Tag Archives: non-gmo verified

Are We Genetically Modifying Ourselves?

genetically modifying ourselves titel

I remember way back in elementary school science class when the teacher handed out magnifying glasses and told us to look at the ends of our fingers to study our fingerprints. I remember the teacher had us draw the patterns we saw whether straight lines or wavy, circles or whorls. Then we took our magnifying glasses and looked at our neighbor’s fingers, and we looked at their pictures – I was so surprised to see that everyone was different.

As adults we understand no two people have the same fingerprints, it’s one of the many characteristics that makes us each unique. But now we have learned there is something else remarkable, something else about humans that is also unique to each individual – our microbiome.

The Microbiome

 

Did you know that within the digestive tract of each human being there is a little ecological community? Within each adult are three to four pounds of a highly organized micro-world of bacteria, yeasts and viruses that are so important and so vital to our health and well-being that if they were sterilized away we would probably die.  This micro-world is populated by three categories of creatures. The Essential or beneficial flora, the Opportunistic flora, and the Transitional flora. The Transitional flora come into our bodies every day riding on our food, in our beverages or on our hands and fingers, and usually they go right on through to exit without any trouble. The Essential/beneficial flora are the ones that live permanently within us.  We are born into this world as a blank slate and within the first 20 days of life we receive our first and most important colony of Essentials coming initially from the birth process and from breastfeeding. As we grow into adulthood this colony grows and changes depending on what happens to us, how we eat, stress, the places we live, go to school, work, and play. The third category, the Opportunistic flora – about 500 different species strong – just hang out waiting for an opportunity to stage a coup; they want to take over, but a healthy population of the Essentials keeps them under control…unless something happens.

What does a healthy microbiome do?

When we have a healthy microbiome we are naturally protected from all kinds of threats from the outside world. The healthy microbiome, like a burly offensive guard, can physically block invaders such as undigested food or toxins or even parasites from getting through to the rest of the body. The healthy microbiome, like a living pharmacy, can also make their own antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and other specialized chemicals to aide the immune system. It can also neutralize toxins, chelate heavy metals and inactivate carcinogens. A healthy microbiome can even protect us from cancer.

What about an unhealthy microbiome?

If the Essentials grow weak or get damaged, the Opportunistic flora seizes the chance to take over. Candida, c. diff, salmonella and e. coli are all Opportunistic flora able to severely damage our bodies and even kill us when left uncontrolled. If we accidentally ingest something toxic the weak Essentials can’t do their job neutralizing it and we get poisoned. And then, if undigested food gets past and into the body we develop allergies and inflammation leading to serious disease. Without a healthy balanced and flourishing community of Essential flora the whole structure of our gut changes and we get sicker and sicker.

Gene Transfer and GMOs

Genes in our DNA are like computer programs for our cells, telling them what pattern to follow in order to replicate or make repairs.   In the 1950s scientists discovered that single-cell organisms like bacteria were able to share their genetic information (DNA) to other bacteria even when they weren’t related. This is called gene transfer.  Sharing genes with each other is how bacteria can quickly become resistant to anti-biotics. Scientists are now discovering that gene transfer can occur with organisms more complex than single-cell bacteria.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms that have artificially shared their genes via a laboratory process of Genetic Engineering. Read more about GMOs here. But since we know about gene transfer occurring in nature, we need to question the wisdom of Genetic Engineering. Tinkering with the genes of a corn plant doesn’t stop with the corn, it is altering a whole lot more in ways that biotech companies didn’t forsee.

A 2004 study showed that when humans ate genetically modified (GMO) foods the artificially created genes transferred into the Essential/beneficial bacteria of the gut and altered the character of the flora so that it couldn’t function normally.

GMOs and Superweeds

In a similar fashion we are now seeing gene transfer from genetically engineered crops like corn, soy, cotton and canola infecting the native plants surrounding the crop fields giving rise to superweeds that are highly resistant to chemical herbicides. Whether or not the biotech companies took these possibilities into consideration when they chose to release their creations into nature, we are now experiencing the consequences of their actions. The artificially engineered genes are now spreading among us and altering us on an intimate level as well as altering our environment.

