Happy Blogiversary to all my readers!! It wa
s 7 years ago, on Nov 12, 2007, that I wrote my first post
miss my friend, Jeff - the inspiration to get it started. (See our picture on the right, at a triathlon we did together in Oct 2007). Seriously if it weren't for his encouragement and ideas, I would not have taken my career in this direction. Not to mention many other aspects of life that I learned the few years we were friends. (The list would include growing food, composting, not following the rules, finding the silver lining while being honest, loving your family and community, going with the flow, overcoming challenges... just to name a few.)
I'm also very grateful for all of you who read my posts, participate in the conversations on facebook
and especially you survivors who teach me things daily. Here's to another 7 years, yah!
I had my Carbs webinar a little over a week ago. Thanks to all who attended! For those who missed it, here's the link to the recording
Last post, I ventured into the heated topic of GMO foods: GMO Foods: Why You Should NOT Freak Out!
Here's part of my issue with the GMO discussion. For many, it's not a level headed, respectful discussion. It's like an angry moral debate. I don't think food should be argued about. And your choice on what to eat does not imply that you are a good or bad person
. I do think we need to be reminded about that regularly!
I recently read a blog post
linked by a fellow RD. I felt like the article illustrated exactly what goes through my head! Here's an excerpt:
"some people can be a little, shall we say, touchy about food. ... They don't believe that sugar, for example, is a food. Or beef. Or
brown rice. Or bananas. Or whatever Mercola is fear-mongering about this
week. They won't eat white rice because of arsenic, chicken because of
antibiotics, yogurt because of saccharin, olive oil because of
adulteration, sugar because of obesity, soy because of man-boobs, beef
because of BSE, broth because of lead, kale because of goitrogens, beets
because of GMOs, bread because of autoimmune disease, quinoa because of
If there's anything that characterizes the modern sensibility about food, it's fear."
From "what I think you should eat," posted on www.seedandfeather.com.
I would highly recommend you read the whole thing
! I think you'll find it liberating. :)
Actually, it doesn't take me much time at all working with people facing
cancer to be reminded that life is too short to obsess about food!GMO's Part 2
Back to the GMO's. Here are a few interesting articles I've read over the last week or so regarding GMO foods.
- Something interesting happened with GMO's last week. Apparently Colorado and Oregon voters reject GMO labeling laws. It's the latest of several state-based GMO labeling ballot measures to fail. Read more here.
- From Medline Plus: "Genetically engineered foods are generally regarded as safe. There has been no adequate testing, however, to ensure complete safety. There are no reports of illness or injury due to genetically engineered foods. Each new genetically engineered food will have to be judged individually." Read more here.
- From the University of Utah: "It has been estimated that 70% of all processed foods in the United States contain at least one genetically modified ingredient--usually a product of soy plants." Read more here.
Here is a short list of some of the potential benefits of GMO crops. It's not exhaustive, but gives you a bit of understanding for why we would want to consider using them. Much of the information came from a Harvard article you can find here
- If growing GM crops results in the reduced use of toxic chemicals, or a switch to chemicals of lower toxicity, that would be beneficial, given the potential role of some pesticides in causing human disease, especially among infants and children.
- If significantly greater yields were achieved by using GM technologies, particularly in the developing world, where risk for crop failures because of extreme weather events secondary to climate change will be ever more likely in the coming century, the public health benefits would be enormous.
- If the nutritional quality of foods could be improved, for example as has already been done with rice to relieve vitamin A deficiency (a condition that afflicts some 400 million people worldwide), great strides in relieving human suffering would be made.
Of course, there are some risks. These need to be calculated and we also need to keep informed on whether the potential risks actual present in real harm. Here are a few things to think about.
From the University of Utah article I linked above:
- Cross-breeding with wild populations. "For all of these examples, a primary concern is preventing genetically modified versions from mixing with the naturally existing populations of plants from which they're derived."
- Toxicity or allergic reactions. "Many people suffer from allergies to
various food items, including nuts, wheat, eggs, or dairy products.
There is concern that the protein products of introduced genes may be
toxic or allergenic to certain individuals."
From the Harvard Article I linked above:
- "For one, there are the risks that could come from pharmaceutical production in food crop species. The so-called "pharma crops" are grown according to stringent protocols designed to prevent contamination of the food supply. ... corn that has been genetically engineered to produce drugs such as lactoferrin (an antimicrobial, iron-binding protein, present in high concentrations in human colostrum--the first breast milk secretions) is required by the USDA to be grown at least one mile away from other cornfields. After harvest, such "pharma" corn must be labeled and carefully tracked to avoid mixing it with corn destined for consumption by either humans or livestock. However, scores of recent examples of human error in dealing with GM crops suggest that contamination of food with "pharma crops" is a likely occurrence."
- "There is also the possibility that one of the chemicals widely used in GM crops, glyphosate, and perhaps to an even greater extent, its commercial preparation Round-up, may act as an endocrine disruptor."
The Bottom Line:
As you can see, it's not a cut and dry issue, as much as many would want you to believe. You probably won't hear me talking a lot about this issue, at least until we have more conclusive information. That's because of this: I think there are more important choices that you can make that have a FAR BIGGER impact on your health. GMO vs. non-GMO foods is a small issue.
My bottom line is that we know for sure that eating more fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and other plant foods helps to
decrease risk for cancer and other diseases and promotes general
well-being. That is what's most important. You don't need to stress out
on a lot of the other issues. Yes - educated yourself if you want, but
don't obsess. It's not helpful. And certainly don't make others feel
badly about their choices!
Next time, we get to discover a lighter topic. My intern, now Registered Dietitian, Jessica took a visit to Bob's Red Mill Factory in Oregon over the summer. You'll get to see some photos and learn about their product along with Jessica's favorite products!