I spent this last weekend attending the Artisans of the Grasslands (Savory Institute) conference in the San Francisco Bay area. What a wonderful collection of speakers and attendees! I gave my talk on Sustainably Optimizing Human and Planetary Health to a terrific and highly receptive audience Saturday afternoon. I also managed to squeeze in some quality time with my friends, Allan Savory and his wonderful wife, Jody Butterfield. I do believe they have absolutely figured out “the” solution to a great many ills plaguing our world and encourage everyone alive on planet earth to support their efforts. For anyone that has not already watched Allan’s 2013 TED talk (among the most widely watched of all TED talks), I urge you to take a few minutes to do so.
I also believe that the answer to spreading this message (the message behind Holistic Management) en masse may just lie in the message of health. This is what clearly reaches people closest to where they live. According to a major new analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2013, published in The Lancet in June of 2015, over 95% of the world’s population has health problems, with over a third having more than five health-related issues compromising them! In the year 2013 no more than one in 20 people were free of any form of illness (4.3%). And right now in the US the number one source of bankruptcy is simply a bad diagnosis. The WHO tells us that cancer rates are supposed to increase by 70% over the next 20 years (and frankly, I believe this number may well be low). Autoimmunity (the greatest, most insidious and most invisible health burden of our time) currently plagues an estimated 53 million Americans—more than heart disease and cancer combined. Also, according to the WHO, by the year 2020 “depression will be the single greatest health burden in the world.” And depression is anything but an outward (“big picture”)-focused affliction in those suffering from it (I know…I was once its victim). Given the economic climate worldwide currently (a trend so aptly predicted by Sir James Goldsmith’s 1994 warning about globalization—underscoring the reasons so many are leaving the land and seeking refuge that isn’t there in cities today) most people today are thoroughly preoccupied with mere survival. This is why I believe we all may sometimes feel as though we are spinning our wheels when it comes to reaching others. I believe that this is largely by design, as nothing is more malleable and controllable than a populace living in fear, economic strain, ill health and desperation. And if that bad diagnosis arrives (and more often than not today, it does) then how focused is anyone going to be on the big picture? How focused is anyone going to be on “saving the world” or addressing injustices when they are merely struggling to survive?
The beauty of what the Savory Institute promotes is that it potentially solves so much with its singular objective. I like to think I was able to successfully tie much of this together in my talk on Saturday. Ultimately, I believe that our combined objectives can not only be profoundly synergistic, but also extremely affordable and accessible for the average person— if done the right way.
You all already know from my book that although I advocate strongly for the importance of healthfully produced (100% pastured) animal source dietary meat and fat for optimal health, I also make a strong case for strictly moderating that protein intake—meeting but not exceeding our basic dietary requirements. This is not typical of most popularly promoted versions of the popular “Paleo Diet,” but instead I apply those basic “Paleo principles” to the modern science of human longevity, while also taking into account the uniquely challenging world we live in today. What this effectively accomplishes is the cultivation of a primarily fat burning metabolism, which is infinitely more efficient than a carbohydrate burning metabolism (albeit far less profitable for multinational industry). This also has the potential to make anyone’s grocery bill much more affordable while automatically leaving far more high quality nutrient dense food to go around for everyone. How much more effectively could we feed the world if industrialized nations only consumed what they truly needed to for optimal health?
Nothing in the wilds of Nature normally takes more than it needs in order to survive. We are the only species that habitually devours everything in our path, in perpetual excess of what we need. If the case can be made for cultivating a fat burning metabolism that eliminates the constant craving or need for replenishment and indulgence, then it’s easier to make the case for spending all that saved money on far better quality nutrition. And a more physically/mentally healthy and mentally stable population is in a position to make far better and more rational decisions, better choices and becomes capable of entertaining greater visions. Only then is it possible to see and more actively and effectively care about the bigger picture, and the future.
Not everyone is inclined to think about saving the world today (sadly), but literally everyone needs to eat. Most people in the world today are desperately concerned about their health and the health of their families. This isn’t just about reaching people in cities (even as that is where most of the population is moving to). I believe that there is an opportunity for new strength in our greater combined objectives.
The following is a testimonial graciously offered to me by Allan Savory, who experienced positive changes in his own health following the implementation of what he read in my book, Primal Body, Primal Mind a few years ago:
“Without question in my mind we owe a great debt to people like Nora Gedgaudas leading enlightened thinking about the food we eat guided by the millions of years of our own evolution in synergy with all other life forms on land and in oceans. Where reductionist science, biased all too often by corporate greed, has it seems persistently got our diets precisely wrong she is one of the few getting it right and providing a platform of sound principles from nature that we can build upon as knowledge increases. I cannot recommend her book strongly enough to anyone concerned with their own, or their children’s, mental and physical health.” ~Allan Savory
For more information concerning the objectives of the Savory Institute and what you can do to help, please go to www.savoryinstitute.org.