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Dwayne Faber is a writer, speaker and dairy farmer. He and his family operate farms in Oregon. To...

I’m no nutrition expert, but I am in the food business.

It’s currently corn harvest season over here, and I’m contemplating the typical American farmer diet. It seems like the diet of most silage truck drivers is six hours of sleep, the finest offerings from the local gas station deep fryer, a couple Mountain Dews and a pack of lung darts to stave off the boredom. For a group of people who make their living selling food, we often don’t have the best diets, myself included.

As farmers and ranchers, we have a culture of needing a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs type of meal just like our ancestors. Meals that are heavy on bread, potatoes and pastas. The issue that arises is that our ancestors were working sun up to sun down without the use of tractors, gators, trucks with air conditioning and rolling office chairs. For most of us, the last time we did the 40-yard dash was when someone left the gate open or someone forgot to set the e-brake on the old tractor.

It has been interesting to look back and see how public perception and the powers that be have vilified various food groups. It used to be that eggs clogged your arteries and were to be avoided, butter had too much fat and the margarine substitute made from seed oil and industrial slime was healthier. Fat used to be the enemy, to the point where we created skim milk, which was probably OK because it led to this quote from Ron Swanson in "Parks and Recreation": “There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk. Which is water that’s lying about being milk.”


The powers that be have shifted, and now fat is back. Not the 40 body-mass-index fat is back, although there is something now in vogue called a “dad bod” of which your author most notably exemplifies. Fat is no longer the enemy, and this has been good for the dairy industry. We are seeing a resurgence in whole milk, cheese and butter. Not to be left out of the party, milk proteins are increasingly being adjusted and used in fluid milk and creating new ways to market milk.

There has certainly been a shift in sentiment toward foods that are single ingredients rather than an amalgamation of ingredients. The shifting sentiment also gives me hope that people will eventually realize their plant-based dino-nuggets, burgers and chicken are all the same processed soy shaped in different forms. While I’m certainly not going to be invited to be on the cover of GQ with a speedo, there are several things that have helped me. Eating lots of protein and fats, limiting carbs and eating non-starchy vegetables. As a point of order, we should note that nobody actually eats corn; they typically just rent it for about 12 hours.

There is some irony in the fact that as dairy farmers we have our cows' ration dialed in down to the micronutrients, and yet our lunch often consists of a tube of Oreo cookies and is washed down with high-fructose corn syrup and red 40 in our Mountain Dew Code Red. So, if I can inspire greatness in any way, we should all start being a little more conscientious of what we eat and maybe go for a jog on occasion, not just when the cows are out.