Keto as a Social Justice Issue


I am curious how the national efforts you mentioned would create a window into the marginalized communities?

(Bunny) #22

Coveinience, Availability & Accessibility!


Lawmakers will not sanction any public funding unless you have hard empirical cross validated science to support a not so popular issue (lobbyists for the sugar cane industry et al. will be fighting us tooth & nail), however on the favorable side federal grants (e.g. 501(x) where most not-for-profit orgs get most of their financial support) would not be hard to get either!

One proposal that would really spark interest in lawmakers is to demonstrate through research how much the state & federal government would save in fiscal health care costs? money talks…

(Richard Hanson) #23

This entire subject makes me a bit sick to my stomach.

Marginalized communities?

I don’t categorize people into communities, I try very hard to look at each person as an individuals, as unique, one dignified human at a time. I certainly don’t think that people, in general, or as individuals, are so stupid that I need to tell them, either directly or collectively through some national institution, what to eat or not to eat. This is exactly what Ansel Keys accomplished.

The lesson to be learned is not that we need different government guidelines promulgated by a different public health institution, but rather that we need no government guidelines, no one group, however well intentioned, dictating to the public what they should learn, how they should think about nutrition, and most certainly not what people should eat.

What if we are just as stupid as was Ansel Keys, just as arrogant, self-righteous, self-aggrandizing?

Is not the Center for Science in the Public Interest just such a national organization and how many of us are eating what they tell us to eat? This is an aggressive vegan agenda driven organization that arose from a grassroots dietary community which continually seeks to influence government policy, public health policy.

I am such an ignorant man that I struggle every day to try and figure out what I alone should eat in an environment where a great many shrill voices are quite certain that they already know exactly what I need to eat. How is it that I should ever tell anyone else what to eat? I can explain to people the choices I make, when they ask, but I am no Ansel Keys to ever dictate what another human should put in his or her mouth.

Mort Respectfully,

(Bunny) #24

Saving people’s lives, quality of life and epidemiological dangers to public health is a far cry from “dictating what they should eat…” (paraphrased). This would be about education and the exchange of meaningful scientific information not some kind of chilling effect on freedom of speech or creating some kind of government sanctioned dictatorship on nutrition!

(Richard Hanson) #25

Thank you so much for posting this. This is exactly the same type of logic used by people like Ansel Keys and groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, to justify their actions on behalf of the American people.

The My Plate program is about education, helping people, saving their lives.

(Bunny) #26

Your Welcome!


I think it’s pivotal and primary to acknowledge one’s own privilege/class (group) membership and overcome any entitlement as a daily practice first, and then from there look at food justice issues and one’s potential service for marginalized, traumatized, and/or underprivileged peoples. And listen to and nourish the visionaries and community leaders in those very same communities. They are there. Fund them, volunteer with them.

As far as white people go (I’m one) I think that being aware of the cultural genocide that industrial foods really represent is critical for developing the empathy necessary to really nourish community leaders and appropriate outreach through those leaders to support education on “traditional foods” (which can also simply mean LCHF/keto macros and IF). The traditional food ways of diverse Native peoples (involving lots of hunting and gathering) and trafficked Africans in the deep south (involving some traditional cookery and making low cost nourishing dishes with “throwaway” meat joints/pigs feet/oxtails/fishheads) reveal many nourishing food legacies that are land-based. There are some local foods initiatives in marginalized communities/reservations that involve reclaiming these traditions as not only physically healthy, but also as a source of meaning and spirit.

Another thing that’s going on to address farm-to-table local connections is the fact that veganism is a trend among some, for different reasons - and for some it may be a stepping stone towards more truly healthy food ways. There are African American vegan local food subcultures and businesses that may be providing positive vibes to detox from years of heavily processed foods and a sense of anti-corporate “clean” raw foods that are of emotional value in ways that nourish them for a time in a context of daily oppression. And Gabriel Cousens MD, a vegan “conscious foods” guy, has done scientific studies of reversing diabetes in Native Americans in just two weeks of vegan raw foods in residential programs at his center in Patagonia, Arizona (sadly it’s of course utterly unsustainable for most people once they return to their environment - and disastrous for longer term health in terms of sarcopenia and auto immune issues).

So, LCHF/keto-oriented community education must come from within communities themselves - with support from the more privileged and from state & federal grants (that’ll be the day, but nice to imagine it).

