Increase immunity, reverse diabetes, minimize your risk of heart attack, cancer and dementia by eating safe healthy food. Living a compassionate life begins by taking compassionate, loving care of your health and your self. This is the 2nd Compassion. This 11-part series excerpts and adapts Chapter 2 of the new book, The Great Healing – Five Compassions That Can Save Our World.
“An exceptionally well and persuasively written clarion call to personal and collective action, The Great Healing – Five Compassions That Can Save Our World is unreservedly and urgently recommended.”
— Midwest Book Review
. . .
The core ingredients in the vast majority of food products on supermarket shelves, as well as in the meals you order in restaurants, have changed. And not for the better.
. . .
Meat, milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products that come from factory farms have changed.
The meat and dairy products of factory farmed animals that are fed an unnatural diet of vitamin and mineral deficient soy and corn commodity crops, contain lower vitamin and mineral levels than pastured animals feeding off of the diverse, minerally robust grasses growing in healthy soil these creatures evolved to eat.
David Thomas turned his attention to the mineral content in ten kinds of meat, and found that copper has declined by 24%, calcium by 41%, iron by 54%, magnesium by 10% and potassium by 16%.[i]
As mentioned in Chapter 1, it’s important that you consume only the meat and dairy products of pasture raised, grass fed non-factory farmed animals. While in that chapter, it is presented to spark compassion for animals, here it is to focus on health and the self — you. And with that in mind, there are two other significant differences as well:
In order to function properly, our bodies need the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids pastured animals provide in proper balance. Omega-3s enable the body to produce EPA and DHA. Dr. Fuhrman observes that these have “anti-inflammatory effects and are necessary for brain growth and repair. Optimal brain function requires adequate DHA, which makes up 8% of the total volume of a healthy brain.”[ii] Research studies have associated brain deficiencies in omega-3 with lower intelligence, poor school performance, aggression and hostility, depression and suicide, memory loss and cognitive decline, and dementia.[iii] Foods rich in omega-3s include, what? Green vegetables, nuts and seeds, seafood and… pasture raised, grass fed meat and dairy products.
Remember that the food products of factory farmed animals — like Thomas Q. Piglet and Ruth the Cow — which dominate the American marketplace and are core ingredients in fast foods, junk foods and the majority of processed foods, are significantly lower in omega-3s.
Finally, factory farmed animals are routinely fed antibiotics, in part to keep them alive in the virulent environments they are forced to endure, and traces of those antibiotics as well as toxins prevalent in those environments stay with the meat and dairy product as it is processed and delivered.
In addition to the reasons detailed in Chapter 1, limit your food intake of meat and dairy products and confine it to grass-fed, grass-finished, free range and organic for the nutritional health imperative here. And yes, I’ll keep coming back to this as we take this journey together. Why? Because what is happening — or not happening — in the food industry and how it is affecting our entire internal and external eco-system is the key to just about everything in our world. It is central to our lives.
Just ask Brady.
. . .
The GMO horror show.
GMO wheat, corn, and soy crops grown in the industrial agriculture system (which we will visit in Chapter 3) are nutritionally deficient of essential vitamins and minerals by a significant margin when compared to today’s non-GMO versions of these crops.
They stand up even more poorly when compared to traditional non-GMO crops grown just several decades ago.
That’s problem number one. There is yet another significant hazard associated with GMOs.
GMO Roundup Ready seed crops are designed to be routinely sprayed with Bayer’s potent poison Roundup. Roundup contains the herbicide glyphosate, which kills weeds, insects, and the living microorganisms essential to soil health. Over 2.6 billion pounds of glyphosate herbicide have been sprayed on GMO crops on U.S. farmland between 1992 and 2012 — crops that become our food or the food for factory farmed animals.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, determined in 2015 that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”[iv] [v] The State of California and the Center for Food Safety determined that glyphosate is a known carcinogen and sought to label products containing it as such per California law. Glyphosate’s manufacturer, Monsanto (acquired by Bayer in 2018), challenged this decision in court. In April 2018, the court sided with the State of California.[vi]
38 countries have bans in place on GMO crops including almost the entirety of the European Union.[ix] 64 countries around the world including the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China require the package labeling of genetically modified foods. The U.S. does not.[x]
The manufacturer of glyphosate has it registered as an antibiotic. “Biotic” is a word of Greek origin meaning “pertaining to life” or “of life.” Anti-biotic is something that, by definition, kills life. When you take an antibiotic to rid your body of an infection, you take it for just enough time to do its job because antibiotics also kill your vital gut bacteria — your microbiome.
A healthy gut microbiome is essential to your wellbeing. David Montgomery and Anne Biklé make the connection between the microbiome in the soil and the one inside our bodies, “Many practices at the heart of modern agriculture and medicine — two arenas of applied science critical to human health and wellbeing — are simply on the wrong path. We need to learn how to work with rather than against the microbial communities that underpin the health of plants and people.”[xi]
Glyphosate is a powerful poison. Since its manufacturer classifies glyphosate as an antibiotic, it is not something you want introduced into your healthy stomach and gut microbiome. Is there a correlation between the rising number of people with “leaky gut” and other stomach and intestinal disorders and ingestion of GMO foods and the antibiotic glyphosate?
