God, Food, Pharmacy, and Taxes

We interrupt the regular posting schedule of this blog to bring you the shocking news that a food company might not have your best health interests at heart…

For me, like many others, my involvement in the Ancestral Health movement, with all the reading, writing, sharing of ideas, consulting, presenting, and so on, is a source of personal growth and development.  Experimenting with your own health, travelling to meet new people, like minds, and old acquaintances, and having good friends fry your brain with a whole lot of new and challenging information is what this thing is all about for me.  This whole thing stretches my mind (and body) more than a Sudoku puzzle ever would.

What many readers may not be aware of, however, is that my day job – the thing that keeps my espresso and coconut addiction habit going – is also largely orientated toward the Ancestral Health field.  I work for a corporate health and wellbeing company based in New Zealand (and just taking its first tentative steps toward total world domination).  See here for a quick clip of me in action (I’m near the start).

From the early work done by the likes of the Cordains, Sissons, Wolfs, etc., and progressively built on by many others, it became an easy sell to my director that we need to be on-board this paleo bus.  And as he commented at the time, basing our work (nutrition, physical activity, sleep, sun exposure, socialisation, stress resiliency, and so on), on evolutionary biology was a no-brainer, with the concepts around the likes of The Primal Blueprint 10 laws being so “face valid”.  We haven’t looked back since, and I am very fortunate to be able to say that “paleo” is my work rather than just a hobby.

See here for my presentation to the Ancestral Health Society in 2011 on stress resiliency in the workplace using an evolutionary biology approach.

In the New Zealand corporate health scene, we have a few competitors.  And in a very Darwinian sense, this is a good thing.  Having competition forces us to keep evolving, being innovative, and adapting to an ever-changing environment.  As best I can tell, amongst all of the businesses in this corporate health space, we are the only ones to have dived in the deep end with an Ancestral Health approach.  And certainly for one of our main competitors, taking any approach that is underpinned by evolution is going to be very difficult for them, as you will soon see why.

On the face of it, Cultivate looks and feels like most of the workplace health and wellbeing companies, with similar services on offer, similar justifications for workplace interventions, and so on.  But look a little closer at the advice given in one section of their website, and you start to get an inkling of where this company’s ethos is rooted…

Tips for 5+ a day

Meat as a side dish: High protein diets see many people eating way more meat than is recommended for good health – making it harder to reach ‘5+ a day’. Make vegies the focus of every meal and let the animal protein – if you have it – be your side dish.

Go vegie for a day or two: Incorporate a few more ‘meat-free’ evening meals into your weekly repertoire. A few family favourites include Mediterranean lasagne, falafel wraps and lentil and corn risotto.

Mmm… Lasagne, falafel, lentils, and corn are some of my favourite… err… vegetables (?) too.

Now I’m all for the promotion of eating more vegetables – real vegetables that is – as I generally feel that most people consuming a typical New Zealand/Australian diet don’t eat enough of them (I also think the same people don’t eat enough good quality animal protein either).  But in the case of this workplace wellness company, I think they have another reason for steering people away from animal proteins, and it has nothing to do with health, wellbeing, or evolutionary biology…

If you have checked out the link to Cultivate, the more astute amongst you might have noticed who the parent company is.  For my New Zealand and Australian readers, it will be a very familiar company, being one of the largest cereal-based food companies in both countries – Sanitarium.  Why is it relevant and why should I even care about what this company is saying as it enters the corporate health education market?  Because of this statement on the Sanitarium website;

Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company was established by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in New Zealand over 100 years ago to promote and produce plant-based health foods. This is based on the Church’s belief that plant-based diets are designated by God, our Creator, for the health of the human race.1 Worldwide, the Church operates health food industries and health-care services based on this philosophy.

Sanitarium’s enduring mission is to “inspire and resource our community to experience happy, healthy lives”. As such the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Sanitarium continue to share an explicit common reason and purpose of existence.

