The Joyful Elephant Blog


Spring Clean Your Diet, Transform Your Life

Fresh Produce

It’s finally warming up and I am ready to get outdoors and break my cabin fever!  The start of Spring is a great time to ready yourself to enjoy all that the warmer months have to offer.  Hiking, biking, golfing, running, swimming,... lakes, beaches, parks, nature trails, gardens, smelling the flowers, catching butterflies.  Whatever our pleasure, why not prepare our bodies to fully enjoy it?

 

Many of us do some form of spring cleaning.  Whether it’s washing windows and opening them up to air out the house, or dusting off the patio furniture, or rinsing the salt off our vehicles… we prepare our property for enjoyment of the warmer months and longer days of sunshine.

 

With that in mind, I’d like us to spring clean our bodies as well.  Here are my recommended steps to spring clean your diet…

 

  1. Clean out your pantry cupboards, fridge, and freezer and throw out or donate all processed and packaged foods.  This includes anything with added salt, sugar, or fat.  (Examples of exceptions are packages that include just one or few ingredients such as rice and other whole grains and frozen vegetable medleys without sauces.)

 

  1. Throw out all dairy (cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, creamy salad dressings, ice cream, etc.)  Replace it with almond or soy milk.

 

  1. Toss out any beverages that contain sugar or sugar substitutes.  This should leave you with water, seltzer, unsweetened teas, unsweetened fruit juices.

 

  1. Make a plan to reduce your meat and fish.  Choose to either go completely meat free, or only consume meat once or twice a week.  I believe that for everyone to be healthy, we each need to consume less than 12 ounces of meat and fish total per week.  The average American consumes that amount each and every day.  I’m also a big advocate of most people being 100% meat free.  Contact me if you need help exploring this line item and what will work best for you. 

 

  1. Commit to preparing your own food.  Healthy people cook for themselves.  It’s the only way we can control the amount of salt, sugar, and fat in our food.  It’s also cheaper and easier.  I argue (and have proven) that it is less time consuming than eating out for lunch and dinner.

 

  1. Go to the grocery store, farmer’s market, or wherever fresh produce is found in your area and buy the following for each person in your household:

3 fruits per day (or ½ cup servings)

1 bunch of greens for 2-3 days

1.25 lbs. of vegetables per day

 

So for a family of 2 people for 5 days of produce you should buy:

30 servings of fruit, 3 or 4 bunches/heads of greens, and 12.5 lbs. of vegetables. 

 

It could break down like this:

6 bananas

10 apples

4 oranges

1 quart of strawberries (4 servings)

4 kiwi

1 mango (2 servings)

2 bunches kale

1 head red leaf lettuce

1 head romaine lettuce

1.5 lb. broccoli

1.0 lb. bok choy

1.5 lb. cauliflower

2.0 lb. carrots

0.5 lb. mushrooms

1.0 lb. celery

1.5 lb. onions

2.0 lb. tomatoes

1.5 lb. bell pepper

 

What are you going to do with all of that produce?? Eat it of course!!  Chop it raw into your salad, blend it into a smoothie, roast it in the oven, stir fry it, or steam it.  Combine it with your favorite whole grain (rice, quinoa), tofu, tempeh, or beans (black, kidney, chickpeas).  Don’t forget to sprinkle some nuts and seeds on there.  If you need help with recipes, contact me, or go to www.forksoverknives.com.

 

As always, I’m here for you as a resource to coach you and support your spring transformation.  I am available via phone, Skype, and email to ensure you a smooth transition and lots of success!

 

In Great Health,

Michelle

The Joyful Elephant

 

The Holidays: Is it About the Food?

 

Last December I wrote about what to eat / not to eat at holiday parties.  I’m very confident that I was delivering information that everybody already knows.  We all know that broccoli is more nutritious, has fewer calories, and will fill you up with fiber compared to the high sugar and fat content of a donut that lacks the fiber to keep you full and is only filled with “empty” calories.

 

So, why during the holidays do we eat more baked goods and less broccoli?  It’s habit.  It’s what we do.  Every week, in fact almost every day from Thanksgiving to January 1st, we are exposed to treats everywhere we go. It’s not festive if we don’t feast!  This is the social norm.  I think it’s time we changed that. I’ve managed to change my habits over the last three years and I still have the same friends and relationships.  My plant-based diet does not hinder me from enjoying the holiday celebrations!

 

For me it’s about the people, not the food.  Now by food, I mean the typical sugary fattening holiday treats.  Don’t get me wrong, the food we make at our holiday meals is super yummy.  It’s plant-based and it is seasoned to perfection.  It pops with flavor.  It is eye candy… it’s so beautiful… like a work of art.  And after we finish our meal we feel nicely full and energized.

