A single ice cream cone, of course, isn’t going to harm anyone. But even though it tastes delicious, ice cream is very high in sugar and saturated fat. The medical data is overwhelmingly clear that the more sugar and saturated fat you eat, the more likely you are to experience heart disease and diabetes and to become obese.
My father had achieved the American dream, in the material sense. But I was called forth by a different longing. Having enough money so that you can meet your basic needs is necessary and important, but there are other things that also matter a great deal. I wanted to see if I could be part of making the world a healthier place. I wanted my steps to be guided by a reverence for life.
Along with many Americans in the 1960s, I was part of the civil rights movement. I marched and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I loved and admired him immensely. When this apostle of peace and love was murdered, I felt as though a bullet had gone through my heart, too.
Along with Dr. King and many other Americans, I abhorred the violence and insanity of the war in Vietnam. Only a few months after Dr. King was killed, another man whom many of us viewed as a bringer of hope, Robert F. Kennedy, was also assassinated. These were very dark times, and I was ﬁlled with despair. In a world that seemed increasingly adrift in violence, cynicism, hopelessness, and fear, I wanted desperately to ﬁnd a path to sanity and love. I wanted to be part of a fundamental global transformation, and although I didn’t know exactly how to go about a task so huge and idealistic, I did know that, for me, making and selling ice cream was not part of it.
I did not ﬁnd it easy, however, to explain my thoughts and feelings to my father, a conservative businessman who was proud of the many things his great wealth enabled him to buy, and who never to my knowledge went a day without reading The Wall Street Journal. He had come of age during the Great Depression of the 1930s, while I was becoming an adult in the 1960s. Our lives were shaped by very different times. “It’s a different world now than when you grew up,” I told him. “The environment is deteriorating rapidly under the impact of human activities. Every two seconds a child somewhere dies of hunger while elsewhere there are abundant resources going to waste. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing. We live now under a nuclear shadow, and at any moment the unspeakable could happen. Can you see that inventing a thirty-second ﬂavor would not be an adequate response for my life?”