Sanitarium is a leader in producing foods of the highest nutritional value and appeal. It invests significant resources into community nutrition education through its Sanitarium Nutrition Services, providing unbiased advice and consultation to both health professionals and the community. Sanitarium’s Nutrition Service dates back to the early 1900s, when cooking classes and nutrition lectures were held throughout New Zealand. Today the Nutrition Service offers a number of services in accordance with the Church’s belief that good nutrition, along with physical, mental and spiritual health are important in delivering an overall balanced, healthy lifestyle.

1. Genesis 1:29

You can read more about the history and philosophy of this company here, here, and here.

As someone who doesn’t believe in god, and who believes in evolutionary biology and how humans are well adapted to eat animal-derived proteins and fats, you can see how I might have issue with a church-based company, with specific beliefs around foods, entering into the health education field, and employing nutritionists, dietitians, and other health professionals (with a perceived level of authority amongst the general public) to effectively deliver the mission of their church.  That is, to get us to eat less animal protein and more plants-based foods; plant-based foods that the same company just happens to produce and sell for a profit (sort of).

We can see from the above statement the conflict in their message.  Sanitarium offers a free nutrition consulting service, supposedly providing “unbiased advice”, though they go on to state that this nutrition service is provided in accordance with church beliefs…

Let’s look at what this nutrition service advocates…

In 1987, due to growing community interest in nutrition, and to help offset the many contradictory nutrition claims in the media, Sanitarium established the Sanitarium Nutrition Service (SNS) in order to provide the community with reliable, easy-to-understand nutrition information.

Our nutritionists play an important role in promoting good nutrition in the community. We believe that eating wholefoods contribute positively to good health and appear to protect our body against disease. The wholefood diet is based on eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes and nuts. Similarly, we strongly recommend limiting consumption of over-processed foods, which may be high in sugar, fat and salt.

SNS aims to provide unbiased accurate information for consumers, health professionals, nutrition associations, home economics and food technology students and teachers through the articles, newsletters, leaflets and fact sheets we produce and the questions we answer.

Far reaching and very unbiased…  Especially if you also believe that the likes of lean meats, fish, seafood, and fowl are not considered whole foods.  Have a poke around their lifestyle articles, Q&A section, and their section on “superfoods” (where you will find that “L” doesn’t stand for liver), and you will see a routine bias toward a vegetarian-based diet.

Things start to get really comical though, when we read the statement above “we strongly recommend limiting consumption of over-processed foods, which may be high in sugar, fat and salt“, then we have a look at the foods that this Seventh Day Adventist church company produce… for god’s will and the good of your health.

Sanitarium produces largely “whole grain” foods, and I use that term in the loosest possible way, as you will soon see why.  But first, let’s quickly look at their justification (beyond god’s will) for the use of whole grain foods in the diet…

Research shows that whole grains improve health and wellbeing and may:

  •     Protect against heart disease and stroke
  •     Assist with weight control.
  •     Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  •     Improve bowel health & regularity.
  •     Lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
  •     Protect against certain cancers.
  •     Provide essential nutrients such as fibre, folate, vitamin E, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc and antioxidants.

Now let’s look at the research behind the four claims I’ve bolded, including two from the Cochrane Collaboration;

Wholegrain cereals for coronary heart disease.

Despite the consistency of effects seen in trials of wholegrain oats, the positive findings should be interpreted cautiously. Many of the trials identified were short term, of poor quality and had insufficient power. Most of the trials were funded by companies with commercial interests in whole grains. There is a need for well-designed, adequately powered, longer term randomised controlled studies in this area. In particular there is a need for randomised controlled trials on wholegrain foods and diets other than oats.

Whole grain foods for the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The evidence from only prospective cohort trials is considered to be too weak to be able to draw a definite conclusion about the preventive effect of whole grain foods on the development of T2DM. Properly designed long-term randomised controlled trials are needed. To facilitate this, further mechanistic research should focus on finding a set of relevant intermediate endpoints for T2DM and on identifying genetic subgroups of the population at risk that are most susceptible to dietary intervention.

