The Unhealthy Truth (with giveaway) and why I’m on alert for frankenfood

Along with some other writers, I was invited to lunch one day in July with a woman named Robyn O’Brien, founder of AllergyKids, for an event sponsored by Stonyfield Yogurt  — which, to its credit, seemed mostly interested in getting Robyn’s word out and not so much in promoting its product.

I had no idea who Robyn was, but I can tell you that she rocked my world.

If you’ve read my last two food-related posts, you know that I was ripe for Robyn’s message. I had already decided to eat for my ayurvedic dosha and eat cleaner food (meaning reduce my intake of processed/refined foods). But what I learned that day gave my efforts some urgency — not just for my own health but for that of my children, my parents, and my loved ones (you included!).

The invitees were given Robyn’s book, The Unhealthy Truth, and many of us are participating in this blog hop, probably with differing views. So after you’re finished here, please hop around for others’ perspectives (links at bottom). Thanks to Stonyfield, there is a giveaway basket being offered on each participating blog.

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Mom and oThe Unhealthy Truthverachiever Robyn O’Brien unleashed her inner Erin Brockovich several years ago when a routine breakfast served to her four children (toasted waffles with syrup, tubes of blueberry yogurt and some scrambled egg) ended with her youngest, in a high chair, enduring full-blown anaphylactic shock.

Once the crisis was over (the daughter is fine but has some severe food allergies), Robyn, trained as an equity analyst,  put her research skills to work. She found that from 1997-2002, the number of children with peanut allergies doubled. She explains that food allergies happen when a person’s immune system sees a protein as something foreign and it launches an inflammatory response to drive out the foreign matter.

Her next question was, is there something foreign in our food that wasn’t there when we were kids? She learned that yes, beginning in the 199os new proteins were engineered into our food supply.

Robyn found that in 1994, scientists created a synthetic growth hormone that helped cows make more milk. No problem there — societies have always tried to get more output for the input, especially when it comes to keeping their people fed. Unfortunately the growth hormone also mad the cows sick, which required the use of antibiotics.

Robyn O'BrienWhen faced with imports of engineered US milk products, governments around the world erred on the side of caution. Because the new science had not yet been proven SAFE, these governments would not allow US dairy products into their food supplies. The US, on the other hand, said that since it hadn’t yet been proven DANGEROUS, well, belly on up to the frankendairy, everyone.

“How many sippy cups have I filled with this milk?” thought Robyn. “How many bowls of cereal have I poured it on for my husband, not knowing that Canada, the UK, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and all 27 countries in Europe didn’t allow it?”

Other tidbits Robyn shared:

  • Scientists engineered soy in 1996, used primarily to fatten livestock. This engineering allowed soy to withstand higher doses of weed-killer. Once again, other governments decided that safety had not been proven so our soy products were banned. And once again the US agencies responsible for keeping our food supply safe took the approach, “We don’t need no stinkin’ proof it’s safe!” Not yet having proof of danger was sufficient.
  • Scientists then engineered into the DNA of corn its own insecticide. Consequently, that corn is now regulated by the EPA. Big Ag found a loophole, pioneered by the tobacco industry, that allowed such foods to be deemed safe even though no human trials were ever done. We are all guinea pigs in this experiment.
  • One of the concerns about these growth hormones, these  synthetic proteins, is that they also elevate hormone levels that are linked to breast, prostate and colon cancer. Sure enough, the US has the highest rates of cancer in the world.
  • Robyn wondered how major US food companies like Kraft and WalMart were able to export their products if other countries don’t allow such engineered ingredients. She found that these companies offer  formulations that DON’T include frankenfoods. The shelves of our supermarkets, though, have hidden and scary toxins in them that wreak havoc on our digestion and health.

Find 18 minutes in the coming week to watch and listen to Robyn on your own. Here is her TEDxAustin speech earlier this year.

While I was alarmed about what I’ve been feeding myself and my children, I also had reservations about making changes.

