book that I found fascinating talked about nature and how nature keeps a balance of the species that are on the planet. When we eat excessively, when we eat a rich diet, nature kicks in so that we don’t procreate as well. It can actually affect future generations. This was fascinating.
Joel Fuhrman: Yeah. I think that was an important point to make because people understand that they’re taking the risk with their own lives when they don’t eat healthfully. “Oh well, I’m going to smoke cigarettes,” or whatever. But they don’t recognize that what they’re doing is hurting their children in such a profound way as well. We’re talking here about destruction to your offspring when you don’t eat healthy.
And you’re talking about the predator-prey relations that nature has set up, a system that increases the probability survival rate of a species. I give the example in the book when we’re talking about the arctic hare and the lynx which eats the arctic hares. If you eat too many arctic hares, the body has a mechanism for excess consumption of protein—animal protein particularly—that can shorten the lifespan of the lynx so that they don’t consume too many hares. But the hares have been decimated by the lynx; I think a couple generations to recover and repopulate. So the high animal protein affects our epigenetic changes and affects the offspring’s health, shortens their lifespan as well so they can’t as many hares and the hares can come back and repopulate again. This is a predator-prey relationship that’s been shown to be viable in all mammals and all predators and preys around the world.
Pass the genetic code to humans. We know that humans overeat cows, they overeat protein. Particularly shorten their lifespan tremendously. But we just recognize now that the epigenetic changes damage their offspring’s health and to shorten the lives of their offspring. Right now we’re feeding kids candy and all kinds of junk. We have the most obese. We’re promoting excessive hormone growth in children by feeding them more protein. We have all this data that suggest high animal protein diets is going to shorten their lifespans considerably and, of course, shorten the lives of your grandchildren as well.
This information is very, very important for people to understand thoroughly. I’m glad to have this focus, where I can go in speaking from a lot of different areas of nutrition. So Fast Food Genocide didn’t just tie me down to just speaking about diabetes or how a person could lose weight. I could really have people see the broader picture and how it affects society on so many different levels.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s hard to know—and you actually said that it didn’t matter—which came first: the poor nutrition or the repercussions for poor nutrition where our IQs are affected and our brain capabilities are affected. Somehow it’s like a cycle because if we have no knowledge about nutrition, let’s just go grab the fast food. That only aggravates it; it’s like a cycle.
Joel Fuhrman: Yeah, definitely.
Caryn Hartglass: Where do you break the cycle and stop it?
Joel Fuhrman: We could talk about the cycle. These foods are designed to be addicting, to have a negative effect on people’s brains and keep them addicted to these foods in a vicious cycle so they don’t even think about where to break out of it or if they can get off the cocaine, get off the sweets, the fried foods.
On a larger scale here, we have to realize here that our institutions of higher learning and authorities are telling people that urban populations with less economic opportunity—when they’re given access to healthy food and information, they’re not going to eat healthy and it’s too late for them. “Nothing we can do about it ‘cause even if we deliver these vegetables, beans, and nuts to these populations, they wouldn’t eat them. And it’s too hard.” That people aren’t going to change. This is what they’re teaching in the institutions of higher learning.
I want to make clear in the book that that’s false. That’s not it.
When people with decreased opportunity are informed properly of the damage that these foods are causing and they’re given the opportunity to have access to healthy foods at a reasonable cost, at their cost, they make the right decisions. They can see people becoming obese, having leg amputations, and having dialysis. By the way, you have ten times the increased risk of early life heart disease when you’re a regular consumer of fast food. They see people dying around them of food related issues, and they want a way out. I’m finding that this has been done all over the country, especially with my friend, Nichole Woolbright, in Detroit. When these populations are given good information taught to them properly, they take advantage of this information. They don’t want their kids to be in bad health, they don’t want all of these tragedies to happen to themselves and their families.
So this is a problem. But as big as a problem as it is, there’s also hope. Because the bigger the problem, if you identify it and you speak to some ways we can solve it, there’s tremendous hope. Even though Fast Food Genocide has the word “genocide”, the destruction of race or the destruction of people across the country and across the world through the explosion of fast food. Fast food and processed foods are now the number one source of calories in America; most calories consumed in America.
In spite of all these dangers that are happening, we can really educate our population, truly give them an informed consensus, to stress the failure of modern medicine. To solve the issues that are caused by bad food: processed food, fast food, sweets, and all the other stuff that people are eating. There’s tremendous hope to change things, tremendous hope for bettering the populations, tremendous hope to lower crime rate, to lower racism, to bring up people in poor economic situations out of poverty. There’s tremendous hope available, even though there’s billions of dollars spent to oppose these methods. There’s still a tremendously hopeful message.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s a hopeful message and it’s a hopeful, delicious message. Because the last part of your book includes really wonderful recipes and a weekly food plan. You make it easy, you make it delicious.
Joel Fuhrman: Oh thanks, Caryn. You and I both agree that there’s so many great things that people can eat if they were just taught properly.
My nieces and nephews come over on the weekend or the evenings, and I have about ten family members in the house. So I make them all some nice ice cream. They say, “Oh, Uncle Joel! Can you make us your ice cream?” They just love my ice cream. The simplest recipe. Just take some frozen bananas, put in some real vanilla bean powder made from real vanilla beans. Then I put in a handful of macadamia nuts, maybe a little splash of soy milk. It’s so delicious. Whatever I’m making—friends, family, people go to my house for dinner—they realize that, “Wow, this is like gourmet food! That’s healthy for ya!”
It may take a little more effort to be healthy, but you’re not sacrificing flavor or taste. We have the best tasting food in the world.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s the best tasting food in the world. Joel, your book comes out October 17. What can we do? I understand that you’re asking people to promote the book on the 17th, tweeting and doing all kinds of social networking. What can we do?
Joel Fuhrman: Right, on the 17th. Oh, I think that’s the airing of The Dr. Oz Show where I’m going to be on and talking with the host. But here’s what I tell people to do: pre-order the book on Amazon before the 17th. It’ll help push the book on the New York Times Bestsellers list because the Amazon pre-orders are counted more heavily. If they purchase the book before the 17th, it will be better.
As thanks for doing that, if they come to my website (drfuhrman.com) and they put the code in for their order number, I will give them—the chapter in the book: “Fast Food in the Brain”, I’ll send it to them right away, so they can start reading that chapter right away. And I’ll take live questions from people who pre-ordered the book as well.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, that’s important, people. Pre-order this book. Pre-order twenty of them and give them away. This one is a winner.
Dr. Fuhrman, thank you so much for writing this book and for joining me again on this program. I love all the work you’re doing.
Joel Fuhrman: Thanks so much, Caryn. Best to you and all your listeners. Looking forward to speaking to you another time.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, be well.
Okay, everybody, you got your assignment. You just heard from Dr. Fuhrman and his new book is called Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food Is Killing Us And What We Can Do About It. I just touched on a few of the points in the book. It is rich in history and information, and everything that you need either to transition yourself to a healthier diet or to help you share this information with everyone. It’s so, so important.
Transcribed by HT, 10/24/2017