Short-term effects of whole-grain wheat on appetite and food intake in healthy adults: a pilot study

While it has been proposed, based on epidemiological studies, that whole grains may be beneficial in weight regulation, possibly due to effects on satiety, there is limited direct interventional evidence confirming this…

…The present study found no effect of whole grains on appetite or food intake in healthy individuals; however, 48 g of whole grain consumed daily for 3 weeks did have a beneficial effect on systolic blood pressure. The findings from the present study therefore do not support epidemiological evidence that whole grains are beneficial in weight regulation, although further investigation in other population groups (such as overweight and obese) would be required.

No effect of 14 day consumption of whole grain diet compared to refined grain diet on antioxidant measures in healthy, young subjects: a pilot study

The whole grain diet was significantly higher in dietary fibre, vitamin B6, folate, selenium, copper, zinc, iron, magnesium and cysteine compared to the refined grain diet. Despite high intakes of whole grains, no significant differences were seen in any of the antioxidant measures between the refined and whole grain diets.

No differences in antioxidant measures were found when subjects consumed whole grain diets compared to refined grain diets. 

So their claim for the superiority of whole grains in the diet seems to be built on shaky evidence.  When we look at the ingredients that go into producing their most popular “whole grain” “whole foods”, things look shakier still.  Have a look at the list below (all information which is freely available from their website) and keep in mind that the strongest evidence for any beneficial whole grain rests with whole oats (with respect to reduced cholesterol reabsorption – if that indeed actually means anything when it comes to hard clinical endpoints). Spot how many different forms of sugar there are, see the addition of extra gluten (because you can never quite get enough gluten naturally), and note how much soy and vegetable oil is used.  Also keep in mind Sanitarium’s own statement from above…

“we strongly recommend limiting consumption of over-processed foods, which may be high in sugar, fat and salt”

Weet-bix

Whole Grain Wheat (97%), Sugar, Salt, Barley Malt Extract, Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate), Mineral (Iron).

Weet-bix Golden Crumble Bites

Wholegrain wheat (60%), crumble pieces [oats (13%), brown sugar, coconut (2.5%), vegetable oils (Sunola, palm [contains antioxidant (319]), golden syrup (1.5%), maltodextrin, flavour], raw sugar, salt, barley malt extract, flavour, minerals (zinc, iron), vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate).

Weet-bix Wild Berry Bites

Wholegrain wheat (71%), fruit pieces (15%) [fruit {apple puree concentrate, berries (1%) (elderberry and raspberry juice concentrate, strawberry and blueberry puree), plum puree concentrate}, invert sugar, sugar, humectant (glycerol), dextrose, wheat fibre, acidity regulators (296, 332), gelling agent (pectin), flavours (natural and nature identical)], sugar, honey, minerals (phosphate of calcium, iron), salt, barley malt extract, flavour (natural and nature identical)], vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate).

Up & Go

Filtered water, skim milk powder, cane sugar, wheat maltodextrin, soy protein, vegetable oils (sunflower, canola), hi-maize™ starch, corn syrup solids, inulin, fructose, cocoa (0.5%), cereals (oat flour, barley beta glucan), minerals (calcium, phosphorus), food acid (332), flavour, vegetable gums (460, 466, 407), vitamins (C, A, niacin, B12, B2, B6, B1, folate), salt.

Light & Tasty Manuka Honey, Date, and Nut

Cereals (57%) [whole grains (44%) (wheat, oats, whole wheat flour), corn, rice, wheat bran], sugar, raisins, date fruity pieces [minced date (2.5%), invert sugar, humectant (glycerol), apple paste, wheat fibre, sugar, vegetable fat, starch, rice flour, caramelised sugar syrup, gelling agent (pectin), flavour, colour (caramel), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin)], nuts (5%) (almonds, hazelnuts), manuka honey (2%), corn maltodextrin, vegetable oil (contains soy), minerals (calcium, iron), barley malt extract, glucose syrup, wheat gluten, salt, maize starch, golden syrup, humectant (glycerol), vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate, E).

