Today, we're going to talk about regenerative farming, which is a rehabilitative approach to agriculture that focuses on top soil regeneration, improving the water cycle enhancing ecosystem services, increasing resilience to climate change and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil with me is the CEO co-founder of Nutrition for Longevity, Jennifer Maynard.
Jennifer worked in the biotech and pharmaceutical specialty medicine areas for over 20 years. After putting two decades of her passion into changing people's lives through modern medicine, she felt her knowledge and experience would be better served focusing on food as medicine. The term that we hear a lot of these days, even though progress has been made with medicine, the battle with chronic illness is being lost. In order to address this, she founded greeter greens or regenerative organic farm as the first step to bring this movement front and center and to help focus on the root of our health challenges. Once the farm was fully operational, she co-founded nutrition for longevity of farm to fork meal kit company that focuses on bringing nutritionally tailored meals to the masses direct from her farms.
Welcome to Lost in the Supermarket. Today, we're going to talk about regenerative farming, which is a rehabilitative approach to agriculture that focuses on top soil regeneration, improving the water cycle enhancing ecosystem services, increasing resilience to climate change and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil with me is the CEO co-founder of nutrition for longevity, Jennifer Maynard. Jennifer worked in the biotech and pharmaceutical specialty medicine areas for over 20 years. After putting two decades of her passion into changing people's lives through modern medicine, she f elt her knowledge and experience would be better served focusing on food as medicine. T he term that we hear a lot of these days, even though progress has been made with medicine, the battle with chronic illness is being lost. In order to address this, she founded greeter greens or regenerative organic farm as the first step to bring this movement front and center and to help focus on the root of our health challenges. Once the f arm was fully operational, she co-founded nutrition for longevity of farm to fork meal kit company that focuses on bringing nutritionally tailored meals to the masses direct from her farms. Jennifer, welcome to Lost in the Supermarket.Jennifer:
Thank you for having me.Phil:
I guess the first place to start is by asking why is regenerative farming the key to human and planetary health? Obviously you're investing a lot of money, a lot of your time and a lot of your intellect to reinforcing that.Jennifer:
So for me, it's, if you look at the outcomes of regenerative farming, it's doing so much more than we realize . So we focus a lot as physical beings on what's above the surface. And we, we rarely look below the surface and , um, we don't necessarily understand the impact that we're having on that surface. So just as an example , um, over the last hundred years, so it hasn't happened overnight . Our soil organic matter has gone from about 11% down to less than 1%. And when we talk about regenerative farming, that's what we focus on because that's the, the matrix that , um, allows our soil microbiome to thrive. That's the matrix that retains water and allows us to save 170,000 gallons per acre for every 1% of soil. Organic matter, we build it'll , it's basically a huge sponge for carbon. So it's one of the lowest cost. Most effective ways we can start reversing climate change is by regenerating our soil and essentially regenerating the soil organic matter. So, I mean, there's the environmental aspect of it. And then there's the nutrient loss that we have in our soil , um, where the nutrient exchange that happens in the soil microbiome, because we have less diversity in our soil microbiome, that's also being impacted. So you have this environmental health side of things, which is really important. And then you have the human health side of things. How can we do it with less chemicals that is not only good for the soil microbiome, but also are our own human bodies as well.Phil:
So let's talk about the human bodies , uh, what are some secrets that regional diets hold that can help us reduce chronic illnesses and improve our health?Jennifer:
So one of the, one of the things we see in all the longevity regions is they use essentially regenerative farming techniques. They may not call it that, but , um, they're using very little synthetic chemicals if any, to grow their food. Um, obviously they're growing it local for their local , um , market , soPhil:
Globally or you're talking to here in the U S okay.Jennifer:
Globally. So most of the longevity regions, we do have one in the U S Loma, Linda, California, but most of them are in other regions are actually very broad and in almost every continent. Um, and we see that there's a lot of similarities in those longevity regions. They follow. Um, again, most of their food is regeneratively grown void of all these chemicals and toxins and different things that a lot of our conventional farming focuses on. Um, it's also not , uh , designed for logistics purposes. So like a tomato and average tomato in a grocery store oftentimes is picked green and then gassed on location. So they're not doing that. They're growing local kind of region for region , um, food, and they grow what grows well in their area. So if it's a tropical area, they're eating a lot of tropical fruits and vegetables. Um, but the other thing we see is they have a very, very specific macronutrient profile. And what's incredible is all these regions basically share the same macronutrient profile, which is a very plant forward diet. Um , lots of fiber, lots of healthy grains. Um, and obviously with that comes a lot of fruits and vegetables and actually's uh , a lower protein level than we consume in the U S so in the U S even from what's recommended, we on average consume about 50 grams, more protein than is even recommended by the different regulating bodies for, for food and nutrition. And what we see in the longevity regions is they actually consume even less than that. So I think it's very different than the standard American diet that we have across the U S today.Phil:
