A Non-GMO New Year

We all set New Year’s resolutions every year. With some of them we are successful, and with others, well, not so much. While it’s most likely unrealistic to change your entire lifestyle, it is possible to make a few minor adjustments, such as deciding to try not to purchase foods that are genetically modified. Previously we posted on GMO’s, giving our readers a brief overview of this subject. This coming week, January 3, 2012, NPR radio’s, Diane Rehm, will be speaking about labeling for Genetically Modified Foods. We urge you to listen in if at all possible, and perhaps you may just adopt a non-GMO New Year, too! Have a happy, healthy New Year!

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-01-03/environmental-outlook-labels-genetically-modified-foods

October is Non-GMO month

October, which I can honestly say is my favorite month of the year, has, throughout history, been the month of harvest. The days are shortening and the air is turning colder, but food is still plentiful, with pumpkins, gourds, and even the occasional late ear of corn showing up at farmer’s markets. 

In case you were unaware, October 16, 2011, is Whole Food Day USA, which is a day to focus on food and ending hunger. Perhaps more importantly, however, October is also Non-GMO month, with numerous organizations trying to gain political attention to this issue, and to finally pass a mandatory labeling of all GMO foods. Europe already has mandatory GMO labeling. So why doesn’t the United States? Don’t we deserve to know what’s going into our food, too? If you are in agreement that GMO food should be labeled, I urge you to sign the official petition.

So enjoy the beautiful month of October, with its brightly colored leaves and enjoyably chilly days. Cook a hearty fall dish to share with your family and friends. Most importantly, be grateful for the wonderful food we have to eat, and educate those around you of what good food really is.  Have a Happy Month of Food!

GMO update: Are Your Kids Allergic To Food- Or What’s In It?

On the Healthy Child Healthy World website, there was a recent post regarding the rising amount of childhood food allergies and their possible link to Genetically Modified Organisms. The post discusses that perhaps more children are not developing allergies to various foods, but allergies to what is contained inside those foods: genetically engineered components. 1 in 13 children now has an allergy to a certain food(s), and 40% of children experience severe, sometimes fatal reactions. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Previously we had posted a TEDx talk given by Robyn O’Brien, former Wall Street Executive turned “Real Food” evangelist, where she discusses her theories of how GMO foods are directly linked to the large increase of food related allergies in the world today. If you haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, you may do so below.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA

Dangerous Modified Toxins in Your Blood

Below is a link for the latest article written by Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, regarding the latest scientific evidence of GM toxins and bacteria found in human blood, including that of pregnant women and their fetuses.  The article contains some information which we felt compelled to share with our readers.

Dangerous Toxins From Genetically Modified Plants Found in Women and Fetuses by Jeffrey M. Smith

Soy, the “healthy” enemy

Soy — you may or may not consciously know that you’re consuming it. And there’s a good reason why the food industry has been pushing it as a healthy alternative to dairy and numerous other meatless products. It makes money. And with all the surplus of government-subsidized crops of soy just laying around this country, why not come up with a brilliant scheme to fool the public into thinking it’s healthy for you, and add it secretly to almost every processed food found on grocery stores’ shelves today. If you don’t believe me, pick up a box of cereal, a bag of corn chips, or a pint of ice cream, and read the label. You might just find yeast extract, soy lecithin, soy flour, or soy protein, listed as an ingredient. These are all ingredients derived from soy. And since soy is one of the most prominently grown GMO crops in the U.S., you’re also consuming a GE product, perhaps without even knowing it.

As a mother, the statistics regarding soy-based infant formula are truly horrifying to me. We all want to give the very best to our children, never imagining that we might be pumping our babes full of phytoestrogen, which is a plant compound similar to human estrogen. That means that a baby who is fed soy-based formula is digesting the equivalent of five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen on a daily basis. That’s 20,000 times the amount of estrogen put into a baby fed other types of formula! Phytoestrogen also blocks the production of the body’s natural estrogen and disrupts endocrine function, which is believed to promote breast cancer and infertility. It only takes drinking two glasses a day of soy milk for one month to disrupt your menstrual cycle. (Awhile back we wrote a piece about milk, which you might like to read, or re-read, in case you are on the hunt for optimal sources of dairy for you or your family.)