Toasted Muesli

Wholegrain oats (60%), raw sugar, fruity pieces [fruit purees {apple, strawberry (0.5%), rhubarb (0.2%)}, juice concentrates {rhubarb (0.8%), elderberry, aronia}, invert sugar, humectants (glycerol), sugar, wheat fibre, vegetable fat, gelling agent (pectin), rice starch, food acid (citric), flavour, sunflower lecithin], wheat bran, vegetable oil (contains soy), coconut, wheat flakes (contains barley), linseed, freeze dried strawberry (1%), apple juice concentrate, salt, food acid (citric).

Cluster Crisps

Cereals (65%) [whole grains (44%) (oats, rye, whole wheat flour), corn, rice, rice flour, corn meal], sugar, berries (6%) [sweetened cranberries {cranberry (1.5%), sugar, humectant (glycerol), sunflower oil, acidity regulator (330)}, freeze dried berries (0.5%) {strawberry, raspberry}], sunflower oil, palm oil (contains soy), golden syrup, corn maltodextrin, raspberry juice concentrate (1%), salt, wheat gluten, freeze dried sour cherries, flavour, barley malt extract, acidity regulator (330), minerals (calcium carbonate, iron), emulsifier (471), vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate).

Skippy Cornflakes

Corn (88%), Sugar, Salt, Barley Malt Extract, Mineral (Iron), Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate).

Ricies

Rice (88%), Sugar, Salt, Barley Malt Extract, Mineral (Iron), Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamin, Riboflavin).

Honey Puffs

Puffed Wheat (72%), Sugar, Honey (7%), Acidity Regulator (260).

San Bran

Wheat Bran (75%), Barley Malt Extract, Sugar, Salt, Dextrose.

Marmite

Yeast (80%), sugar, salt, mineral salt (508), wheat maltodextrin, colour (caramel III), herbs, spices, vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate, B12), mineral (iron).

Yum. I love plant-derived “whole food”…

Perhaps more controversial (in some people’s minds at least), is the fact that Sanitarium, due to its ownership by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, pays no income tax in either New Zealand or Australia.  Sanitarium, clearly sensitive about this issue, addresses this on their website.  Now I am no investigative journalist or taxation specialist, so I am not going to rehash this issue here.  A quick Google search will net you hours of fun if that is your gig.  However, this relatively recent article from the New Zealand Herald serves up some interesting gems…

Wholly owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Sanitarium’s arms on both sides of the Tasman are exempt from paying company tax on their earnings because their profits help fund the church’s charitable and religious activities.

But that tax break doesn’t mean all of the income generated by the church’s local businesses is required to stay in this country.

Following enquiries by the Business Herald, the church confirmed that its New Zealand-based companies have invested roughly $13 million into three ventures in the United States since 2007.

For me, this is where things start to get really interesting…

The $13 million has been invested into Washington state-based Sweet Green Fields, which has developed a natural, calorie-free food sweetener, Minnesota-based Primordia Seeds and Asklepion Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Baltimore.

So Sanitarium have invested in a company that makes “natural” sweeteners (sugar is a “natural” sweetener), and a seed company.  Probably understandable given their line of work.  But the pharmaceutical company?

While a business that appears to have something to do with seeds seems a logical investment for an organisation involved in the cereal trade, Asklepion Pharmaceuticals doesn’t appear to be carrying out activities that would benefit food companies.

It’s developing treatments for liver diseases, according to its website, which lists the chief executive of Sanitarium’s Australian arm, Kevin Jackson, as its chairman.

Courtney, the general manager of Sanitarium’s international operations, is also a director, the website says.

Standish says all three of the church’s US investments have technology that will benefit its core businesses and Asklepion, which is developing “world first food products“, is no exception.

He wouldn’t provide any further details on the food products.

We see a convergence occurring globally between pharmaceuticals and food,” Standish says.

This is not a strategy we have talked about publicly but we have over the past few years been quietly and deliberately moving in this direction.

Convergence between pharmaceuticals and food?