But healthy eating is SO expensive!

Robyn put is this way: You can manage your health at the grocery store or you can manage your disease at the hospital.

Or, in the words of that old oil filter commercial, Pay me now or pay me later.

Later is almost always more expensive. I vote for paying more at the grocery store (or farmer’s market). The costs of working it out at the hospital go beyond the financial.

It’s just too much to take on.

Robyn said repeatedly, Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Some of you have mentioned the discipline and willpower I must have in abundance regarding my new eating habits. Really, I have neither. What I do have is mindfulness. I’m paying more attention to what nourishes me.

And Robyn’s quote above rings true. At one time, the Perfectionist Lori would never have undertaken such a dramatic set of changes because, well, taken together they are simply too dramatic.

But as any athlete will tell you (and it’s only been 3 years that I consider myself any sort of athlete, of the yoga variety) a steady force will bring change. Water droplets will carve a canyon. Poses that were impossible to me just a year ago are now in my practice. All because I finally realized that steady effort and aim is so much more effective than all-or-nothing.

So what can I do?

If you’re called to action, as I am, consider these ideas.

  • Become aware of what you feed yourself and your family. Begin reading labels and ask, “Do I want that in our systems?” Beware of rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), GMO (genetically modified organisms) and “artificial,” as in flavors and colors (oh, not, not the fluorescent mac & cheese!).
  • Begin shopping at markets that offer organic food. The more demand we create for healthy food, especially at the expense of frankenfood, the more available and cheaper healthy food will become.
  • Every time you go to the grocery store, ask the grocer and the butcher to show you the organic section. If you’re snarky like me, pooh-pooh how few offerings they have and ask if they intend to get more soon.
  • Watch for bills that would require labeling of foods. (I’ll report here if one comes to life.) At that time, mobilize to get your representative and senators to vote for such a measure. Ask your representatives to stop subsidizing frankenfood. If anything is to be subsidized, it should be healthy food.
  • For a demonstration on just how much trusted food companies rely on you  to NOT read labels, see this video from the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center. You’ll never buy blueberry products the same way again.
  • Do one thing.

To see what other bloggers thought of our lunch with Robyn, check out the entries on LinkyTools, below.

Comments here are to discuss this post. If you’d like to enter a giveaway (Stonyfield is offering a package that includes The Unhealthy Truth, The Stonyfield Yogurt Cookbook, 5 coupons for Stonyfield Oikos Greek yogurt and 5 coupons for Stonyfield YoBaby yogurt) click over to my giveaway blog, AllThumbsReviews.

 

43 thoughts on “The Unhealthy Truth (with giveaway) and why I’m on alert for frankenfood”

  1. This book scared me when I first read it. How bad can Mac ‘n cheese be? But when I realized this is not the same stuff we ate as kids, I had to make a change… Slowly. It’s hard to get kids to eat differently! We had to wean them off blue yogurt and fluorescent orange food dyes. Our dairy, royal crest, is rBGH free, even though not organic. Milk is a big one to change!

  2. What an outstanding post! Something near and dear to my heart—eating well. This book sounds great. And thanks for the link to the blueberry video. I’m going to have to eat more f fresh fruit just to get rid of the sick feeling I felt after watching it!

    Pix–Cheese Curds and Kimchi

  3. “You can manage your health at the grocery store or you can manage your disease at the hospital.” This quote stuck with me, too. It sweeps away any argument I came up with against making changes.

    Fantastic, detailed post. Thanks for facilitating this discussion, Lori!

    1. Husband and I are in agreement about our willingness to pay a little more (even a lot more) to keep ourselves and our kids healthy and active. Once Robyn put it that way, the lights went on.