In 2018, the Environmental Working Group tested glyphosate levels in 45 samples from more than a dozen popular oat cereals, oatmeal and granola snack bars. Government regulators at the Food and Drug Administration have been testing dietary exposures for glyphosate for two years and have kept their results secret. So, the EWG scientists tested independently to provide Americans with this vital information.
Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond Granola. Quaker Steel Cut Oats. Lucky Charms. Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted Cereal. Cheerios. Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats. Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars. Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran. 43 of the 45 product samples tested contained glyphosate. Nearly three-fourths of them had levels higher than the benchmark EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.[xii]
Notice the words “organic” and “nature” in the names of some of the products listed here. Using the resources annotated in Chapter 1, you will soon learn that words like “Natural” and “Healthy,” while attractive for consumers, are hollow in terms of factual nutritional promise. “Organic” is meaningful but read the packaging to make sure the product is made from non-GMO ingredients.
Testing products that schools typically serve on their breakfast menus, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) reported in December 2018, that, “Nearly 70% of the oat-based breakfast foods tested contain concerning levels of glyphosate.”[xiii] Two Quaker products, Old Fashioned Oats and Instant Oatmeal, contained, “Glyphosate contamination more than six times the safety threshold developed by the EWG.” The glyphosate contamination in Cheerios exceeded five times that level.[xiv]
In February 2019, the United States Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) revealed that 19 of 20 beers and wines it tested contained glyphosate. The beer brands included Budweiser, Coors, Miller Lite, Sam Adams, Samuel Smith Organic and New Belgium. Wines included Beringer, Barefoot and Sutter Home.[xv]
In her comprehensive and compelling book, Whitewash – The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science, Carey Gillam concludes, “There is simply too much evidence that pesticides contribute to elevated rates of chronic diseases such as different cancers, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders that include Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and reproductive disorders… Everyone who eats foods produced with these pesticides is also at risk. And though the chemical agribusiness industry has long contended that low-level exposures pose no risk to human health, numerous scientists and medical professionals no longer are willing to accept that false assurance.”[xvi]
And jurists aren’t either.
Kara Cook of PIRG writes, “In 2018, a jury in California found that Roundup was a major cause of a man’s cancer, and awarded him $78 million in damages. Thousands of other people, mostly farmers, are now alleging that their incurable cancers may have been caused by Roundup.”[xvii] On March 19, 2019, a separate jury determined that glyphosate was the cause of another California man’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer. Eight days later they awarded plaintiff Edward Hardeman $80 million in damages.[xviii] On May 13, 2019 a third jury agreed with couple who claimed their cancers resulted from using Roundup awarding them just over $2 billion.[xix] Bayer AG faces 13,400 other lawsuits in the U.S. alleging that glyphosate causes cancer.[xx]
“In January 2019, France banned the use of Roundup, citing it as a ‘serious risk’ to human health. Other countries in the EU are considering similar bans,” notes Kara Cook.[xxi] The U.S. at this time, is not.
The majority of processed foods, fast foods, and food products on your supermarket shelves contain GMO ingredients. The Center for Food Safety provides a free app that you can easily download to your phone to help you find and avoid GMO or GE ingredients wherever you shop.[xxii]
In a peer-reviewed 2018 study, Survey Reports Improved Health After Avoiding Genetically Modified Foods, 3,250 participants reported health improvements in 17 areas after reducing the amount of GMO foods they ate including: Digestive: 85.2%, Fatigue, low energy: 60.4%, Overweight or obesity: 54.6%, Clouding of consciousness or “brain fog”: 51.7%, Food allergies or sensitivities: 50.2%, Mood problems, such as anxiety or depression: 51.1%, and Joint pain: 47.5%. The study noted that these individuals’ health improvements “are consistent with reports by physicians and others about the improvements accompanying a switch to largely non-GMO and organic diets.”[xxiii]
. . .
In her book, Who Really Feeds The World?, Dr. Vandana Shiva writes, “Food, whose primary purpose is to provide nourishment and health, is today the single biggest health problem in the world: nearly one billion people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, two billion suffer from diseases like obesity and diabetes, and countless others suffer from diseases including cancer, caused by poisons in our food.”[xxiv]
Purchase organic and pesticide free fruits, vegetables and grains, or ones produced to an even higher standard that is regenerative agriculture. If a food label says “Non-GMO” that’s important. Purchase Non-GMO.
Stephen Erickson is an author and a dedicated environmental and animal activist for 30 years. He is also a screenwriter, feature filmmaker, and former Home Entertainment executive. He lives in Los Angeles and has 3 children.