This is the stuff of public health networking (with home health caregivers, physicians, midwives, teachers, school principals, at-risk parenting programs, etc), through non-profit foundations that can offer free trainings through those networks. It would certainly be nice if new standards of healthy eating were to be delivered via public schools and such - but even Michelle Obama (FLOTUS forever in my heart) had her wonderful work in getting local produce into schools and anti-obesity strategies limited or blatantly silenced by partisan politics.

I really think Ron Finley’s “Gansta Garden” and community center in L.A. is a total inspiration - a recent crowdfund to purchase it from owners who were aiming to sell it to developers to be destroyed saved it - and helped launch an additional garden location!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have full spectrum informed choice resources/agendas so that local & traditional food ways can be embraced - and local & traditional elders in those food ways can be honored as mentors - and basic common ground for individuals in communities can be strengthened across differences - so that people can access LCHF/keto resources? I think the LCHF/keto approach gets understood better when it’s called an “Anti-Diabetes Way of Life” or a “Traditional Foods for Health” sort of thing.

The beautifully written book “The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainabilty” by Lierre Keith addresses the moral, emotional, political, health, and spiritual dimensions of food and food purity myths. I think in addressing food miseducation and the corporatization of the food supply and cultural genocide, we have to look at these different dimensions and respect the fact that people have very different ideas on things. Food can be many things to many people - and many people are disconnected from the land itself. Many children have never been to a farmer’s market or harvested their own food, etc. If you ask many a city child (marginalized as well as more privileged ones) where their milk comes from they’ll say the store, alas.

I love what Virta Health is up to - and its my prayer that after a few more published studies based on their cases that there will be some way to have their services connected to public health and medicaid/medicare. For now, they are totally independent and the program costs $400 month.

(Richard Hanson) #28


Respectfully, I decline to segregate people into groups, including myself, nor to even think about people as privileged/underprivileged, by class, by entitlement or as marginalized, as members of groups based on race, gender, religion, politics, history or convention instead of as unique, precious individuals. Nor will I support people who practice or advocate for segregating people into groups instead of treating them as individuals.

I try very hard not to let such prejudices bias my understanding of reality.

What I think is pivotal and primary is to continually strive to overcoming the basic human instinct to categorize people by their associations. It is convenient to lump people into groups and it is easy for a great many people to hate groups of people when it is much more difficult to hate one person, an individual, standing before you.

I can not help a group of people, I can only help people, one at a time, one individual at a time with love, generosity, caring and respect. If I segregate myself from others by either placing myself, or allowing other to place me, into one group when someone else is assigned to a different group, then that basic human connection between two individuals become much more tenuous.

Warmest Regards,


That’s fine - you’re quite free to do so and I’m quite happy to agree to disagree.

I don’t find individualist or postmodern ideologies very useful - as I view the entire world of species as a world family - with an unfortunate amount of actively perpetrated abuse via colonization, male violence, and resource extraction of both humans and the land.

Access to LCHF/keto ways of life, real food, and full human development has social and political contexts whether one acknowledges or not. Structured oppression is a “thing”. And hierarchies of structured oppression are inherent to patriarchal civilization. However, patriarchal civilization and its elite classes/castes - is NOT the only way of living. In fact, 90% of human history was egalitarian gatherer-hunter aboriginal (according to a meta-analysis of all anthropology studies - by Elizabeth Pennisi published in the journal Science, Volume 344, Issue 6186, pp. 824-825 (2014). Class-based analysis as well as social demographics and epidemiology can be useful tools that assist humanitariansim (a social-oriented society common to the Nordic countries than to the U.S.) in multiple areas of public health and anti-discrimination work.

Something great about LCHF/keto is its restorative effects on the brain, thinking processes, addiction recovery, and physical health. I think there is a point where healthy individuals naturally want to help others, and healthy human communities are comprised of the individuals in them - because we’re all in this together. I see this quite beautifully in the work of entrepreneur and Trulia cofounder Sami Inkinen, who became both a billionaire and a world champ triathlete. As he healed his pre-diabetes with LCHF/keto and working with Dr. Stephen Phinney - he dreamed up a new venture to take that help to the greater community by founding Virta Health - and making it possible to have case studies that allow for new research that impacts public health funding and legislation.