So when Sanitarium state that it is “the Church’s belief that plant-based diets are designated by God, our Creator, for the health of the human race,” this includes being able to spread a yeast-based treatment for liver disease on your toast in the morning too?  I’d just think it easier for god to have not created liver disease in the first place, don’t you?

Here is a company heavily invested in marketing toward children (remember the jingle “Kiwi kids are Weet-bix kids”?), promotes itself as a health food company, claims to make foods of the highest nutritional value, and recently has begun to enter the corporate health market to sell is church-based flavour of lacto-ovo vegetarianism in the workplace, yet produces “food” that is little more than confectionary in a cereal box.

I also completely fail to see why such a company, with all its positioning, marketing, and (mis)information about health and healthy foods, is investing (at the expense of many charities, including the New Zealand and Australian government’s consolidated funds) in a “convergence” between drugs and food.

Sanitarium and Cultivate promote a plant-based diet built around eating more vegetables.  So do I.  But whilst myself and the company I work for promote the consumption of good quality whole animal foods, we don’t then also sell soy-derived, sugar-coated bacon flakes made in cholesterol-free vegetable oil and fortified with 5 essential vitamins and iron – because we fear the gods would be displeased with us if we didn’t.

People need to know what they are buying when they buy Sanitarium’s products or engaging with their subsidiary companies.  And by my world view people are unaware they are buying cheap junk food in drag, from a tax-exempt company becoming increasingly involved in “converging” pharmaceuticals and food, and whose main aim is to use their (vegetarian) view on food, nutrition, and health to sell a religious doctrine.

Jump into that cereal box with your eyes open…

42 thoughts on “God, Food, Pharmacy, and Taxes

  1. Thanks for this, Jamie. I no longer eat this sort of crap food since I went Paleo, but I had absolutely NO idea that Sanitarium was founded by a church, or that they use that in their food promotion. You’ve really opened my eyes here, and I’m going to do a bunch more reading on this topic and use this information in the future in conversations about processed “whole foods”!
    (We had “Aussie kids are Weet-Bix kids”. As a kid my parents often served me weet-bix for brekkie, and the only way I could make it palatable was to pour hot water over it then coat it in a layer of sugar and a layer of Milo, which melted onto it. In other words, the weet-bix was there just to ferry the sugar/chocolate to my mouth. One of the many reasons my health ended up so wrecked by my twenties!)

    • No problems, Cassiell.

      I’ve had a vague knowledge of their underpinnings for a few years, but until recently, it hasn’t been something I’ve given a lot of thought. Until I discovered that a) they paid no tax in either of our countries (some very choice words were spoken in the office that day), and b) they were entering into the corporate health market and pushing their agenda even more directly (via their company, Cultivate, and the more recently acquired Vitality Works).

      I grew up on Weet-bix too, and like you, it was just a vehicle for sugar and fruit preserves. The only saving grace I guess was that I am sufficiently old enough to have only ever had proper full cream milk on it. As an adult, switching to skim milk and trying to reduce my sugar, I could never keep my blood sugar stable in the mornings. By the time I had finished my first lecture in the morning, I usually had to make a bee-line straight for the student union cafetaria to find something to prop my blood sugar levels back up.

      • Yeah, that tax thing really got me. When I read that in your post here, my jaw just dropped, followed by a whole lot of sailor-style swearing. I’m forwarding this article to some like-minded Aussie friends who I know will want to know this sort of stuff, too! The more I see just how much corporations are getting their fingers into the nutritional and health markets and using money to dictate health messages, the more frightened I get for the future of our countries.

        (We’re currently in the process of moving to a rural property to grow our own veggies, sort of live off the land, and hopefully eventually raise our own cows, pigs, etc. And with the state of food these days, there’s never been a better time, I think!)

        We still got full cream milk delivered to our door by the milkman when I was a kid, and I used to love that stuff. (I don’t remember exactly when the milkman stopped coming around, but he was sorely missed!) But I was also weaned on Coca-Cola (!!) and we always had junk food in the house, except when my mum was desperately trying to keep up with Weight Watchers. She never could for more than a few months, and nowadays I know why, but back then I just watched her and came to the conclusion that dieting didn’t work.

