Part Two: The Price of Convenience

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

To read part one of this article, click here.

Foods in their natural, nutrient-dense form will be digested and assimilated with considerably less energy than its processed or refined counterparts.

Primary-source foods require fewer resources to produce and come with substantially less environmental cost.

Digestion and assimilation of meat, dairy, refined and processed foods require an exceptional energy draw on your body and the planet.

The alkalinity of primary-source foods greatly reduces the risk of chronic and degenerative diseases versus the acidic toll of animal and processed foods. This reduced risk translates into enormous savings at the individual, societal and environmental levels.

The Standard American Diet [SAD] is directly linked to accelerating chronic and degenerative diseases and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. Based on current data it is clear that most people – including athletes – prefer this path of indulgent self-destruction because its effects could never happen to them.

Primary-source foods get the shaft from cost-conscious consumers. The innumerable benefits  of eating close to nature are supported by volumes of scientific research and too many epidemiology studies to count.

You can choose to pay now for health-promoting foods or pay later to treat the symptoms of poor nutrition diseases. The upfront costs of primary-source foods dramatically outweigh the price paid at the back end of poor food choices. Plant-based nutrition represents the most powerful and results-oriented form of medical intervention available today.

Technology, science, and government subsidies are not evil. The outcome of each innocuous element lies in direct accordance to its harmful or useful application.. We have dearly paid the price for convenience and our curiosity in realms yet to be realized.

“Thou shalt not poison thyself.”
~T. C. Fry

The U.S. Farm Bill became the government’s magic wand respective to food policy. Its intent was to provide guaranteed income to struggling farmers and preserve food security.

The subsidies became misdirected and bailed out the meat and dairy industry because its exorbitant and resource-intensive production costs dwarfed only its glaring ineptitude to make a profit.

Subsidies were not earmarked to farmers growing fruits and vegetables using sustainable and efficient agricultural methods. Ensuring the proliferation of high-quality, nutrient-dense, organic, plant-based, whole foods via cost-effective measures was deemed unacceptable.

The result: meat, dairy, processed and refined foods became cheap and abundant commodities. Consumption of these nutrient-lacking foods skyrocketed with disease and pollution while health plummeted.

This is why a pound of hamburger costs less than a pound of blueberries. Hamburger is one of the most expensive, resource-intensive, environmentally hazardous  products to make on the planet.

Two of the most subsidized crops in the U.S. are corn and soybeans. The irony is that the majority of each harvest is used as animal feed thus enabling meat and dairy foods to inundate the market as cheap commodities.

The remainder of each harvest is processed into junk food favorites such as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Many snowshoers and trail runners regularly consume these products.

Most commercial energy bars, gels, and drinks, for example, are processed with low-grade nutrients, artificial flavors and sweeteners, polymers, and refined carbohydrate sources.

Our tax dollars fund these subsidies. Each time meat, dairy, processed or refined foods are purchased a portion of your money is earmarked to perpetuate the inexpensive and abundant nature of these commodities. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds get lost in the crowd.

To exacerbate this vicious cycle we subsidize our overworked reactionary medical system to treat symptoms versus the causation of poor dietary choice diseases.

The bottom line: we are paying taxes to the government to support the the production of foods responsible for the most destructive health and ecological issues of mankind.

Disease is big business.

“it is better to travel well than to arrive.”

It would behoove everyone if federal policy was more aggressive in terms of changing the current system. There are at least one million people in Washington DC erecting these policies and it is unlikely that sludge removal will happen any time soon. Education and awareness from the ground level becomes imperative – and it means a lot more than telling people what to put on their plates.

The problem and the solution are one in the same. The massive meat, dairy and sugar subsidies need to be redirected to promote healthful primary-source foods. Expecting a cabal of useless bureaucrats to take action is a waste of time. The interference by the food industry in the free market system represents the closest thing to socialism in the U.S.

The food industry receives indirect subsidies in excess of its $14 billion direct subsidies per year. More than $300 billion in subsidies is allocated globally each year.

This is clearly a problem beyond North America.

Meat, dairy, sugar, processed and refined foods would be too expensive for most consumers to purchase on the free market without enormous subsidies.

Imagine if the government  subsidized fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds – foods which we are biologically adapted to consume.

The true cost of a typical fast food burger on the free market would range from $35 -$200. The former reflects the fossil fuel necessary to produce it and the latter calculation includes the land and water costs, delivery of the food to feedlots, and cleaning the water systems polluted by the manure, Make sure to select the “value meal.”

