The GMO Foods War!

 

 

Contrary to popular opinion, food-fights aren’t restricted merely to elementary school cafeterias. Rather, each trip to the grocery store, drive-through quick fix, and home-cooked dinner is a battle in the GMO Foods War. The war concerns our health, and the battles are the food choices we make. Victory or defeat depends largely on our ability to make wisely informed choices.

American Food Wars!

Is our food safe?

We need to be informed about the way our bodies are designed to interact with food, asking, are all foods good for us?  The answer is complex; while all foods that God created are good for us–not everyone has the ability to partake of every food.  Many people suffer from food allergies, leaky gut, autoimmune disorders, and autistic spectrum disorders which cause them to react poorly to certain foods.  Such individuals must eliminate the foods that make their bodies sick– because their bodies react to a particular food in a way that makes them very ill.  My practice is full of these dear people.  Their goal is to heal the source of the problem (most commonly, leaky gut). After aggressively locating and healing  the source of the problem, many people are able to return to enjoying many foods once again. For others, a restricted diet is a lifelong need.

These words will no doubt stir up the emotions of some; strong opinions abound concerning which single diet is best for everyone! Those on gluten- and casein-free diets (GFCF) seem to believe that everyone should be on the same diet; but then, so do those who are grain-free, Paleo, vegetarian, or any other diet. The diet itself becomes the standard for what is good or bad to eat for all people in all situations, while in fact it addresses specific problems in order to bring help and healing to many.  I often see bloggers become very offended by people choosing a different variation of their own diet, as if they are traitors seeking to defile the one true and healthy diet–while perhaps your body can simply handle something theirs can’t. I also see people choose a popularly-promoted diet and hold to it hard and fast as law for all.

In contrast, I am not knocking any particular diet; in fact, I recommend many of the above diets to my clients to help with their specific health issues. I caution that we not war with one another based on our own dietary needs or preferences while declaring others’ food to be bad.  We have a greater war to be concerned about when it comes to food.  This war is on whole foods themselves, beginning with the seeds from which they grow.  We are in a war to keep our most basic foods edible, safe, nutritious, and in the form of health-building real food.  We may soon be fighting for the right, as individuals, to grow foods as we freely choose; a quick peek at reliable news sources and you will see that some small farmers are already in this part of the war.

You see, the majority of food readily available today is what I call “faux food.”  It is food that’s not worth eating, and is in fact hazardous to your health.  Processed foods are at the top of the faux-foods list–I am not even sure how they can take food so far from its original form and still call it food.  For example, margarine, a cheap imitation of butter, was practically non-existent until the early 1900’s.  Then, new chemical processes produced a way to extract oils from seeds such as rapeseeds (canola oil), safflower, sunflower, corn, etc. But this extraction is not a simple pressing or separation; rather, these oils must be chemically removed and altered. High heat and petroleum solvents are used to extract the oils from rapeseed (canola); to solidify the oils, they undergo the further chemical process of hydrogenation.  Artificial antioxidants BHA and BHT are then added to prevent the margarine from spoiling or oxidizing too quickly.  Finally, realize that these “natural” resources come from genetically modified crops that are heavily laden with pesticides.  What you are left with is a toxic faux-food called “margarine”–a product full of omega-6, polyunsaturated, and hydrogenated fats.  These fats have contributed to the epidemic rise of cancer and heart disease, as testified by researchers from the University of Ontario (who have found that omega-6 polyunsaturated fats stimulate cancer) and the Journal of Epidemiology (which published a twenty-year study on coronary heart disease in men, reporting that as margarine consumption increased, heart attacks went up).  In sum, margarine is not a good product: it is about as far from a natural health building food as you can get.

On the other hand, real foods nourish the human body–even those that are often wrongly demonized. In contrast to margarine, butter is a whole food with medium-chain fatty acids that positively affect your health, fighting inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.   Butter contains only one or two ingredients: cream and sometimes salt.  No chemical alterations are needed to make it: you simply take milk from a grass-fed cow, let the cream separate on its own, and churn or shake it until you get butter. The Journal of Epidemiology study that compared margarine to butter also discovered that when butter consumption increased, hearts attacks declined.  Butter is a whole food that has not been synthesized into a product that is toxic to our body, and I consider it a delightful gift to enjoy as long as your body is able to tolerate it.

Thus, rather than recommending one specific diet, I encourage my clients to choose real foods, then fine-tune their food choices to fit their body’s particular nourishment needs. Faux-foods should always be avoided.  Foods in this category include processed, fractioned, GMO’s, or non- organic foods; let me briefly explain each of these categories.

First, processed foods include most foods in a package or can–whatever did not go from the farmer to your table.   Much has happened to it to either increase the shelf life or enhance the flavor synthetically.

Second, fractioned foods are foods from which nutrients have been removed. One of the most commonly fractioned foods is wheat.  This whole grain was long ago stripped of the necessary fiber to give it a longer shelf life–but in the process, vital vitamins, nutrients, and fiber were left out, making this grain quite indigestible and difficult to eliminate.  Fractioned wheat has been used to produce the popular and well-loved white sandwich breads that constipate, convert into sugars, pack on the pounds, and provide no nutritional value (any vitamins you do see listed on the label have been added back in synthetically because the naturally occurring vitamins have been thrown out in the fractioning process).

Third, genetically modified foods (GMO or GM) are foods that have had their DNA structures changed by forcibly inserting a single gene from one species’ DNA to another’s.  Natural barriers are being crossed in a lab: what happens is less like mating a green bean with a green bean and more like mating a green bean with a cow.  In the GM process, the protein from a common food allergen could be injected into a non-allergenic food and ultimately cause a severe allergic reaction in an unsuspecting consumer.  Foods are often genetically modified in order to make seeds “Round-Up Ready,” making the plant ready to kill bugs and resist weeds; but the same poison filling the plant’s cells devastates our health when we ingest it. In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called for its board members and physicians nationwide to warn their patients on the dangers of GM foods, and now many of the AAEM physicians are warning their patients, communities, and other physicians to only eat non-genetically modified foods.

This leads to the fourth category of faux-foods–the non-organics, or foods that have been doused in pesticides, preservatives, and other chemicals. If you think what is being put into seeds and on plants isn’t harmful to ingest, let me share a lesson from my daughter’s third grade science lesson on chameleons.   Chameleons are popular pets that must be fed very carefully, or they will be killed.  Every bug that you feed these animals must be “gut loaded,” meaning that the bugs they eat must feed on a very clean, highly nutritious diet, to give the chameleons the nutrients they need to survive.  Bugs from your yard are not safe to feed these lizards because they will have been feeding on pesticide-laden grass that can kill the chameleon: the food supply of the bug’s food is passed on to the lizard.  This same process occurs in the food we eat, and this is why eating an organic diet is important to your health. Organic food is not just another way to make you spend more money on food.  It is food that is being produced in a way that gives you maximum nutritional value and no harmful, poisonous chemicals.

The war is raging against foods that have been given to us to sustain life; we must seek to win good health by choosing and preserving real foods. Just the other day, as I was checking out in the grocery store, a sweet woman in her late sixties asked me what I thought of the “crazy new GM foods” she has been hearing so much about.  After we talked, she left me with a parting thought: “You know,” she said, “it may be too late to do anything about it for myself, but when people start messing with food that will hurt my kids and grandkids, then I am going to do something about it!”  She really gets it! Fighting for good health in the Great American Food War is not just about us; it is about the precious seed of future generations.

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