Renewable Farming

It will take more than “going organic” to reverse America’s soaring chronic disease rates

“The standard American diet is the most disease-causing diet in the world. If you bring people from other cultures to the U.S., they will have the same chronic diseases as Americans.”

Dec. 1, 2016  By Jerry Carlson — That statement was just one of the challenges which Dr. Arden Andersen presented to a packed lecture hall during his keynote presentation at the ACRES conference in Omaha.
Another controversial observation was that shifting from ordinary supermarket or fast-food fare to organic won’t heal your health profile either — if you continue to get most of your nutrients from animal products — meat, milk and eggs — rather than fresh fruits and vegetables. The healthy way to extend your life and well-being, reasons Arden, is to get 80% of your energy from plant sources. Especially fresh, whole, unprocessed veggies and fruit.
You could almost see the audience wince at that assertion. Arden bases his views on years as an ag consultant, plus his M.D. credentials, plus a post-doctorate in public health, and five years in medical practice in the Kansas City metro area. He heals primarily with nutrition, exercise and other holistic therapies.
Here are semi-edited notes summarizing Arden’s main points. They are not his exact words except when quoted verbatim. But these “Cliff Notes” convey the points he made.  

Inflammation is the foundation of disease. Only 5% of disease symptoms can be attributed to genetics. Diet determines genetic expression. And diet determines inflammation as it reacts with each individual’s unique body biochemistry. We can redirect that biochemistry with adequate nutrition. Simply going organic but not providing the amino acids, minerals and other essentials will not help.

The typical physician thinks of only fats, proteins and carbohydrates, if he or she thinks of nutrition at all. Thus, nutrient deficiencies mostly escape the notice of doctors, and allow the patient to accumulate underlying vulnerability to disease.

For healing, we need to go to therapeutic levels of nutrition, at the appropriate ratios and with quality foods.


Dr. Arden Andersen

“My wife and I eat only organic foods 90% of the time. My wife is an absolutely strict vegetarian. A year ago we tested our urine for pesticides. She had more glyphosate and organophosphites than I did. Her personal biochemistry does not detoxify as well as mine.”

Some people are more inflammation prone because of their biochemistry; they must compensate by upgrading nutrition.

That’s evidence of how our individual physiology varies. What impacts you may not impact another family member as much. But in general, everyone depends heavily on our detoxification systems, and the most important organ for that is the liver. The more toxins your food brings in, the more oxygen it takes to rid the body of those toxins. The liver has to work harder and harder. Our society in general has some of the highest chronic disease rates in the world.

So why are organic foods not totally pesticide-free? Consider that many of the organic farms of today were not organic a few years ago. So — many old pesticides in the soil are still being taken up in the organic crops. Also, rainwater is loaded with herbicides. And the aquifers are laced with chemicals.  In a government study in 2014, 20% of pesticide detections were organophosphites.

In general, organics often have 20% of the levels of pesticides that conventional crops do. So they are not totally pesticide-free.  

The U.S. food industry cloaks its sales pitch in “science,” but under the cloak it’s heavily politics. There’s resistance to blaming disease rates on any food group such as wheat or eggs.  

The No. 1 chronic disease in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease. Cancer is catching up, and within two years, will exceed heart disease. All of these trace directly to the American diet and lifestyle.   

Despite the facts of disease trends, people don’t want to change their diets. And farmers don’t want to change their farming practices, which generates the American diet.

Commodity associations propel and protect the standard American diet. The original “Food Pyramid” that USDA originally recommended in the 1970s was fairly healthy, but it came under attack by the ag associations, and the nutritionists complied with the commodity producers. The only connection of the official Food Pyramid to health was the financial health of the various ag industries. Meat, milk, eggs, sugar… a “Farm Breakfast.”

If you have a child with a chronic ear inflammation, will you, or the physician, modify their diet? No, the child just gets drugs and ear tubes.

Heart disease is a consequence of inflammation which causes plaque deposition in the blood vessels. Cardovascular disease can be reduced in three to six months. Patients say to me, I don’t want to do that, I won’t change what I eat, so what is plan B? What supplement can I take?

Men are good at pretending they are not ill. Men lie to me; it’s better when they come in with their wives. Then I can get some truth out of them.

I tell them, you have to forget all your dietary legacies. We must instead develop and maintain a belief system that “my diet is me.” If you lack motivation, visit a nursing home and see the invalids who have been suffering for years. You don’t need to die of a disease.

What to do:  Reduce meat and all animal products. Concentrate on a plant based diet. You need only about four ounces of protein foods a day. The key mechanism of disease is oxidation of fats. Eliminate cooked fats totally. I’m not totally anti-fat, I’m anti cooked fat and animal based fat.

I speak from long experience. I grew up on a dairy farm, and had chronic bronchitis and ear infections because I drank so much milk and yogurt and cheese and ice cream.

Dairy, eggs and wheat are currently the three most common sensitivities which cause inflammation response. Of people with inflammation symptoms, 80% react to dairy. is a site where you can learn about susceptibility for a given biochemical pathway.

In the American diet, the average person gets only 206 calories per day from fruit and vegetables in normal US diet. Less than dairy. Fruit and vegetables should be 80% of of your energy, your calories. If you eat this way, you will get better, regardless of what your disease is.

Citizens of Okinawa have 80% of their diet as fruit and vegetables. Their disease rates are a fraction of U.S. rates.    

“Societies with plant-based diets live the longest — all around the world.”


Dr. Andersen’s controversial statements about American reluctance to change dietary directions, even on urging by a physician, sound similar to the frustrations of another nutrition-minded medical doctor who’s now world-famous: Dr. Max Gerson.

Dr. Gerson was a highly skilled neurosurgeon who began medical practice in Germany in the 1920s. Troubled by migraines, he found that shifting to a plant-based diet virtually eliminated his pain. Over subsequent years, he refined the “Gerson Therapy” and found that nutrition and detoxification healed cancer.  

But physicians fought Gerson furiously. And his patients often struggled to comply with a zero-salt, totally vegan diet.  Changing what we eat, noted Gerson, occurs only when a patient faces his or her own mortality.