Wednesday, January 8, 2014

America's Healthy Eating Problem

But what are you eating?

America has now surpassed every other nation as the land of overweight unhealthy people. Health gurus may tell you that maintaining your weight is a matter of watching what you eat and exercising. But what happens when you aren't told what you are eating?

Monday, the FDA started two days of hearings about whether to let AquaBounty sell the salmon it has genetically engineered for human consumption. Atlantic salmon were altered by adding a growth hormone from Chinook salmon. They consequently grow to maturity twice as fast as naturally occurring salmon.

Opponents to having them used for human consumption are concerned with the potential for unforeseen effects. Allergies to seafood can be severe, requiring hospitalization to prevent death in the most extreme cases. One concern is that these genetically engineered fish could cause greater than normal allergies in those who are already vulnerable.

The FDA already allows sales of numerous genetically engineered crops. This will be their first approval to sell a genetically engineered animal for human consumption.

Last night I watched "Supersize Me," a 2004 movie about the dangers of fast food, and McDonald's in particular, by Morgan Spurlock. For the movie, Spurlock decided to eat nothing but McDonald's food for one month. His physical health was tracked by three doctors, a nutritionist and a personal trainer. They all predicted that a month of eating McDonald's food would probably cause a weight increase and maybe elevate his cholesterol.

What happened was shocking. Within 20 days, Spurlock's blood work resembled someone whose liver was failing. He experienced depression, fatigue and chest pains. Over the course of the full 30 days, he gained more than 20 pounds -- and then took more than 9 months to get rid of the weight when he later returned to a healthy diet.

The point of Spurlock's movie was that fast food is very bad for your health and is likely a major cause of our nation's weight problem. Most people don't think about the nutritional content of the food they are eating. One of Spurlock's experiments showed that, while McDonald's does produce pamphlets with nutritional information, those pamphlets and that information are unavailable in many locations. Lack of good information occurs much more frequently in poorer neighborhoods.

Now, health gurus will probably tell you that a portion of salmon is much healthier than, say, a Big Mac, and for the most part they will be correct. But what about the nutritional value of a genetically engineered salmon and what about your right to know what is in your food and make decisions accordingly?

It turns out that the FDA has decided genetically engineered salmon is not substantially different from naturally occurring salmon. Because of that, they don't have to tell you that what you are buying (or eating) has been genetically engineered. In other words, you have no choice in this because you won't have the data needed to make an informed decision.

The food industry is big business and there are many new innovations, not all of them healthy, being made to our food supply. Organizations like the FDA, which are supposed to inform and protect us, often place themselves on a slippery slope of allowing poor nutrition and potentially dangerous products to slip through in the name of budget restrictions and corporate profits.

Preserve your healthy by making wise choices about what you eat. Preserve the nation's health by becoming an advocate for a strong and healthy food supply.

Judy Downing is a small business coach, consultant, and freelance writer. She shares tips, techniques and strategies with small business owners to clarify and enhance their customer and business practices. Visit her website at or email her at

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Killing the Food Supply - The Dangers of Genetically Modified Food

Genetically modified food has entered the food supply through secrecy and deception. Some claimed that genetically modifying the food supply could even put an end to world hunger. At first glance, genetic modification really does look like a great idea.

It allows for larger crops, enhanced growing seasons, and even bigger animals. The truth of the matter is that genetically modified food has been shown to sterilize the population, lead to infant mortality, and exacerbate the usage of pesticides on a global scale.

Food Abomination
The world is quickly realizing that there is no benefit to consuming and producing genetically modified food. The consumers are speaking out, and their voice is being heard. Food free of genetically modified ingredients is the fastest growing retail brand in the world.

As the information surrounding GM (genetically modified) food rose to the mainstream media, the people began to anger. They were looking for someone to blame for allowing this atrocity occur, and they had to look no farther than Monsanto.

The Monsanto corporation is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is responsible for producing and selling genetically engineered seeds. These are the seeds that yield genetically modified crops. Monsanto has such a grip on the industry, that it produces 90% of the United State's genetically engineered seeds.

This is the same company responsible for the development of bovine growth hormone, which incited mass controversy over its effects. It was determined by many health experts to be extremely dangerous, with many linking it to cancer and other life-threatening conditions.

Anthony Gucciardi is a health activist and wellness researcher, whose goal is centered around educating the general public as to how they may obtain optimum health. He has authored countless articles highlighting the benefits of natural health, as well as exposing the pharmaceutical industry. Anthony is the creator of Shatter Limits ( ), a natural health website. Anthony has been accurately interpreting national and international events for years within his numerous political articles. Anthony's articles have been seen by millions around the world, and hosted on multiple top news websites.

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The Benefits of Eating a Plant-Based Diet - Avoiding Animal Cloning

One of the top news stories in 2008 was the FDA approval of "food" from cloned animals. I usually only attempt to show the health benefits of eating a diet free from animal products and generally avoid lecturing on the moral and ethical reasons to avoid meat and dairy. This time, however, I seriously doubt that I am alone in my outrage over this, which not only brings up animal cruelty issues, but religious and moral questions, along with a vast array of safety concerns. This is just another sad display of the FDA's willingness to approve anything in order to line its pockets with money from the USDA and pharmaceutical lobbies. Time and time again, the FDA has proven how inept it is at enforcing proper research and testing into pharmaceutical drugs, and in many cases, thousands upon thousands of deaths have been the result. Rather than protecting the American public from cloned and genetically modified foods, which are being banned or at the very least, labeled in other countries, the FDA has given the factory farm industry the go ahead to sell meat and dairy products from animals cloned and/or possibly genetically engineered by humans.