How to Protect Your Microbiome

  • Avoiding GMO foods is one way to protect your microbiome from GMO gene transfer. You can learn more at the Institute for Responsible Technology’s site and get their shopping
    GMO verification

    look for this logo

    guide.

  • Eat plenty of fermented foods and beverages, especially if you have to take antibiotics. For some delicious fermented food recipes check here or here, or follow our Pinterest board on ferments.
  • Use filters for your water that remove chlorine.
  • Reduce your stress
  • Reduce your intake of sugar.

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What They Don’t Know CAN Hurt YOU!

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases. 

what they don't know can hurt you

One of the main arguments proponents of GMO crops give is that they are just as safe as regular crops. Possibly one of the most well-known of the GMO crops are those that are “Roundup Ready”, meaning farmers can spray their fields with the herbicide Round-Up (chemical name glyphosate) and it won’t kill the crops, only the weeds.  This works because the plants have been modified to resist the active ingredient in the herbicide.  The genetic engineers who developed this technology say it is totally safe for humans because they are not plants. Sounds logical? On the surface yes, but since we really encourage critical thinking here at Well Fed Family we aren’t going to take something just on the surface – we ask questions and dig a little deeper!

Here is what a simple search of Wikipedia revealed. Normally I tend not to trust Wikipedia with highly controversial topics simply because either side of the issue can come in and rewrite evidence they don’t agree with. GMO-related posts on Wikipedia are constantly changing depending on who gets hold of them that day. However the following quote is actually fact-based. It tells the mechanism that makes a plant Round-Up Ready.

“One of the most famous kinds of GM crops are “Roundup Ready”, or glyphosate-resistant. Glyphosate, (the active ingredient in Roundup) kills plants by interfering with the shikimate pathway in plants, which is essential for the synthesis of the aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan. More specifically, glyphosate inhibits the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS).

The shikimate pathway is not present in animals, which instead obtain aromatic amino acids from their diet.”

gut and liverSo again, on the surface it sounds fine. We aren’t plants, we don’t have a shikimate pathway. We get our amino acids from the food we eat.  We can eat GMO crops that have been heavily sprayed with glyphosate and it won’t matter one bit – what do you think?  Well think about this – our gut flora, the trillions of microorganisms living in symbiosis within our digestive tract, DO have shikimate pathways. They DO need this pathway functioning in order to make essential amino acids for their survival. When we eat foods doused in glyphosate/Round-Up we ARE harming our                                                                                    gut bacteria!

Let’s dig a little deeper – not only does glyphosate/Round-Up kill our gut bacteria, it also shuts down our own body’s production of CYP (cytochrome P450) enzymes.  CYP enzymes are critical to our ability to detoxify foreign substances that enter our body whether through food, drink, medicines or vaccines. This leaves us more vulnerable to inflammation of all kinds when we can’t detoxify dangerous substances.

Many if not most of the diseases we face today are directly related to the deteriorating health of our gut flora and our inability to overcome inflammation.  Everything from Alzheimer’s to cancer, diabetes to heart disease, depression to digestive disorders can be linked to either or both of these key areas.

Just because we are not plants doesn’t mean eating herbicide, or eating crops designed to GMO verificationbe heavily sprayed by herbicides, is a safe thing to do.  Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified logo on packages. Purchase organic whenever possible to avoid food sprayed with glyphosate.

 

 What are YOU doing to avoid GMOs in your family’s food supply? Leave us a comment here. Tweet this post to spread the word!

This was shared with Wellness Wednesday.

3 Important Questions To Ask Before You Eat

 

3 important questions titles

 

 

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Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to know whether or not something was healthy to eat or not? There are so many people and organizations and agencies and companies telling us to eat this and not that, or to avoid this and emphasize that, or this is bad and that is good, or… well, you know what I’m talking about!

I remember the first time I heard someone say “Fat isn’t bad, it’s important.” I’d spent years deciphering how to read fat grams and figure daily fat percentages in what was apparently a futile exercise in how to be less healthy rather than more healthy. Now 7 years later and I still meet people every day who think they’re being healthy when they drink skim milk, make egg white omelets or choose fat-free sugar-free yogurt over bacon.  (Bacon!)  I wish I’d known about these three important questions years ago. It would have made me think more critically not only about what I was eating but also about the dietary misinformation being hyped all the time.  But I’m telling you and now you will be equipped to make much better choices than I did for so long!