  4. Ah, definitely food for thought. I took a quick look at her website and I have to say, like Liz, this scares me. Plus, I admit, it’s easier to be comfortable and “oblivious” than to take the effort to make the change. However, I think I will at least try to do One Thing and maybe take a look at labels and steer clear of over-processed stuff. I was never too into the super-easy foods (for example the pre-packaged rice and so on), but I suspect that’s because 1) I grew up in Syria; we never had the easy-way-out when it came to cooking because these convenient foods were simply not available. So I am used to taking the longer, from scratch or close-to-scrath road and I actually like it better that way. And 2) I don’t have kids so I don’t need the convenience of those “fast” foods as much as moms do, which I completely understand. If you’ve been working all day, either at home or in the office, and still have to take care of the kids and do 1 million things before bedtime, it makes sense that you would want to make dinner quickly.

    However the crazy part is, it’s not just the pre-packaged, convenient foods that are guilty. I never gave 2 thoughts to things like cereal and milk. Like most, I thought those were fine, healthy options.

    Thanks for posting this Lori! I should look into this more…

    1. Shopping takes me twice as long now because I read EVERY label. I, too was surprised about some of the “healthy” cereals. It’s really hard to find one in which sugar isn’t one of the first 3 ingredients.

      Glad you caught the One Thing bug :-)

  5. Wow Lori! Thank you for sharing all of this. In recent years my family has tried to start eating healthier, including more veggies, switching to whole grain bread, natural peanut butter, etc. But we have not gone as far as we probably “should.” To be honest I am afraid and not ready to know everything that Robyn and other’s have researched and shared in their books and movies (I have yet to watch Food Inc., I think that’s what its called, because I know I need to be ready to make some big changes if I do). Anyway, I appreciate you getting into my conscience today. You are making me more aware and hopefully one of these days it will be enough to make me want to learn more and then likely make those changes for me and my family.

    1. I get it, Kathy. You have to be ready to hear the message because it will mean change. But it could mean small change — just becoming more aware. The rest will flow as you do that One Thing.

  6. I loved your “pay me know or pay me later” comment! That’s perfect – and so true. I also appreciated that link to the “blueberry” video. It’s amazing how deceptive food (I use the word “food” loosely here) advertisers can be.

    Great post and thank you for facilitating this blog hop. It’s such good information and so important to get the word out about what nasty stuff is lurking in our food supply.

    Thanks!
    Melissa

  7. DUH. I didn’t read thoroughly enough — of COURSE you did xoxoox. Sorry about that Lori — but thank you so much for this post. I’ve been reading this book Anticancer — which is talking so much about how we fuel our bodies and the very real connection it has to health — not just in the sense we usually think of it — but on a molecular level. Deep stuff.

    XO

    1. Ooooh…I’m intrigues by “molecular level” and even subatomic level observations, where matter and energy merge. Thanks for the book recommendation — I’ll get on the list at the library.

      <3 to you, too :-)

  8. Lori, although I agree with much of what you have written and recommended above, I must respectfully disagree with a number of your remarks.

    You may know that I have a PhD in biology, and that I teach biotech courses at the college level. I lecture extensively in one of my courses on genetic modification of crops. I always begin this lecture series by pointing out that humans have been genetically modifying crop species for thousands of years through selective breeding. An example would be a farmer noticing a rare tomato plant in his field that seems to produce more tomatoes per plant, or larger ones. These are likely going to be the tomatoes whose seeds he saves and sows the following year. These days we have more efficient methods for modifying the genomes of crop species, which have been used to do things like add genes involved in iron transport and vitamin D metabolism to rice plants, to try and combat malnutrition-related blindness in children in underdeveloped nations. My point here is that the technique itself is not evil. Thus, I object to the usage of terms like “Frankenfoods.”