Barbara Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Organization calls cloning "a breeding technique that will improve the quality and consistency of food" (1). However, Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with Consumers Union, says that "data supporting the FDA decision are based on just a few cloned animals and include little information about their offspring." Hmm. Imagine that. The FDA making the decision to approve something based on little to no scientific evidence rather than on extensive research into its safety. Michael Hansen goes on to say that "The vast majority of clones don't make it to adulthood...There are a lot of sickly animals." Such health problems among clones raise concerns about animal welfare and food safety (1). I'm not sure that I understand how sickly cloned animals will "improve the quality" of food, but I guess we won't have to wait long to find out. According to The Wall Street Journal, some farmers have reported that the offspring of cloned animals have already entered the marketplace (3). But you would never know whether the meat you are eating is coming from a traditionally bred animal or a cloned version because the FDA determined that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring would not be labeled because it was "the same as conventional food and did not pose a safety risk," (2).

Despite the FDA's assurance, some companies have declared that they will not sell milk or meat from cloned animals or their offspring for fear over the safety of such foods, and to spearhead a possible consumer backlash fueled by religious and moral opposition to cloning. During a public comment period that ended in 2007, the FDA heard from more than 150,000 consumers who rejected the Agency's plan to introduce cloned animals into the U.S. food supply (4). Many polls show that the public's opposition to food from clones is incredibly high. A national survey conducted in 2007 by Consumers Union reported that 89% of Americans want cloned foods to be labeled. Additionally, 69% said that they have concerns about the safety of cloned meat and dairy products. A Gallup Poll from December 2007 reported that more than 60% of Americans believe that cloning animals is immoral. A Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology from the same time found that a similar percentage say, despite FDA approval, they will not buy milk from cloned animals (4).

There is concern from animal advocacy groups that the use of cloning may contribute to creating even harsher factory farm conditions than presently exist. "The surveys show that the public is morally opposed to cloning. Animals suffer terribly in the cloning process, and the FDA has ignored these issues," said Tracie Letterman, Executive Director of the American Anti-Vivisection Society (2). There is also concern that introducing cloned animals and the offspring of clones into the US market could have economic ramifications in the global marketplace (2).

According to Joseph Mendelson, Legal Director of the Center for Food Safety, "The FDA's flawed and cavalier approach to cloned food and its potential impacts called for a truly rigorous scientific assessment," (4). While the FDA repeatedly claimed that it conducted extensive, peer reviewed studies on the safety of "food" from cloned animals, it turns out that the agency's assessment only referenced three peer-reviewed food safety studies, all of which focus only on the issue of milk from cloned cows (4). The most disturbing part of the lack of objective research on the part of the FDA is that the studies the Agency sited were funded in part by the very biotech firms that produce clones for profit (4). Not one of the studies focused on the safety of meat from cloned cows or pigs, or milk or meat from the offspring of cloned animals, and there was absolutely no data on milk or meat from cloned goats (4).

Behavior like this is what we, as Americans, have come to expect from the FDA. What is supposed to be a consumer advocacy and safety watchdog, in actuality, is unethical and time and time again shows little real concern for the safety and well-being of the American public. The issue of unlabeled food products from cloned animals being introduced into the US market place is not only an issue of animal rights, but an issue of religious freedom, as those who oppose cloning for moral or religious reasons should have the right to know if the foods they choose to consume are from cloned animals. This is also an issue of economic stability as the decision to allow foods from cloned animals and their offspring into the market could very well create issues in the global marketplace. And then, there is the issue of the safety of foods from cloned animals, which we are still unsure of due to the FDA's lack of genuine and long-term research.

What can you do about this issue? Well, if you like the political route, you can contact your legislators and tell them that you do not support allowing meat and dairy from cloned animals or their offspring to be sold as food. Or demand that food from cloned animals be labeled as such. I believe that the best and most vital way to make your voice heard every single day is to vote with your dollar. By choosing to avoid purchasing and consuming animal products, you are sending a message. Remember, those with the money make the decisions. If you don't support what they are doing, do not give them your money! By eating a plant-based diet, you can avoid unknowingly consuming "food" from cloned animals. I really don't have much else to say about this, except that cancerous, diseased, pus-filled, antibiotic-filled, hormone-filled, steroid-filled, and now cloned "food" is what you can expect to consume if you choose to eat animal products from a typical American factory farm.

1. "FDA Approves Food From Cloned Animals", Webb, Sarah, Discover Magazine
2. "F.D.A. Says Food From Cloned Animals Is Safe", Martin, Andrew and Andrew Pollack, The New York Times
3. "FDA Is Set To Approve Milk, Meat From Clones", Weiss, Rick, The Washington Post
4. "FDA Approval of Clones Stalled by Passage of Milulski-Specter Amendment in Farm Bill", []

Erin Brennan is a Raw Foods Chef and the owner of Living Bliss, a company based out of Louisville, Kentucky which provides fresh and delicious raw and living whole foods, event catering, uncooking classes and workshops, nutritional consultations, and wellness coaching.


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