Sunday, February 20, 2011

You Are What You Eat - Go GMO Free!

I consider myself to be relatively well informed about food and nutrition. But until recently, I actually knew almost nothing about Genetically Modified (GM) food. I knew that it is good to avoid Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's), and that they are potentially damaging to health. But I didn't know what foods are GM, or about the risks associated with consuming them.

In January, I received training in giving presentations about GMO's. Now that I understand the risks, I'm horrified that developing, producing, and consuming GMO's is permitted, even actively encouraged by our government.

I tell you now that this posting is long. This subject is both complex and critically important (for your health and more . . .) And I only get to the tip of the iceberg here. If you're not able to read this full posting now, please definitely read the next segment. And return later.

Where to Go to Learn More

For those of you who don't have time to read this whole posting now, I've included information about resources here.

I learned essentially everything that I know about GMO's from resources accessed through the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT). IRT was started by Jeffrey Smith, considered the world's authority on GMO's.

Tons of information is available through IRT's website.
Excellent Books (Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, and Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey Smith)
Videos and Audios, both online and DVD/CD
Non-GMO Shopping Guides and Health Risks brochures. The Shopping Guide helps you know what to avoid when shopping, and lists manufacturers who purposely use non-GM ingrediets.

Have Hope - We CAN Do Something - Tipping Point

Before going further, I want to tell you that there is hope. What YOU Do Makes a Difference!

It is possible for us to stop the ongoing release of GMO's into the environment! It takes everyday people, like you and me, educating ourselves and making non-GMO food choices. Then the food manufacturing companies will lose their profits, and they will change to non-GMO sources for their ingredients to get their customers back.

The way we spend our food dollars has an impact. It is estimated that 5% of the U.S. population changing to non-GMO brands will get us to what is being called the Tipping Point. Hey Canadians, we're part of the equation too.

What Is Genetic Engineering?

Are you wondering what all this is about? To make a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), genes for a desirable trait from one organism are inserted into another organism. For example:

Plants Making Pesticides. Bt toxin is a substance produced by soil bacteria. It is traditionally used as a 'natural' pesticide. Biotechnology companies isolate the bacterial gene (DNA) that codes for Bt toxin, and they put it into the DNA of corn plants, for example. When the corn grows, Bt toxin is made inside each cell of the plant. When pests, like the corn borer, eat the plant, the Bt toxin kills them.
(Apparently, Bt splits open the pest's digestive system. Is the prevalence of Bt from GMO's in our food supply contributing to the increases in digestive problems? Noone knows. Because noone is studying this.)

Herbicide Tolerance is another common type of genetic modification. Tolerance to Monsanto's Roundup is the most common. A very large percentage of the soy grown, and much of the corn is Roundup Ready. When pesticide is applied, weeds die and the plant survives.

Other Qualities. Other modifications are made to provide particular desirable qualities. Like Hawaiian papayas and zucchini with protection from viruses, or tomatoes with extra long shelf life. (Flavr Savr tomatoes are no longer being sold.)

The Role of Government

People naturally assume that if a product is available for consumption, then it must be safe. We have government agencies whose purpose is to test products for safety, right? Well, I agree with that in theory.

In today's real world, the U.S. Government's official policy is promoting biotechnology. The U.S.'s food regulating agency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appears to cooperate with corporate giants (like Monsanto) to promote biotechnology and the development and sale of Genetically Engineered foods.

The corporations and the FDA consider GM foods to be "substantially equivalent" to non-GM foods. Because they are considered to be the same, no safety studies are required.

Far less safety testing is conducted for GM foods than for pharmaceutical drugs. In fact, there are still no studies required when reactions occur that are suspected to be related to consumption of GM foods.

Many FDA scientists disagreed with this policy.

This FDA policy was made against the advice of FDA's own scientists, who recommended that long term safety studies be conducted. They said there could be unexpected side effects, including allergens, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems.

Noone Knows

Because no studies are conducted, we can only theorize how GMO's may contribute to human health problems. Plus, a lot (LOT!) of GM crops are used for feeding livestock. These animals produce foods like milk and eggs, or are themselves eventually consumed as meat. We do not know for certain how GMO's impact either the animals' health, or the quality and safety of the foods coming from them.

