Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Understanding GMOs: Part 3

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Hello! Welcome to Part 3 of our "Understanding GMOs" Series. So far, we've discussed what GMOs are, how they are created, why they came into existence and how they are regulated in our food system.

Ready for the next installment? Here goes!

Wait, I can't believe you left me hanging last week!! Tell me this - am I currently eating GMOs? How can I tell what is a GM food product and what isn't?
Unfortunately, if you've consumed corn, soy, sugar, packaged foods, juices, ketchup, cereal, energy bars, chips, jellies/jams, rice, flour, fruits, vegetables, greens, grains and meat, etc. since 1996, then YES! You've been eating GMOs. They've steadily made their way into our food supply, unbeknownst to consumers. Eating organic or talking to your local farmer to learn how they treat their crops is really the only way to know these foods are safe to eat. You'll want to select organic, grass-fed, free-range/pastured meat that has never been fed grain (we touched on why this was important last week). Some companies raise their livestock on grass, only to grain feed them before slaughter. Not good!

Holy Moly! That's a lot of contaminated foods! How many types of GMOs are out there?
There are basically two types of GMOs. The first are GMOs created to be insect resistant. The second are designed to be herbicide resistant. There are some crops that are both. As you saw in Part 2, there are over 140 food crops currently registered with the FDA as being GM food products.

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Are GMOs related to disease?
Multiple studies are showing an increase in most known chronic diseases as GM food crops and their associated herbicides (Roundupähave been increasingly used and introduced. We're talking several types of cancers, diabetes, infertility, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer's, autism, ADD/ADHD, emotional disorders, depression, mental illness, etc. Even veterinarians and farmers can tell the difference between animals fed GMO feed and those fed non-GMO feed. It's really quite sad. Many of these diseases are associated with the Western Diet, also known as the Standard American Diet (SAD), masking the involvement of GM foods as a potential direct cause.

There is a lot more data out there regarding GMOs (and their associated herbicides, specifically), which point toward disease at the cellular level, but it's just too much to share at this point without overwhelming you with data.

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Ok, my heart can't take it anymore. How do I know where the GMOs are? Am I currently eating any? Or worse... am I feeding them to my children?
I know the feeling. Panic starts to set in when we start examining what we're feeding our kids. Trust your gut - it's trying to tell you something!!!

It would be safe to assume GMOs are in just about everything, especially anything that is processed or packaged. For now, the best plan of action is to eat organic and shop locally from farmers you trust. According to surveys, the general U.S. population is not opposed to GMO labeling on food products
(so that they can be more conscious consumers); however, it's not going to happen soon enough.

As for the health of our children, increased infant mortality rates, lower birth weights and the increasing onset of diseases like autism and diabetes are why more research into the dangers of GMOs is necessary. Studies have already proven that endocrine dysfunction is especially damaging to fetuses, infants and children, and guess what? Endocrine dysfunction is a known side effect of the active ingredient in Roundupä (yup, the brand-name stuff you can find on the shelves of any home improvement store! Ahhh!).

And while we're on the topic of children, don't think your furry babies are immune to GMOs. Take a closer look at your pet food...

I hope I haven't unsettled your stomach too much before all the food-focused summer festivities! Take a deep breath and just remember to be conscious of where you buy your food for those upcoming BBQs!

Next week, I'll be back to talk about the first type of GMOs that I mentioned - insect resistant GMOs. Stay tuned till then!

References for this series:
2   "Genetically Modified Organisms and the deterioration of health in the United States” N.L. Swanson, 4/24/2013, Seattle
3   A Samsel and S. Senef Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases.
7   V. E. Prescott, et al, “Transgenic Expression of Bean r-Amylase Inhibitor in Peas Results in Altered Structure and Immunogenicity,” Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2005): 53

Shanna Wahlquist is a Certified Holistic Health Coach specializing in empowering women to adopt a sustainable and healthy lifestyle without dieting or feeling deprived, and supporting them in balancing their gut-mind-body relationship, which she believes is the foundation of every chronic disease and ailment.  She is the mother of two toddlers, ages 4 and 2.5 years old; her happy place is in the ocean surf, and her guilty pleasure is red wine – especially if it involves a limo with a group of friends! Shanna found her path to holistic healing after discovering the benefits of vegetable juicing in February 2012, a journey inspired by her desperation to discover the cause of the sudden onset of recurrent chronic respiratory illnesses suffered by her children. She used that experience as a launchpad for a career change and ended up discovering her true authentic self and life’s purpose. She’s always had a passion for science, food, healing and stewardship, and has created a business where she can enjoy them all simultaneously while making a difference in the lives of her family, friends, clients and community. You can find her on facebook at “NourishingMySoul”,  her blog at or her website,

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