So the food access issue related to marginalized groups actually already affects everyone in terms of the world family - whether one acknowledges the interconnectedness of life or not. And taking action to overcome any social privilege and dismantle any entitlement due to the way one is treated by authorities and instituions (white males generally don’t get automatically profiled or shot by police, for example) is a daily basic protocol, undeserving of merit. To me, it’s just about being a decent human being in an insane culture. Or, as my fave NYC cabby would see “being a decent fkng person.”


@ssablich Saw this today, and found it relevant in the American context:

"“My family does not celebrate Thanksgiving, as we do not celebrate our colonizers’ holidays. I live in the one of the poorest places in the country, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which is a three hours’ drive away from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. My family does not have enough money to have a feast for Thanksgiving, and neither do most families on reservations. Thanksgiving is not a holiday to us — it is a day of mourning.”

(Richard Hanson) #31

Hi Mary,

I am not at all happy to agree to disagree. That serves no purpose and no one learns anything when people are unwilling to even make an attempt to understand a different perspective.

Please, let me congratulate you are writing one of the most packed posts I have ever read containing dump-trucks full of innuendo and numerous pregnant memes.

It is almost always individuals that effect change, leaders, movers, those that think independently and reject the expectation to conform to the normative behaviors of a society, people taking personal responsibility to make a positive impact on our social condition… I do however, reject the postmodernistic, multiplicative view of epistemology where multiple incompatible “truths” are accepted simultaneously and the idea of an objective, rational, logical reality is rejected.

As a pacifist, I abhor violence but I am not a sexists so I my disgust is not limited to just male violence. It is the violence I abhor, not the gender of the person who is violent.

I have no problem at all with resource extraction. All species require resources, even plants, to grow and reproduce, to prosper. As a pacifist, I find slavery, the forced utilization of people as a resource, a moral evil. I do not, however, have a problem at all with people choosing to work cooperatively.

Many species exhibit colonizing behaviors, such as social insects, and it serves an evolutionary purpose. When people segregate themselves into groups, it is not all all surprising that such groups exhibit these same basic social behaviors. Nor are colonizing behaviors limited only to modern peoples which is why our species has spread across most of the world long before the event of western civilization. Each social group, without regard to species, is attempting to access resources to sustain the growth and perpetuate the population of that group. This often gives rise to violence and I have already expressed my views on that topic.

I don’t know of anyone who is denied access to a LCHF or ketogenic diet. Access is not the issue, the problem is a lack of knowledge. What is a “real” food is rather subjective, and I do not have a postmodernistic view of science. Similarly, what exactly is “full” human development? Can you provide objective examples of individuals that are fully human and others who are not. What is the objective test to measure the level of an individuals full human development?

As humans are a social species, yes, all human behavior has a social and political context. Moreover, structured oppression does in fact exist as people segregate into groups and then those groups have conflicts, one with the other. This is one of the easily predicted consequences of rejecting individualism. Such behaviors are part of all social systems and are not limited patriarchal structures, or even to humans. I strive continually not to have such a sexist view of social structures but that arises from looking at people as individuals, each unique and precious without regard to gender, rather then as members of groups based on rather subjective criteria.

If people are not segregated into groups, that is if we look at people as individuals and not as members of a group, then that will be an end to patriarchal civilization, matriarchal civilization, classes, casts, racism, sexism, … lot’s of isms.

It is rather simplistic to think that aboriginal peoples where not also hierarchical or that they where egalitarian if we but give to that term the normal syntactic value, that is if egalitarianism means equal rights and opportunities. In a political state, it is possible to have a uniformity of individual right, but an equality of opportunity is not achievable for the simple objective reality that individuals in any population experience a diversity of circumstances.

If, by egalitarian, we intend equal outcomes, then the only time this is ever close to true is when all members of a group are equally poor and miserable. This can be true for primitive peoples where the accumulation of property is very limited, but I don’t view this type of egalitarianism as a positive social outcome and in a modern society it is a consequence of power structure that creates widespread systemic oppression. It is an Orwellian model of civil society where everyone is equal, yet some are always more equal then others.

The most direct way to make progress on “anti-discrimination” work is simply to choose not to discriminate. Don’t look at people as members of groups, instead value people as individuals.

Class-based analysis perpetuates a social view where people are segregated into classes and is obviously not compatible with the ideal of working toward a society that has expunged discrimination. Class-based analysis is, by definition, discriminatory. This is not a difficult concept to grasp.

