A conversation with Zuzanna Zielińska, founder of HarvestCare, about women’s hormonal health, the PCOS syndrome, and the connection between regenerative agriculture and healthcare. She is one of the co-founders of the Coalition of Health Professionals for Regenerative Agriculture.
- HarvestCare is looking for a commercial co-founder passionate about linking the healthcare, food, and agricultural world: https://www.harvestcare.eu/co-founder
- The Coalition of Health Professionals for Regenerative Agriculture is an organisation that educates health professionals about the health benefits of regenerative organic agriculture, collects scientific articles about farming practices and nutrient density and connects relevant stakeholders that research nutrient density https://www.regenerativehealthcoalition.com/
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION ON:
This episode is part of the Nutrient Density in Food series!
This series is supported by the A Team Foundation, who support food and land projects that are ecologically, economically and socially conscious. They contribute to the wider movement that envisions a future where real food is produced by enlightened agriculture and access to it is equal. The A Team are looking to make more investments and grants in the space of bionutrients. You can find out more on ateamfoundation.org.
Healthy soils lead to healthy produce, which leads to healthy gut systems that lead to healthy people. How can we build scalable companies and reach the people who are currently not reached? Zuzanna decided to focus on women’s hormonal health and specifically on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder for women of reproductive age. Why? Because all the toxicity in our current food system messes with our hormones, something that can be revert by changing our lifestyle and diets.
86% of deaths in Europe are food or diet related
Our current problem is nutrition insecurity. People often have access to calories but they’re missing essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds that are only present in whole foods, which should be harvested and consumed in a short time to keep the highest nutrient density and which are expensive and inaccessible for the majority of the population. Behind this problem, there’s not only human suffering, but it also affects our economies.
‘Most of the people right now in western Europe are dying from diabetes to cancer, strokes, heart diseases. Those diseases are taking 86% of all of the deaths in Europe. […] They also create a huge loss of human power and capital because of these disabilities and I think, at least for me, we really need people healthy and ready because we have real environmental challenges to fix and we need people on the point with their health’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
Half of the fruits and vegetables in Europe have pesticide residue
The problem is not only with what is missing in the food we consume, but also what is present. An annual report published by European Food Safety Authority in 2020, shows that at least half of the frozen vegetables in Europe contain pesticide residue and at least a third of this half contains a cocktail of up to 15 different residues.
‘We have no idea what is happening in our bodies once so many chemicals that should not be there are running through our bloodstream’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
The endocrine system is threatened by all the toxicity
Everyone of us is governed by our biology, that is our endocrine system. We’re being exposed to so much toxicity that our hormones are getting confused and sending wrong signals through our bodies.
‘They govern so much, they govern our mental health, our reproductive health, our metabolism, our energy level, or microbiota, basically, whenever you think of us being performing, endocrine has an influence.’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
‘The endocrine system is specifically threatened by all of the pesticide residues because, in those pesticides residues, there’s something called endocrine disrupting chemicals. And those are chemicals which mimic or disrupt our hormones in our bodies and they send confusing messages, and cause all kinds of distractions.’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
‘What I’m really fascinated about is that endocrine disruption and climate change have a common origin, which is the fossil fuel consumption and production, because many of the pesticides include all kinds of chemicals such as ethylene, methane, etc., which we have access through the petroleum.’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
What is PCOS syndrome
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is the most prevalent endocrine disease among women, up to 20% of women are suffering from it. There’s a lot of research and examples on how you can manage this disease with a focus on your lifestyle, which includes a healthy diet, physical activity, and stress management. Women are managing to heal themselves by focusing on these aspects.
‘The way it happens is basically your follicle cell cannot mature. So instead of being released from your ovaries, it’s transformed into cysts. And then with time, you accumulate more and more cysts, and they hugely impact your hormone cycle.’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
‘You just have to transform your life. And I think that one of the challenges of using food as medicine is that we are so used to being very passive when it comes to our health. Our health and body literacy and also food literacy rates are extremely low. And here we are talking about transforming your lifestyle.’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
Insurance companies are ideal partners
It is really important to look at how we can serve those who are not currently being served. There are strong economical proofs and reasons that show that prevention is cheaper than intervention.
‘Something that is crucially important for me, and this is long term, is to also see how can I work with insurance companies, because I can so easily see how regeneration and nutrient density can be easily used as another luxury product. Imagine that I test your microbiota, and then I say okay, and now I will design a perfect nutrient density diet for you to diversify your microbes.’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
‘And then once hopefully, we’ll manage to prove that the harvester is helping people, is helping farmers, then we’ll have enough of evidence to go to insurance companies and say, hey, look, this will save your money and save people lives and will transform people lives. So, please help people to access foods, which should be basic human rights for those who cannot do it right now.’ – Zuzanna Zielińska
OTHER POINTS DISCUSSED
Koen and Zuzanna also talked about:
- Harvest Care and meditative food
- Agriculture and health care connection
- Food as medicine
- Coalition of Health Professionals for Regenerative Agriculture
- Connected Grounds Denmark Coffee
- CHEMICAL TOXICITY AND THE BABY BUST – Jeremy Grantham paper
- To which we belong documentary
- Polycystic ovary syndrome – PCOS
- Cathryn Couch served 1m medically tailored meals to low income people with health challenges
- Bart van der Zande on building the world’s first regenerative startup studio
- Anne Biklé and David R Montgomery – After studying more than 1000 papers the definitive answer, we are what our food ate
Feedback, comments, suggestions? Reach me via Twitter @KoenvanSeijen, in the comments below or through Get in Touch on this website.
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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.