So with this science, with this , uh, being proven, you know, we all hear that eating more fruits and vegetables are a good thing. They could ward off cancers and heart disease and , and everything else. Why haven't we changed? Why is it just Loma Linda California here in the U S that are growing foods and eating this way?Jennifer:
I think there's a few things. I mean, people ask me that all the time, why are more farmers not doing this? If it's, if it's such a great thing. And I think you have to understand the history of farming to understand why taking so long for this to catch wind. One is it is a lot of work the first few years when , um, we have , uh , unbalanced soil microbiome when we have an unbalanced also macro environment. So beneficial pollinators, things like that. And we have a lot of invasive species below and above and below the surface. Um, then it takes time to get that back into balance. And it takes on average about three years to really see that start reversing, which is why organic certification takes three years. And it's because that, that cycle takes that long to start to repopulate your soil microbiome, to regenerate your soil, have enough soil organic matter, that you can really start allowing that nutrient exchange to thrive. And so that takes time. It takes investment. It takes resources. If you look at the average farmer, they're about $2 million in debt. It's actually a lot of people don't realize it's one of the highest suicide rate professions, because it's such a high stress environment. And there every generation of farmer it's getting more and more risky that they're going to lose their generational farms . So they're very risk adverse as individuals because of the way the farming industry is. And it's, it is risky to first transition a farm because those first few years, there's a lot of uncertainties. So you have people that are crunched . They're not making a huge margin. You know , the us spends the least on food per capita of any country in the world, which I've found. I mean, it's still mind boggling to me. So we've actually undervalued food and we've undervalued the environmental effects of our farming system. And the farmers have actually taken on the biggest burden of that. And so you have a lot of , um, concern to switch over and try something new. So I think that's the biggest reason you haven't seen that shift in the farming as bigger companies, as subsidies shift. You'll start to see that change because it's not like farmers want to spray more chemicals and do these different things. It's how they're trained by universities. And it's how our model , um, rewards people. And so until we change some of those rewards and we change education to focus more on these different practices, it's going to take long to change those behaviors. Um, I think the other side is human health. I mean, if you start understanding the cycles that the human brain gets into with eating a healthy diet, our primitive brain completely works against us. So , um, you're oftentimes your brain is telling you I need to eat high fat , super concentrated nutrient dense foods. And I don't mean nutrient dense as in phytonutrients. I mean, like calorie dense , um, because we naturally have a feast or famine type of mindset, and we've lost true connectivity to our food because it's heavily processed. So just as an example, when we're stressed, our body's used to, well, our, our visual spectrum actually changes and you see vivid colors more , uh , or vibrant more vividly. So like your purples, your blues, your reds, and these are typically phytonutrient rich foods. So your body knew like how to, how to find those different foods to respond and cope with stress. Cause phytonutrients do help us cope with stress, just like they help plants cope with stress, but we've kind of destroyed that connection with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, smell everything , um, to where our bodies don't always know what we need anymore. And, and even reconnecting with food like growing a tomato plant on your windows . Silicon can be incredible to start to reconnect with plants and really smell and taste fresh food. So I think that's, that's one thing that's kind of impacting us as humans. And then the other one is we get in all these cycles, we consume way too much sugar , um , almost 70 pounds more per year than it was even recommended. And what happens is we get into dopamine downregulation , meaning our bodies can't handle that much sugar. So it , it, down-regulates our response to the sugar. We get into insulin resistance cycles because we're not eating enough fiber and fruits and vegetables and our body can't handle that amount of sugar. And then that triggers the leptin cycle, which is the satiating hormone, which tells us we can we're