Do you have children or grandchildren with a food allergy? Have you experienced a food allergy? Does it seem like no family is left untouched by this food reactions epidemic?
Hospital emergency rooms are kept busy with a reported 265% increase in allergy related visits since the 90’s. Peanut allergy cases doubled between 1997 and 2002. One in three children are diagnosed with autism, and/or ADD related to food allergies.1
Do you remember when food allergies were almost never heard of? That was before more than 80,000 man- made chemicals were dumped into our water, air and soil beginning in the 1980’s.2 It was before genetically modified foods hit the supermarket shelves in an estimated 30,000 products.3
There is such a strong correlation between the engineering of foods and the increase in reactions to foods that I personally find it difficult to ignore especially since my clientele dramatically changed from 10% allergy cases to 90% allergy related cases in the past 5 years.
When you follow the money of food engineering you see a brilliant business revenue model yielding higher crop production for much less expense. This is great for shareholder returns, but in my opinion, not so good for our stomachs, our health and our joy of living.
In Quebec, doctors found that the Bt toxin found in Monsanto’s “safe” GMO seeds which kills insects by rupturing their stomachs, is found circulating in the blood of 93% of pregnant woman tested and 80% of their unborn babies. Add the carcinogen glyphosphate from Monsanto’s Roundup (also found in breast milk) and you have to wonder about the skyrocketing incidences of pediatric cancers.
Since 1994, Health Canada has approved the sale of over 81 GM foods, including canola, corn, lentils, potatoes, rice, soybeans, squash, tomatoes and wheat. Our government has deemed these and many other “novel foods” as safe. This is because no studies have been done to substantiate harm. It would be difficult to do studies since there is no mandatory food labeling of GM ingredients. For example, GM corn can be used as an ingredient in many other foods like cereal, yogurt, frozen entrees and canned soup. As a Canadian consumer, you will likely not know if the foods that you buy have been genetically modified. In other parts of the world like Europe, it is mandatory to label GM foods.4 When exporting to those countries, our food industry giants reformulate their products to comply with non GMO standards.
What can we do right now about our food reactions and our health?
1) Eat a natural, healthy diet of real, whole, organic foods.
It is very important to understand labels. Here are the basics for produce with stickers:
- A 4 digit PLU code means grown “traditionally” with pesticides.
- Five digits starting with “8” means it is genetically modified.
- Organic produce will have a 5 digit number beginning with “9”.
Organic foods by definition cannot be genetically manipulated, or grown in soils with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides for at least 3 years. Unfortunately this doesn’t preclude cross contamination from winds etc.
GMO labels are not mandatory so it may be necessary to look for “Non GMO” and “Made without genetically modified ingredients” on the labels.
2) Avoid eating packaged, processed foods, especially those containing soy, corn, and vegetable oils (especially canola) artificial and corn syrup sweeteners. The chances that you are eating genetically modified foods are very high if it contains any of these foods as ingredients.
Beware of commercially raised meat, fish, eggs or dairy where the animals have been fed GM foods as again, long term health effects to humans are not yet known.
3) Monitor your food intake and note your body’s reactions. If you react to only a few foods or chemicals you may try abstention to see if your health changes. If you react to many foods or toxins, do not experience change from diet elimination, or have other unresolved health issues that you suspect are food related, then you might seek out a practitioner trained in acupuncture theory based allergy elimination techniques such as NAET or Accelerated Allergy Clearing Technique (AACT).
Where your health and the health of your grandchildren is concerned I don’t think you can be too vigilant. As consumers it behooves us to demand a healthier food supply through the choices we make in the grocery store.
Cathy Lidster, Health Educator/Nutrition Practitioner, offers free nutrition classes monthly (see ad for schedule). She can be reached at Centennial Building Wellness Centre, 250-819-9041, or firstname.lastname@example.org
References: 1- Unhealthy Truth, Robyn O’Brien, 2009 Broadway Books; 2- Physicians for Social Responsibility, www.psr.org; 3 – Dr. Curt Hamilton, CCN, and Science & Environmental Health Network; Health Canada, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/. 4 -www.eatrightontario.ca