Our Toxic Food Supply and What We Can Do About It

toxic food, genetically modified food, organic food, healthy eatingThis guest post is by:  Holly Reisem Hanna is the Founder and Publisher of The Work at Home Woman, an award winning blog dedicated to helping women and moms fulfill their dreams of working from home or becoming self-employed. For more info please see:http://www.theworkathomewoman.com/

 

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth speak at a luncheon sponsored by Stonyfield Farm Organics.  While I’ve always been a health conscious individual, it never occurred to me how tainted our food supply actually is and how much greed plays into it.

As Robyn says, “The landscape of children’s health has changed. No longer can we assume that our children will have a healthy childhood – certainly not in the face of the current epidemics of autism, ADHD, asthma and allergies, childhood cancers, childhood obesity and diabetes”.

As it turns out many of these diseases have increased dramatically in the past two decades and a great deal of it has to do with our genetically modified, artificially colored, pesticide grown and hormone induced food supply.

I won’t go into all of the gory details of the corporate corruption, government cover-ups and greed that have broken our system (I’ll let you read Robyn’s book for all of that), but I want to discuss with you how you can keep your family safe and healthy.

Corn

According to Wikipedia about 86% of the corn grown in the U.S.A. is genetically modified. One of the biggest threats caused by genetically engineered food is that it can have harmful effects on individuals. However, what is most troubling to me is the fact that corn has been genetically modified to contain its own insecticide. So now you have to be concerned about your children ingesting insecticide and genetically processed food – which there are no long term studies to prove the safety of genetically processed foods.

You’d think that buying organic corn would solve the problem alone – but corn is in almost everything we consume – from popsicles, cookies, juices and bread (corn syrup and corn sugar)to  mayonnaise and chips (canola oil and corn oil) and sauces, cereals and baked goods (corn meal and corn starch).

What you can do: Purchase organic corn and corn products, make simple switches from corn chips to pretzels, canola oil to olive oil and start reading labels and educating yourself on the issue further.

Soy

I’ll admit it; I thought soy was the healthier option – from veggie dogs and veggie burgers to soy milk and tofu.  But the truth is our grocery stores are filled with products that contain soy, like ice cream, yogurt, vegetable oils, baby formula, flour, sauces, margarine and shortening – that we really have no idea how much soy we are ingesting.

The issue with soy is that it has high concentrations of isoflavones which suppress the thyroid function and boost estrogen levels. High estrogen levels have been associated with breast cancer, reproductive cancers, testicular cancer and infertility. Besides this, around 93% of the soybeans grown in the United States are genetically altered. While you can find information to support either argument, I choose to live by the mantra “better safe than sorry”, especially since breast cancer and thyroid problems run in my family.

What you do: Eat soy in moderation and learn more about it. In fact this site says that babies who are fed soy formula have 13,000 – 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than babies who have been fed milk-based formula (the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day – making soy not safe for infants at all.

Milk

For the past 15 years, the majority of our milk has come from cows that have been injected with genetically engineered growth hormone. While this hormone helps the cows to produce more milk, it may hold many negative side effects like early puberty in girls, increased risk of breast cancer and increased risk of prostate cancer.

What you can do:  Purchase dairy products that are recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) free or buy organic milk which comes from cows that are fed 100% organic feed and that are not treated with antibiotics, hormones or drugs.

Artificial Color

I must admit this is one area I was totally clueless on. As it turns out synthetic colors/dyes have a significant effect of behavior – from irritability and restlessness to sleep problems. And once again artificial colors and are everything you eat from granola bars, juices, yogurt, cakes, ice cream, crackers, cereals, macaroni and cheese – and the list goes on and on.

What you can do: Again purchase organic foods, decrease the amount of processed foods that you consume by making your own cookies, breads etc  and make simple switches from items like M&M’s to chocolate chips.

Aspartame

I had heard the rumor that aspartame was rat poison, but I never gave it a second thought – after all why wouldn’t the FDA keep us safe from such products? Well, as it turns out aspartame has been linked to brain tumors, memory lapses, weight gain, lymphomas, leukemia and other cancers – yikes!

What you can do: Switch from artificial sweeteners to real sweeteners like honey, sugar or agave nectar or if you need a no calorie sweetener, try stevia which is natural. Read labels, low cal and diet products like yogurt and sodas contain artificial sweeteners.

By taking baby steps, learning more about your food supply and making educated decisions about the food you consume – you can begin to feel good about the food choices you make for you and your families.

Holly Reisem Hanna is the Founder and Publisher of The Work at Home Woman, an award winning blog dedicated to helping women and moms fulfill their dreams of working from home or becoming self-employed. For more info please see: http://www.theworkathomewoman.com/

 

Photo: by Jung Moon from Flickr

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