Health News
The Slimming Benefits of Oat Bran PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Sunday, December 02, 2012


Oat Bran2A bowl of hot oatmeal on a chilly morning has been a comfort staple breakfast for generations, and most people know that oats are a “heart healthy” cholesterol-lowering food. However, the most virtuous and versatile component of the oat resides in its outer layer—the bran.  The bran contains a high content of a unique type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which bestows some remarkable health properties, and is incredibly beneficial for weight loss.

Technically, oat bran is not a whole grain (since it's actually only one part of the oat grain). But because of its exceptionally high fiber content, it can be considered a whole grain. A bowl of oat bran contains about 50% more fiber than the same size bowl of oatmeal, making it more effective at lowering cholesterol and in its weight loss properties. And because it is mostly fiber, oat bran has less calories than the same amount of oatmeal.  A three-quarter-cup serving of cooked oat bran contains only 66 calories, compared to 124 calories in the same amount of cooked oatmeal.  Oat bran also has more antioxidants, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, phosphorus, riboflavin, magnesium, and zinc than oatmeal.

Aside from fewer calories, there are two other combined properties that make oat bran a powerfully slimming food.  First, because of it high fiber content, oat bran satiates you.  As soon as you ingest it, the fiber in oat bran soaks up saliva and then expands in the stomach absorbing up to 25 times its volume in liquid, making you feel quite full, quite fast.  It provides a prolonged feeling of fullness, so you eat less in between meals. 

The second way that oat bran helps with weight loss is more biologically unique.  It’s called intestinal caloric loss.   In other words, oat bran blocks the absorption of calories from the intestine.  Here’s how it works: when you eat food, it is broken down into it’s individual components of fatty acids, carbohydrate (glucose) and amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).  The calories from these components are then absorbed into the body.  But when you eat oat bran, it mixes with water in your intestine to produce a gel-like substance called bolus.  The bolus absorbs some of the breakdown products, and then it is attacked by gastric juices and stomach acids that turn it into a pulp.  This pulp becomes part of the stool, and thereby carries the calorie-dense components of fats, glucose, and amino acids out of the body through the stool.  This process both slows down the assimilation of sugar (glucose) and removes calories from the body while keeping your blood sugar levels low and stable. 

One key to make this action more effective is to reduce or eliminate other grains in the diet, especially wheat, and put oat bran in their place.

So how do you eat it? Here are some ideas:

  • Oat bran can be cooked as a hot cereal by mixing 1 part oat bran to two parts water and cooking it the same as you would cook oatmeal
  • Add a tablespoon or two to your yogurt, cottage cheese or a smoothie
  • Add it to an omelet
  • Bread meat, poultry, or eggplant with it
  • Sprinkle it on salad
  • Use it in place of bread crumbs when making meatloaf, meatballs and burgers
  • Mix it in a soup or stew
  • Make flourless muffins and pancakes with it

 

bobsredmilloatbranOat bran is available in the cereal or bulk section of major grocery stores and natural food stores. Since oat bran contains a small amount of naturally-occurring fat, it is susceptible to going rancid. Look for products in well-sealed packaging.  Quaker Oats sells it in a 1-pound box that you will find in the hot cereal section of most grocery chains. Bob’s Red Mill also sells it in a 1-pound clear plastic package. If you're buying from a bulk bin, buy from a store that has a high product turnover, and be sure the product is free from any moisture (visible as clumps) and has a faint nutty smell.

 Due to its susceptibility to going rancid, store oat bran in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place.  To prolong the shelf life of oat bran, store it in the freezer in a tightly sealed container.  You can cook with oat bran directly out of the freezer in recipes or on its own - no thawing required.

 

 
Milk Thistle for Liver Support and Weight Loss PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

milk thistleIn addition to being the body’s main detoxifying organ, the liver is also the body’s main fat-bruning organ.  When the liver becomes sluggish from accumulation of toxins from foods, beverages, medications, skin care products, hair products, and environmental pollution, it becomes less efficient in its fat burning role and begins to store fat instead.  Milk Thistle is an herb that can help cleanse and support the liver to restore its ability to burn fat efficiently.

