Posts Tagged ‘GMO’

What Are We Doing To Our Food Supply?

Today it seems that we have gone beyond the discussion about which foods are good for you and which aren’t, to which foods are poisonous, contaminated, or tainted!  Recently “Fish is not a Health Food” popped up in my email from one of my favorite (and reputable!) daily blogs, the gist of which was though the benefits of Omega-3 in fish are well-known, fish can no longer be considered a healthy food option due to the large amounts of mercury and other pollutants such as PCBs in them.  Mercury and PCBs cause damage to the heart and brain and in pregnant women can compromise their babies’ brain development.  If you eat fish regularly, your body most likely contains high amounts of mercury.  That’s a scary thought, especially when you think you are doing the right thing for your heart, brain and skin! Now recommendations are to avoid fish altogether or eat it no more than once a week. (When you do eat fish, choose the lowest mercury types like flounder, scallops, trout, sole, squid, wild salmon or sardines.)  Yet, factory-farmed chicken and beef raised in filthy, overcrowded, inhumane environments, injected with growth hormones and antibiotics, aren’t safe alternatives either.

fish baked with vegetables and herbs

fish baked with vegetables and herbs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, maybe it’s safer to eat more grains, but not rice! Two major reports from the US Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Reports magazine just came out that “focused on the worrisome amounts of arsenic in rice and popular rice-based processed foods”.  According to the Environmental Working Group, there is reason to be concerned.  They state that many rice-based foods and some fruit juices have arsenic levels much higher than is allowed in drinking water, and that the contamination does include the form of arsenic, a naturally occurring mineral, that poses a serious risk to our health.  Their recommendations are: to limit your rice consumption and try alternative grains such as quinoa, couscous, barley or bulgur; to rinse rice thoroughly before cooking and cook with a lot of water; and to limit buying products that list rice syrup as a sweetener.

Throw in GMO foods (over 80% of all processed foods contain GMOs) and pesticide-grown vegetables and fruits, and our choices for safe food are severely limited! We have a serious problem when we can’t eat the basics; food safety should be one of our inalienable rights.  Fortunately, locally grown and organic foods are a healthy and safe option, but it’s time for action greater than just switching to organic foods, which many people cannot afford, or eliminating the latest poisonous food from our diet. It’s time to clean up our water and demand change from our food growers and manufacturers.  Our future depends on it.

Some information compiled from and




Scary Halloween Candy!!!

I have to repost this image!   Vote yes on Prop 37 if you are in California – it’s not only important for California but for the rest of the country too!

Organic candy anyone?

GMO Foods

gmo “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”                                                   Michael Pollan

The health risks posed by GMO (genetically modified organisms) are real and dangerous.

I urge you to read more about GMO foods to understand why they are so dangerous.  Go to nongmoshopping guide for a comprehensive explanation of GMOs, as well as tips on how to avoid GMO foods when shopping or dining out.   In general, it’s safest to buy organic and certified organic foods which are less likely to contain GMOs.   Avoid at-risk ingredients like soybeans, canola, cottonseed, corn and sugar from sugar beets found in processed foods.  Always read food labels.

Download the free Non-GMO Shopping Guide app available at the app store for smartphones and Ipads to help you with your safer food choices.

To read a more detailed post on GMO foods, click here.


If you follow a whole foods diet and eat nothing from a box, bag or can, then you don’t need to worry about reading labels. Michael Pollan, author of Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules, simplifies the confusion about what is good for you and what isn’t with these seven words – “Eat Food. Not too much.  Mostly Plants.” (He calls processed foods “edible food like substances”.)  Realistically however, even the healthiest of eaters sometimes eats something with a label on it.  And understanding what it says is important.

Image by Betsy Wild

The fewer the ingredients listed on the label the better.  The most prominent ingredient is listed first and the least listed last. Most of the ingredients should sound like food, like organic whole wheat flour or organic short grain brown rice, instead of a name you can’t pronounce. The names of chemical additives and preservatives are long and difficult to say.   Sometimes a safe sounding name is used instead of the chemical name.  For example yeast extract is often used to hide MSG or monosodium glutamate, a flavoring for heavily processed foods to which many people have a reaction. What is worse is that there is no requirement to include the names of chemical contaminants, heavy metals, bisphenol-A, PCBs, or other toxic substances found in the food.  It’s also best to avoid foods with a lot of high fructose sugars (sugar has many names) and trans fats. Sugars and salt should be towards the end of the ingredient list.

Another concerning issue with food and food labeling is the use of genetically modified or engineered foods (GMO) – mostly soy and corn – that are in almost all processed foods.  GMO foods have insecticides built into their DNA, which supposedly are not digestible and will break down, but studies are showing otherwise. The dangers of GMO foods are numerous and there are many unknowns. Gary Hirschberg, former CEO of Stonyfield Farm yogurt has launched “Just Label It” in coalition with the Center for Food Safety, which has filed a petition with the FDA asking to require labeling of GMO foods.  Irridiated foods or those made from concentrate are labeled, so should GMO foods. More than 550,000 people have shown support of the petition.

When you next pick up a box of crackers or cookies, read the label and look for hidden unhealthy ingredients.  Notice whether it says “non-GMO”.  Is it really “All Natural”?  Be smart about the food you buy and demand proper labeling.  The health of our food system depends on it.

Information compiled from Food Rules, by Michael Pollan,, and Boston Uncommon article from the Boston Globe by Jenn Abelson, February 12, 2012.