    You also mention soy engineered to “resist higher doses of weed-killer”. This is not strictly accurate. I believe you are referring to what are commonly known as “Round-Up Ready crops.” These are crop species in which a single plant gene (an enzyme involved in photosynthesis) has been changed to make that crop plant resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (aka RoundUp). Sounds scary, right? Well, not really. Consider: (1) glyphosate is a very potent herbicide, thus very little of it needs to be applied to crops to combat weed growth, compared to the “cocktail” of many different herbicides that were previously used in combination to deal with different kinds of weeds. (2) glyphosate has been shown to decompose quickly in soil and (3) has been demonstrated to be 10-fold less toxic to mammals than caffeine. Personally, I feel that the risk to humans and our environment from this small change to a single plant gene is much lower than the prior risk of using many different herbicides in larger numbers that had been clearly shown to be contaminating our water supply in agricultural runoff. If anyone can suggest a way to affordably feed our planet full of people without using any herbicides at all, I’m all for it. Until then, I think this is a smart choice.

    Similarly, the corn pesticide you mention is, I believe, a reference to a genetically modified crop called “Bt corn.” Once again, this was a response to attempt to minimize the large number of pesticides being used to treat our corn crops, which were ending up in agricultural run-off and potentially harming various wildlife species and humans. The search for a better way led to use of a single crystalline protein from a naturally occurring bacterium in soil called Bacillus thuringiensis. This protein has toxic properties to the guts of a certain subspecies of insects (the lepidopterans, which includes butterflies as well as a common pest species to corn farmers, the corn borer pest). Media sensationalization of this technique led to a huge outcry in the population, followed by a 2 year study that showed, among other things, that the new Bt corn was actually safer in a number of ways than older farming methods (I’m already writing a novel here, so I’ll skip the detail, but you may recall it involved potential harm to Monarch butterflies).

    I think this is a good place to mention your usage of the word “toxins.” We have to be careful here. “Toxin” is a relative term. Humans consume them all the time. Examples include phenols, found in most fruits and vegetables and a number of cereal crops, among others. Phenols function as an estrogen mimic and destroy thiamine. The courmarins found in crops like celery and parsnips are skin irritants and also function as light-activated carcinogens. These molecules are made by the plants as defensive molecules against being consumed by grazing animals and other species. At the levels that we consume them, though, they don’t cause any serious harm. Indeed the nutritional benefits we gain from eating these foods vastly outweigh any potential harm from these molecules.

    Everything new (and everything old) in life has potential risks and benefits. The key to making good choices is not to fear all change because of the risks, but to gather all of the necessary facts is order to be able to fairly evaluate the size of the potential risks vs. the size of the potential benefits. I firmly believe that genetic modification of foods is a technology with a vast potential for doing good at minimal risk, but which has suffered badly from a lack of scientific understanding of the general population to be able to evaluate it fairly, as well as a fear of the unknown. I am not trying to say that everything we can do with the technique is perfectly safe without testing, but that we shouldn’t shy away from the entire field because of misunderstandings with regard to potential risks and the vast potential to do good.

    And of course we don’t need to be eating fluorescent orange mac and cheese. I spend a lot of my time figuring out where we can best invest our money in buying food that is nutritious and healthy for my family at minimal cost and risk. To your list of many good suggestions, I would add:

    1. Buy local. We don’t need to pay for grapes to be flown in from Chile when there’s a family farm up the road growing the same crop. Buying local whenever possible saves on fossil fuel usage.
    2. Don’t assume that all genetically modified foods are bad. There are a lot of smart people out there who have dedicated their lives to using science to improve humanity and use our environmental resources wisely. Trust them. They are not all out to get you.
    3. Educate yourself. The level of scientific understanding in the US is embarrassingly low. The only way to distinguish between people trying to do good (see #2 above) and people doing incredibly stupid things (feeding antibiotics to all livestock, as Lori mentioned) is to understand the subtleties of the arguments. Read a basic college-level Biology textbook. The one by Campbell is great.
    4. Vote for science. Politicians who demonstrate an appalling lack of scientific understanding should not be in charge of any of these decisions. There’s nothing wrong with electing smart people. Aren’t these the people we want reading the fine print and making decisions that affect us all?

    Lori, thanks for letting me get on my soapbox.