        I know what you mean about the blood sugar levels thing — been riding that rollercoaster most of my life too! I’m so glad to be off it. And part of that is thanks to you, and people like you. I’m usually too shy to comment, but your blog has been a real help for me in a lot of ways since I found it. :)

        • *blush*

          Don’t ever be too shy! Comments and experiences are always welcome. That is part of the reason for doing this blogging thing – to draw opinions, perspectives, and more information out of people. That is how I learn too!

          • Then in future I’ll try to be more proactive. :) Sometimes I feel silly if all I have to say is “great post, thanks”. But you always make me think, and you’re great at pulling apart a scientific study and making it make sense. Science goes in one ear and out the other with me otherwise. My brain is gearing towards languages, but I want to be able to understand the science, damnit! So I really appreciate your efforts in that regard.

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  3. great article, Jamie! looks like we’re getting to the point that giving tax breaks to churches encourages a shameless racket. :-( i’m linking this to FB….

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  5. Jamie:

    I’ve previously written about the fact that “breakfast cereal” is an invention of religious fundamentalists, who believed that meat-eating “excited the carnal passions”…

    …but I didn’t know that NZ/AUS law permitted churches to become multinational corporations under the guise of “fundraising”. That’s both disturbing and morally repugnant to those of us whose ethics and morals don’t receive a tax exemption. Thank you for working to publicize this issue.

    JS

    • J.S.

      I love this comment… “That’s both disturbing and morally repugnant to those of us whose ethics and morals don’t receive a tax exemption.” It is absolutely spot on. In effect, the NZ/AU tax payers are subsidising this church to feed our communities crap in order to fundraise for their belief system.

  6. I have no problem with their beliefs and indeed grains are good for you. I think the problem here there hypocrisy.

    Everyone today knows of the ills of sugar and yet if you are in the breakfast cereal industry it will 90% of the time be in your product.

    Loved the article – am studying nutrition and this is one little string to ones bow in an ever more controversial world of food which argument should have been over long ago; Eats lots of veg and a little meat! Don’t eat refined sugars and life will be better!

    • I have no problem with their beliefs either… until such time as they use them to justify selling certain foods or providing filtered information to society at large. They can keep those beliefs in-house I am sure.

      Would love to see your evidence for “grains are good for you”. Please post links if you have the time/inclination.

      • I do have inclination – but I will put something to you. You and I are not Paleolithic man any more. In the last 10,000 years we have adapted and changed.

        So I have found two sides to the argument. Some saying that porridge and bread are bad for you – one of the reasons that there are so many gluten intolerant – especially amoungst Europeans.

        There are also others who argue that grains are good for you because of a number of health benefits.

        Now the problem I have is that I am trying to defend something that I can’t eat because of its properties. However, you obviously feel strongly and I understand why. You and I can look up information about both of our diets and the problem is we could be both right depending on our body and our ethnic background and our DNA and genes etc.

        So I could if you really want me to find a web-site that will provide evidence of its goodness but I can equally find web-site telling you the contrary.

        My body says that if something is in a packet or overly processed then we are better off without it.

  7. They also have a program called CHIP that spreads the nutrition word. It is pretty much vegan. I met a woman at uni who was a fully fledged proponent of this program, she is doing her best to bring her program to the masses, insinuating itself into corporate lunches and being pushed in places like Rarotonga. She is a christian but I do not know what affiliation she had, but she was definitely evangelical about this program! Whilst they do maintain that least processed is best, I don’t understand how a person could thrive on that diet. All she ate for lunch was 3 pieces of fruit. It was rather entertaining when I sat down at a table pretty much full of vegetarians and her and started chowing away at my left over pork chop and leek cooked in coconut cream!

  8. Truly sublime and only hope this goes viral!

    I remember visiting Tonga in 1986 and seeing the mega churches beside the poverty. But what was common was weetbix!

