The following lesson is one I recently delivered to my TOPS group. If you are looking for a weight loss support group, I can highly recommend this group. Knowing I have to step on the scale every week has kept me in line and kept me working my program- low carb, no sugar, and no sweeteners. I decided to keep it as I originally wrote it. I researched this article, but I have barely scratched the surface about this very serious issue. Eating healthy and getting a handle on my weight has been an adventure and I’m learning as I go along. For all of you who are doing the same- let’s keep going and share what we learn.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)- Are they making you Sick and Fat?
One thing I like about this group is how I learn about you as we share life’s experiences and the lessons we’ve learned while going through this weight loss journey. I never leave this room without feeling encouraged and inspired, and I want to thank all of you for that. Weight loss is great, but I’m finding it very slow and at times frustrating but coming here makes it much more doable.
Lessons From The Home Garden
I have a two-year Associates degree in Horticulture and in the past have been a very avid gardener. I have not been doing as much gardening since we have moved from Rochester, New York to North Carolina, but when things change, I am definitely getting my hands back into the dirt.
I really enjoyed getting my education, and along with floral design classes I took plant science courses- Botany and plant physiology. I had great professors and enjoyed working in a lab and doing some fun experiments on growing plants. So now when I hear about science, plants and our health, my ears really prick up.
Back home in Rochester I had a beautiful rose garden- with real roses. I love the smell of a real, un-hybridized rose. I had been known to take the odd cutting or two of an heirloom rose and propagate it to grow in my garden. Real roses smell wonderful- not at all like these modified things that look like roses but have little or no fragrance. I know these new species don’t get the dreaded black spot, they resist aphids and other pests leave them alone, but to me, they aren’t the real thing.
I get the desire for easier plants, less fuss, and fewer pests, but the down side is what’s missing-and in the case of roses, it’s the fragrance.
But there is another side to tampering with plants that has caused me real concern over the last few years- roses aside, I want to talk about what science is doing to our food- I want to talk about Genetically Modified Organisms- GMO.
The GMO Food Crisis
Five years ago my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He has joined the growing ranks of Americans diagnosed with this disease. It’s rare to find a family that has not been touched by this growing epidemic. It has caused me to question what is going on with our health. I was born in 1959 and growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I rarely heard of anyone with diabetes or the host of other diseases which seem to be inflicting our country. I ask myself what’s going on? What has changed?
We seem to be a nation desiring better health, but I’ve noticed the long lines at the pharmacy, and I can’t watch one program on the tv without an advertisement for a drug to help with chronic diseases. It just doesn’t seem like we are getting any healthier, but the pharmaceutical industry is certainly getting richer.
After my husband was diagnosed friends recommended a great book to us and it certainly was an eye opener. Wheat Belly is a great book and I highly recommend it. Written by a cardiologist with diabetes who did his own research into improving his health. And this is where I really began looking into the GMOs- Genetically Modified Organisms, and what they are doing to us. Our food supply has been tampered with.
Eating the right foods should help us with our health and weight loss, but in many cases, it’s really working against us.
I have said before I have been a frustrated dieter for 28 years, no wonder why. The very foods I was told to eat, were upping my blood sugar levels which added pounds to me.
How about you?
Have you been told to eat more ‘healthy grains’ as you diet? The largest part of the food pyramid is grains, breads, pastas, and cereals. But the truth is these are the very foods that raise our blood sugar levels and cause insulin- the fat storage hormone, to kick into overdrive and move the numbers on the scale higher and higher towards obesity- the major risk in most chronic diseases.
Genetic modification takes place in a lab and the results go untested for safety in the human body. After all if you breed plants with plants, what could possibly be the problem right? But in the labs of the biotech firms other things- namely genes rendering some proteins indigestible are being added and this with no oversight. The end results have been modified foods namely- wheat, corn, soy, oats, sugar, and our dairy.
The flour we ate 50 years ago is not the same flour we have in our homes today. It’s been modified- and the results- well, that’s what has brought us here. As a nation we are getting fatter. 1/3 of adults in this country are obese- 1/3! Another third are labeled overweight, leaving just 1 in three people with a healthy weight. A recent study in Norway showed that lab rats who were fed GMO wheat for 90 days grew fatter than rats fed non-gmo wheat. And we’ve been eating these GMO grains now for years. No wonder we are walking around with wheat-bellies.