    -May

    1. Hi, May. I’m so glad you added your expertise to this discussion.

      I do understand your objection to the use of the term “frankenfood” and I want to say that this is my word, not Robyn’s. It’s a shortcut my husband and I use now when we talk about foods that have had their DNA changed in a lab, thereby short-circuiting thousands or millions of years of evolution. Yes, selective breeding has been done, but at not at such light-speed as the manipulation at the gene level that we’ve seen in the last 2 decades.

      I fear the evolution of our digestive systems cannot keep pace with the lightening-fast evolution of engineered foods. It’s like our digestive systems are evolving at glacial speed and GMO foods are on a space rocket toward evolving and changing.

      I completely agree with this: “Everything new (and everything old) in life has potential risks and benefits.” Life is a series of trade-offs.My point of the post is that the trade-offs for eating convenience and engineered foods are no longer worth it to me. I have decided that I am now willing to trade time and $$ for what I hope to be health-benefits for myself and my family. Robyn points out that correlation (of higher allergies and other afflictions since GMO foods began appearing on our shelves) is not causation and its therefore quite possible that my trade-off will not pay off.

      Thanks for doing your part to educate those of us not steeped in the science. I like your list :-)

  9. My son’s life threatening dairy allergy has really made us revamp how we eat. Our pediatrician is a big advocate of nutrition, and has had so many helpful suggestions (getting a box of organic produce delivered from the farm, going essentially dairy free). We are a family of 4 and spend about $70-90 a week for groceries, and that is mostly organic and mostly whole foods. Most processed foods, including bread, has some form of dairy protein in it. If you focus on veggies, vegetable proteins, and cooking from scratch, you can eat well and not break the bank.

  10. Thanks Lori for this post and May for her response as well. It’s an interesting discussion.

    I try to feed the kids local, organic food exclusively. I read Michael Pollan a few years ago and it had a big effect on me. That was a lot easier before they became picky eaters, now there are some processed foods in the mix: the least processed most organic I could find. But, still processed. It doesn’t make me feel great.

    My kids are really short for their age and I seriously wonder if it’s because they have eaten little to no products with growth hormones their whole lives.

    My own eating habits are not as good as they should be which is why I loved your post about changing your eating habits.

    Thanks again for this!

    1. Interesting thought about your children’s height. I wonder if there is a connection…?

      And no shame about once-in-awhile McDonalds, at least to me. When my children were younger, we were frequent fliers at their indoor playgrounds on cold winter days. And, of course, you can’t be there without ordering something. I can’t tell you how many happy meal toys I’ve given away!

  11. I discovered Robyn’s book earlier this year. That’s so cool you got to have lunch with her! If you liked her book, also check out the Weston A Price Foundation.

    To respond to May, while in theory, glyphosate (aka Roundup) should be used sparingly on GE crops, it is not in the mid-west. They rotate GE soy with GE corn. Roundup is cheap and they use lots of it. Roundup chelates minerals in the soil, and it has the same effect on the crops that are grown on it. Glyphosate may not be acutely toxic, but it does have chronic toxicity effects. If it is used too much, the soils will be destroyed, and it is very expensive to bring their fertility back. I heard this from a crop consultant who is not anti-GE crops, but who is seeing the negative effects of glyphosate and helping farmers go back to conventional crops. Roundup has also been linked to a soil pathogen (a microfungus) that has caused miscarriages. They traced it back to a dairy where the pregnant women were getting their milk and the cows were fed GE corn. Some of this info is published and some of it is not published yet.

    1. Thanks for adding to this, Phoebe. It’s interesting that you used the term “fertility” in reference to soil and crops. More than once I’ve wondered to what extent the eating habits I had growing up and in my 20s and 30s affected my own hormones and fertility.