The difference between the majority of the soy sold in the U.S. and Asian countries, such as Japan, is that the U.S. soy is typically unfermented. When left to ferment for long periods of time, the phytic acids contained in the soy are diminished greatly, and the healthy vitamins, such as K2, which protect against osteoporosis, dementia, and cardiovascular disease, become readily available for absorption in the body. For those of you, like me, who don’t know why phytic acids are bad, here’s the answer: phytates bind to metal ions, which block your body from absorbing minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, which are vitally important to maintaining our health.

Soy is one of the top eight allergens in the world today, causing severe, even fatal responses in the human body. Thyroid disorders, infant abnormalities, kidney stones, and impairments of the immune system have all been linked to soy consumption.  It blows my mind that the U.S. soy industry has so successfully duped the American public into believing that soy is actually healthy for you. And I will admit to believing that myself, once upon a time. Tempeh, natto, miso, and even soy sauce can be good sources of fermented soy in your diet should you choose so.  Just make sure that the soy products you consume are non-GMO or organic, since 91% of all soy grown in the U.S. is genetically-modified, and, thus, there are potentially harmful effects associated with its consumption.  Since soy is one of the top allergens, it’s usually easy to determine whether or not it is contained in a food without having to scour the ingredients, as the label is required to say something along the lines of “Contains Soy”.

I’ll close this post with an interesting quote by Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks-Simon, from the Blogger News Network:

“To make soy more appetizing, the manufacturers added sugar, synthetic sweeteners, genetically modified high fructose corn sugar, refined salt, artificial flavorings, colors and MSG. So the soy isn’t really soy. It is a Frankenfood created for the sole purpose of making a profit from health conscious people trying to live a healthier life.”

NYT: Colorless Jell-O and Cheetos?

Once in a while I get excited from a newspaper article. Not the curious excited, but the break-through excited, like there’s finally an inkling of hope for the population. Ok, I’m exaggerating a tad, but yesterday, when I read the front page article, Colorless Jell-O and Cheetos? F.D.A. Is Taking a Clear Look,  in the New York Times, I said to myself, “finally, some light is being shed on the atrocious diet of Americans.” Of course, many U.S. consumers don’t read the New York Times, and even if they did, they might not even read through the article, but at least it’s there in ink. And the front page of the NYT isn’t something to sneeze about.

For almost 70 years, the FDA has defended the safety of artificial food colorings, but for the first time publicly, the government agency is assessing “whether foods like Jell-O, Lucky Charms cereal and Minute Maid Lemonade should carry warnings that the bright artificial colorings in them worsen behavior problems like hyperactivity in some children.” Don’t be fooled into thinking that there’s some guardian angel of a company looking out for your family’s best nutritional needs and safety, just because a product is on a store’s shelves. Rather, the opposite is true. Unfortunately, those devilish companies use every known (and many unknown!) marketing tactics in the book to get you and your children to buy their products. And, boy, does it work. Add some neon food coloring, a couple of pounds of sugar, and a cheap plastic toy, and you’ve got the ultimate bait for luring young, unsuspecting children into your economic grasps. When given the option between a box of artificially flavored and colored box of chocolate cereal, with cartoon characters littering the box, and a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, you can probably guess what a kid would pick. And, honestly, it’s not the fault of the children. Even many parents are totally clueless about the harms of eating these types of processed foods. Parents these days don’t have a lot of extra time to cook, so it’s much easier to come home from an exhausting day’s work, open a blue box of mac n’ cheese, and put it on the table. But if parents truly knew what they were serving their children, they might think twice.

The NYT article goes on to read, that in the 1970’s, “….Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a pediatric allergist from California, had success treating the symptoms of hyperactivity in some children by prescribing a diet that, among other things, eliminated artificial colorings. And some studies, including one published in The Lancet medical journal in 2007, have found that artificial colorings might lead to behavioral changes even in typical children.”

Recently, I watched an extremely informative video on YouTube, in which a former Wall Street food industry analyst addressed the link between genetically modified foods and the rise in food allergies. It’s definitely worth the 15 minutes it takes to watch:

The consumer science group responsible for the FDA’s re-evaluation of artificial food coloring’s safety, is asking for the ban of dyes, or at the very least, requiring manufacturers to include prominently placed warnings on their products. Finally after numerous citizen petitions, the FDA is taking notice. It may seem like a small step, but add those steps together and it’s possible to travel for miles. We do have a long way to go in our fight to know where our food comes from, and what exactly is going in to it. But if we keep taking baby steps, we’ll reach the end. Knowledge is power, so go out there, learn about the food you’re consuming, and of course, share your knowledge with others!