Genetically modified crops are fattening us up and affecting our gut health- Celiacs disease, irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux. We also suffer from mal-absorption of nutrients- meaning we eat more, but we’re getting less nutrients from the foods we eat. These grains are playing havoc with our immune systems- this effects our overall health.
If you suffer from any of those things you might want to skip the grains.
And Now It’s In The Soil
Genetically modified foods have been engineered so that a farmer can spray pesticides like Round-up onto the crop and this will kill the weeds and not touch the plant. The plant then absorbs the pesticide.
Round Up has finally been linked to cancer. Might I suggest not using it or other weed killers at all around your home. GMO’s have high levels of the pesticide –glyphosate.
Glyphosates- found in many of our foods is a pesticide now linked to non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. People with high exposure to this have a 41% increased risk of cancer. Lawsuits against Monsanto are now increasing by the thousands as the World Health Organization has released its findings on this pesticide. For years the EPA, along with biotech firms, has insisted on the safety of this chemical on us humans, now that has been exposed as a lie. As one doctor has said, “these chemicals are part of the toxic soup responsible for many chronic diseases”. The crops are grown in soil laced with synthetic fertilizers and then more pesticides are sprayed on top. These harmful chemicals do not wash off but remain in our foods. One of the worst culprits is breakfast cereals. Oat cereals are the worst- and they are marketed for children. How about a bowl of cereal with a helping of Round Up on top?
These GMO crops demand lots of synthetic fertilizers added to the soil- the run off polluting rivers and streams, then sprayed with more chemicals which increase toxic algae blooms in lakes and oceans. The environmental impact has not fully been revealed, but we have all heard about colony collapse disorder effecting our honey bees and the decreasing numbers of our monarch butterflies.
There are so far 39 countries that do not allow GMO crops to be grown or imported into their countries. (Mostly Europe, India, Russia, Mexico, and Australia) There are many more that have strict restrictions on GMO crops and they are monitored as seriously as medicines are. GMOs are a political hot button and effects trade agreements and international relationships between countries. That’s how serious this issue is becoming.
GMO crops are raised mostly for the commercial food companies. They power the fast food and processed food industry. These are the foods eaten in large quantities by the typical American family. One member of a biotech company was quoted as saying- “Fat children are an investment in future sales.”
Agribusiness is a growth industry focused on higher profits, but not focused on our health. These biotech firms are also linked to our pharmaceutical companies. Food causing diseases and the pharmacy companies with a drug to sell- think this is just a conspiracy theory? Bayer Pharmaceutical owns Monsanto.
What can we do to make sure we are eating in a truly healthy manner?
- Look for the ‘certified organic’ label. Non-gmo project is also a better choice, but organic is the best.
- Support your local small farmer who is growing organic crops. With warmer weather the farmer markets will be opening and many of these farms are using organic methods of raising crops. Many are small and can’t spare the resources for getting organic certified, but if you spend some time talking with them they will tell you about their propagation methods.
- Do your own research. There is plenty of information out there about GMO’s and their effects on us. An informed consumer is the best defense against such food industry giants. DO NOT look for any political help to fight this- Monsanto, Cargill, and ADM contribute to all candidates for higher office- both sides of the aisle. The Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas promoted GMO’s but insisted that only organic foods be served in the White House and appear on their own tables. Many had attorneys from biotech firms on the FDA, EPA, and Agricultural committees.
- Skip processed foods, especially the fast food. Get into the kitchen and cook your own real food.
- Grow your own food. Gardening is a healthy activity resulting in healthy food. My space is limited but I do some container gardening. Using food grade containers, drill holes and add several inches of rocks, organic soil and organic seeds. I compost our used coffee grounds and egg shells and add that to the top of the soil to keep replacing organic matter. If you want fertilizer- add some worms to your containers.
I know some of this information is a bit unsettling, but with all things concerning our health and well being a little research and a change in our lifestyle is well worth the extra effort.
I’m still losing weight. 26 pounds gone so far.
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