Ocean Robbins is co-founder and CEO of the 350,000+ member Food Revolution Network, adjunct professor in Chapman University’s Peace Studies Department, and co-author with his dad, bestselling author John Robbins, of Voices of the Food Revolution: You Can Heal Your Body and Your World with Food! and the new book 31-Day Food Revolution: Heal Your Body, Feel Great And Transform Your World. He launched Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!) at age 16 and directed the organization for 20 years. Ocean has spoken in person to more than 200,000 people and facilitated hundreds of gatherings for leaders from 65+ nations.
Ocean has served as a board member for Friends of the Earth, EarthSave International, and many other organizations. He is a founding member of The Turning Tide Coalition, co-founder of the Leveraging Privilege for Social Change program, and founding co-convener of Leverage Alliance. Utne Reader recognized him as one of 30 “Young Visionaries” under 30, and both Time and Audubon magazines chose him as being among the heroes of the new millennium. He is the grandson of the great ice cream man Baskin Robbins and the son of 2 million copy best-selling author and health leader John Robbins (who walked away from his father’s Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire to become a spokesperson for health and social concerns).
- Who is Ocean Robbins?
Ocean was born in a log cabin to a couple of parents who were practicing yoga for several hours a day at the time, hence the name Ocean. He started from an early age learning about food and the source of what we eat.
His father decided to pursue a different form of success and walked away from the Baskin-Robbins empire. Ocean believes that we have made money more important than health or the Earth, but money is a tool that you can use to grow your service and your impact.
The fact that Ocean’s father walked away from the ice cream fortune shows that he had integrity and was focused on something more than just making money. Once a business gets to that level, it’s almost entirely about making money and it’s very hard to bring in values like integrity that late in the game.
- Why food?
Everybody eats, every issue is impacted by our food system. The United States is spreading food systems around the world and as that happens the associated diseases and problems are spreading as well.
Food systems are a point of leverage that can change the world.
Most people are trying to fuel their lives on a diet that is fundamentally flawed. 19% of the United States GDP is going to healthcare spending basically dedicated to symptom management related to nutrition and lifestyle.
People become very attached to their food and what’s familiar. Ocean doesn’t want to take anything away from people, he wants them to be able to thrive. The junk food industry has done a great job of marketing and convincing people that it makes us happy, but there isn’t much pleasure in treating disorders.
The standard American diet leads to standard American diseases.
Many people don’t make lifestyle changes until they face a diagnosis, and at that point ,it may already be too late. We know where the status quo leads. You can see dramatic results in as little as 31 days.
- Entrepreneurs and the Food Revolution
At the end of the day, what determines your health outcomes is not what you do at your peak levels of creativity. It’s determined by your habits.
All your habits start as streams and eventually become rivers. The key to will power is to dig some trenches and helping the water go where you want it to go. Fill your fridge with healthy food, get rid of the worst offenders and prepare meals ahead of time so when you’re tired and exhausted your path of least resistance is a healthy one.
Food 1.0 was about survival and that’s where we’ve been through most of our history. Food 2.0 is about commerce and comes with a variety of experiences but is essentially value neutral and has brought us food that’s killing us. Food 3.0 is where the central organizing principle is health and there are plenty of profits to go around in this paradigm.
The health food industry has basically catered to the elite, relatively privileged consumer which has left the other major food producers to cater to the masses. It’s not that expensive to eat things like cabbage, carrots, and kale. The average American is consuming 600 calories a day that they don’t need. The first place to start is to stop eating food that you don’t need.
You have to learn how to change your taste buds so that you can enjoy healthy foods and how to prepare them so that you can enjoy them.
There is no shortage of people that would like to make a living doing something good.
Fair trade is a system of certification that verifies that food being sourced was produced in an ethical way. It allows people to work with dignity and encourages farmers to be sustainable and think about the long term impacts of their actions.
- How do you measure success?
To a certain extent, the revenues generated are tied to impact and contribution because the products they sell provide education around health and lifestyle.
Most copywriting experts stress the pain that people are suffering, but Ocean has found that focusing on the positive and what’s possible is outperforming the pain.
Ocean’s team also measures things like click through rate on their emails, engagement, and response.
Everytime you say no to processed food and yes to whole foods you are a food revolutionary.
Reference: 31 Day Food Revolution, Ocean Robbins
- Ocean’s Takeaway
Don’t make the perfect into the enemy of the good. You can’t do everything at once. Look at your life and where your food choices are not in line with the integrity you want for your life. That could mean throwing out the potato chips, preparing meals ahead of time, or calling a friend and figuring out how to pool food prep. Think of a step you can take that will get you momentum in a positive direction. It’s not about some diet trend, it’s about creating the habits and conditions that set you up for success.
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