Robyn O’Brien “The Unhealthy Truth” About the Food Industry
Robyn O’Brien (robynobrien.com), mother of four and author of the bestselling book The Unhealthy Truth, is a former financial and food industry analyst who has helped lead a food awakening among consumers, corporations and politicians. With the mind of a financial analyst and the heart of a mother, she sheds light on how the changing landscape of food and health are impacting our families and our economy.
We invited Robyn to speak at our recent Sales Conference, and she did—with insight, passion, clarity and discernment. Here are some takeaways from her riveting and motivational message.
Each year, we’re honored to have passionate like-minded leaders, professionals, catalysts and change agents bring their experience, wisdom and vision to our Sales Conference. This year, Robyn O’Brien was among our speakers, and here are some highlights of her captivating message. When Robyn introduces herself, she will often say she is an analyst, advocate and mother of four working to create change in the food industry—which she is. The way in which she approaches these, however, is truly a compelling, compassionate and cerebral class act.
Her children initially motivated her to pursue the work she does today. When her youngest child had a life-threatening allergic reaction, Robyn started learning about food allergies, but also found alarming stats on the health of America’s children—called Generation Rx due to the amounts of prescription drugs they take. She discovered that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American children under the age of 15, and that there are startling projections of insulin dependency as children reach adulthood.
“I don’t know if it was just my brain or if that data speaks to everyone the way it spoke to me, but I couldn’t unlearn that data. I couldn’t turn my back on it. All I could think was: this is the future of our country. And children may be less than 30 percent of the population right now, but they’re 100 percent of our country’s future. If we don’t address this now, who will? What does it look like 10 or 15 years from now as they become our adult population? What does our economy look like? What does our innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity look like? I realized I had to try to do everything I could to create change—and I couldn’t do it by myself. It was going take huge collaborations across industries and expertise. The gift that’s in this work is in that collaboration. It’s in the people that you meet, the synergies created and the opportunities in front of all of us today.”
So, 10 years ago, her mission started at home. Admittedly, she wasn’t sure even how to begin, though, because up to that point, she assumed that everything on the grocery shelves was safe. Now she knew otherwise—and decided that she needed to feed her children real food, not fake food. So, that’s what she did, overhauling their food one thing at a time. Since then, she’s taught her kids how to cook, discussing with them the importance of clean food and ingredients.
The philosophy she used at home also transferred to consumers, corporations and politicians. Again, the way she communicates her message is so compelling. She observes, “It’s not about fear mongering. It’s not about scaring people. It’s about saying that we’re smarter than this, and we can build a better food system.”
Robyn is keenly aware that we have a “very, very broken food system”—one that’s “structured financially in a way that doesn’t allow farmers to make the choices they may want to make and makes food companies somewhat beholden to shareholders and the cheapest ingredients. It has a lowest common denominator problem.”
When asked about her mission at large, Robyn responds, “I fundamentally believe that clean and safe food should be affordable and accessible to anybody who wants it. And right now it’s not, and I think that this food movement we’re now seeing in our country is truly one of the greatest civil rights movements of our time—the right to information about how our food is made, how it’s produced, how it’s grown and what’s applied to it. I think it’s a fundamental right we deserve as human beings when it comes to protecting the people we love.”
She also realizes that this will be a lifetime work for her, with each chapter of her life building on the other until people have been informed about and change has happened in our food supply.
And she’s already thought through what kind of legacy she wants to leave for her kids and, eventually, grandkids. She wants to be able to tell them the story of how we all worked together to change our food system for the better.
So, while her book unveils the unhealthy truth about our food industry, she is writing another story with her life and efforts— one that results in a day when she can share the healthy truth about our food industry.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.