In Episode 20 of the Healthy Matters Podcast, we talk about something that’s of interest to everyone on the planet: food.  We take look at the relationship between food and health in ways that maybe you haven’t thought about before. Dr. Kate Shafto, an internal medicine physician, joins me for this delicious discussion.

“Food has become really complicated in our world,” she explains. “Today, we have a global economy – a global food system. There are a lot of layers to that food system that we aren’t seeing day-to-day, and it’s made food become more complicated – and that’s impacting our health.”

The “layers” Dr. Shafto is referring to is how a hundred years ago, the points of access to our food weren’t as complex as they are now, and we had products that were sold or accessed very close to where they were made or produced. Our food wasn’t part of an industrialized food system. For example (and pardon the pun) these uncomplicated “layers” may have been a couple of hens you had in your backyard who produced eggs. Your milk, cheese and meat came from the farmer down the road, and you probably had your own vegetable and herb garden. In addition, someone in your family likely hunted for meat. Fresh, unprocessed food was available and uncomplicated – without the involvement of preservatives, pesticides, or transcontinental road trips.

Why does this matter for our health?  Dr. Shafto explains.

“Now, when food is harvested in Argentina and flown, shipped, and transported all the way to Minnesota, it has been picked at a point in its life when it wasn’t ready to be picked, or it was picked when it was ready to be picked but by the time it gets here, it is not in good shape and then it is wasted. And so that contributes to food waste because of all the transportation and production issues all over the world.”

Dr. Shafto also adds that it’s estimated that a third of the food produced in the world is wasted, which contributes to all kinds of disruptions to the environment that also impacts our health.

Our gut has an environment of its own that requires an amazing collection of microbes that play a major role in our overall health. This of course led us to the natural conversation of poop, bacteria, and the diversity of what we eat to keep everything in balance.

“In addition, if the good bacteria and microbes are exposed to pesticides and other toxins or plastic residue that end up in our food, then it kills off these good bacteria and the pathogenic or harmful bacteria can start to take over,” she said.

Are you having a gut feeling that there might be a strong connection between your food and mental health? If so, you should pour yourself a refreshing glass of clean water, relax, and take a listen to Episode 20 of The Healthy Matters Podcast. You’ll hear how you can develop a satisfying, healthy new relationship with your food that will have benefits to last a lifetime.