Politicians, lobbyists, and special interest groups have become prostitutes for the food industry by effecting legislation and policy development in favor of these corporations.

The multi-billion dollar food industry becomes wealthy at the expense of personal and planetary health. Campaign finance reform would help remove the leverage of the food industry and pharmaceutical companies respective to policy development.

The information that consumers receive about nutrition is influenced by the economic bastions that propel this country. It is a matter of money versus the truth.

Money hold the upper hand but the truth is powerful. Man’s futile attempts to manipulate what Mother Nature has provided for millions of years have been disastrous.

~The Pleasure Trap

Your body is only as proficient as its weakest link. It performs on par with the nutrient density of the food it consumes. This reiterates the need to eat as close to nature as possible – especially if you desire to effortlessly dart gnarly tree roots on the trail or flit across the snow.

Food manufacturers add chemicals to its products with your addiction to these goods the primary intention. This echos the use of nicotine to enhance the taste of cigarettes. The chemicals are oil, sugar and salt. In the spirit of over-indulgence the plan works flawlessly.

The hidden element that sabotages healthy habits is the artificial stimulation of a neurochemical in your brain called Dopamine. Products laced with oil, sugar and salt release opiates in the brain that provide the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction. Since humans tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain we become easy targets.

The food manufacturers conspire to make certain that you remain stuck in its assorted pleasure traps.

Addiction to food is a biological issue and it is clear that the food manufacturers are ahead of the curve when it comes to satisfying the two enjoyable tastes [saltiness and sweetness] on the tip of your tongue.

~The Power of Choice

The beauty of being an intelligent human is that you have the power to choose what you put in your mouth.

Just because the government uses your tax dollars to subsidize foods that sabotage your health and damage the planet does not mean that you have to eat them. Just because food manufacturers strive to manipulate your taste buds does not make it a good reason to buy those products.

Exercise awareness and discipline in your food choices to improve your snowshoeing – your life depends on it.

More fossil fuel is burned in the production, processing and delivery of food than any other industry. Animal agriculture is an inefficient use of land and depletes the soil of minerals. This sticks a fork in the well-intentioned hybrid drivers and their carpooling mates who stop daily at the drive-thru window for their ham and egg croissants.

  • enzymes are destroyed at 116 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • vitamins are destroyed at 130 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • amino acids/protein are denatured at 161 degrees Fahrenheit; and
  • essential fatty acids become trans fat at 300 degrees Fahrenheit

What did you eat today?

You can choose to power your body with nutrient-dense, whole foods that promote ecological restoration or you can ingest foods that accelerate disease and hasten ecological damage.

The single greatest impact to preserve environmental health is to base our diets on primary-source foods..Altering our eating habits will significantly reduce pollution and improve our health. Supporting environmentally conscious companies will help its standards become the food production benchmark.

“Think from the inside out.’
~Coach Steve Ilg

~Food for Thought

Strive to keep the following concepts in mind when choosing food to fuel your body

Net Gain
The usable energy left after digestion and assimilation of food.

The key is to invest as little digestive energy as possible to maximize the greatest amount of micronutrients.

High Net-Gain Foods:

  • raw or cooked at low temperature;
  • naturally alkaline-forming foods to pH balance the body;
  • nutrient-dense to alleviate the conversion process [one-step nutrition];
  • nutrient-dense whole foods;
  • vitamin-and mineral-rich whole food sources;
  • non-stimulating to eliminate biological debt and recalibrate the body

Unrefined foods with high levels of antioxidants and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Nutrients have not been diluted by the addition of calories from solid fats, sugars, oils, or refined starches.

One-Step Nutrition
Foods directly usable by the body. Conversion of macronutrients into usable fuel is unnecessary. Fruit represents a prime example of immediate fuel without lost energy due to conversion.

“The best way out is always through.”
~Robert Frost

Stress is weaved into our daily grind – like it or not. The objective is to mitigate nutritional and uncomplementary stress. Combine nutrient-dense whole foods with exercise to help you achieve your desired outcome.

Types of Stress

Nutritional Stress
The most pervasive form of uncomplementary stress. Stress created by the unhealthy properties of food.

Uncomplementary Stress
Anxiety that produces no benefit. This type of stress should be eliminated or at least minimized as much as possible.

Complementary Stress
The appropriate level of stress that stimulates renewal and facilitates growth within the body. Exercise is a fine example of this regenerative stress.

Production Stress
The stress created in an effort to attain a goal – mentally or physically. This stress type is an unavoidable by-product of a productive [high achiever’s] lifestyle.