Question #1 – Is what I am eating actually food?not food

Why, you ask, would we eat something that WASN’T food?  Seriously – people do it ALL.  THE. TIME.  There are things currently in our food supply that were never meant to be food in the first place. But somehow they made it in there. Things like artificial colors (made from petroleum!), artificial flavorings (and even the natural flavorings aren’t so great – beaver glands anyone?), artificial sweeteners (neurotoxins linked to all kinds of diseases), and chemical preservatives (proven to cause hyperactivity among other things).  Azodicarbonamide (banned in Europe for stimulating asthma it gives us miracle bread that stays soft and never molds ever), sodium hexametaphosphate (in your frosted flakes, and also in the cardboard box itself, this one can damage kidneys, heart and decalcify your bones), dimethylpolysiloxane (in your contact lenses and shampoo, but in your chicken nuggets too?!) – those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of additives people eat every day that are not food. Most of them are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) which is a status our government awards ingredients if less than a certain percentage of people get sick right away. Long term consumption studies? Forget it. GRAS status gets awarded in just a few months. It takes years before people figure out there may be a problem.

Question #2 – Is the food I am eating as close as possible to the way God created it?michelangelo fingers

Example 1: at least a dozen or more steps and several chemical solvents plus high heat and pressure are needed to take rapeseed and turn it into a bottle of canola oil.  Butter can be made in two or three steps depending on whether you want salted or unsalted, cultured or sweet. Children can make butter.  Canola oil is highly altered. Butter is something that could happen to cream accidentally if you whipped it too much.  Refining foods is generally just a bad idea. Refined white flour, refined sugars, refined salt, refined oils – all the important vitamins, minerals and enzymes are stripped away making these items into something harmful rather than healthful.

GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) is a biggie, too.  In the wild you will never see a salmon mate with a tomato. You will never find bacillus thuringiensis cross pollinating with corn. Plants and animals just don’t breed with each other. However you can shoot the DNA from one organism into the cells of another by using a particle accelerator to create a sort of Frankenstein creature.  These biotech plants are now in our food supply. Many folks are calling them Frankenfoods. Unfortunately you can’t just turn a package over and read the ingredient list to find GMOs like you can find (and avoid) trans fat or artificial colors. There’s no law requiring the labeling of GMOs yet. Buying organic or looking for the Non-GMO Verified seal are the only ways to be sure.

Question #3 – Does this food cause a problem for me?oreos and rats

A recent study showed us that Oreos are more addictive than cocaine. (Did we need a study to tell us this?) We already know white sugar and white flour are addictive. The same is true for MSG (monodsodium glutamate) and aspartame. We can also have cravings and addictions for foods to which we are actually allergic! Gluten and lactose are biggies in that respect. They can act like opium in our blood and brain and cause physical addiction and cravings for people who are actually sensitive to it and shouldn’t be eating it. Oddly enough digestive discomfort is not one of the primary symptoms of gluten or dairy sensitivity. Usually it shows up as headaches or sinus infections or even arthritis or brain fog.  If you eliminate the food for a week or two and find your unexplained aches and pains going away, or your mental alertness returning then you’ve probably discovered a food sensitivity.

I hope these three easy questions will help you on your journey to good health. Let me know how you do when you try them out. I think they are an easy way to teach kids how to make good choices too! Share with us how you make good choices. Leave a comment here or on Facebook

 

 

GMO verification

GMOs – What Are They? What Do We Need To Know?

Sterility and reproductive disorders, immune system malfunction and allergies, accelerated aging, gastro-intestinal disorders, organ damage, insulin dysregulation, increased aggression and anxiety,  and chronic inflammation. What does this list represent? It appears to be a list of rising health issues plaguing the United States.  But it is not.  In fact it is a list of the most common side effects found in lab animals fed GMOs. What are GMOs?  Genetically Modified Organisms are created in biotech laboratories.  Scientists take genes from two non-related organisms and force them to combine with one another. Examples created include combining fish and tomatoes, puppies and seaweed, and pigs and worms. As you see these organisms would never normally combine in nature. They are transgenic organisms.