What do you think about the fact that no safety studies are required?

Preliminary Results Show Potential Health Risks

In what is probably the most in depth study conducted, rats were fed potatoes that were genetically modified to produce an insecticide. Here are preliminary results from this study. The rats developed potentially precancerous cell growth in the digestive tract, smaller brains, livers and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver and damaged immune systems. This was intended to be a long term study, but the scientist was fired, and his lab was closed, ending the study.

Other preliminary study results show potential risks of a variety of other difficulties, including allergies and reproductive difficulties.

Are GMO's Contributing to Our Health Problems?

Without results from well designed and conducted studies, we don't know. We DO know that problems with cancer, reproductive difficulties, allergies, digestive difficulties, immune system issues, and a wide variety of other health challenges have been increasing. Certainly a variety of food and lifestyle factors contribute to these trends, so this can't all be attributed to GMO's.

Since they were first released in 1996, the presence of GMO's in our food supply has been increasing. It is reasonable to assume that they may be contributing to health problems.

Antibiotic Resistance. Frequently, the process of genetically engineering plants uses genes for antibiotic resistance. (See details about this below.) Aside from any risks or benefits coming from the 'desirable' traits which are conveyed to the plants, what about the risks resulting from the proliferation of genes for antibiotic resistance? Is this contributing to the increasing problems we're having with antibiotic resistant bacteria? Again, noone knows, because this is not studied.

Scientists should study each of these risks!

What Happens When Plants are Genetically Engineered?

The following description of the genetic engineering process is greatly simplified. But it is sufficient to provide you with a general sense of what happens.

The gene (DNA) for a 'desirable' trait (isolated from a source bacteria, plant, animal, etc.) is prepared for insertion into a target plant, such as soy. (Animals and other types of organisms are also targets for genetic engineering, but for now, our focus is plants.) Usually a gene for antibiotic resistance is also added. In the most common insertion method, the new gene fragment is shot (using a gun) into a plate of plant cells. Antibiotics are dumped in. Any cells that manage to survive are antibiotic resistant, and therefore have the inserted gene. These are then cloned into full plants.

"Massive Collateral Damage"

The biotechnology industry claims that this is a technologically precise process. But they have no way of either knowing or controlling what happens. The process is random, a genetic roulette, and nothing about it is certain.

The process of creating a GMO results in massive collateral damage in the plant. There can be multiple copies of the inserted DNA fragment, existing genes within the plant can be turned off completely, or they can be turned on continuously, . . . The potential problems resulting from mutations are endless.

DNA Compared to a Book

In the book Genetic Roulette, Jeffrey Smith compares DNA to a book. The comparison makes it terrifyingly clear what can happen during genetic engineering.

The four bases that make up the genetic sequence are the letters in the book; the genes are special pages that describe characters called proteins. The common way people explain and promote genetic engineering is to say, "It is just like taking a page out of one book and putting it into another."

In reality, a book would look quite different after it had undergone genetic engineering. The inserted page (gene) may turn out to be multiple identical pages, partial pages, or small bits of text. Sections of the insert are misspelled, deleted, inverted, or scrambled. Next to the inserts, the story is often indecipherable, with random letters, new text, and pages missing. The rest of the book has also changed. There are now typos throughout, sometimes hundreds or thousands of them. Letters are switched, words are scrambled, and sentences are deleted, repeated, or reversed. Passages from one part of the book, even whole chapters (chromosomes), may be relocated or repeated elsewhere, and bits of text from entirely different books can show up from time to time. Many of the characters in the story (proteins) now act differently. Some minor roles have become prominent, leads have been demoted and some may have switched roles from hero to villain or vice versa. And, if you get bored with this story, take the original book, insert another page - even the same one - and the changes will be completely different. Or stick with the original book and over time, it might actually rearrange the inserted page.

Scientists Don't Understand How Life Works

Living beings and the functions of their bodies are extraordinarily complex. Scientists understand only a minute percentage of the events that occur.