Milk thistle is native to regions of the Mediterranean and has been used for over 2,000 years for its liver healing properties. More than 300 studies have now shown that its active ingredient, silymarin, can protect liver cells from the poisonous effects of alcohol and other toxic chemicals. It inhibits free radical formation and boosts glutathione levels in the liver by over 33 percent.

The active ingredient in milk thistle is an antioxidant flavonoid compound called Silymarin, which  has three components: silybin, silychristin and silydianin.  Several studies have proven that milk thistle can actually regenerate liver cells that have been damaged by cirrhosis and infectious hepatitis. It is incredibly antifungal and has been used as an antidote to poisoning by the deathcap mushroom. It is even being studied as a way to slow the growth of prostate cancer. 

 Milk thistle has been shown to protect liver cells in the following ways:

  • Silymarin has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from damage caused by a chemical process called oxidation.

  • Silymarin has anti-inflammatory effects, which keeps liver cells from swelling in response to injury.

  • Silymarin seems to encourage liver cell growth. By changing the outside layer of liver cells, it prevents certain toxins from getting into liver cells.

Other purported uses for milk thistle include the treatment of heartburn, loss of appetite, symptoms of gallbladder disorders, diabetes, increasing breast milk flow, inducing menstrual flow and even hangovers.

Researchers have found that Milk thistle is not well absorbed into the body as a brewed tea because the silymarin is not water soluble. It must be extracted using alcohol, therefore it is best consumed in extract form, either as a dried powder in capsules or in tincture form. Adding the tincture to a cup of warm water makes a more effective tea.


Dosage Recommendations

The suggested dose of milk thistle from the Physicians Desk Reference is generally 200 to 400 mg of silymarin per day.
 

Side Effects

Very few side effects if any have been associated with milk thistle. Milk thistle is considered safe when you follow the recommended dosage.  If you are pregnant, consult with your doctor before taking milk thistle.

 
First Ever Long-Term Study of GMO Corn Shows Strong Link To Breast Cancer, Liver Cancer, and Premature Death in Rats PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Sunday, September 30, 2012

This past week I read the full text of a new groundbreaking study on GMO’s. It simultaneously sunk my heart and sparked me up.  For the first time since the early 1990’s when GMO’s were introduced into our food supply, we have definitive proof that GMO’s pose a serious and fatal health threat.   Eating GMO corn and the herbicide Roundup at levels currently considered "safe" can cause cancerous breast tumors and multiple organ damage (liver and kidney) and can also lead to premature death in laboratory animals.

The study, led by molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France, was published this month in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.  After reading this article, you may also want to view this short video that was filmed during the study to help you get the full impact of the significance of its findings.· Click on the image above to view it. 

GMO cornMonsanto’s GMO corn, called NK603, has been engineered to be resistant to Roundup.  This allows farmers to douse fields with massive amounts of Roundup without worrying about killing the corn.  No long-term studies have ever been conducted to determine whether it would kill animals or humans.  Many researchers have previously warned that the GMO corn, sprayed with Roundup or not, is unsafe to eat, and this new study shows they’ve been right all along.  In the groups exposed to the GMO’s and Roundup, both separately and combined, there was a 600 percent increase—or six times more deaths—compared to the control group!

The problem here for all of us is that GMO corn is used to make literally hundreds of foods and food additives.  It shows up in 70 percent of processed or packaged food in U.S. grocery stores.  Some of the common sources of GMO corn are: ascorbic acid, Aspartame, Nutrasweet, baking powder, citric acid, cornstarch, modified food starch, erythritol, xylitol, fructose (any form), maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate,  xanthan gum, and the endless number of corn products such as breakfast cereals, tortilla chips, popcorn, corn tortillas, corn flour, corn masa, corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, and corn syrup, just to name a few.

The results of this study make it even more imperative to avoid GMO sources of corn by consuming only organic corn products.  By USDA law, organic crops cannot come from GMO seeds.  Eating a processed-free diet also makes it easier to avoid GMO's. And just to let you know, all of the ingredients in Dee’s Naturals products are non-GMO, including the baking powder.  Most baking powders contain cornstarch, and since there are no GMO labeling laws in the United States, we have no way of knowing if the corn used to make the cornstarch was from GMO corn.  If you want a non-GMO baking powder to use in your home baking, Bob’s Red Mill is a trusted brand.

