1-Sentence-Summary: Food Fix will help you eat healthier and improve the environment at the same time by explaining how bad our food is for us and our planet and what we can each do to fix these problems.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
The health costs of increasing diseases due to the food we eat are astronomical. Over the next 35 years, experts estimate that the cost of ill health in the US alone will be over $95 trillion.
To a large extent, these conditions come from bad food. The so-called “industrialized diet” has spread across the globe, and the cost of this in healthcare could be in the quadrillions.
But it doesn’t stop there. The way we eat is also ruining our planet by contributing to CO2 emissions, killing ecosystems, and not to mention it’s completely unsustainable.
What we eat has negative effects on the planet and the damage we do to the planet negatively affects how we eat. It all sounds pretty scary, right?
In Dr. Mark Hyman’s Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet–One Bite at a Time we learn about the origins of this food crisis and what we can do about it.
Here are the 3 most important lessons I’ve learned from this book:
- The biggest problems that we have in the world today can all be traced back to poor food.
- Big business is steering us toward a global environmental catastrophe.
- Regenerative farming and innovative practices can help us reverse the problem if we all work together.
Ready to fix what’s wrong with your diet? Let’s dig right in and find out how!
Lesson 1: The greatest challenges we face today all trace back to the food we eat.
When we look at the news, sometimes it’s easy to feel like the world is crumbling around us. There are conflicts, rising death rates, famine, the ice is melting, and we are losing vital species.
Believe it or not, at the heart of all of these problems is our food. How? Well first let’s look at the worst crises of today, beginning with our health. The main cause of death, suffering, and disability around the world is diet.
The abundance of ultra-processed and sugar-filled foods are responsible for the huge increase in diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and they kill around 50 million people each year.
Next is inequality. Lower-income households are more likely to eat these foods, and children raised on these are more likely to suffer from malnutrition. Malnutrition strunts not only growth but intellectual development. This may lead to underachieving and poverty in adulthood, making the inequality cycle exponentially worse.
Another challenge is the disruption of communities that the big business of food causes. Big agribusinesses drive people away from their land and traditions, all while bringing harmful eating and farming habits. All of these are big challenges in today’s world, but perhaps the biggest is the damage to the environment, which we will explore in the next lesson.
Lesson 2: Big agribusiness is in the process of causing an irreversible environmental disaster.
Soil is one of the most important parts of the earth’s ecosystem. It is a living environment, full of microorganisms, worms, and fungi, among other things. These take nutrients from dead matter and feed plants. When soil isn’t healthy, we can’t continue to farm.
Soils are also the biggest CO2 absorber we have, and when we over-farm, we release more CO2 than all the fossil fuel companies combined.
The intensive farming practices of today are killing the soil with pesticides and fertilizers. It is estimated we may only have 60 harvests left. When we kill our rich soil, we are forced to add more and more nitrogen fertilizer, because, without it, nothing can grow anymore.
This harmful fertilizer reaches rivers, lakes, and the ocean, killing aquatic animals and plants, and in some cases poisoning our drinking water.
Pesticides are also killing animals, and they have been known to damage fertility and cause cancer in humans. Their effects can be so devastating that they can kill off species.
This is the worst for pollinators like bees and butterflies, a devastating problem for the earth. Without them, we won’t even have crops, meaning no food, and eventually no more human life.
Lesson 3: By working together and implementing regenerative farming practices and innovative technologies, we have hope for our future.
All of the problems our food presents us with today are pretty bleak, but the author does offer some hope. One thing each of us can do is to change the way we eat, which will put pressure on big agribusiness to alter their ways. After all, without our money, they will be forced to change.
The food that is good for you is also good for the planet. Eat whole foods that have been sustainably farmed and not doused in pesticides.
We can help by eating less meat and focusing on meat raised in responsible ways like when it is combined with vegetable farming. We should eat more fish that have been wild-caught like salmon and anchovies instead of tuna and halibut.
Dairy is best when it is grass-fed and organic. More sustainable forms of dairy come from goat and sheep products rather than cattle.
Next is regenerative agriculture, which prioritizes sustainability and healthy food. The first step is to stop destroying our soil. This can be done with no-till methods rather than plowing, which helps minimize damage.
Another thing farmers should do is rotate and mix crops, which helps prevent diseases and pests which eliminates the need for so many pesticides.
Other methods include integrating crops and livestock, as cattle help keep the soil healthy with manure, saliva, and urine. This stimulates growth as well. Finally, there is a method called “dryland farming” which can help reduce freshwater use.
Instead of plowing at the end of harvest, they leave the stubble and plant new crops into this. This helps the field gather more precipitation.
Food Fix Review
Food Fix is a crucial and eye-opening read. You will be astounded to find that pretty much every problem we face as a global society today can be traced back to our food. Consumers should be aware of what big corporations are doing so that we can make sure they are held responsible for their actions. Hyman also shows that if we can all come together and make changes we still have hope to save the world’s future.
Who would I recommend the Food Fix summary to?
The 28-year-old who wants to find out ways they can help the environment, the 54-year-old who knows they can eat better but isn’t sure how, and anyone that wants to beat or prevent disease.