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Vista Market farmers line up and lean in to the effort to promote good health via their real-food produce. Courtesy photo
Community CommentaryOpinion

Commentary: Advocating for meaningful health services and good nutrition for all

He has the passion of Che Guevara for making the changes needed to our health system and assuring access to a healthy diet; and the recognition of Bobby Seale regarding the need to provide those opportunities in a self-sufficient manner at the neighborhood level.  Trey Triplette, President of 3natural Bionutrition in North County knows what is needed throughout San Diego and in its Black, Brown and poor white comminutes in particular, and he’s not alone in that recognition and mission.

Just like Che Guevara, who as a young medical student traveled throughout South America and was radicalized by the poverty, hunger, and disease he witnessed, Triplette’s work has taken him from Oakland/San Francisco, to L.A. and San Diego and he has witnessed the limitations of the current American “sickness care” system provided by clinics and hospitals, often inconveniently located away from the neighborhoods where illnesses are most acute.

Rather than promote remedial care for illnesses after they occur, what is needed, says Triplette are systems designed to provide the levels of “wellness” and promotion of “continuing good health” which is what community residents actually need.  These are the services, educational programs and accesses to nutritious foods which will keep them healthy and productively on the job earning the livings that brings them and their families “true happiness.”

Trey Triplette, a Certified Performance Nutritionist and BioAnalytics expert, with 3natural Bionutrition knows it’s “The underlying medical issues” which are contributing to the current high mortality rates in the African American and Hispanic communities.   These are due to non-nutritious diets, the oversaturation of unhealthy “Fast Food” eating options, the systematic disinvestment in these communities, unawareness of pre-existing and potential nutrient deficiencies, ineffective treatment options (i.e. prescription medications), overexposure to toxins and chemicals, and at times lack of adequate healthcare in many of the places across the country where these populations currently live.

Trey’s goals have been to work with all communities, starting in elementary schools, to diagnose their nutritional and bioanalytical needs, increase their knowledge of good nutrition habits, the need for and benefits of herbal supplementation and effectively communicate both the immediate and long term value of sustainable nutrition practices. For him, that is the key element he can supply; helping people obtain basic good health.

Learning from History:  History tells us just how key having good overall health is in the recipe of ingredients needed to defeat the current and any future virus or other health-harming infestations.  103 years ago when the pandemic we now call “The Spanish Flu” gripped the world, infecting 1/3 of the then global population, the Black American community was among the least affected.   ‘As far as the “Flu” is concerned the whites have the whole big show to themselves,’ J. Franklin Johnson wrote to the Baltimore Afro-American in 1918.  It was just as well, he added, or ‘health talks to coloured people would have been printed by the wholesale in 72-point type in the daily papers.’

Today the impact of this virus is reversed.  The research question that the American Industrialized food, processed food and Fast Food “industries” do not want explored however is this: did the 1918 mostly poor black population “actually benefit” from the basic “greens and home grown foods” they ate?  Whereas today many live in “good food deserts” where the SAD (Standard American Diet) of Fast, Junk and Processed “food” predominates and the creation of “underlying health issues” due to the deplorable diets available to them abound.

The impact of the Standard American Diet (SAD) on the destruction of American’s health is as obvious as viewing the aftermath of a bombing raid, says Richard Eckfield, head of a group of health promoting Santas and an admirer of Triplette’s efforts. Today, 30% of Americans are obese, and 60% are overweight, and 88% are metabolically ill.

Teaming with farmers: As an expert in nutrition – Trey Triplette is finding kinship in the effort to focus on this “Eat Healthy = Be Healthy” connection in the efforts to change this demographic.  Among his allies are

Pharmacist now Farmer Moore with healthy veggies and poster explaining why at Vista Farmers Market. Courtesy photo

the growing groups of “revolutionary farmers” who increasingly are promoting the health and nutritional values, in addition to the great taste, which is available from their Real Food offerings made available at the local farmers markets.

With all the news reports about how the current Covid-19 virus has disproportionately harmed Brown, Black and Poor communities who have “underlying health conditions” like diabetes, heart, gastrointestinal and lung diseases and obesity it is easy for those in the healthy produce business to connect the dots, says Robert Moore.  Moore is a retired Pharmacist, now owner of Carmi Vista Family Farm, who sells his health-affirming produce at the Vista Farmers Market at the County Courthouse on Melrose Drive each Saturday.  Community members with those medical conditions become easy prey for this virus yielding high levels of hospitalizations, intensive care confinements and death, notes Moore.

The recognition that Hippocrates was correct 2450 years ago when he admonished “Let food be thy medicine” is growing, says Richard Eckfield, head of the Sustainable Santa Foundation whose organization is helping the Vista Market farmers advertise the health qualities of their fare.  Beyond their fresh, wonderful taste the public is coming to understand the medicinal value of “eating real food” instead of the health-harming Fast, Junk and Processed “food” which has come to predominate in so many convenience and grocery stores throughout America, says the health promoting Santa.  At holiday time he is in the market to encouraged kids to “be good to themselves” by eating healthy and has “garden bite” games available encouraging them to “Eat the Rainbow” of real fruits and vegetables leading to a lifetime of good health and the happiness which such a diet provides.

Our mission is to try to provide the Market’s patrons with the healthy produce which can become their prescription for overcoming many of these conditions says the Pharmacist now Farmer Moore.  His compatriots at the farmers markets seem to agree, and like Moore, post signs at their farm stalls detailing the nutrition and health benefits of the products they sell.

It’s been wonderful to see the support the farmers have put into this effort, says Mark Wall, Manager of the Saturday morning market at the Courthouse on Melrose Drive in Vista.  It is as if they have become “the teachers,” explaining to their customers the specifics of the vitamins and mineral contents, and abilities to heal ailments, correct deficiencies and promote vitality which their nutritious fresh products provide.

While the discussions regarding how lack of access to health care, family living arrangements in crowded multi-generational homes, and the nature of their front-line service type jobs have all contributed to the increase in exposures of many in the Brown and Black communities to this virus, both San Diego County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten and Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is now President Biden’s key adviser on this subject, agrees on the importance of access to good nutrition and a healthy diet in order to beat Covid and many other ailments impacted by nutrition.

Speaking on the NPR program Latino USA in February Dr. Fauci pointed out: “if anything comes out of this that is good it will be that we shined a bright light on this disparity in health which is related to social determinants of health.”   “It has nothing to do with race,” Fauci said. “It has only to do with the circumstance you find yourself in because you are a brown and black person in a poorer community that does not have access to health care, and that does not have easy access to a healthy diet.”

San Diego County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten in a communique responding to a report from the Sustainable Santa Foundation who is co-sponsoring the printing and installation of the informational posters at the farmers market stalls pointed out “You are absolutely correct, staying healthy through good nutrition is key to one’s overall health.”

Together the farmers, nutritionists like Triplette, and health promoting Santas intend to keep up their efforts to provide healthy real food as the alternative to the harmful SAD Fast, Junk and Processed “food” which has come to dominate so much of the Standard American Diet.  Let’s bring back the predominance of REAL Food in our diets and let’s make America Healthy Again, they all say.