Now, back to the study.  There were several significant and unique aspects of this study that set it apart from all other research on GMO’s to date:

  • It is the only independent study ever conducted on GMO’s, so there were no conflicts of interest.  This research was conducted by a non-governmental organization in France.  All previous studies have been carried out by Monsanto, the huge agri-giant corporation which owns the patent on the GMO seeds and on the weedkiller Roundup.
  • It is the only long-term animal feeding trial, conducted over two years (the average lifespan of a rat.)  Previously, industry-funded studies have determined that GMO crops are safe to eat, but they were much shorter term, consisting only of 90-day feeding trials.  Opponents of GMO foods have criticized earlier research for being so short-term that it misses any chronic health problems that would be caused from ingesting GMO food long-term.  This new research is significant because it found that even consuming low levels of GMO corn and Roundup, separately or combined, can cause serious health problems in rats that only became apparent after they were older than 90 days. The first tumor was observed after 120 days, but the majority were only detected after 18 months. This would be equivalent to 13-22 years of age in a human eating GMO food and Roundup sprayed food since birth. So far we have not gotten this far along in our unintentional “human large scale experiment.”  This fact alone is what sunk my heart.

  • They used the actual formulation of Roundup that is sprayed on GMO crops. All other research has only studied the effect of the active ingredient in Roundup called glyphosate. In those studies, according to Monsanto, glyphosate alone is not harmful.  However, it is important to note that glyphosate is only able to efficiently penetrate target plant organisms with the help of other compounds present in the Roundup formulations.  When Roundup residues are found in tap water, food, or animal feed, they are from the total Roundup formulation, which is the most commonly used mixture in agriculture. So these researchers used the actual Roundup formulation available on the market, not just glyphosate, so that their study would mimic what people actually get in their food or what has been found in tap water, to study its health effects.

  • They studied the effect of consuming GMO corn alone, GMO corn sprayed with Roundup, and Roundup alone.  No other studies have been this extensive in determining the singular and synergistic effects of GMO corn and Roundup.

Here’s a summary of how the study was conducted (click here to read the study in its entirety):

The Rats:

  • The study was carried out using 200 rats fed a standard balanced diet. They were divided into ten groups, each containing ten males and ten females.
  • One group (the control group) was fed a diet containing 33% of non-GMO corn and plain drinking water.
  • Three groups tested the effect of GMO corn alone. Each group had a different proportion of GMO corn in their feed starting at 11%, then 22% and finally 33% of their total diet.
  • Three groups tested the effect of GMO corn which had been sprayed with Roundup in the field at the same proportions of 11%, 22 % and 33% of their total diet.
  • Three groups were fed the same diet as the control group (33% non-GMO corn) but were given Roundup in their drinking water in order to test for Roundup alone.  The Roundup was administered at three different concentrations with one control group:
    • The lowest level contained 1.1 x 10-8 % of Roundup, an amount that corresponds to typical contamination found in some tap water (according to the study authors).
    • The intermediate level contained .09%, which is half of the US MRL (maximum residue limit) of glyphosate permitted in GMO animal feed.
    • The highest level was .5%, which is half of the strength of Roundup when diluted for use in agriculture.

ratswithtumors3The researchers took blood and urine samples for analysis monthly for the first three months and then every three months and at the end of the trial studied the rats’ principal organs.

The Corn:

The type of GMO corn fed to the rats is known as NK603. This is a Roundup-tolerant variety of corn owned by Monsanto (according to the film, the researchers had to secretly purchase the GMO corn from a source in Canada, as Monanto does not allow the corn to be purchased without a contract, and they don’t allow it to be used for research by any organization other than themselves).  

The control group was fed the nearest isogenic, non-GMO corn. (So basically they compared Monsanto’s GMO corn to a non-GMO corn that has similar DNA structure. (Monsanto claims their GMO corn is theoretically genetically identical to non-GMO corn and they claim they should not have to study long term effects of their GMO corn for this reason.)

They studied both the GMO corn grown in a field by itself with no Roundup applied as well as the GMO corn which had Roundup applied to it. They were careful to grow the non-GMO corn, the GMO corn and the GMO corn with Roundup applied in similar fields and conditions.