Humanitarianism, human welfare, the benevolent treatment of other humans, is one of my core values which is one of the primary reasons I view people as individuals instead of as members of groups. What purpose is there in life if we do not to treat each other with respect, kindness, charity, and love?

Some of my ancestors where from Sweden, not that that fact is of any importance, but it might matter to you.

I agree with all of this except for the bits at the very end. The primary lesson to be learned from our experience with Ansel Keys and the government imposition of dietary guidelines is how much damage an overreaching government can do to the public health. It is not the science that governed, it was the agenda of a few zealots with political influence. I think it stupid to replicate this mistake, to utilize the violence of government to impose our views on others.

Instead, I think most people are at least someone intelligent and if given just a bit of help are fully capable of improving their own health even in the absence of government coercion.

In contrast to the previous paragraph, I find almost nothing in this statement to which I can agree. This is just one long compilations of memes without any solutions, indicative of an irrational angst against a self constructed. self deceptive, view of society.

As an example, if the police do not automatically shoot white males, who is it that they do automatically shoot? White females? The objective reality is that the vast majority of individuals are never shot by anyone, much less automatically shot by the police. If your view of society does not comport with objective reality, how are you to have any hope at all of having a positive impact on our society?

Keto for Life!

Most Respectfully,
Richard (just a person, not a white, not a man, just an individual human person)

I felt compelled to respond to this post but I also understand that both the post and my response has little content with respect to keto. This will be the end of my public participation in this topic.

(Stephanie Sablich) #32

Well, this has been interesting to watch.

I must say that I’m not even a little bit willing to discuss this subject with anyone who thinks that their positionalities of privilege do not affect the way they and the people around them move through the world. We are NOT simply individuals, especially from my perspective here in the United States. Our long history of systemic oppression has long-term consequences on the health outcomes of- yes- marginalized communities of people.

Nor am I willing to entertain arguments about personal responsibility and choice. I don’t have the mental or emotional energy to do any of this right now.

Research may be lacking, but I can tell you that I lived in a food desert for many years. I was privileged enough to have a car; I could shop away from my neighborhood, but most of my community members could not. The closest non-convenience grocery store was over 2.5 miles away. That’s not an easy trek for some people. And having gone through seasons of life where I relied on things like ramen noodles, peanut butter toast, and box-style mac and cheese for food… there are parts of our society where it really is incredibly difficult to eat a healthy meal and pay rent at the same time. And I was relatively lucky, compared to so many former students and clients.

Someone in this thread mentioned leadership within such communities needing to be championed- I could not agree more. I’m just seeking to use my privilege to support such efforts. I’m about done with the “Great White Knight” narrative as well. The world has had enough of that.

I hope all of you had a lovely holiday, if you celebrate.


Do you have evidence for this? We are 8 thousand millions, most of which hardly ever taste beef or pork. The current meat production at a global level (100 g/day/person ~ 25-30 g protein) seems to be fine, but most of it doesn’t use much land. And we are already using too much land for sustainability…

In any case, you don’t need (much) meat to follow a keto diet.

(Marie Dantoni) #34

I live in the country. There are quite a few farmers here that provide meat and poultry without the methods used by factory farms. It costs more but is less damaging to the environment and doesn’t subject the animals to the horrors of feed lots. The cost makes it such that I don’t eat it every day.

You have asked me for proof. I don’t think there is any.

November 24

Grass fed is viable and sustainable.

Do you have evidence for this? We are 8 thousand millions, most of which hardly ever taste beef or pork. The current meat production at a global level (100 g/day/person ~ 25-30 g protein) seems to be fine, but most of it doesn’t use much land. And we are already using too much land for sustainability…

In any case, you don’t need (much) meat to follow a keto diet.

(Old Baconian) #35

@FatMan Richard, I have to side with @SlowBurnMary and @ssablich on this one. As a devout Episcopalian, I can tell you that the notion of “systemic” or “corporate” evil is one with a long pedigree in Christian theology. It seems to have gone out of fashion lately in some American Christian denominations, but I assure you that there are many of us still wrestling, however inadequately, with the concept (the Episcopal Church, after nearly 220 years, has finally started to come to terms with its role in promoting and enabling the institution of chattel slavery, to give just one example). Our institutions and our society as a whole share our human imperfections and are just as liable to evil behavior at the institutional level as we are as individuals. And it is ludicrous to argue that this systemic evil has not been directed against whole communities, or that it should not be combated at the community level as well as one on one.