“Beauty surrounds us.’

Find below some of the benefits of eating close to nature.

~Advantages of primary-source nutrition:

  • reduce biological age;
  • increase life expectancy;
  • reduce body fat and maintain lean muscle;
  • increase energy without stimulation;
  • increase strength and endurance;
  • improve productivity;
  • improve mental clarity;
  • improve sleep quality;
  • reduce sleep requirements;
  • hasten recovery from exercise;
  • improve cellular regeneration;
  • reduce or eliminate sugar cravings;
  • improve resistance to infection;
  • increase desire to excel;
  • lower cholesterol;
  • build a stronger immune system;
  • stabilize your metabolic rate;
  • improve your moods;
  • prevent/reverse chronic and degenerative diseases;

~Food Combination Hints

  • If you eat starchy foods, eat them with raw vegetables and at a separate meal from proteins;
  • If you eat starchy foods, eat them at a separate meal from sweet foods – including sweet fruit;
  • If you eat starchy foods, do not eat them with vinegar or acid fruits;
  • Proteins combine best with raw vegetables and/or acid fruits. Proteins do not combine well with starches, melons, or sweet fruits;
  • Fruits with a high water content do not combine well with low-water content fruits;
  • Lettuce and celery combine well with everything.

~Types of Fruit

Acid Fruits
Blackberry, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Kumquat, Lemon Lime, Orange, Passion fruit, Pineapple, Raspberry, Strawberry, Tangerine, Tomato

Sub-Acid Fruits
Apple, Apricot, Blueberry, Cherry, Grape, Guava, Loquat, Mango, Mulberry, Nectarine, Papaya, Peach, Pear

Sweet Fruits
Banana, Breadfruit, Canistel, Cherimoya, Date, Durian, Fig, Persimmon, Plantain, Sugar Apple


“We tiptoe through life hoping to safely make it to death.”
~Jen Sincero

Our food choices limit the length and quality of our lives – and impact our trail running and snowshoeing performances.

The alarming statistics respective to epidemic levels of chronic and degenerative diseases underscore how convenient it is to take our wellness for granted.

Missing from the equation even for athletes is the desire to take action when it comes to achieving optimum wellness.

Wellness and endurance sports are about possibilities not pathology. Both paths hold the client and the athlete accountable for his/her choices. Each path fosters integration and insight into self-actualization.

Every aspect of trail running and snowshoeing is directly impacted by the quality of your diet. Each aspect will improve once your diet becomes closely aligned with the foods which you are biologically adapted to consume. Choose wisely what you consume and enjoy the most exhilarating snowshoeing season of your life.

Implementing the mindful nutrition tenets of awareness and discipline will help you experience the difference between effort and struggle. Mindful food choices will allow us to eat our way out of this debacle and leave the ‘diseases of affluence’ to those who believe they are exempt from the consequences of mindless nutrition and physical inactivity.





“On Nutrition and Physical Performance: A Handbook for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts”  by Dr. Douglas N. Graham;

“Whole Foods To Thrive” by Brendan Brazier;

“Guide to Sports Nutrition” by OrganicAthlete / Bradley Saul – President;

“Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life” by Brendan Brazier;

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine / Dr. Neal Barnard;

The Plant-Based Dietitian / Julieanna Hever MS, RD, CPT;

United States Department of Agriculture / United States Department of Health and Human Services – United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans – 2010;

T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Pam Popper, PhD, ND

Dr. Zoltan Rona;

Dr. Joel Fuhrman

About the author

Jeff Kildahl, Wellness Editor

Jeff Kildahl is a writer, author, wellness consultant and philanthropist advancing preventive health care by synthesizing primary source nutrition and fitness as the principal components of the practice of medicine.

Kildahl is a sponsored vegan ultra-endurance athlete credentialed in bioenergetics, biomechanics, metabolic efficiency™ testing, sport nutrition, and natural medicine. He is a dynamic member of CUBE™ ~ a professional speakers group ~ empowering others to harmonize the "Keys to Living in the Song of Life."

He is the wellness editor at Snowshoe Magazine, United States Snowshoe Association columnist, and contributor to health, fitness and wellness sites, blogs and publications. He is a US-based ultra-endurance athlete and philanthropist for the 100 FOR 100 Movement ~

Kildahl is the creator and president of The Wholistic Edge® ~ a visionary firm providing synergistic solutions to transcend health, performance, and potential in life and sport from the inside out via the principles of Performance Medicine™ ~

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