full. We can stop eating. So we get in all these vicious cycles because our food is, is heavily refined oils , um, and a lot of salt and too much sugar. And so for our body to cope with that, we actually , um , end up in these different cycles and those essentially stop . They don't allow us to turn off the, the different triggers that are telling our body we're hungry. We got to eat where we got to think about food. The average person thinks about food 235 times a day. Um, so if your primitive mind is telling you, we're going to starve, if we don't eat ourselves and your body's not working properly to turn that off, we're just constantly eating. And so I think that's a big reason why human health is kind of not progressing from a nutrition standpoint is a lot of foods are working against us. There was a doctor , um, that I was talking to that said 90% of food choices in a grocery store, just bad choices. So if, if the choices in front of us, aren't great. And we're stuck in these cycles that are actually telling our bodies, we need more than we need than we should be consuming. Um, it's just kind of this vicious cycle that it's really hard to get out of it. If we don't have coaching and support and education, you know , do provide,Phil:
So Jennifer we're in a pandemic and everything that you're describing points to the fact that people want to know more about the foods who's growing them, how are they growing them? And we've seen that we've seen it in how people are changing, what they're buying during the pandemic, in your opinion, is this something that's going to continue? Is this going to be the wind at our back that we need for regenerative farming? Is this the big wake up that finallySpeaker 3:
We have a connectionJennifer:
Between our brain and what we're eating? Yeah, I absolutely believe so. And I think if you look at where food policy or health policy is going, it's, I think COVID has definitely accelerated the awareness of it. I think we already had some momentum in this direction because if you look at the cost of healthcare , we also, so we spend the least amount of food on the U S as any country in the world. Um, we also spend the most on healthcare and yet we're only the third or fourth healthiest country. And if we look at our health, one thing has to do , um, so, but I think people are catching wind of that. And if you look at the projections of chronic illness, if we don't make changes, if, and this is before COVID, they're actually projecting it to get worse because of the stress and lack of movement and things that came out of COVID. Um, but it was already really almost moving exponentially. And we weren't gaining a lot of traction with alternative ways to approach health care , like food is medicine. And so if you look, there's a lot of policy moving through , um , the political landscape to start to address this and fund more food, healthy food in areas of food insecurity, which all sort of disproportionately affected by chronic illness. And making sure that even in payers are paying for healthy food , um, not just for prevention, but actually intervention and looking at food in a completely different way. And if you look at that, you can't not look at the way the food is grown as well. Um, I personally believe there's a deep connection and we're just starting to understand it, you know, there's, we have the human genome project and that expanded into the human microbiome project. And now you have the earth microbiome project, which is taking it to another level to understand how all these things intersect and come together. And what's amazing to me is they've estimated now that we understand one to the minus 22nd of all of the organisms that reside on earth. So that is basically zero. Yeah. So I mean, it really shows that we are just barely scratching the surface of understanding, even the gut microbiome, understanding the soil microbiome, the synergies that these, these different , um , microbiomes or holo biomes have. And we're literally decimating them before we understand the health benefits or the health implications of that. So I think people are becoming more aware. I think they're not settling for , um, a lot of the misinformation out there they're seeking a deeper knowledge and understanding as I feel people should. Um, you know, I I've been trained in marketing. I , I don't love the subject , um, because I see how it can be used. It can be used for good things, but also see how it can be used for manipulation and just confusing people. And I think people really need to rise above that and seek knowledge of what is the best way to do something. And , um, and there's a lot of good ways to farm the, you know , regenerative is one way to farm and there's even a lot of different definitions. Um, but it's one that I personally really felt was important because again, it doesn't just focus on the human health aspect. It focuses on, it focuses on the environment as well. And I do believe those are connected. So , um,Phil:
Jennifer, you're a wealth of information. Thank you so much for joining us today. And if people want to get more information , um, or get in touch with you, how can they doJennifer:
So they can go on nutrition for longevity.com. Um, that's completely spelled out. And , um, there, we have more content about our farming practices about our food, about the longevity regions. Um, you can also find us on most social media platforms , um, just similar, deeper dives into what we do every day .Phil:
Great . Well, Jennifer, thanks for joining us on Lost in the supermarket.