The Findings:

It is important to remember that this was a two year experiment. Most lab rats live about two years, so this experiment followed these animals through what a normal life-span would be for them.

In the study article, there is a detailed summary table (Table 2) that you can take a look at. It gives you a quick comparison of the most frequent health effects caused by the GMO corn and GMO corn with Roundup and Roundup in water. The interesting thing that you notice right off is that indeed the GMO corn and GMOcorn/Roundup and Roundup water groups always have more health problems than the controls.

  • 50 percent of male rats and 70 percent of female rats fed Monsanto’s GMO corn and Roundup died prematurely, compared to only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.
  • The largest palpable growths were found to be non-regressive tumors. Tumors were found to increase in size and number over the course of the experiment. The tumors were usually 2-3 times more likely in the treated groups than controls. This was in both females and males.

  • In females the largest tumors were in total 5 times more frequent than in males after the 2 year period. 93% of them were mammary (breast) tumors. (Hmmm, anyone making a connection to the increase of breast cancer in human females?)

  • At the end of the two years 50-80% of the treated female animals had developed tumors while only 30% of the controls were affected.

  • The Roundup treatment groups showed the greatest rates of tumor incidence with 80% of the animals affected. These breast tumors are generally known to be mostly estrogen-dependent (Roundup has been shown to disrupt natural compounds in the body which synthesize estrogens as well as interfere with estrogen and androgen receptors in cells).

  • The second most affected organ in the females was the pituitary gland. They were affected 2 times more than the controls for most treatments (The pituitary gland is very important as it regulates many hormonal systems of the body).

  • The largest palpable tumors in the males (in their kidneys and skin mostly) were by the end of the two years on average seen twice as often as the controls.

  • The most affected organs in the male rats were the liver, digestive tract and kidneys. Liver congestion and both visible and microscopic areas of dead liver tissue were 2.5-5.5 times more frequent in all the treatment groups than the control groups.

  • The males at the highest Roundup treatment  had almost double the usual amount of estrogen.  (Hmmm..anyone seeing a connection to men eating GMO food that are using Viagra or some other erectile enhancer?)  This one brought to my mind all the farmers reporting poor fertility in their animals they’ve been feeding GMO corn feed.  Could this also correlate to the huge increase in human infertility?

My Thoughts:

One other significant thing to note is that the groups with smaller amounts of GMO corn, GMO corn with Roundup and Roundup water caused as much damage as the groups who consumed or drank larger amounts. And even the group that had no GMO corn, and was only exposed to the Roundup in the water, developed tumors.  What sank my heart about this study was the realization that people, especially children, who are ingesting as much as 11% of their diet as GMO food could be causing themselves as much organ damage and growing as many tumors as those  eating 33% of their diet as GMO food. That’s horrifying! 

I’ve written before about GMO’s, and I’ll keep writing about them until we finally see some legislation in this country.  It’s been disheartening to learn that in general, a 90-day animal study is all Monsanto has had to provide to win approval of any of their genetically modified crops.

I do want to point out that criticisms have quickly emerged, suggesting insufficient sample sizes, a breed of rats prone to tumor growth, and a lead researcher who was seemingly already convinced of the dangers of GMOs. One of the critics, Charles Benbrook of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, also pointed out "On the other hand, the study is actually more carefully designed and has the same sample size as the original study conducted on behalf of Monsanto and submitted to regulatory agencies in support of the approval of the tech in the first place. If industry thought that study had a good design, it's a little disingenuous of them to be criticizing this study.

He is quoted in The Huffington Post as saying “I do think that this new study again raises an alarm bell, and ought to be followed up by much more careful studies with larger sample sizes, more than one species of lab animal and conducted by people that have no dogma on the side, haven't done research in the area and don't have an opinion in the area.”  Benbrook has also warned about the increased use of pesticides that has come with the explosive growth of GMO crops designed to be resistant to the chemicals.

It may sound exaggerated, but genetically modified foods are, from my perception, one of the most significant health threats of our time.  This study has proven that.  We are living in a food experiment and we are all the laboratory rats.  Please do all you can to avoid GMO’s.

If you want to learn more about GMO's and how to avoid them, you can read my previous article, The Most Important Food Fight of Our Time, and my  three-part article on GMOs Just Say No to GMO's part 1part 2, and part 3.

