Are You Eating Real Food? For those heavily involved in a holistic, natural and organic lifestyle this is a very familiar topic, but for many this might be your first exposure. When the subject of healthy eating comes up in discussion, many often feel this is a non-issue because they refrain from eating “junk food,” without knowing that what they’re eating may not be considered healthy or even considered real food. You’ll soon discover that what you choose to eat may not only make you sick, but it can also exacerbate symptoms of chronic conditions and with a weakened immune system it might also make you more susceptible to other conditions and diseases.
I find it very interesting that word “food” does not represent what we think it does. We now have to use the term “real food” when referring to foods that have not been modified or tampered with in some way. Over the last several years I’ve often wondered about the increase in the number of peanut allergies and not only gluten allergies, but gluten sensitivities, food intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowl disease and the increase in “new” allergens. The most logical explanation that I could come up with for the increased number of peanut allergies was overexposure. Since at one point you could find traces of peanuts as an ingredient or filler in many food products. The same for gluten, its an ingredient in toothpaste, shampoo, make-up, gum, lotions, medications, sauces, gravies and all wheat products. While we’re on the subject of wheat, this is one grain that you’ll want to keep your eye on, because it’s one of the next grains soon to be effected by what you read below. Why is it that we have such high cases of food allergies and high levels of food intolerance IBS and IBDs, especially now when compared to 15 or 20 years ago? What happens to the GI Tract after it’s been exposed to toxic chemicals over long periods of time? You’ll discover the answers to many of these questions as you read on. Once you begin to take a closer look at what we’ve been exposed to, you’ll quickly realize that overexposure is only a small glimpse into a much larger issue. To really understand where we are today, we’d have to travel back to the mid 90’s when we stopped eating real food.
In 1996 the food industry changed and not necessarily for the good. New proteins were engineered into our food supply to maximize profitability in the food industry. This was after synthetic protein hormones were injected directly into cows with adverse reactions in 1994, so the government had to find another way,which was adding the synthetic protein directly to the livestock food supply. While the US allowed the use of GMO proteins because it had not been proven dangerous, Canada, Australia, the UK, and 27 other European countries did not allow its use, because there were no studies available to show how these chemicals effected the livestock much less the effects on human health after consumption. When you hear the term “synthetic protein hormone” you have to wonder about both the long-term and short-term effects of exposure to elevated hormone levels on humans and if there’s a link to breast, prostate, colon cancer and other types of cancers. In 2008 Dr. Leonard Hardell and Dr. Mikael Eriksson of Sweden, revealed clear links between one of the world’s biggest selling herbicide, glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup, marketed by Monsanto), to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer. Keep this in mind as you read along. According to Livestrong and American Cancer Society, the US has the highest rates of cancer than any other country in the world. If you move to the US from another country your chances of developing cancer increase exponentially. According to cancer research studies 1 out of 2 american men and 1 out of 3 american women will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. 1 out of 8 american women will develop breast cancer and out this group only 1 in 10 is genetic. This means that 9 out of 10 of these cases are environmentally triggered. These chemicals which cause allergic reactions, and trigger the inflammatory response in the body are also responsible for the increased incidents of certain types of cancer.
During the time that our milk supply was being engineered with a new synthetic protein there was an increase in the number of allergies, especially those dairy related. As dairy allergies were on the rise, so were other types of allergies. Since dairy is one of the top 8 allergens, you would not have to venture far to identify the next genetically modified food. To no surprise soy was also engineered by scientist, with increased profits as the motivator, especially since the primary use of soy was to fatten livestock. Scientists were able to modify the soybean, by taking genes from bacteria and forcing it into DNA of the soybean plant, causing it to produce a protein that would allow it to withstand increasing amounts of Monsanto Roundup Herbicide by absorbing its main ingredient glyphosate. Soy is known as the first Roundup Ready crop, and was produced at Monsanto’s Agracetus in 1991. In 1996 the US incorporated this newly modified bean into our food source. If this isn’t enough to make you cringe, just wait to hear what scientist were able to do with corn. There was an increasing concern of insecticide being sprayed over cornfields, so scientist were able to genetically modify corn by engineering this very insecticide into the DNA of a corn seed, so that as the corn plant grew it released its own insecticide. As a result, corn was then regulated by the EPA as an insecticide. So in essence, when we eat GMO corn we are essentially eating an insecticide.
Those of us who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions and auto-immune disease want to be especially mindful of these facts, because these same harmful chemicals can also exacerbate these conditions and make those of us with weakened immune systems even more susceptible. Symptoms such as inflamed irritated stomachs, discoloration of stomach lining, leakage of intestines, as well as behavioral symptoms of irritability and anti-social behavior have been associated with animals who consume glyphosate. Inflammatory bowel disease in humans has risen 40 percent since 1992, though the consumption of GMO foods and IBD have not been scientifically linked, there are many scientist who suspect a connection. Don Huber, Emeritus Professor at Purdue University and senior scientist on USDA’s National Plant Disease Recovery System, a plant physiologist and pathologist for over 40 years. Addressed many of his concerns in a letter to the US Secretary of State Tom Vilsak which was leaked in February 2011. He speaks about a pathogen “new to science” in glyphosate-tolerant GM crops and its negative physiological effects on plants, crops, animals and humans. If you have doubts on the effects of ingesting GMO foods simply read the warning label of any herbicide or pesticide.
