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Changing Eating Habits to Feel Better

May 29, 2013


In the past six years that I have lived in the Ohio River Valley my asthma has become worse and worse. First diagnosed at age 5, I have been a pin cushion at least five times in my life, eager for the relief that a shot series will offer. (I think we women go through so many hormonal changes in our lifetimes that this “once in a lifetime” desensitization doesn’t work quite up to the promise.)  The last time was in Nashville, another area known for high level of allergy and asthma sufferers.

Topography has a lot to do with it in Nashville with air stagnating in the bowl-like terrain, but here in the Ohio River Valley it is the toxic chemical effects of over a century of industrialization. This region also has higher than national averages for several cancers as well as miscarriages and birth defects.the air

When you live in an area with a level of pollution that can affect your health you are limited in what you can control to try to minimize or offset that health risk.  One thing we all have control over is the food we put into our mouths.

When I learned that I had been eating food that had been genetically modified since the mid 1990s I was interested in reading why this scientific approach to food had been taken. It was touted by the makers (Monsanto and Dow are the two largest companies that provide the technology) that it would result in larger crop yields and feed the hungry around the world.cropped-gmo-awareness-blog-masthead-4

Well, not only has that been proven false, but since much of what has been altered is for the plants to withstand being sprayed by weed killer, much of that toxicity is passed on to us. Monsanto and Dow said that would not happen but the rise in many of the health issues are strongly correlated. We Americans have more digestive issue problems that are related to “leaky gut” syndrome.  There are more cases of autism, arthritis and asthma because of effects on our auto-immune systems.

Monsanto claims it does not need to prove that this is a safe technology. They are in the business to make money and they are doing well at that.  Maybe there is no requirement to assure safety, but it would be ethical to do so. The FDA, the government agency established early in the 1900s to safeguard the public health, has also not conducted studies of any length.  The FDA has connections to Monsanto that questions the agency’s integrity. Independent labs in many other countries are the ones that are publishing their findings.  In this country, many university scientists who have run tests have been fired because major funding to that university comes from the very companies who are responsible for the problem.pass-the-buck-on-gmo

We know that Monsanto and Dow as well as the major food companies that use GMO food ingredients spend millions and millions of dollars advertising against GMO labeling.  They are very afraid that if we, the consumers, know which foods contain these health threatening ingredients we will change our buying habits.

We do not have to wait for labeling. We can be knowledgeable and avoid foods made by these companies.  They participate in fighting GMO labeling so the assumption can be made that they are full of GMO ingredients. When this list was passed around Facebook it was labeled “Monsanto Companies”. These are not owned by Monsanto, but they are “in bed” together through this modified food.GMO foods

Does it mean you have to change your eating habits? Up to you, really, but why not? You have heard about GMOs here if no where else and it should have caught your attention enough to give you some pause. If the health concerns that are linked to GMOs exist, by changing your eating habits to avoid foods with GMO ingredients you are probably going to avoid some illness that will be potentially costly and certainly annoying. If the health risks are not at all related then you just moved from processed food and did your body a favor in other ways.become GMO free

Do you need to go cold turkey and switch 100%? Some would say of course. Most people would find that hard. But at least start. Cook at least the majority of your meals from whole foods so you can control the ingredients. If you still prefer to heat frozen prepared meals in the microwave instead of cooking, then at least use organically labeled products that avoid the chemicals and GMO seeds.  Purchase from farmers you know so you can find out their growing practice to understand what kinds of seeds they use and what their pesticide or herbicide use is.  You don’t know a farmer?  Head over to your nearest farmers’ market and get to know them. Ask questions. Become regulars there.KYF-logo

Here in the Huntington tri-state region we have an advantage that many other areas of the country don’t have: because of our mountains most of the farms are pretty small and hilly. They do not lend themselves to industrial farming so most farms use practices that minimize or eliminate the use of chemicals. Shopping at The Wild Ramp Market permits you to KNOW YOUR FARMER.  Not only do you have opportunities during the year to meet many, but this blog reports on each Producer’s operation and shares the story of how the farm or business developed. We are very lucky here to have this opportunity to chose healthy food to eat.logo

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2013 4:35 pm

    Yes, lucky indeed… and having people who care helps, too.

    • May 31, 2013 10:54 am

      It is amazing how people love the food they can purchase at The Wild Ramp. Most of the comments relate to taste…how much better this is. Simply, having produce picked ripe and delivered within hours is an amazing difference from what they are used to at the supermarket.

  2. marieandtheappletree permalink
    May 30, 2013 2:03 am

    Hi WildRamp, as people spend 90 per cent of time indoors I would also consider getting a HVAC or HEPA system installed in your bedroom. I wouldn’t normally recommend a techno fix (I agree diet is also key) my extensive studies on air quality shows that quality systems make a huge difference to health! Good luck!

    • May 31, 2013 10:53 am

      I actually have a HEPA system in my bedroom and it does help. Most people don;t know how the food at the supermarket may be full of GMO ingredients and how that food can affect their health. Changing a diet is one of the hardest things people can do but they will get a pretty quick response by doing so.

      • marieandtheappletree permalink
        June 3, 2013 6:41 am

        I totally agree!!

  3. jim fields permalink
    July 15, 2014 10:55 pm

    Most of the products on the list, I could live without. But, will I ever give up my Hellmann’s mayonnaise? Never, never, never. Life is just way too short to be concerned about a tablespoon or so of eggs and oil whipped together to produce a great product that brings such flavor to a summer sandwich prepared with big slices of fresh tomatoes and leaf lettuce served on whole-grain bread.

    • August 22, 2014 4:02 pm

      I agree….each of us has our favorite things that make food enjoyable. The purpose was not to get you to clean house completely, but to understand and be realistic where healthy changes can be made.

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