Sources:

Gilles-Eric Séralini, Emilie Clair, Robin Mesnage, et. al., "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize, " Food and Chemical Toxicology
http://www.processedfreeamerica.org/documents/frenchgmostudyfinalpaper.pdf (accessed September 25, 2012).

Sewell, Anne, "Results of first animal feeding trial on GM maize & Roundup," Digital Journal, http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/333136#tab=comments&sc=0 (accessed September 25, 2012).

Peeples, Lynn, "GMO Debate Heats Up: Critics Say Biotech Industry Manipulating Genes, And Science," Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/21/gmo-proposition-37-study-funding-research_n_1904535.html (accessed September 25, 2012).

 


 
Don't Miss Our Next Support Group Call! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Friday, September 28, 2012

Tele-Support Logo

October's Monthly Tele-Support Group Meeting Scheduled for October 16th!

Just wanted to share with everyone that I'll be doing our next LIVE Tele-Support Group call on October 16th ( 6:30 PM Pacific/Arizona, 7:30 PM Mountain, 8:30 PM PM Central, 9:30 PM Eastern) .  

If you are you interested in transforming your health and weight through nutritious foods and a healthy lifestyle and in need of support to help you along the way, the Processed-Free Tele-Support Group meetings may be just right for you!

The Processed-Free Tele-Support Group is a platform for you to learn about healthy foods, ask questions, exchange ideas, recipes and information, and to connect with a community of like-minded individuals.
 
Sessions will consist of a presentation by me (Dee McCaffrey) on topics relevant to processed-free living and weight loss, followed by a question and answer time.   Such topics can include cooking and kitchen tips, recipes, shopping and time-saving tips, and meals ideas, as well as emotional barriers to healthy eating.   Participants will also have the opportunity (and are encouraged) to share their own ideas and experiences with processed-free living.
 
Join Dee for one of the most effective, informative and valuable ways to change your lifestyle!

  • Tele-Support group sessions are held monthly (click on REGISTER HERE below for schedule)
  • Sessions are 60-minutes in length
  • Cost is only $10 per session
  • The call *will* be recorded for participants to listen to later
  • Advance registration is required.  REGISTER HERE or call 888-322-9442

Tele-Support Sessions are live, interactive meetings that are conducted over the telephone like a conference call. In most cases, regular long distance charges will apply.


If you'd like to hear what these Tele-Support Groups are like, listen in on our most recent call and find out how awesome these Tele-Support Group calls are!

Processed-Free Americal Support Group Call with Dee Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 (click on the arrow below to start). Call is about 1 hour in length.

Support Group Call with Dee September 12th, 2012








 
The Most Important Food Fight of Our Time PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Thursday, September 06, 2012

nogmovideoimage

CLICK ON THE ABOVE VIDEO FOR A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF WHY IT IS OUR RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT'S IN OUR FOOD

GMO Labeling – Your Right to Know

GMO Label RallyIn November, California voters have a powerful decision to make.  It could be one of the most important decisions in history regarding our health and the health of future generations.   If passed, California Proposition 37 will require food manufacturers to clearly label food and drinks containing ingredients that derive from genetically engineered, or genetically modified organisms (called GMOs).  GMOs are plants or animals whose DNA has been manipulated by scientists in an effort to speed up growth or make plants more resistant to pests.

According to official surveys, more than 90 percent of Americans support mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs.  Food activists have been fighting for twenty years to get U.S food companies to do this.  Why?  Because we have a basic right to know what’s in our food.  But the more important reason is that GMOs are scary.  They have changed the very essence of real whole natural foods, and have turned them into substances that are foreign to our bodies.  What’s even more scary is that they have never been tested for human safety. 

If you’ve ever wondered why so many people suffer from food sensitivities and allergies, it’s because our food supply has undergone a recent radical change.  In the mid-1990’s, new food proteins were engineered and introduced into our food supply, unannounced and untested on humans and animals. In an effort to increase production and profits for food manufacturers, scientists articifially insert bacteria, viruses and other genes into the  DNA of soy, corn, canola, and many other foods. A genetically engineered growth hormone, rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is used on dairy cows. 