  12. I started off slowly about 10 years ago overhauling my diet, the slow overhaul speeded up about 4 years ago with the birth of my daughter to the point now that most all of what my family eats is natural unprocessed seasonal food. I am 44 years old and in the past 10 years have only been to the doc for pregnancy related issues, my daughter has only been to the doc for annuals. I put this down to our fit and healthy eating lifestyles, i watch daily much younger people than myself abuse their bodies with processed foods and suffer the consequences, but still they do nothing about it cos they are “too busy to cook or too broke to eat well” like you say they pay through the nose for doctor visits though.

  13. I read your post with a lot of interest. BTW, I find it very interesting.

    The same standards as are applied in the USA are not applicable here. However, I lived in the silly notion that you guys had stronger standards than us.

    To some extent, I can recognize what you are saying. What you say about BT Corn….If you are aware, the government allowed the cultivation of BT Brinjal a while back and there was a lot of uproar on it. You see, till now ‘BT’ crops/seeds were allowed only in the non-food category. So while it was okay to have BT cotton, it was not okay to have BT brinjals. From what I know, BT brinjals are not being allowed.

    Our ‘food’ problems arise due to a different reason – people are not very aware and they won’t pay much attention to the label; there are a lot of unscruplous middlemen and manufacturers who deliberately sell adulterated goods to the public. And the law is there, but the food inspector does not have the kind of sweeping powers that would help him whoop the ass of such people.

    So, in cases of such kind, we are mostly at the mercy of whoever is selling the milk/grocery to us, and usually the relationship of trust exists.

    Also, most of our meals are freshly cooked and consumed. Factory processed goods are definitely there (snacks, and ketchups and all that), but the basic meal is home-prepared. Maybe that makes a difference?

    I became more conscious of labels, especially after my mom cracked on my soft drink intake. What was so bad about it? And then when I fed the ingredients to google, I realized that the preservative is a compound of phosphorus, and calcium is dissolvable in phosphorus – hence the link between reducing bone density and cold drinks. However, after I started reading details on preservatives on all the things I was getting home I realized that 300 and 330C are present in number of other products such as Nestle’s Iced Tea powder (I love that too), and my favourite Lay’s snacks and in the brand of my favourite instant noodles.

    I still indulge in those items, but I became very conscious when I was pregnant with Lola, and did not have any of those iced tea stuff. I did continue with the instant noodles, and so much had been cut down that I was pretty guilt-free about it.

    Even currently, I am not into all those snacks, though I do crave them a lot, and the only thing stopping me is the fact that my mother just doesn’t buy them for home.

    1. I shudder when I think about my C0ca-C0la habit in my 20s, when I was supposed to be growing strong bones.

      Interesting that your country might have better laws but fewer teeth to enforce them. I always find your perspective interesting :-)

  14. I really enjoyed meeting Robyn too, and am still making my way (slowly) through her book. Her zeal and passion for changing the food industry and awakening consumers to be aware of what they’re eating is an admirable undertaking. We do trust too blindly and make choices too often out of convenience. I’m guilty of that. Lately, we’ve been buying squeeze tubes of yogurt to take in the car in the morning when running late. Though the brands I had been buying tasted awful to me and I knew deep down couldn’t be entirely good for Reagan, I bought them for the convenience factor and to make sure she had something in her belly before preschool. Since this luncheon, I discovered Stonyfield’s line of YoKids Squeezers and haven’t looked back. Reagan loves them even more than the cheap brands and I like the way they taste too. Yes, they’re twice the price, but the peace of mind has been worth it. We’ve also stopped buying other products with artificial flavors and colors such as breakfast cereals and granola bars. All things I knew I should be doing, but became even more motivated to do after meeting Robyn. We’re making small changes in the things that are easy to change first.

  15. I agree with you that it’s important to be aware of what you’re eating. I also agree with May in that there’s a lot more to the story. Just a small example – in those organic fruits and vegetables that people prize so highly for their lack of pesticides? That’s not entirely accurate. Pesticides can still be used on organic farms – they just have to be “natural.” http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~lhom/organictext.html

    It’s a tough world out there in terms of eating these days…

    1. Thanks for that link — eating clean is so much more complex than I thought it would be!

      I’ve begun to choose organic when possible not only for the pesticide aspect but also for the genetic engineering aspect. Sounds like maybe I should move to the country and buy some laying hens and dairy cows and garden more seriously.