The Compassion For Self Series excerpted from The Great Healing – Five Compassions That Can Save Our World
“Erickson’s ability to connect climate science, copious data, and public policies with the lived experiences of people and other creatures sets this book apart. His emphasis on humane and caring methods reminds readers that winning hearts and minds is a prerequisite to capturing carbon. An inspired synthesis of environmental, cultural, economic, and political calls to action.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A comprehensive entreaty to save a rapidly dying Earth with compassionate activism… This alarming but not alarmist work provides purposeful, accessible, and concrete ways to counter and prevent ecological damage.” — Book Life Review by Publishers Weekly
[i] The Mineral Depletion of Foods Available to Us as a Nation (1940 – 2002) – A Review of the 6th Edition of McCance and Widdowson, research article by David Thomas, July 2007 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/026010600701900205
[ii] Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Fast Food Genocide, New York, New York: Harper Collins, 2017
[iii] Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Fast Food Genocide, New York, New York: Harper Collins, 2017
[iv] IARC Monographs Volume 112: Evaluation of Five Organophosphate Insecticides and Herbicides, World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Mar. 20, 2015, http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/MonographVolume112.pdf
[v] Guyton K.Z., Loomis D, Grosse Y, et al. International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working group, IARC, Lyon, France. Carcinogenicity of Tetrachlorvinphos, Parathion, Malathion, Diazinon, and Glyphosate, Lancet Oncol. 2015 May;16(5):490-91
[vi] California Defeats Monsanto in Court to List Glyphosate as Carcinogen, Sustainable Pulsa, Apr. 20, 2018 https://sustainablepulse.com/2018/04/20/california-defeats-monsanto-in-court-to-list-glyphosate-as-probable-carcinogen/#.WvtpUxMvxhE
[vii] Luoping Zhang, Iemaan Rana, Rachel M. Shaffer, et al. Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence, Science Direct, doi.org/10.1016/j.mrrev.2019.02.001 Feb. 10, 2019, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1383574218300887
[viii] Emily Dixon, Common Weed Killer Glyphosate Increases Cancer Risk by 41%, Study Says, CNN, Feb 14, 2019. https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/health/us-glyphosate-cancer-study-scli-intl/index.html
[ix] Yelena Sukhoterina, Sorry, Monsanto: GMO Crops Now banned in Nearly 40 Countries, Grown in Just 28, AltHealth Works, Apr. 21, 2016 https://althealthworks.com/9778/list-of-38-countries-that-banned-gmos-and-28-that-grow-themyelena/
[x] Labeling Around the World, Just Label It!, http://www.justlabelit.org/right-to-know-center/labeling-around-the-world/
[xi] David Montgomery, Anne Biklé, The Hidden Half of Nature, New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016, pg.255
[xii] Alexis Temkin, Ph.D, Toxicologist, Breakfast With a Dose of Roundup? Environmental Working Group Children’s health Initiative, Aug. 15, 2018 https://www.ewg.org/childrenshealth/glyphosateincereal/#.W5c2VJNKhhG
[xiv] Caroline Cox, There’s a Toxic Weedkiller on the Menu in K-12 Schools Across the U.S., Common Dreams, Jan. 9, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/09/theres-toxic-weedkiller-menu-k-12-schools-across-us
[xv] Kara Cook, Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Feb. 2019, https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/glyphosate-pesticide-beer-and-wine
[xvi] Carey Gillam. Whitewash. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2017. Pg.237
[xvii] Kara Cook, Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Feb. 2019, https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/glyphosate-pesticide-beer-and-wine
[xviii] Monica Amarelo, Jury Slams Monsanto for Corporate Malfeasance in Roundup Cancer Trial, Awards $80 Million in Damages, Environmental Working Group, Mar. 27, 2019, https://www.ewg.org/release/second-time-8-months-bayer-monsanto-s-roundup-liable-cancer-lawsuit
[xix] Joel Rosenblatt and Tim Loh, Bayer’s $2 Billion Roundup Damages Boost Pressure to Settle, Bloomberg, May 13, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-13/bayer-loses-its-third-trial-over-claims-roundup-causes-cancer
[xx] Andreas Becker, Bayer Investors Angry Over Plummeting Share Price, DW, Apr. 26, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/bayer-investors-angry-over-plummeting-share-price/a-48495269
[xxi] Kara Cook, Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Feb. 2019, https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/glyphosate-pesticide-beer-and-wine
[xxii] Center For Food Safety, Get the App for iPhone or Android, https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/311/ge-foods/non-gmo-shoppers-guide-325/1847/get-the-app-for-iphone-or-android
[xxiii] Jeffrey M. Smith MBA, Survey Reports Improved Health After Avoiding Genetically Modified Foods, International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, 2017 https://responsibletechnology.org/irtnew/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Improved-Health-by-Avoiding-GMOs-by-Jeffrey-Smith.pdf
[xxiv] Vandana Shiva. Who Really Feeds The World?. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2016. pg. i Vandana Shiva cites: Marie-Monique Robin, Our Daily Poison: From Pesticides to packaging, How Chemicals Have contaminated the Food Chain and Are Making Us Sick (New York: New Press, 2014)