Written by Deane Parkes
Health food stores are leaders of the natural lifestyle in North America. Back before the 1940’s, most people ate pretty much only natural organic whole foods. Heck, that is all there was. Health food stores began springing up in the 40’s to maintain unadulterated whole foods and provide supplements to replace the nutrients no longer available in our modern mass-produced foods. Thank goodness there were people to lead the charge and protect our food choices. I wonder – if we are what we eat, have artificial foods helped create artificial intelligence?
Though the mass market – leader in convenience, selection and low price – has similar gross sales to health food stores, it is the health stores that are the gatekeepers to the positive benefits of living a natural lifestyle. I wonder where we would be if the only choices were not natural food? What if the Monsanto types controlled our food, as they hope to one day? Kudos to all the dedicated, hard working, passionate people who lead the organic movement and help it flourish! As a consumer, I am very grateful.
I remember back in the 70’s when the guy who delivered my organic produce drove a beat-up pick-up truck and did not wear shoes. He spoke of his food as the most precious thing in the world. He would carry dirt in a jar to show the quality of his soil. Wonder what happened to him? Now I see 18 wheelers with big organic signs on the side of the trucks. I call that progress! Very positive! This certainly is not a sign of an industry on the downturn.
I read that the excess intake which is feeding the obesity pandemic in North America would provide food for everyone in the world. Even if this was partly true, it means we could take care of one of Pavlov’s basic needs of a human - food.
I saw some pictures on the internet of the world’s new highest building in Dubai. Things have sure changed from only 100 or so years ago. Change is happening so fast that a college student’s first two years of study will probably be obsolete by the time they graduate. Anyone who read Doug Muldoon’s great article in the last issue of CNHR will see how marketing is changing in business, too.
Our current standard of living is better than kings and queens from our history books. The advances in the standard of living are aligned with the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania (as in Penn State oil.) My daughter Alex just finished a school project on oil. Interesting to note; even the manufacturers of solar, wind and other alternative energies are dependent on an oil-based economy. It is not an overnight solution. From what I read, there is enough oil to last generations and the technology today could break our dependence on oil. Perhaps the lifestyle of those in charge of oil is not an easily broken dependency, so there is no real urgency for change.
I know celiac disease is a serious issue. However, with the rise of interest in gluten-free diets, a friend of mine in the US said recently, “It is now becoming vogue to be gluten-free.” No wonder the category is soaring. And thank goodness there are such great companies providing so many tasty selections!
If I were to guess, probably more people live the natural lifestyle than support the ruling party in Canada. Yet we continue to justify ourselves for selling herbal formulas in combination with Health Canada (HC). I recall when Nature’s Way came into Canada in the 70’s. The labels, common sense forbid, actually told what each product was for. Health Canada was on this pretty fast and labels were changed to the ABC’s letter descriptions we have today. Wise marketers countered with handbooks that translated the labels into benefits. Probably good to know why you were buying the bottle. We bag stuffed the books and sales were brisk. Ah, but HC got wind of this and banned the handouts, saying, “ How dare you sell a product and tell someone what it is for.” And again, the marketing geniuses decided to put a price on the handouts, declaring them books. But alas, HC would not go away and eventually banned these, too. So, if we truly followed HC’s directive, we would not be able to tell a person what the bottle lettering is for. And they did this to protect and keep us safe. No wonder we Canadians say, ‘EH?’
After 40 years, with an amazing safety record, why is it again I may not be able to buy or sell herbal formulas in combination? Safety? Standards of evidence? Yeah, right! After thousands of years of herbs being the medicine of choice, and usage growing all the time, they suddenly do not work or are not safe? It seems crazy to some of us to go through such nonsense, yet there are people who actually believe this or at least pretend to. Sure, the products come a long way from scratch to being bottled, so we get the idea we need manufacturing standards to ensure quality. Yet, we have still had a strong safety record. •