      But Frontier House mom I’m not.

      Sigh…

  16. I am very late to this game but I didn’t have time to comment before when I read this post and I think it’s a really important topic. I have worked in this field for a long time (plant biotech, more or less) and I feel that there are a LOT of really important aspects to this discussion. Instead of pretending that I can do them all real justice, I just want to mention this article:
    http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/farmer-in-chief/
    It is an amazing primer on this topic (as is practically everything by Michael Pollan but this gives a very general and educated view).

  17. Great discussion!

    I have been reading all food labels for years. As a chemist by education and the sister-in-law of someone who got his masters genetically engineering corn, I have been aware of our changing food supply for some time.

    I do what I can to buy local, watch for GMO and eat healthy. That said, we had pizza last night (you know the pizza chain isn’t looking our for non rBST cheese) and I am making a ham tonight – even though I know what some pigs are fed. But like you said, small changes turn in to big ones.

    I want to comment on May’s comment too.

    As you point out, we haven’t really shown that the foods are safe. The vast majority of studies done that show the foods are safe are made by the creators of these foods. When GMO first came out, I thought was great. I thought it would be like breeding, only faster. Then I found that they were inserting genes from other species to make pesticides. Never mind that cotton field workers are getting sick because of the pesticide the cotton is producing. It is the bottom line that counts.

    And my biggest frustration / rant is that the argument for these foods is “We can’t feed 9 billion people without it!” The answer is so simple . . . sustainable farming practices (that don’t need the cocktail of herbicides and pesticides) and stop having so many kids. The solution is not more food but less mouths to feed.

    In this country, big business and big money have the power and influence. That is why we are the guinea pigs. Until that changes, I see a lot of damage being done. It is scary and I am overwhelmed with the what it would take to change it.

    Thanks for putting the word out.

  18. I continued working since I posted my comment and I realized I was feeling rather blue. I asked myself why and it was this post.

    Well, not the post but the underlying reason. It is a powerless feeling when the world – or at least our part of it, but all to some degree I suppose – is run by the rich and for the rich.

    A story from my local farmer’s market. I asked if the beef guy’s potatoes were organic. He said they are not certified organic but they are grown organically (good enough for me – sometimes you have to trust). Then I asked him why potatoes show up on the Dirty Dozen list (put out by the Environmental Working Group). It seems they would be pretty resistant to bugs growing underground and all. He said the issue was not with the bugs, but with the harvest. Big companies spray an herbicide over the potato crop so they can dig up the potatoes with machines and not have a bunch of pesky leaves get stuck in the blades.

    Now, I don’t know if that is true and even if it is related – EWG reports on pesticides not herbicides – but it sure makes you wonder what happens with our food supply.

    Sigh. Maybe I need some chocolate for a pick me up. Oh, wait . . . slave labor, really bad on the environment . . .

    :(

  19. So glad I saw Robyn O’Brien this AM on our local PBS today and I’m on my way to getting her book..Never heard of her before and certainly not known of her marvelous work…
    I always felt what was happening to Americans with obesity, Diabetes and all the other degenerative diseases was the result of the food we eat. However I thought it was all due to fast food…..I never dreamed it was so systemic and pervasive and contaminates every aspect of our food. I’m sure has contributed to the problem of Bee Colony Collapse.
    However, why isn’t there more of this information on shows like Dr. Oz…and on every exercise and health program…alongside the Wendy’s and McDonald coffee commercials?
    This information should be posted every day on one media outlet as a Public Service!

    The New Member….

  20. The Food Industry must be taken into serious consideration as the country moves onto Health Care for all.
    We can’t have the Food Industry working against our Natioanl Health Programs……

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