Welcome and good day! Eating healthier is easier said that done when there are so many temptations and toxins around us. I have found that cleaning up my lifestyle has been like peeling the layers off of an onion. Once one layer is peeled off, you can start peeing off the next one. Doing it this way also keeps you from feeling overwhelmed at the enormity of what may need to be done because you take one step at a time. I would therefore suggest that if you are starting from scratch, then the first layer of the onion to be peeled off involves doing the following to protect your gut health, amongst other things:
– Eliminating antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic
– Eliminating GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, corn syrup (AKA corn sugar and high fructose corn syrup) and soy; choose whole GMO-free foods, ideally fresh proteins and vegetables
Making the changes above will increase the cost of your grocery bill, but will have a profoundly positive effect on your health and will likely decrease medical expenses in the future. This is because antibiotics and GMO’s play havoc with the beneficial bacteria in our gut, where 70% of our immunity resides and where our food is digested and nourishment obtained. Without energy from assimilated nutrition and resistance to disease, we are left tired, ill, and with painful digestive issues. This is the case for too many people and they may not understand that it is their diet which is a cause of their poor health.
The case for antibiotics playing havoc with our guts is straightforward to understand because their job is to kill bacteria – all bacteria – so the beneficial bacteria in our guts are killed by antibiotics. What is especially concerning is that by eating conventional meat and dairy, you are exposing yourself and your family to antibiotics given to the livestock, who are given a whopping 80% of the antibiotics sold in the US. From http://www.sustainabletable.org/257/antibiotics:
Industrial farms have been adding antibiotics to livestock feed since 1946, when studies showed that antibiotics caused animals to grow faster and put on weight more efficiently, increasing meat producers’ profits. Between 1985 and 2001, the use of antibiotics in feed for industrial livestock production rose a startling 50%. Today, antibiotics are routinely fed to livestock, poultry, and fish on industrial farms to promote faster growth and to compensate for the unsanitary conditions in which they are raised. According to a new report by the FDA, approximately 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to farm animals. This means that in the United States only 20 percent of antibiotics, which were originally developed to protect human health, are actually used to treat infections in people. (Note: references for statistics are given on website.)
It is straightforward to choose meats and dairy without antibiotics and hormones as the products will be labeled as such. Many restaurant chains are also providing such healthy alternatives, such as Chipotle and Panera Bread. The good news is that we can all vote with our $$ on this one. If there is demand, a greater supply will follow.
Unfortunately, choosing GMO-free is not as straightforward because genetically modified foods are NOT labeled as such. This is by design because (1) the GMO seed producers do not want Americans to be able to knowingly choose GMO or GMO-free, and (2) by introducing GMO’s into our food supply in the 1990’s with no control whatsoever, they do not have any liability as to the consequences. Let’s delve into each of these points and then talk about where we can find non-GMO foods.
GMO seed producers do not want Americans to knowingly choose GMO or GMO-free because there is no advantage to GMO food, only risks. Hence their unmitigated fight against labeling laws, such as I-522 in WA state. Consider:
– GMO’s are not cheaper. Fact: GMO seeds are the most expensive and the likes of Monsanto require farmers to buy a new supply of their patented product EVERY YEAR instead of reusing seeds from the previous harvest, as has been done by farmers for millennia. Since 1995, over 250,000 farmers in India have become hopelessly indebted to Monsanto for seed and pesticide costs and have committed suicide. Yes, suicide because of a hopeless financial situation perpetuated by good old Monsanto. Do you really want these people in charge of your food? The good news is that action is being taken: Dr. Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya (“nine seeds” http://www.navdanya.org/), is spearheading a movement of thousands of Indian farmers promoting biodiversity and use of native seeds instead of patented genetically modified ones.
– GMO’s are not more nutritious. Fact: GMO versions of foods are not more nutritious than their natural counterparts and are comprised of new proteins which can give rise to food allergies and digestive issues. In the case of Bt-corn, from http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/stunning_corn_comparison_gmo_versus_non_gmo:
GMO Corn has 14 ppm of Calcium and NON GMO corn has 6130 ppm. 437 X more.
GMO corn has 2 ppm of Magnesium and NON GMO corn has 113ppm. 56 X more.
GMO corn has 2 ppm of Manganese and NON GMO corn has 14ppm. 7X more.
Again, this is why GMO food producers do not want GMO’s labeled because they are worse and therefore would not be chosen by the informed consumer for purchase.
– GMO do not use less pesticides and herbicides. Fact: They use more pesticides and herbicides because of a phenomenon that was obviously overlooked – the fact that organisms adapt to their environment. GMO “Round-Up ready” crops are therefore becoming less effective because of weeds are adapting and becoming superweeds. So the chemical companies will produce even more toxic herbicides and pesticides in response – based on Agent Orange! 800 million more pounds are planned to be used on GMO crops by using multiple herbicides and pesticides to kill superweeds. (Source: Andrew Kimbrell, Founder and Director for Center for Food Safety, http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/).
Now to address the next point – liability. If, for example, GMO foods were labeled as such starting in the 1990’s and millions of people consumed them and then started having health issues in the subsequent decades, then a correlation could be made and guess who would be liable? GMO seed producers like Monsanto! Instead, they ensured that GMO’s slipped into our food supply unnoticed so that when health issues increased shockingly decades later, e.g. food allergies in children, autism, ADHD, obesity, cancer, etc., there is no provable correlation. Just all of a sudden our children, especially, are plagued by more allergies and illnesses then ever before. Pretty slick, huh?
The net is that the genetic modification experiment has been an abject failure. Instead of working with nature by using biodiversity to our advantage and sustainable farming methods, we are engaged in escalating chemical warfare with nature. The food that is produced this way has been bathed in ever more toxic chemicals, is less nutritious, contains foreign genetic material which is not managed well by our digestive systems, and contains new proteins give rise to new food allergies.
So what to do? Vote with your food $$!! Once American consumers take a stand like European and British ones have, the tide will turn. Already products like Cheerios are produced with non-GMO ingredients in Europe…but not in America.
Here are companies to avoid – the ones that are trying to defeat labeling initiatives such as I-522 in WA state:
Here are the companies to support – the ones who use Non-GMO ingredients:
Let’s vote with our $$ and turn the tide! Other countries have done it, and so can we!
On Thursday, I will peel back the second layer of the onion, and this one has to do with the elimination of artificial sweeteners. As you will see, these are truly nasty pieces of work that have no business in our bodies.
Until then, happy nutritious eating!