Each naturally occurring organism on the planet developed over time, with every aspect of its functioning finely tuned. Functions are turned on and off as needed, all carefully regulated by the organism's brain, nervous system, or whatever other guiding force controls everything. It's truly miraculous. And scientists just don't understand it all, it's far too complex.

Biotechnology companies shoot DNA fragments into the genome and expect that the organism can continue to function normally, with the only alteration being making one new and desirable protein? Dream on.

If you scramble a book in the manner described above, it can no longer be read properly. Well, that's what potentially happens to the DNA, to the organism as a whole each time a plant or animal is subjected to genetic engineering. It is unreasonable to expect these organisms to consistently function normally.

One DVD that I ordered from the Institute for Responsible Technology shows deformed and suffering animals (like pigs) that were genetically engineered. It's horrendous. (The video referred to is Unnatural Selection, part of the GMO Trilogy.)

One day, will human beings suffer these sorts of horrors? Because of some 'mistake' inadvertently created by the biotech industry?

What Foods are Genetically Engineered?

Soy, Corn, Cottonseed, Canola. The main crops are Soy, Corn, Cotton (cottonseed for oil), and Canola. All are in vegetable oil. Most packaged foods contain soy and corn in multiple forms (many of which are hidden under non-obvious names). Sugar from Sugar Beets is commonly GM. As are most Papaya from Hawaii, some Zucchini and Crookneck Squash, and Quest Tobacco. (GM Tomatoes and Potatoes were both released, but are no longer sold.)

A lot of GM crops are fed to livestock. Corn and soy in particular. GM free meat, dairy, eggs, and farmed fish can therefore be difficult to find. Plus, GM Alfalfa was very recently approved by the Obama administration. This will have a huge impact on farmers, livestock animals, and the foods coming from them.

There has also been talk of approving GM Salmon. I don't think it's smart to release GMO's into the ocean. Do you?

How Do You Avoid GMO's

* Eat organic, if you can. Organic foods are not supposed to be GM or contain GM ingredients. Though there are not yet standardized guidelines, you're still safer eating organic.
* Read labels.
* Avoid Soy, Corn, Cottonseed and Canola, including hidden forms of soy and corn, and 'vegetable oil'. If sugar does not specify that it is just cane sugar, then it probably contains sugar beet, which may be GM.
The other crops are minor, though still worthwhile avoiding. Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and crookneck squash
* When eating in restaurants ask if their food is GMO-free. Avoid obvious soy and corn. Ask what kind of oil the food is cooked in. 'Vegetable oil' will almost certainly be GM. Request olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, or no oil.

GMO Presentations

You, your family, your friends - everyone - can learn how to protect yourselves from the health imbalances that GM foods may be contributing to.

I give presentations near where I live in the British Columbia Okanangan Valley, and in Washington's Olympia/Seattle area. If you are interested in attending an event in these areas, please contact me for information.

I will be in the Olympia area in late March and early April. I am available to give presentations during that time.

Are you interested in organizing a presentation about Genetically Modified Foods? At this time, I am speaking in locations that are within an hour or two of where I live in Penticton, British Columbia, and of Olympia, Washington. However, I may extend my reach to more distant locations in the future.

There are trained presenters throughout North America, and even the world. If you are interested in attending or organizing a GMO presentation, contact the Institute for Responsible Technology.
Send an e-mail requesting information about events and presenters.

Where to Go to Learn More

I learned essentially everything that I know about GMO's from resources accessed through the Institute for Responsible Technology.
IRT was started by Jeffrey Smith, considered the world's authority on GMO's.

Tons of information is available through IRT's website.
Excellent Books (Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, and Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey Smith)
Videos and Audios, both online and DVD/CD
Non-GMO Shopping Guides and Health Risks brochures. The Shopping Guide helps you know what to avoid when shopping, and lists manufacturers who purposely use non-GM ingrediets.

You Are What You Eat! Choose Real Food for Health!


Sandra Lynn Lee
Certified Practitioner - The Emotion Code/The Body Code
Certified Healing Codes Practitioner
Miracle Inspirations
Everything in this newsletter is the opinion of the author and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. When information is drawn from outside sources, both credit and access to the source are given, when available.
Copyright 2011 Miracle Inspirations. All rights reserved.

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