These unlabeled genetically modified foods carry a high risk of triggering life-threatening allergic  reactions, and evidence collected over the past decade now suggests that they are contributing to higher allergy rates. Milk is the number one food allergen in the U.S.  Soy and corn allergies rank right behind it.  GMOs have been linked to the alarming increases in allergies, A.D.H.D, cancer, asthma and obesity.

An allergic reaction to food occurs when your body reacts to a food protein as a foreign invader (just like a virus or bacteria), which triggers an inflammatory response.  GMOs contain foreign proteins that have never been in our foods prior to the mid 1990’s.  That explains why adults who never had food allergies when they were younger, now have them.  And it explains why one out of seventeen children now have some form of food allergy.

In 1991, there was overwhelming consensus among scientists at the FDA that GMO foods were substantially different and could create unpredictable, unsafe, and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, diseases, and nutritional problems. The scientists urged the agency to require long-term safety studies, including human studies, to protect the public.

But in spite of the protests, the warnings were not heeded by the FDA, which was under orders by the White House to promote biotechnology. As a result, GMOs—such as soybeans, corn, cottonseed, and rapeseeds (canola) that have had bacterial genes forced into their DNA—entered our foods without any required safety evaluations.

GMO Crops percentageAs crazy as it sounds, there have never been any human clinical trials on the effects of GMOs on our health, and not many long-term animal-feeding studies either, so we are largely in the dark about their effect on living creatures.

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.

Has your doctor ever told you to avoid GMO foods??  Probably not.  That’s why California’s Proposition 37 is so important.

Because GMOs have never been tested to determine their safety, and because so many health issues have arisen since their introduction, more than 40 of the world’s wealthiest countries, including Japan, China, and a host of European countries already label genetically engineered foods. GMOs are deeply unpopular in Europe, which has banned many genetically engineered crops and has strict labeling rules for those that are used.  India’s government is the most recent to come on board: beginning in January 2013, food products containing genetically modified ingredients will be required to carry a “GM” tag.  The United States and Canada are the only two developed countries in the world that do not require labeling of GMO foods.

GMOlabelingmap

Processed foods in general can contribute to allergies for a number of different reasons. Most processed foods contain a variety of food colorings, flavors, preservatives, and other additives can have powerful and unforeseen chemical reactions in our body. But those chemicals are clearly listed on ingredient labels, and if you’re tying to avoid them, all you have to do is become a devoted ingredient list reader. GMOs are a more insidious heaUSDAOrganicLogo green and whitelth hazard because therNonGMOProjectseale are no labeling requirements in this country.

Good News: Organic is Not GMO and some Companies Voluntarily Label their Products

The USDA National Organic Program strictly prohibits the use of GMOs in any food carrying the USDA Organic Seal.  So if your food carries the organic seal, you know it’s not made with GMOs.  Organic growers and many other food companies have begun to take matters into their own hands, and are voluntarily labeling their products with a Non-GMO Project seal verifying that their foods do not contain genetically modified ingredients.  But all food companies should be required to let us know about GMO ingredients.

GMO Top FoodsWhere do GMO’s show up?

 Everywhere! It is estimated that genetically modified ingredients are found in 80 percent of the U.S. food supply.  They’re in non-organic foods that contain the following:

Sugar: if the product is made in North America and lists “sugar” as an ingredient (and NOT pure cane sugar), then it is almost certainly a combination of sugar from both sugar cane and GMO sugar beets.

Dairy Products:  if the milk comes from cows injected with GM bovine growth hormone, then it’s GMO.  This means milk, cheese, yogurt, whey, ice cream and food ingredients that come from GMO milk.    If it’s not labeled organic, or Non-GMO Project verified, look for labels stating No rbGH, rbST, or artificial hormones.

Corn, Soy, Canola, Cottonseed:These are the four major GMO crops.  Soy shows up in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, baby food, infant formula, soy mik and dairy alternatives.  Corn is used to make foods additives, sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, and even the “natural” sweeteners erythritol and xylitol.  It is also used to make xanthan gum, MSG  and artificial sweeteners.  Canola oil  and soybean oil are used in thousands of foods, including salad dressings, margarines, snack foods, and frozen foods. Many vitamins and supplements use corn and soy derivatives.