The most common Genetically Modified Organisms are soybeans, canola, cotton and field corn modified to resist being killed by the herbicide glyphosate, also known as Round-UP; or  modified to create their own pesticide through gene combination with a bacteria called bacillus thuringiensis, also known as Bt.  Round-Up resistant crops can be sprayed with herbicides which kill the weeds around them but not the crops themselves. Bt crops don’t need to be sprayed for pests at all as every cell of those crops makes its own pesticide which bursts open the stomachs of any insect who takes a bite.candy molecules 6

While this sounds like an amazing breakthrough for farmers you need to go back to the top of the page and read once again the side effects caused when these genetically modified crops are actually eaten. Some of the most recent and compelling evidence against GMOs as food comes from a team of scientists in France led by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini http://gmoseralini.org/en/  .

GMOs were given FDA approval in 1996 when the government gave a mandate to promote biotechnology.  Since that time there have been many crops quietly approved for commercial production including soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, alfalfa, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash and sugar beets. There are dozens more crops in the experimental stage just waiting for commercial approval. In addition to plants there are now genetically modified salmon swimming in developmental tanks and ponds just waiting their release. Even more GMO crops are already in use which manufacture specific pharmaceutical drugs for use by drug companies.

Frightening health consequences aside, there are more problems associated with GMOs and their relationship to the worldwide environment. Plants cross-pollinate. So any normal plant nearby to GMO plants will be contaminated with GMO pollen. Nearly all of the heirloom varieties of corn grown in Mexico are now contaminated with GMO corn.  Imagine what could happen if pharmaceutical-producing plants cross pollinate into the food supply and people begin consuming prescription drugs which they do not need!  The pesticides produced within GMO crops are much stronger than regular pesticides and studies have shown they can contaminate nearby streams and rivers in the same way as if the fields had been sprayed with conventional pesticides. Plants can’t discriminate between beneficial insects and harmful ones. A bee or butterfly drinking the nectar or eating the pollen of a GMO plant will also suffer the same fate as a caterpillar eating the ears of corn.

More problems arise with Round-Up and the Bt toxin. If you’ve ever done the simple experiment withcarnation and food coloring celery or a white carnation placed in a glass of food coloring you know that anything sprayed on plants will be taken up into that plant.  Round-Up, in addition to being a powerful broad-spectrum herbicide, is also a broad-spectrum antibiotic! It kills gut bacteria, particularly the beneficial gut bacteria allowing the toxic ones to overgrow.  Round-Up is also a broad-spectrum chelator of minerals. It binds to the important trace minerals in our food stopping them from being digested and instead flushes them out of our bodies. Bt pesticide toxin doesn’t just limit itself to insect stomachs, it also pokes holes in human cell walls and explodes them too.

 

jurassic park ellie sattler“You never had control, that’s the illusion! I was overwhelmed by the power of this place. But I made a mistake, too, I didn’t have enough respect for that power and it’s out now. The only thing that matters now are the people we love….they’re out there where people are dying.” -Dr. Ellie Sattler Jurassic Park 1993

 

 

If your meat is eating GMO food then you are eating it too. The toxic effects of GMO foods have been shown to carry through the food chain. Problems compound over time and with each generation eating GMO foods.  Even the rise of gluten intolerance over the last 15 years has now been linked to GMO foods in spite of the fact that there is no commercially available GMO wheat. The genetic pollution from cross pollination and self-propagation in the wild, as well as the harmful physical effects to human health make GMOs possibly the biggest environmental issue worldwide simply because once these organisms have been released they are out of our control – and people we love will be dying. http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/dangers-to-the-environment

What can you do?  Vote for mandatory GMO labeling laws at state and national levels, vote with GMO verificationyour wallet by purchasing only non-GMO verified foods, download the Fooducate app for iPhone and Android at http://www.fooducate.com/ and use it to scan items at the grocery store to identify those with GMO ingredients, put your family on a GMO-free diet