Pay the Farm Now, or Big Pharma Later

It’s 6:30 A.M. Most of us are swatting at our alarm clocks and throwing covers over our eyes to avert the unavoidable glare of the morning sun. Another day, we think to ourselves. We spring out of our beds, often to the smells of our loved ones cooking breakfast bacon. The wisp of scrambled eggs and clamor from our kitchens draw us closer to forgetting the comfort of our slumber. While we’re just rising, though, there have been people who have been up for hours. Thousands of individuals have risen well before dawn, tending to their fields and animals. They’re the ones ensuring that our orange juice has that perfect balance of sweetness and flavor, our milk is not sour and that our crisp bacon is only the most choice cut.

Farmers produce some of the most essential foods for people on Earth, and yet as a nation, the United States faces an obesity epidemic. As of 2015, rates of obesity exceed 35% in Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi. More than a third of adults were obese from 2011 to 2012. More than two-thirds of adults were overweight or obese. And children are certainly not immune; from 2011 to 2012, 31.8 percent of children were either overweight or obese. Though fast food is prevalent and convenient, the health risks are not only real, but also dangerous. One meal at a fast food restaurant may contribute a significant amount of fat and sodium for the day. Large portions and diets that are high in fat combined with decreased physical activity are significant contributors to the obesity epidemic.

Rather than running to the local burger joint for a quick fix, why not opt for healthy (and tasty) alternatives? Baked potatoes are a rich source of potassium, iron and vitamin C. They can be topped with low-fat sour cream, reduced fat cheese and steamed vegetables like broccoli. And no one said you have to forego your favorite foods, like pizza. Homemade pizza can be made with pita bread, tomato sauce, grated low-fat cheese and fresh vegetables. Top a few leaves of lettuce, some low-fat cheese and mayonnaise on a turkey burger and you’ve got a nutritious meal that’s far from boring! And don’t forget your vitamins, lycopene and L-citrulline. Watermelon is one of the most hydrating foods on the planet; grab a bottle of Tsamma and drink it with breakfast, lunch or dinner. While you’re combating or preventing obesity and diabetes, fight the risk of cancer while you’re at it. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C (an antioxidant) and can hinder the formation of free radicals (which cause cancer). Lycopene intake has been shown through various studies to decrease the risk of prostate cancer – so gentlemen, you’ll want this delicious drink in your daily routine! 

Farmers in America have worked hard to provide some of the most nutritious foods to you and your loved ones. Pay tribute to the women and men who feed our families by incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Pay the farm now, so you don’t have to pay Big Pharma later.