John Robbins: to eat his own
by Lorin Hallinan
Author of "Diet For a New America" to attend Health Classics
event, November 10th
lmost anyone concerned with healthful eating and how
food choices affect the planet is familiar with John Robbins. Robbins is
best known for his Pulitzer Prize-nominated international bestseller Diet
For a New America - How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness
and the Future of Life on Earth. This book has revolutionized the way the
world looks at food and how it's produced. Robbins also is the author of
the recently published book May All Be Fed. A much sought-after guest speaker,
he gives approximately 100 talks a year internationally.
Author John Robbins
Robbins has been a complete vegetarian for 28 years.
While he's adamant about his beliefs, he's the first to admit he's not really
on a soapbox. "I'm not saying other people should do that [become a
complete vegetarian]. That's what I feel is best for me," said Robbins.
"Sometimes authors and speakers on health issues hold the opinion that
what they're doing is a model, and they're asking other people to follow
them. I'm not. I'm asking them if it's possible for them to follow their
own bodily wisdom and their own inner guidance.
"What I do in my lectures and my books, rather
than present an ideal form of behavior, I'm saying, 'Here's the information.
Here's what we know.' I'm here to provide information to enable you to make
wiser choices in alignment with your values or your lifestyle," he
added. "I don't think for a moment that what's best for me is necessarily
best for you."
Robbins will be the featured speaker at the Chef's Healthy
Planet press reception and dinner, to be held in San Diego on November 10
as part of the Health Classic. Gourmet chefs will be signing the Chef's
Collaborative 2000 Charter (see article below). Robbins will speak about
the exciting charter and what it all means.
The Charter represents a quantum leap for gourmet chefs
who are joining together as a collective group to promote locally grown,
seasonally fresh and wholesome food. "The charter is an excellent idea,"
said Robbins. "A lot of chefs are recognizing that all tomatoes are
not created equal. The 'FlavrSavr' tomato is the ultimate statement of the
process by which tomatoes are grown, not for flavor and nutritional value,
but for shipping ability and cosmetic appeal.
"Chefs are waking up to these issues and saying
they want locally grown food, not food that's picked way before it's ripe,"
continued Robbins. "It's an environmental issue, too. Locally grown
food does not have to be transported a long distance. Everyone knows the
trucks on our road create a great deal of pollution. Switching to a locally
grown, healthier and tastier product is going to help the environment. It's
very interesting to me how these things come together."
Nutrition and health
"There are powerful forces at work in our world
today that affect all of us," noted Robbins. "The prevailing idea
of health is really just someone who isn't sick or rendered dysfunctional
by some disease process. That's a limited and negative definition of health.
That puts us in a reactive mode in terms of medicine. We wait for someone
to get sick, then we try to cure them."
According to Robbins, there's another possibility that
involves a positive model of health: one that optimizes nutrition to strengthen
all the body's systems. "We try to build up health and promote wellness
so that the individual is not susceptible to every germ that comes down
the pike," said Robbins. "It's a difficult approach, but it works
wonders. Unfortunately, our medical system is stuck in the negative. The
result is that a lot of people who are going around - even though they're
considered healthy - are asymptomatic. But that doesn't mean their quality
of life is really what it could or should be."
Robbins, who doesn't go to doctors, said his concept
of health insurance is to "eat very well, exercise regularly and handle
stress in a positive manner. It's also to contribute to the well being of
my fellow humans in a sustainable way." He is currently working on
a book about the medical establishment.
Robbins knows that his speeches are not going to win
popularity contests. "Battles come with the territory," he said.
"If we want to make a difference in this world, we have to give up
trying to get people to like us. If I'm giving a speech to 500 people and
at least five or six people don't walk out, I think maybe I'm not speaking
the truth. This is not about being liked. It's about creating a caring world."
Robbins lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife,
Deo. The only son of the founder of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire,
John walked away from a life of immense wealth to "... pursue the deeper
American dream... the dream of a society at peace with its conscience because
it respects and lives in harmony with all life forms."
As president of the non-profit Earthsave Foundation,
Robbins provides education and leadership for transition to more healthful
and environmentally sound food choices, non-polluting energy supplies and
a wiser use of natural resources.
If you would like to hear John Robbins speak in person,
attend the Chef's Healthy Planet event on November 10. Call (619) 272-7370
for more info or to make a reservation.
Lorin Hallinan is a freelance author and former Editor for the Coast
Dispatch and Carlsbad Journal community newspapers. A 13-year San Diego
resident, she lives in Carlsbad.