You might wonder how these foods were introduced into our food supply without human trials. Well, thanks to a term known as “substantial equivalence”, a conceptual tool used by the tobacco industry to facilitate the approval process of something for which no human trials had been conducted, we were exposed without our consent. Its was in 1997 that legalization of Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing was enacted by the Food and Drug Administration, approximately one year after GMO foods were introduced into our food supply. Timely, and a great opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to capitalize on the many sick people who GMO foods would soon create.
The FDA has very strict food labeling regulations, even the organic food industry has to meet a rigid criteria before food products can carry the USDA Organic label. Despite the fact that mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods in the United States has been proposed, there has been no law passed requiring it. At least 35 other countries have adopted mandatory labelling for any product that has been genetically modified. The European Parliament passed laws in July 2003 on products containing GMO foods, lifting the seven-year ban on the introduction of new biotech products. As of April 18, 2004, all products containing an ingredient that contains more than 0.9 per cent of GMOs must be labelled. Animal feed containing GMOs will also must be labelled. One way to protect ourselves here in the US is to grow our own organic foods and when you must purchase foods, buy organic or look for foods labeled Non-GMO project verified. Keep in mind that all livestock has been exposed to genetically modified foods so this effects, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, milk, soy, corn, and all products carrying these ingredients,which are countless. In the mid to late 90’s when I became aware that we were being exposed to GMO foods, I made the decision to go 100% organic. In spite of this effort I know there were many times that I or my family members were exposed to GMO foods and that was anytime we weren’t eating at home. Though I’m grateful that I was able to make the decision to purchase organic foods, some people can not afford to make this same choice. It’s frustrating to know that our tax resources have gone to subsidize the growth of the crops with chemicals and GMO foods. While organic food farmers who grow foods without harmful chemicals are charged absorbent fees, which they in turn to pass on to us. Plus, they are not privy to the same insurance and marketing that GMO food farmers have. Even conventional farmers are adversely effected, now having to pay royalties on these newly engineered seeds or risk being sued.
What about the manufacturers who use GMOs in their food products? Kraft, General Mills, Kellogg, Coke, Pepsi, Heinz and Walmart meet the demands of their consumers in other countries by using non-GMO foods in their products that they distribute outside of the US. Ironically these same companies have jumped on the “organic” money train by offering organic products or purchasing long-standing organic brands. (We’ll question the integrity of these organic products in another post.) If these companies can make these non-GMO food exceptions for other countries, certainly they can distribute these affordable products here in the US, giving us the ability to choose as consumers. Of course, costs become an issue when GMO has become the industry standard, but it is possible as a corporation to thrive in a non-GMO environment. Take the Pro-Terra Foundation for example, who announced that since 1996 it has distributed 4.8 million tonnes per year of traceable and verified socially responsible, environmentally stable, non-GM soy and in a bid to encourage more food manufacturers to switch to non-GM soy, cereals and grains, plus they’ve introduced a new not-for-profit organization consumer orientated logo which has been set up around the established ProTerra standard.
You have to also wonder about the impact that being exposed to these high toxicity levels has had on our healthcare dollars, not just us individually but also a country. The US spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, 16% of our gross domestic product or (GDP) goes to managing disease. Companies spend more money on healthcare for their employees then they do on the products they actually sell or promote. This not only affects us individually but it affects our country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.
We’ve been exposed to genetically modified foods for the past 16 years, this is enough time to learn of it’s harmful effects. Most recently there have been studies which show an increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, childhood leukemia, breast cancer, while also causing cardiovascular, nerve, respiratory, kidney, liver, and gastrointestinal damage. As well as reproductive damage resulting in infertility, sterility, birth defects, infant mortality relating to the consumption of GMO Soy and the ingredient glyphosate. A great quote to ponder from health advocate Dr. Mercola “I strongly believe that one of the most obvious clues about the danger of GMO foods are that just about EVERY species of animal that is offered a GMO food versus a non-GMO food will avoid the GMO one. Many times they will do this to the point of starvation, as they have an intuitive sense of the danger of this food.” What can we do when our own government can not see the error in its ways? Well, we can’t afford to wait for legislature or regulation, we need to continue driving awareness and begin making the needed changes regarding our own individual health, whether we’re considered healthy or afflicted, and the health of our families by choosing to purchase, eat and grow real, natural and organic foods. This will in turn influence our communities and corporations while ultimately effecting the economy. Once we begin to take on this personal responsibility, combined with determination and passion, in the words of Robin O’Brien “we have the ability to effect remarkable change.”
Soy first Roundup Ready Crop, Status of GMO Wheat, “Herbicide Tolerance,” New Study Links Monsanto’s Roundup to cancer,” – June 2001, GMO Soy Linked to Infant Mortality in Rats, The Pesticide Education Center, The Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN), The Unhealthy Truth, Pro-Terra Standard, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods,