Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


17 Essential Reasons to Eat Organic Food

Michelle Schoffro Cook   April 4, 2013

Organic food was the only option for thousands of years.  Now, with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and genetically-modified foods, organic is still the best option.  Here are 17 reasons to eat organic food:

1.  Genetically-modified foods were unleashed on the environment and the public by corporations like Monsanto without prior testing to determine their safety.  In other words, eating genetically-modified foods (which most people in in large amounts) is participating in a long-term, uncontrolled experiment. Choose organic to avoid participating in this experiment.

2.  More and more research is coming in about the health threat of genetically-modified food.  The results range from intestinal damage, allergies, liver or pancreatic problems, testicular cellular changes, tumors, and even death in the experimental animals. For more information, read the excellent books by Jeffrey M. Smith Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette. I’ll discuss more of the problems linked with GMOs in upcoming blogs. Eating third-party certified organic foods or those that are guaranteed to be grown from organic seed helps protect you from the health consequences of GMOs.

3.  Fruits and vegetables are real food, not pesticide factories. Eighteen percent of all genetically-modified seeds (and therefore foods that grow from them) are engineered to produce their own pesticides.  Research shows that these seeds continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them! Foods that are actually pesticide factories…no thanks.

4.  They’re free of neurotoxins—toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods. Many pesticides are still considered neurotoxins.  Learn more about pesticides in The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan.

5.  They’re supportive of growing children’s brains and bodies.  Children’s growing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to toxins than adults.  Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety).

6.  In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods.  Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium. (For more information, check out The Life Force Diet).

7.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that pesticides pollute the primary drinking source for half the American population. Organic farming is the best solution to the problem. Buying organic helps reduce pollution in our drinking water.

8.  Organic food is earth-supportive (when big business keeps their hands out of it). Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future.  Compare that to modern agricultural practices that are destructive of the environment through widespread use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers and have resulted in drastic environmental damage in many parts of the world.

9.  Organic food choices grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent family farmers can create a livelihood. Consider it the domestic version of fair trade.

10. Most organic food simply tastes better than the pesticide-grown counterparts.

11. Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas).

12.  Organic farms are safer for farm workers. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70% increase in Parkinson’s disease among people exposed to pesticides. Choosing organic foods means that more people will be able to work on farms without incurring the higher potential health risk of Parkinson’s or other illnesses.

13.  Organic food supports wildlife habitats. Even with commonly used amounts of pesticides, wildlife is being harmed by exposure to pesticides.

14.  Eating organic may reduce your cancer risk.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30% of insecticides potentially cancer-causing.  It is reasonable to think that the rapidly increasing rates of cancer are at least partly linked to the use of these carcinogenic pesticides.

15.  Choosing organic meat lessens your exposure to antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and drugs that find their way into the animals and ultimately into you.

16.  Organic food is tried and tested. By some estimates genetically-modified food makes up 80% of the average person’s food consumption. Genetic modification of food is still experimental. Avoid being part of this wide scale and uncontrolled experiment.

17.  Organic food supports greater biodiversity.  Diversity is fundamental to life on this planet. Genetically-modified and non-organic food is focused on high yield monoculture and is destroying biodiversity.

Adapted from  The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.
source: care2.com

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Splenda soon to unleash ‘Nectresse’ – Here’s what you need to know about this new ‘natural’ sweetener

Tuesday, August 07, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, maker of the artificial sweetener Splenda, is gearing up to introduce a new “natural” sweetener known as Nectresse that will cater specifically to those looking for a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar. But is Nectresse really as natural as McNeil claims it is, or is the product just another example of tricky marketing hype aimed at health-conscious consumers?

According to the Nectresse website, the product is “100 percent natural,” and is made from the heat-stable extract of an Asian melon known as monk fruit, or Lo Han. McNeil claims that Nectresse contains zero calories per serving, and that monk fruit is 150 times sweeter than sugar, which means that consumers do not need to use very much of it to effectively sweeten foods and beverages.

Nectresse contains other additives besides monk fruit

But monk fruit is not the only ingredient in Nectresse, nor is it even the primary ingredient. The first and most abundant ingredient in Nectresse is actually erythritol, a sugar alcohol commonly derived from corn, the vast majority of which has been genetically modified (GM) in the U.S. And the second ingredient in Nectresse is sugar, which is refined and more than likely comes from GM sugar beets.

The third ingredient in Nectresse is monk fruit, which McNeil explains is extracted using a natural process involving both water and heat rather than chemicals – this is good. But the fourth and final ingredient in Nectresse is molasses, which once again is a sugar that more than likely was derived from GM sugar beets – producers that use sugar from sugar cane, after all, typically indicate this on their ingredient labels.

Nectresse, not so natural after all

So three out of the four ingredients used in Nectresse appear to be derived from bioengineered crops, and two of these ingredients are refined sugars. And since erythritol is a sugar alcohol, as well as the most abundant ingredient in Nectresse, McNeil can legally claim under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines that Nectresse contains zero calories per serving.

But the fact that Nectresse more than likely contains ingredients derived from GM sources means that it is hardly the “natural” product that McNeil is hyping it up to be. Sure, Nectresse contains a little bit of monk fruit which, like the stevia plant, contains compounds that are naturally very sweet, but that do not provide the body with calories in the same way as sugar. But the other ingredients found in Nectresse can hardly be considered natural.

According to MonkFruit.org, (http://www.monkfruit.org/monk-fruit/68/food-beverage-manufacturers) monk fruit can actually be up to 200 times sweeter than sugar because it contains natural antioxidants known as mogrosides that have a strong, sweet taste, but that are not actually considered to be sugar. These mogrosides are unique to monk fruit, and they also contain zero calories.

By itself, in other words, monk fruit appears to be viable as a healthy, alternative sweetener that, because of its heat stability, can work better than stevia in certain food applications that require baking, sauteing, or other forms of heat cooking. Nectresse, on the other hand, appears to be an adulterated version of the monk fruit that represents the corporate food industry’s latest attempt at trying to cash in on the health-conscious.
Sources for this article include:  http://www.nectresse.com/   http://www.naturalnews.com/stevia.html

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The Economics of Organic Food

Published on Thursday, August 27, 2009 by Portland Press Herald (Maine)
Conference Takes on Economics of Organic Food
by Avery Yale Kamila

Only rich people can afford to eat locally grown, organic food. Have you heard that one before? I have, and it’s sure to come up during the “Can Maine Feed Itself?” keynote discussion taking place at next month’s Maine Fare festival in the midcoast.

The panel brings together a number of movers and shakers from Maine’s food scene for a conversation centered on how the state can become more self-reliant when stocking our grocery stores and filling our dinner plates.

According to well-known organic Maine farmer and author Eliot Coleman, who farms year-round in unheated greenhouses and will participate in the panel, the No. 1 barrier preventing more Mainers from eating food grown and raised locally is the competition from cheap eats trucked in from California.

A whole book could be written (and has been) about the reasons factory farms and agribusinesses can produce food that costs so little. However, the simple answer, as Coleman pointed out, includes physical scale, illegal immigrant laborers, polluting farm practices and government subsidies.

At the same time, the idea that only the well-off can eat fresh, locally grown eats ignores the obvious and inexpensive solution of growing your own garden. You can’t get any more local than food grown steps from your kitchen. And with seeds that sell for pennies apiece and with compost an essentially free fertilizer that anyone can make from table scraps and dried leaves, it becomes clear that price alone is not the true issue.

I’d argue that the real barrier is psychological. Part of this can be traced to the American obsession with animal protein.

Meat, dairy and eggs are all expensive ways to include protein in our diets, and these ubiquitous staples of our national cuisine can be produced cheaply (think a dozen eggs for $1.69 at the grocery stores versus $4.50 at the farmers’ markets) only when the farms cut costs. That can lead to mistreating the animals, the workers or the environment. The price at the checkout may be low, but we pay the full cost eventually in food poisoning outbreaks, slaughterhouse workers with post-traumatic stress disorder and polluted rivers.

The other piece of this mental obstacle comes from our national cult of convenience. Our 24/7 consumer culture means we expect markets to be open whenever the shopping whim strikes us. We expect their shelves to be stocked with items that haven’t been in season for the past six months.

So I wasn’t surprised when John Harker, a development agent for the Maine Department of Agriculture, said research shows that the current market for direct-to-consumer sales from small farms in Maine is confined to the pool of consumers with higher incomes and higher levels of education.

These are the folks who have read books such as “Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “Fast Food Nation” and know shelling out a little more for high quality food saves a lot of headaches and heartaches (literally) down the road.

But what about the moms who are too busy changing diapers to tackle such troubling tomes? Unfortunately, many still view food as a commodity similar to back-to-school clothes rather than the ultimate in preventative health care.

“In the consumer focus group we just finished up in Bangor, young mothers with children said, ‘Price, price, price,'” Harker recalled.

Since Americans on average spend less than 10 percent of our disposable income on food, a case can be made that a frugal home cook can find a way to pay more for better quality food.

At the same time, Harker sees opportunities for lowering the price of locally grown food and getting it into supermarkets and convenience stores (where he said 97 percent of food in Maine is purchased).

His message to farmers: “You’ve got to either get bigger or get together as a collective.”

He points to the Locally Known organic salad farm in Bowdoin as an example of a farm that got bigger to become more competitive on price. He cites the group of 10 organic dairy farmers who lost their contract with Hood and are now forming a limited liability corporation in hopes of getting their milk into supermarkets as an example of collective marketing.

On the consumer side, Harker said the department is encouraging neighbors to form buying clubs, such as the Portland Food Co-Op, where they can purchase food at or near wholesale prices.

“One of the projects I’m working on is online ordering for consumer buying clubs,” Harker said.

Aside from price, Maine farmers and eaters do face other obstacles to achieving food independence.

Cheryl Wixson, the resident chef and marketing consultant for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, is working on a report that will look at 20 categories of Maine food to determine whether or not farms are producing enough to meet local demand.

If they’re not, the report will also help figure out what factors stand in the way. These obstacles are varied and include lack of food processing plants, limited distribution opportunities and inadequate storage facilities.

But when it comes to price, Wixson is blunt: “You’re either going to pay for it now, or you’ll pay for it later.”

Or as Coleman said: “Local food is more expensive because it’s better.”

MaineToday Media, Inc.

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7 Foods Experts Won’t Eat

1. GMO FOODS (Any of them)
The Situation: GMO foods encourage the massive spraying of herbicides on our topsoils, polluting the ground, waterways, animals and humans. Scientific studies have shown the RoundUp Ready genes in GMOfoods to transfer to our intestinal flora and the pesticide producing genes, called Bt-toxins, to be present in both unborn fetuses and their mothers. In short, GMO foods pollute our environment and out bodies. No long term health studies of GMO foods have been performed on humans. In addition to polluting our bodies with mutant DNA, eating RoundUp Ready GMO foods insures a hefty dose of herbicide given that GMO crops are even more heavily sprayed than conventional non-organic crops. The environmental, political, economic, and social damage by GMO foods is staggering. GMO foods include corn, soybeans, sugarbeets, potatoes, alfalfa, canola, potato, papaya, rice, honey, squash, rapeseed, tomatoes, sweet corn, tobacco, peas, and more in the pipeline.
The Solution: Check that all the food you purchase is non-GMO. Demand a halt to GMO foods any chance you get. Support mandatory labeling of GMO foods.  Buy ORGANIC. Plant a garden
For further insights and details on the disastrous company Monsanto ( the leading company of GMO seeds), please click here
GMO Foods written by WuW contributing writer Jack Adam Weber of PoeticHealing.com
The Expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A.
The Situation: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. “You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young,” says vom Saal. “I won’t go near canned tomatoes.”
The Solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe’s and Pomi.
The Expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming.
The Situation: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. More money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. “We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure,” says Salatin.
The Solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It’s usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don’t see it, ask your butcher.


The Expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group.

The Situation: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. “They stay in your body for years and accumulate there,” says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.
The Solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.
The Expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.
The Situation: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. “You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. “It’s that bad.” Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.
The Solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

The Expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.
The Situation: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. “When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract,” says North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it, according to several independent studies. “There’s not 100% proof that this is increasing cancer in humans,” admits North. “However, it’s banned in most industrialized countries.”
The Solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products.
The Expert: Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods
The Situation: If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it’s just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers,” he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson’s disease.
The Solution: Buy organic apples. If you can’t afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them first.

Source : First section on GMO food is written by WuW contributing writer Jack Adam Weber of poetichealing.com
All other points were sourced from Shine on Yahoo

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Organics: 101

Looking for some information on what defines an organic product? What the benefits of buying organic foods are? Or what to look for when purchasing organics? Our Organics 101 has all this information and more.

What defines an organic product?

Canadian law requires all organic foods that cross interprovincial or international borders to be regulated under both the Food and Drug Regulations and Organic Product Regulations, and are subject to the enforcement by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Organic foods that are made and sold only within their province of origin are subject to federal truthful labelling laws and may be subject to provincial organic regulations.

What are the benefits of buying organic foods?

When you buy organic foods, you’re not only investing in your health, you’re also supporting environmentally sustainable practices and humane animal welfare.  Other benefits include:
  • Organic products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures, without persistent toxic chemical inputs
  • These foods are made without the use of GMOs, and many people find they actually taste better
  • Organic farming practices help maintain a clean water supply, as well as soil health and fertility
  • Organic farming can use 30-50% less energy, so going organic can reduce your carbon footprint and help fight climate change

Wondering what to look for?

When you shop for organic products at your local health food store, farmers market or grocery store, check for a few identifying factors to help make sure they’re truly organic.
source: chfa.ca

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Growing fatter on a GM diet

July 17, 2012 

Rats being fed genetically modified food eat more and grow fatter than those on a non-GM diet.

By: Arild S. Foss

Since genetically modified (GM) food started to appear in shops in the early nineties, large quantities have been sold for human consumption – without any harmful effects, as far as we know. But is there a risk of a long-term impact?

An international research project is exploring the effects of GM food, studying the impact on rats, mice, pig and salmon. The wide-ranging study includes researchers from Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey, Australia and Norway.

“We are trying to identify which indicators we need to measure in order to explore unintentional effects from GM food,” explains Professor Åshild Krogdahl of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science.

“The findings could give us some understanding of the potential effects for these animal species as well as for humans.”

Rats fattening up

As part of the project, a group of rats were fed corn which had been genetically modified for pest resistance. Over a period of 90 days they became slightly fatter than the control group of rats fed non-GM corn. The same effect occurred where rats were fed fish which, in turn, had eaten GM corn.

“If the same effect applies to humans, how would it impact on people eating this type of corn over a number of years, or even eating meat from animals feeding on this corn?”, he asks.

“I don’t wish to sound alarmist, but it is an interesting phenomenon and worth exploring further.”

Different microstructure

Examining the effects on salmon, the researchers found distinct differences between fish being fed GM food and those on a non-GM diet.

“These were not major changes; all were within a normal range and the fish appeared healthy,” says Krogdahl.

“But the ones who had fed on GM corn were slightly larger, they ate slightly more, their intestines had a different microstructure, they were less able to digest proteins, and there were some changes to their immune system. Blood samples also showed some change in the blood.”

Wide range of organs

These subtle changes were observed in a wide range of organs, including the digestive organs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands and reproductive organs.

Krogdahl points out that there’s nothing inherently unusual about physiological changes after food consumption, as this happens with non-GM food as well. The question is whether changes with a GM diet could be of a different category – potentially causing harm over the long term.

As well as examining salmon intestines after GM food consumption, the researchers also looked at the intestines of rats eating the salmon. The rats turned out to eat slightly more and grow faster than their GM-free counterparts, as well as being slighty affected in the immune system, but otherwise they seemed to thrive.

GM genes transferring into tissue

However, one important pro-GM argument has been disproved by the research.

“A frequent claim has been that new genes introduced in GM food are harmless since all genes are broken up in the intestines. But our findings show that genes can be transferred through the intestinal wall into the blood; they have been found in blood, muscle tissue and liver in sufficiently large segments to be identified,” Krogdahl explains.

“The biological impact of this gene transfer is unknown.”

Read the full story in Norwegian at forskning.no

source : sciencenordic.com

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Is This GMO Chemical Worse than DDT?

Dr. Don Huber is an expert in an area of science that relates to the toxicity of genetically engineered (GE) foods. (Alternative terms for GE foods include “GM” or “genetically modified,” and “GMO” or “genetically modified organism.”)
His specific areas of training include soil-borne diseases, microbial ecology, and host-parasite relationships.
Dr. Huber also taught plant pathology, soil microbiology, and micro-ecological interactions as they relate to plant disease as a staff Professor at Purdue University for 35 years.
In part one of this interview, Dr. Huber discussed the shocking discovery of a brand new organism in genetically engineered (GE) crops—an organism that has been clearly linked to infertility and miscarriage in cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, and poultry that are raised on GE feed.
In part one we began the discussion on the hazards of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, and its contribution to a new phenomenon referred to as “Sudden Death Syndrome” (SDS).
Here, we continue the discussion on glyphosate.
The “Biodegradable” Weed Killer that Wasn’t…
The public’s appreciation of the toxicity of glyphosate is rather limited. The fact that Monsanto marketed Roundup as “environmentally friendly” and “biodegradable” may have quite a bit to do with this general lack of insight. (In 2009, a French court upheld two earlier convictions against Monsanto for false advertising.)
Glyphosate is actually, in many ways, similar to DDT, which is known to cause reproductive problems, among other things.
“There are some similarities,” Dr. Huber says. “… I am familiar with DDT, and the fact that it’s a very difficult compound to degrade. It’s biologically degraded primarily by a process we call co-metabolism… [T]here are very few organisms that can utilize this as a direct nutrient source.
There are a few organisms that can utilize glyphosate as a direct nutrient source, but again, most of the degradation appears to be by co-metabolism. In other words, an organism just happens to produce the extracellular enzymes that will degrade it, rather than the organism really getting any benefit from it.”
Glyphosate Persists in Soil and Promotes Disease-Causing Pathogens
According to Dr. Huber, glyphosate can accumulate and persist in the soil for years. Persistence is determined by biological activity, soil PH, clay content, and how firmly it’s sequestered or absorbed in the soil. This is bad news, because glyphosate not only decimates the soil’s beneficial microorganisms, essential for proper plant function and high quality nutrition, it also promotes the proliferation of disease-causing pathogens.
“The organisms that are stimulated are the pathogens,” Dr. Huber says. “…all of the natural biological control organisms are very sensitive to that concentration of glyphosate. What we see with the fusaria, which causes sudden death syndrome in soybeans, is that it can be stimulated by glyphosate… so we find [up to] 500 percent increase in root colonization by this fungus. It’s a very serious pathogen, not only on soybeans. Fusaria on most of our crops is a major disease organism that we have to deal with.”
This 500 percent increase in root colonization of the fusaria fungus occurs even on Roundup-ready crops, because the technology does not ‘cancel out’ the effects of the glyphosate in the plant in any way.
“All it does is make it possible for that plant to survive and to accumulate more glyphosate. We still change the soil ecology, microbial ecology, and… our intestinal microbiology.”
To quickly recap what we discussed in part one of this interview, while glyphosate promotes the growth of more virulent pathogens, it also kills off beneficial bacteria that might keep such pathogens in check—both in the soil, and in the gut of animals or humans that ingest the crop.
“[W]ith glyphosate, we also see an additional stimulation of virulence, so we see increased ability to cause disease, as well as the loss of the natural biological controls,” Dr. Huber says.
It’s important to understand that the glyphosate actually becomes systemic throughout the plant, so it cannot be washed off. It’s inside the plant. And once you eat it, it ends up in your gut where it can wreak total havoc with your health, considering the fact that 80 percent of your immune system resides there and is dependent on a healthy ratio of good and bad bacteria.
Glyphosate—The Most Abused Chemical in the History of Man
Interestingly enough, when asked which toxin he would prefer to use if he had to make a choice between two evils, Dr. Huber says he’d take DDT over glyphosate any day.

“A lot of these materials can have a very beneficial use. I’m certainly not anti-chemical. But we have to use some common sense. What we have with glyphosate is the most abused chemical we have ever had in the history of man,” he says.

“… When future historians write about our time, they’re not going to write about the tons of chemicals that we did or didn’t apply. When it comes to glyphosate, they’re going to write about our willingness to sacrifice our children and jeopardize our existence, while threatening and jeopardizing the very basis of our existence; the sustainability of our agriculture… It doesn’t mean that it’s not reversible… But it means that we need to recognize what the concerns are, what’s happening, and then we need to change.”

According to Dr. Huber, we’re now seeing the results of a massive experiment based on flawed science and failed promises. We jumped in without the basic understanding of what these products do, and this was done just to support the bottom line of a few large companies, such as Monsanto. That’s madness!
Assumptions, Presumptions, and Flawed Science—All Potentially Deadly
As explained in part one of this interview, glyphosate is a strong chelator, meaning it immobilizes critical micronutrients, rendering them unavailable to the plant. As a result, the nutritional efficiency of genetically engineered (GE) plants is profoundly compromised. Micronutrients such as iron, manganese and zinc can be reduced by as much as 80-90 percent in GE plants.
Didn’t anyone know this could happen? Part of the problem goes back to the fact that Monsanto’s scientists were really only looking for a mechanism that would kill weeds. That’s what happens when you assume and refuse to double-check your assumptions…
“As I read some of the early documents, it stated that it ‘inhibits the EPSPs enzyme. Actual herbicide mode of action unknown.’” Dr. Huber says. “In 1984, it was very well-documented that the way it kills weeds and plants is by compromising the defense mechanisms, making them very susceptible to these soil borne organisms…  It’s a debilitating type of situation, more like AIDS than a direct killer…
Also, since humans and animals don’t have the shikimate pathway, it was assumed that this is a pathway that exists only in plants and microorganisms. Therefore, it’s going to be safe for us. It was also assumed that the foreign proteins – whether it’s BT; the protein from glyphosate; that new EPSPs gene from the Agrobacterium – would readily be degraded in the gut…  It’s a flawed science.”

The Unfulfilled Promises of Genetically Engineered Crops

The situation is equally disturbing with respects to the genetic engineering of the crop itself. Many experts have admitted that we really do not yet understand genetics enough to dabble in this way and release it into the wild. Because what we do know is that when you insert a foreign gene, you alter not just one feature—you’re altering multiple things, and you can end up with some highly unpredictable and unforeseeable results.

Most of the biotech industry’s promises have turned out to be false with respect to genetically engineered (GE) foods. For example:

  • GE crops are supposed to be more drought resistant, but the opposite turns out to be true. Says Dr. Huber:
    “It takes twice as much water to produce a pound of a Roundup-ready crop soybean plant treated with glyphosate, as it does with soybean plant that’s not treated with glyphosate.”
  • GE crops are supposed to be nutritionally “better” or at the very least “equivalent” to conventional foods, but they’re not. On the contrary, they’re nutritionally inferior due to glyphosate’s chelating mechanism, which blocks absorption of micronutrients. GE crops contain about 50 percent less manganese, and up to 70 percent less zinc. They also contain less copper, iron and magnesium, just to name a few. This affects the overall health of the plant, and its reproductive ability; when you eat this nutritionally inferior food, you’re not getting the micronutrients your body needs for proper function either. All animal products are similarly affected when raised on GE soy or corn feed.
Has it Gone Too Far, or is There Still Time to Turn it All Around?
Glyphosate was first introduced as a weed killer in 1974, prior to the introduction of genetically modified crops. According to Dr. Huber, it has been so overused for the past 30 years that many essential soil organisms have been eradicated.
“Typically… when we would apply an herbicide, we would tell our growers, ‘You rotate the chemistry, just like you rotate the crop.’ Therefore, when you had an effect on a specific group of organisms, you have an opportunity for nature to rebalance and to reestablish that beneficial and functional relationship. We haven’t done that with glyphosate. We just continually hammered for 30 years in one direction on those beneficial organisms… They no longer exist in the environment! We see that we have to start adding them now in order to increase crop productivity and nutritional value.
Dr. Huber has spent about 20 years researching how to remediate the damage caused by glyphosate. Fortunately, Dr. Huber believes we can turn it all around, but we MUST make changes. We cannot keep going the way we are.

“We have to start looking now at mineral supplementations and seed treatments,” Dr. Huber says, “because our soil biology isn’t going to provide it. The whole system has changed. If we want to change it for the better, we have to recognize what that change is and be willing to change again to compensate or to rectify.”

If we continue in the same direction, dousing our crops with ever increasing amounts of glyphosate, we will soon start seeing the same effect on human health as Dr. Huber is seeing in plants and animals. In fact, we may already be seeing the effects of the genetically engineered diet.
“… [W]e’re just starting to see the impact on reproductive fertility,” he says. “Also the disease potential… You can hardly pick up the paper anymore without seeing that a human disease is involved… We had to recall 20 percent of our total egg production here last year or early this year because of salmonella.
You have to say, ‘What’s changed?’
The newspaper said that when they looked at the egg-producing facilities ‘they had chicken manure and they had rodent droppings.’ … I have never seen a chicken coop that didn’t have chicken drop. They have manure. Any time you have feed, even with three or four cats around and whatnot, you’re going to have some rodents. That’s NOT the reason.”
Glyphosate May Play a Key Role in Deteriorating Food Safety
Dr. Huber goes on to discuss a German paper that shows certain pathogens such as E. coli and some others have a high tolerance for glyphosate compared to their natural biological controls. What this means is that it may not be the presence or absence of pathogens per se that determines the safety of our food supply, but rather the presence or absence of the natural control organisms, which are effectively destroyed by glyphosate.
“Salmonella, Clostridium, and a lot of these disease organisms are ubiquitous. They’re everywhere. Our health is dependent on keeping them in check,” Dr. Huber warns.
This is truly important in light of the ongoing war against organically-grown foods, which are often targeted first when there’s an outbreak of foodborne illness. If we can educate those in charge about this, then they would perhaps begin to understand why organic foods are FAR LESS inclined to be the culprit, because the beneficial soil bacteria present in organically farmed lands—as they do not use glyphosate or other chemicals on their fields—actually hinders pathogens in and on the food from multiplying out of control.

“If we’re eliminating that check, either through residues in our food or through direct impact in our environment, we’re going to continue to see what we’re seeing today. Look at Alzheimer’s, thyroid problems, autism, Parkinson’s – any of those diseases that have a tie with either the endocrine system or the nutrient availability—we’re going to see those increase.”
Are Genetically Engineered Foods Affecting Your Mood and Behavior?
Dr. Huber recently spent some time in Australia, where he had the opportunity to review an ongoing study into genetically engineered foods.
“It’s a continuation of a study that was conducted in Iowa with pigs and cattle. The [Australians] are doing it with mice so that they can define what the toxins are… They’re using these one or two-pound, big, white rats that some people call pet rats… You can reach in to the non-GMO-fed rat cage and pull one out. Put it on your lap and it can be patted just like a cat.
But try and reach in to the cage where the rats are being fed the genetically engineered feed. Here they have limited it to one [rat per cage]. The rats are irritated. They don’t get along together. They always go off into their own little world. They do backflips. They crawl up and run around the cage. They can’t get any peace; can’t settle down.  That is very typical of what you’d see with autism. Then you start looking and say, ‘Well, are there any other similarities?’”
Dr. Huber also recently met with a doctor in Germany who specializes in working with autistic children. Interestingly, there appear to be many correlations between the rats fed genetically-modified feed and autistic children.
“[When] you look at the stomachs of the GMO-fed [animals], they have all of the severe allergy responses, the inflammation and the reddening… When they looked at the intestine, they said that the intestinal lining is deteriorating… The smell of the intestinal contents is very rank. The biology has been drastically changed.
This [German] doctor said, ‘That’s exactly what we’re seeing with our children with autism.’
We need more research, but certainly, the indicators are there. The research up until very recently hasn’t been done, and those who wanted to do it have been prohibited from publishing, or from doing that research. We see those that have dared to come out and raised some concerns have been very severely impacted professionally, as well as in their own personal lives, in that persecution that they’ve had to endure.
We’ve got to change.
We’ve got to recognize that what we have now isn’t normal. We got to get back to safe, sufficient, and sustainable production and health for our agriculture community, if we’re going to be healthy in that process also.”

source: care2.com

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Consumer groups demand GMO labeling, question food safety

Tue Mar 27, 2012

(Reuters) – Critics of genetically modified crops are making new demands for government mandated labeling to identify foods on grocer shelves that contain ingredients from transgenic corn, soybeans and other crops.

Labeling drives are underway on both state and federal levels, and on Tuesday several U.S. consumer groups released a survey and results of a petition drive that they say shows overwhelming consumer support for labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO).

“People believe they have a right to know what goes into their bodies,” said Mark Mellman, a public opinion pollster and consultant.

The Mellman Group survey released Tuesday said based on a polling of 1,000 voters last month, about 91 percent support labeling of GMO foods while 5 percent oppose such a move. Support was nearly equal among Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

The survey was commissioned by a group called “Just Label It” that includes organic farming groups, along with representatives from the medical and retail industries and some faith-based groups. Similar surveys issued recently have also shown widespread support for labeling as consumers express increasing concern about overall food safety.

The Just Label It group, which filed its petition with the Food & Drug Administration on October 12, 2011, claims to have more than 1 million signers.

Tuesday marks the end of the 180-day comment period that precedes a formal FDA response. Petitioners say that the petition process allows them to pursue “judicial review” if FDA fails to act.

“Should it be denied the next step we would consider would be litigation,” said environmental attorney Andrew Kimbrell who wrote the petition.

“The GMO issue is finally getting traction in the U.S., in the form of an overwhelming preference for labeling among consumers across the political spectrum,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit public health and environment advocacy organization.

FDA declined to discuss the labeling petition, saying that it would respond directly to the petitioner. But a spokeswoman did say that FDA’s position on labeling of genetically modified foods is rooted in the premise that there is no “material difference” in foods containing ingredients from genetically modified crops and foods made from conventional crops.

“Companies are welcome to label their products on a voluntary basis as long as it’s truthful and not misleading, and it doesn’t imply that it’s somehow better than the conventional counterpart,” said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman.

Alongside the national push, the GMO labeling debate is also active in California, where a grassroots coalition of consumer, public health and environmental organizations has submitted what it calls the “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act” to the state Attorney General.

Backers of the measure must obtain more than 500,000 signatures by April 22 to get it on the November ballot. They say that in addition to giving consumers information about what they are eating, labeling would also allow health professionals to track potential adverse health impacts of GMO foods.

The question of safety is separate, though related, from the issue of labeling, according to Mellman.

“Calories aren’t unsafe… but people want to know what they’re ingesting,” he said.

A recent study by the Grocery Manufacturers Association said about 80 percent of packaged foods contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Leading biotech crop developer Monsanto Co. and other agricultural biotech seed companies are opposed to labeling, saying it misleads consumers and there is no safety concern with GMOs.

As well, opponents of labeling say mandatory labeling would be costly, increasing food prices for consumers, cost taxpayers for enforcement, and trigger costly litigation.

More than 40 countries have some requirements for labeling of genetically engineered foods, with Europe a prominent leader in mistrust of genetic alterations to crops.

(Reporting By Carey Gillam in Kansas City; additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov in Washington; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

source: Reuters.com

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Walmart to Sell Monsanto GMO Corn This Summer

  • February 25, 2012

  • By Margaret Badore for DietsInReview.com

    Walmart is set to sell a new form of genetically-engineered (GE) sweet corn as early as this summer. Monsanto’s Bt sweet corn contains three GE traits that have never before been consumed directly by humans, and have not been subjected to thorough safety testing. There will be no labeling whatsoever indicating that the corn is a genetically modified organism.

    Most GE corn is not fit for human consumption unless it is heavily processed into products like high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, or corn oil. This means that consumers can avoid consuming GE corn simply by choosing not to eat processed foods with corn-derived ingredients. However, Monstanto’s Bt sweet corn will be sold to consumers as whole ears on the cob and will be found in the produce section.

    The “Bt” means that the corn contain Bt toxin, which originates in the bodies of poisonous caterpillars. In nature, the toxin prevents predators from eating caterpillars before they can mature into moth or butterflies. Monsanto’s corn has been modified to produce this toxin, which means it makes its own pesticide, rupturing the stomachs of the insects that eat it. It is unknown what effect consuming a plant that produces this toxin will have on humans, however lab rats that fed the Bt corn suffer from organ failure.

    A number of grocery stores have already committed to keeping the GE corn off their shelves, including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. General Mills has also agreed to not use the new corn in their products. A number of petitions have been started urging Walmart to drop or label the corn as genetically modified. The hope is that if Walmart refuses to sell the Bt sweet corn, other food retailers will follow suit. However, such activists will have a tough fight, since it is well known that Walmart has close ties with Monstanto.

    source: care2.com

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    A couple of weeks ago, I was tested for allergies. Other than a mild reaction to wheat, I was not allergic to anything else. The allergist told me that my slight wheat allergy was really nothing to worry about and that I could continue eating anything and everything.

    OK … but, this started me thinking … “What is in my diet that has wheat?”

    It turns out – quite a bit. From the cereal at breakfast, to the sandwich at lunch, to the pasta at dinner time, to my favourite healthy muffins … wheat is pretty much all over the place

    For a long time now, I had tried to ensure I stick to whole grains and whole wheat products (bread, crackers, pasta) as much as possible instead of regular white bread or regular pasta. However, after this visit to the doctor’s, I became a little more aware of wheat in my diet.

    Then I came across this article, that spoke of how, over the years, even the seeds used in the production of our wheat had been genetically modified. The article also spoke about how today’s wheat products will often make us fatter.

    ACK! While I heard of genetically modified foods becoming more of a problem in our diets recently, this article really struck a chord with me. When I look at all the foods in our diets that contain wheat … well, it is everywhere.

    Then I asked myself … “Would it be possible to live without wheat?”

    The answer is of course yes … if I really had to. Currently, wheat is a major source of calories in my life, but over time, I certainly could shift towards a wheat – free diet.

    In the short term, I hope to MINIMIZE my consumption of wheat products. I will gradually replace foods, one by one, with what I hope to be healthy substitutes. I know there will be times (especially in the first while) where I will likely compromise … but in the bigger picture, I hope to reduce my overall wheat consumption substantially.

    This recent goal has also pushed me to examine how balanced my meals are. Am I eating enough protein with most meals? Are there too many carbohydrates in my diet? Am I getting my share of fruits and vegetables? I hope to research this soon, and share what I learn with you.

    My journey toward a healthier lifestyle continues …
    thanks for coming along for the ride!
    : )

    Pete Szekely