    At the risk of driving traffic to their site… this is my response to: -http://crossfitlocus.com.au/more-food-companies-selling-health/ – ripping off Jamie’s, which has made me just about as angry as religious hypocrisy :

    “Phil says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    November 12, 2012 at 2:49 am
    It is disappointing you did not properly attribute this to Jamie Scott at ThatPaleoGuy.com – it is only a short step away from plagiarism. Sure you referenced his post, but this comes across as you trying to pass off this as your work and thinking, as opposed to the work and exposure Jamie has done on this.”

    • Thanks, Phil

      I remember an ex-partner who spent some time in Samoa saying something similar. The people had nothing and were buying cheaper and cheaper imported foods, but still gave money to the churches… which were palacial compared to what they were living in. There is something wrong in all of that.

      Thanks for your comment to that Crossfit site too. I am happy to have the message spread, and generally 99.9% people attribute my writing properly. But I was disappointed by how the author of that piece chose to effectively rewrite my post with only a quick mention toward the end that I had written more on the subject. As you say, very thin line between what they did and plagiarism. Oh well, it is the internet.

  9. I am also a Vegan – Though I will not say that this is what I want everyone to do. For me I have found a new healthy life because of it.

    I don’t critique anyone who is trying to find a new diet but I have found the perfect one for me. I have cured myself of hemorrhoids my asthma has pretty much gone. I have gone from a 38 waist to 32 and now I am gluten free and I don’t touch diary and I don’t touch sugar.

    My mind is very active, I don’t snore any more, and I am incredibly good at teaching – where as before I simply average (I am a voice teacher).

    I have a 3.7 Cholesterol, my Iron is perfect level my pulse is 120/70 and my hemoglobin levels are fantastic – so I agree some people can eat meat but since I gave it up my life has got better.

    I have a couple of “Paleos” living up the road and they are very healthy and fit also – but I have found a way for me and I respect them for their life style.

    • I’m glad you have found something that works for you, Charles. We probably have a good degree of commonality in our diets and lifestyles… I’m also gluten-free, and largely dairy and sugar free. I suspect that your diet also precludes most of the main industrial seed oils, as does mine. I would argue that it is the absence of these things which drive the largest part of the health both you and I enjoy, rather than any major influence of meat in eitehr direction.

      If you haven’t already, have a look at the lovely Julianne Taylor’s most recent post, touching on this very subject.

      http://paleozonenutrition.com/2012/11/11/raw-vegan-blood-type-o-and-the-paleo-diet-what-do-they-have-in-common/

      • The funny thing that I have found hysterical since I have been reading these posts is that I am a Mormon and I believe that God told me to have this diet…..

        Have a read: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89?lang=eng

        I hope you find that most of it makes sense. This is why I am very much in the thick of the battle against sugar etc and yes you are right about the oils.

        Good on ya – sounds to me like you have the right idea.

        • And I believe my chosen deity, Mother Nature, wants me to do the same with my diet. How we justify our own health journey’s is up to us as individuals.

          That Sanitarium is owned by a church is really a side issue to me and really neither here nor there. It would be even less so if they were upfront about what they produce and why, paid taxes (Kellogg’s is also church-owned but pays tax), etc. But the issue is that they produce what both you and I would agree, based on teh ingredients, to be utter junk food. There really is no other way to describe it. And they produce it as a tax-exempt religious organisation whose mission is move people toward a diet that matches their gods will.

          • Agreed in full……the only thing I would point out is that this is back in 1833 when people were saying that chewing tobacco was good for you – out of interest statistically Mormons live anything from 7 to 15 years longer than the “average” American.

            That’s the plan :-)

  10. Awesome! I don’t eat any processed food or grains (and would avoid all they’re products anyway due to the high sugar content) any more so it’s a bummer I can’t have a more symbolic or effective boycott. But I’ll have to spread the word. I knew about the taxes and heavy -church affiliations but was never aware of the vegetarian push! There are also a lot of concerning and controversial points of ethics relating to Nestle, if anyone’s interested in…again, you could have a field day on google going through that stuff.