 

A Fight Worth FightingGMO prop37-poster

Real-food activists have been fighting for two decades to force U.S. Food companies to tell consumers when their products are made with genetically modified organisms.  This California ballot initiative is potentially their most promising offensive to date.  If Proposition 37 passes, California would become the first state in the nation to require GMO labeling on a host of food products commonly found on grocery store shelves, from breakfast cereals to baby food, sodas and tofu.

But the company that has the patents on the GMO seeds (Monsanto), and the food manufacturers that use GMO ingredients are fighting back hard.  Very hard.  Foodmakers, like carmakers, know that what starts in California has a fair chance of becoming the national law, or at least the national norm.

This has become a very big food fight.  It’s a people’s movement against big corporations, and it’s one of the most important food fights of our time. 

Those who want to see the measure passed are people like you and me who are passionate about healthy and organic food.  The big and small natural food companies that you have come to trust to provide you with high quality food products are also behind the initiative. To date they have raised $2.8 million on campaign efforts. Scores of individuals have made $100 donations, but most of the money is coming from organic businesses such as Nature's Path Foods and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Dr. Joseph Mercola, the controversial holistic health activist from Illinois (and one of my heroes), has kicked in $800,000!  Yay Dr. Mercola!

But opponents to the measure have raised $25 million, about nine times as much. Almost all of the nearly $25 million has come from a variety of chemical, seed and processed-food companies, including Coca-Cola, General Mills, Nestle, and PepsiCo. General Mills alone has given $500,000, and Monsanto, the leading producer of GMO seeds, has given $4.2 million, the largest donation.  They’re still gathering donations, and could reach up to $50 million.

An Unfortunate Predicament

There’s something else that upsetting to me, and may be to you also.  Some of the natural food companies that you have come to know and love, are actually owned by big processed food companies.  One of my favorites, Larabar, is one of them. A few years back, Larabar was acquired by General Mills. Now General Mills is giving big bucks to fight against what Larabar-type people stand for. Some of my other favorites—Muir Glen, Cascadian Farms, and Santa Cruz Organic have also been bought out by the opposition in recent years.

This has left me in a quandary.  I stand against GMOs and I support GMO labeling. These companies that I have recommended and supported in the past are now on the side of food manufacturers who want to continue to keep consumers in the dark.

I am sure that the people at Larabar and Muir Glen would certainly want GMO’s labeled, but when they assimilated into a larger company that didn’t share their ideals, the possibility for this quandary arose.  They made their decision, and now I can’t support them.  I won’t be buying their products anymore.  It’s a difficult decision to make, but I have the right to know if GMO’s are in my food, and I can’t support any company that is fighting against that basic right.

We Can’t Wait For Legislation, We Have to Act Now

 Even if you don’t live in California and won’t have the opportunity to vote on this important proposition, you and those you love will be affected.  Because “As Goes in California, As Goes the Nation.”  We will either be given the freedom to know what’s in our foods so we can make educated choices, or we will continue to be silently poisoned by the food industry.

Whether you have food sensitivities or not, avoiding processed and GMO foods should be a priority.  We can’t wait for legislation.  We must begin to act in our own self interest.  You can begin by signing our petition asking the FDA to ban the most egregious food additives—many of which are made from GMO ingredients.

Also, an organization called JustLabelIt.org has already gathered over one million signatures on their petition asking the FDA to label GMO foods.  Theirs is a separate effort from the California proposition, and one of the ways you can act if you’re not a Californian.  To make your voice heard, click here.

If you don't already have a copy of the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, please print one out and refer to it often. It can help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Also remember to look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content. You can also download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.

When possible, buy your fresh produce and meat from local farmers who have committed to using non-GMO seeds and avoid processed non-organic foods as much as possible, as again these are virtually 100-percent guaranteed to contain GMO ingredients.

It may sound exaggerated, but genetically modified foods are, from my perception, one of the most significant health threats of our time.  We are living in a food experiment and we are all the guinea pigs.  The experiment is not going well, and is threatening the very sustainability of the human race. Everything you can do to avoid GMOs is a step toward saving humankind.

If you want to learn more about GMO's, you can read my three-part article on GMOs (Just Say No to GMO's part 1, part 2, and part 3).

 
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