Click here to read an online version of the article described above.

4.1.11

So, disappointing news — the FDA panel reviewing the evidence of the harm being caused by artificial dyes in our food has decided to NOT require a warning on product labeling, citing that more research needs to be done.  This is despite the fact that “The FDA has said it agrees with studies that say for ‘certain susceptible children,’ hyperactivity and other behavioral problems may be exacerbated by food dyes and other substances in food” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42362742/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/).  Again, we’re going into an innocent-until-proven-guilty mode for these manufacturers that sell dye-laden products in the U.S. while they sell the same products without the dyes overseas.  It makes me wonder…do the executives at these companies feed any of their neon-colored foods to their own children?!?!?  My guess is ‘NO’.  With their hefty salaries, they no doubt can afford to provide their families with healthy, Organic options on the table rather than what most Americans can only afford, which is lower-quality, artificially-flavored, and artificially-colored fare.

Below are a couple of commentaries that I found to be interesting.  We’ll continue to follow this issue, so sign up to receive updates from us if you don’t want to miss anything!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurie-david/post_1891_b_843577.html?ir=Food

http://mobile.washingtonpost.com/rss.jsp?rssid=599&item=http%3a%2f%2fwww.washingtonpost.com%2flocal%2ffood-dyes-may-make-kids-hyper-some-scientists-say-but-sadly-the-price-is-right%2f2011%2f03%2f28%2fAF728foB_mobile.mobile&cid=823&spf=1

Here we go again….!

Awhile back, we posted some articles relating to GE alfalfa and its approval for planting by the U.S. government. To our great dismay, we just learned today that the USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack (a former employee of guess who?…..Monsanto!), has now given approval for the planting of genetically-engineered sugar beets in the spring, despite a previous federal court ban on GE sugar beets!

It appears like Monsanto is trying to forcibly contaminate the organic food chain by going through with their GE alfalfa and sugar beet planting. Once these crops are planted, there is truly no way of preventing cross-contamination, due to bees, birds, other various animals, and the wind. Feel free to read some of our posts on GMOs and their serious health consequences. And keep in mind that GMOs have NOT been tested for the potential health risks involved with consumption, nor the environmental consequences to the planet. Monsanto just keeps planting them anyway, and uses its massive wealth to infiltrate the US government.

If this is as disturbing to you as it is to us, we urge you to give Secretary Vilsack’s office a call in Washington to voice your opposition. If you need some fodder for the conversation, here is a link with talking points, along with the number to call: http://www.capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/callalert/index.tt?action=results&ca_type=callalert&alertid=26946506&content_dir=&external_id=&alert_active_taf=1

Keep GMOs on the lab table. Not on my dinner table!!

The Organic Elite Surrender to Monsanto: What Now?

A rather upsetting article I recently read on the Organic Consumer’s Association website, outlines the defeat of a 12-year battle against Monsanto and GE alfalfa, led by Whole Foods, Stonyfield Farm, and Organic Valley. Basically they have given into Monsanto, calling for a “co-existence” of GMO and non-GMO foods, and in return, farmers, whose crops will be contaminated in the future, and there’s absolutely no doubt that will happen, will receive “hush money” from Monsanto.

The article goes on to outline the difference in GE labeling policies in the European Union, as opposed to the United States. GE labeling is mandated by the EU government, however, it is not here, in the US. Many of the “natural” brands you are purchasing in stores, such as Whole Food Market, are contaminated with GMOs!!! There’s nothing natural about that.  I urge you to read the whole article here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22449.cfm

Please take a moment to sign the petition against Monsanto and for the labeling of GE products at the bottom of the article. Thank you!!

An update on the GM alfalfa issue…

Here is some recent news about the GM issue relating to alfalfa.  The first article is very frank and informative, but it is by a company with a financial interest in blocking GM foods, so the second article (from Reuters) is included to provide you with the raw information.

GM Alfalfa: What\’s Happening Now?

USDA obeys GM rules, within law on alfalfa-Vilsack

Yikes!…..deadly GMOs. Why isn’t GE labeling mandated in the US????

GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, or Genetic Engineering, or even Genetically Altered, may or may not be terms you’re familiar with. But maybe you should be. Is it just me, or was that first part confusing? Well, confused is exactly what the bio-tech companies would like you to be. In fact, the term, GMO, is an underhanded PR trick to make consumers feel less threatened. Who in their right mind would actually choose, on their own free will, to consume a genetically engineered vegetable, fruit, or even fish?!? It’s not natural for a tomato to contain part of a fish’s DNA code, enabling it to resist freezing. Nor is it natural for a salmon to have artificially combined growth hormone genes from another unrelated type of salmon, spliced together with DNA from the anti-freeze genes of an eelpout, causing the fish to grow at twice the normal rate. Yikes!!! I certainly don’t want to be the guinea pig in these behemoth bio-tech companies’ games. If you want to hold a science experiment, keep it on the lab table, and not on my dinner table!

I am not a scientist and, therefore, am not going to try and accurately describe the process of Genetic Engineering. However, I will try to give you somewhat of an understanding of the process on a cellular level. Genetic Engineering is done by inserting a new code into an existing cell so that it will act differently and become more resistant to herbicides. Of course, this is no easy task to accomplish, considering how delicate nature is. The cell will try to resist. Thus, scientists must have a carrier, or a way in which, to override the cell’s natural code. This is accomplished through the use of viral or bacterial carriers. We all know how quickly a virus will spread through a child’s classroom! Viruses and bacteria are programed to “get the job done” quickly, so to speak. Unfortunately, though, there’s no stopping a virus or bacteria once they have infected your body. The same holds true for GE foods. Scientists don’t fully understand how the GE organism will react. And they certainly do not know the full health repercussions of consuming these organisms.

(This video is of a lecture by Jeffrey Smith, expert and advocate against GE organisms. There about 10 videos in the series on YouTube, and it will give you a much better understanding of the health consequences associated with GMOs.)

And now, I come to the somewhat exhaustive list of GE foods that can be found on the market today. Of course, in theory, we would avoid GMOs, but many times the very products we are attempting to avoid are unknown to us. Truly the only way we can now for sure that we are not consuming a GE animal, produce, or by-product, is to strictly buy organic. Here we go…..!

Soy and all its derivatives, including: soy flour and soy oil, which are commonly used in bakery products and pet food, as well as soy protein, soy lecithin, soy sauce, and soy isolates. Even infant formula, unless organic, has a high risk of containing GE soy! Soy is also fed to almost all animals raised on factory farms, so unless you know for sure where your meat is coming from, it probably contains these GMO genes within the meat, simply due to its past diet. (Another YIKES!)

Corn, another common GE food, is found in corn meal, corn syrup, Corn Flakes, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, popcorn, frozen corn, and many other breakfast cereals on the market today. Corn is also used in animal feed, just like soy. Canola, or rapeseed, is widely used as cooking oil, and is yet another GMO. Since 2005, the following GE foods were also approved for consumption by the U.S. Government: alfalfa, potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, papaya, rice, sugar beets (which are used in numerous products as a sweetener), radicchio, squash, flax seed, and wheat.

Currently there is no legislation mandating the labeling of GE foods in the United States. Consumers are left in total darkness about the products they are buying and consuming. Unless enough of us demand labeling, it’s not going to happen, either. Corporations, such as Monsanto, would like consumers to be kept in the dark regarding this issue. Hey, if the consumer doesn’t actually know for sure whether or not they are consuming a GE food, they probably will keep buying it, and Monsanto will be able to continue selling its GE seeds and pesticides, despite the numerable health and environmental consequences.

There is a small grass-roots momentum, which I hope won’t be so small soon, against Monsanto, called “Millions Against Monsanto.” This campaign is calling for truth-in-labeling legislation. You can read more info here:  http://www.organicconsumers.org/Monsanto/ten-things-monsanto.pdf

If companies, like Monsanto, want to continue producing GE food, then we consumers want a big, fat warning label on the product. Think of it like the warning label on the side of a bottle of bleach: Lethal If Ingested! I urge you, after doing a little of your own research, to sign the petition, if you so choose. You may do so here:  http://www.capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=21526516&type=CU

I’ve only begun to scratch the surface on this topic, so let’s keep the discussion open. Talk to your friends and family to get their points of view. Maybe they, too, need to be informed. The more we talk, the more we learn. So get the buzz out! GMOs: keep them on the lab table, and NOT on my dinner table!!