  11. I’m not sure how Cultivate is worse than what the USDA does in the USA. I mean, propaganda is all fair and good until it becomes bad public policy. Let information compete freely.

  12. How much tax would they pay if they had to?
    They are not competing on a level playing field and can therefore afford to spend much more on advertising.
    I wonder how many other companies would benefit from a tax-free environment?
    This is a big issue in the UK at the moment where Starbucks and other big corporations are paying little or no tax.

  13. (1) its contradictory to say Sanatarium is ‘imposing’ its vegetarian views when you impose animal food views, or ‘evolutionary biology’
    (2) no business should be tax-exempt
    (3) as a vegan for almost 16 years now, I do not support Sanatarium as their products are not labelled vegan and they use refined foods. I have long wondered who their target market is, and other ‘health food’ companies selling transformed foods.
    (4) have either grain or dairy become considered ‘evolutionary biology’ or just accepted in the mainstream nutritional science. Both are known causes of health issues as allergies.

    • I promote an omnivorous diet based both on history (evolutionary) and health (evidence). Whilst others are free to promote whatever they feel is the most optimal diet for health, what I have an issue with is (mildly), the religious element, and (vehemently) that a company preaches health and wellbeing when the products and messages it sells are anything but supportive of that. The vast majority of Sanitarium’s products are little more than diabetes in a box.

      • I agree with you both. We are actually batting for the same team. We are trying to eliminate the lies and trying to understand our own bodies.

        We can live together as both our diets are conscious efforts to rid ourselves of the modern health lie.

        I am a vegan but I will not say that I will never eat meat but right now it is not what my body needs and I will never have diary not sugar.

        Let us work together in getting people more conscious of their choices rather than blindly eating cornflakes because it says “all the goodness of…….” ont the box.

        thanks for both your comments.

  14. Ah now after reaching the end of the article did I finally understand what connection there could be between God, food, pharmacy and taxes. Great article!

  15. How strange that the Seventh-day Adventist Church uses Genesis 1:29 as justification for promoting a vegetarian diet. Have they not read Genesis 9:3 where the Deity clearly adds all animals to man’s permitted diet?

  16. Theological reflection + old testament biblical food laws = bizarre ideology. I have seen people make lettuce leaves a doctrine….Just as well for those who read/conside biblical text, Jesus declared all food clean! No more religious food laws apply under the new covenant. Jesus was pretty clear that all food becomes poo so don’t base your beliefs around it…but he also gives clear evidence of enjoying food and shared living, he was known to be a glutton because he didn’t keep the food laws.

    So ‘theological’ thinking around food is really up to the individual, not a set biblical doctrine. Although I would note that the book of Daniel has good info regarding benefits of fasting and a simple predominantly vegan diet for cleansing. Re:the Daniel diet.

    As for big business, tax and missional beliefs…..there are a whole bunch of aussie para religious mufti faith organisations guising as ‘wholesome’….thank God they don’t represent me…
    And if you believe in justice then hiding behind cosy not for profit laws won’t save anyone. Sad really.

    I was raised a conservative, servant helper christian, but after a lifetime of emotional self neglect and servanthood/service to others I am learning a new way….and that includes good nutrition and being mindful of its source, as well as setting emotional boundaries, including prioritising rest and pleasure.

    Paleo/primal/clean food eating has been a great inspiration and information and I know/feel the benefits in my body. The best thing for me is that finally I feel like I am for the first time in my life honouring [God] in me…respecting my body as a ‘spirit temple’ (and that doesn’t mean skinny jeans) and when I offer that mindful presence to another human being that’s when the God i have my core beliefs in mostly shows up…and it is usually without words.

    Thanks for your blog, hope you don’t place all spiritual searching people in the same religious bucket…having said that I have found wisdom and authenticity in the most unlikely places inside and outside the ‘church’ and grateful for it all.

    Sharing your truth is powerful.

    Good luck with all your endeavours!

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