 

So, my strategy for avoiding the fattening treats is I focus on the people not the food.  When I go to a holiday gathering I always bring a dish of my own.  This accomplishes two things: (1) I know there will be something there I can eat, and (2) most people rave about my dish and get excited about trying more plant-based cuisine.  I spend more time socializing and less time eating.  This time of year it is great to catch up with old friends and find out what they’ve been up to since the last time you saw them.

 

My second strategy is to focus on my health.  Most people overindulge in holiday eating and then make a resolution to change their ways in January. I believe that we should start preparing for facing holiday eating challenges before the holidays.  Understanding your triggers and food weaknesses before you’re tempted is one of the keys to fighting sweet tooth cravings.  My coaching can help with that.

 

Many people are fortunate to have a lighter work schedule in December.  Those who have this time can use it to focus on setting their wellness priorities and developing a plan to achieve them.  Why wait until January when it is back to work as usual and we have less time to plan?

 

In Great Health,

The Joyful Elephant

 

FYI:  My coaching is 20% off during the month of December.  Purchase my services in 2013 and you have up until February 15, 2014 to begin using it.

Using Positive Visualizations

As followers of Plant-based Nutrition we know the harmful effects that processed foods with added salt, sugar, and fat have on our bodies.  We know that packaged food manufacturers actually engineer the food to be highly addictive. 

 

We know that in order to break free from craving these foods we need to completely remove them from our homes and stick to a pure diet of whole foods for at least three weeks.  However, this is a difficult period of time.  We have strong images in our mind of crusty French bread, bagels with cream cheese, and pepperoni pizza.  When we visualize these foods we can also smell and taste them.  They have left a strong impression on our minds and how can we resist?  In our weakest moments we run to these foods.  We’ve had a bad day, we’re too tired to cook, we’re celebrating,… whatever the reason we turn to these foods often.

 

But yet, we’re determined to get through 21 days on a whole foods diet.  How do we do this with all of these images, smells, and tastes in our mind?  We need to replace these images with other more powerful images.  Try this exercise and let me know if it works for you…

 

Write down your top 1 to 3 wellness goals.  These could be weight loss, lower cholesterol, reduce joint pain, reduce headaches, increase energy, sleep better, increase stamina, reduce afternoon fatigue… whatever the top 1 to 3 things are that are negatively impacting your health and vitality…  Write them down.

 

Write down at least one fun activity that you would do if you were rid of these health complaints.  For example: what can’t you do now or maybe can’t do as well because you are limited in some way?

 

Next: Visualize that activity. Describe what you are doing.  Use as many adjectives as you can.  What are you wearing?  What do you see? Also describe your emotions and feelings.  Write down your visualization in detail.

 

Recall this visualization at the start of every day.  Recall it whenever you are fighting food cravings, too tired to cook, and when you’ve had a bad day.  Remind yourself why you have chosen to only put 100% healthy foods in your body.  Imagine what it would be like to be thinner, lighter, full of energy, happy, and glowing.

 

Use this exercise to keep you motivated.  Go to this place that you have formed from images in your mind.  (Actually close your eyes and mentally remove yourself from your current state of mind and transport yourself via this image.) Then eat an apple and be thankful for your life.  (I'm serious.) Do this every day.  Replace images of unhealthy foods and unhealthy habits with a wonderful image of you enjoying a fun activity at your best!

 

Here’s a brief description of my visualization:  (My fun activity is hiking.  When I was in pain it was one of the activities I missed the most.) I’m hiking on a tropical island with my husband and we approach a beautiful waterfall.  There is a rainbow above it.  I can smell the tropical flowers and feel the mist on my face.  It is warm, but not too humid.  We are full of energy, free of pain and fatigue, and are enjoying this beautiful gift of nature (the waterfall and our health.)

 

In great health,

The Joyful Elephant

21 Days to Reboot Our Brain

 

I was recently told by a prospective client that my 21-day meal plan was “too drastic.”  Perhaps when you consider switching from the standard American diet of creamy pastas, butter-laden bread, hamburgers, breaded chicken, and salads swimming in creamy blue cheese dressing… yes the 100% whole foods plant-based 21-day kickstart plan is a drastic change.  However, it works!

 

My clients who are able to stick to the 21-day plan 100% have the most success in making a transition to healthy eating that is long-lasting.  Change is difficult but we can’t achieve lasting change with less than an “all-in” approach.  Yes, there are people who achieved change through a slow and steady approach but research shows that it works for less than 10% of the population. 

 

Even just a small bit of sugar, refined, or processed foods work on the dopamine receptors in our brains telling us we want more.  No matter how much discipline and willpower we have it is extremely difficult to work against this natural chemical process.  When we remove the foods that cause our body harm and also trigger these impulses in our brain, we give ourselves the best chance for success.  We can't extinguish a fire if there are still small sparks attempting to ignite it. 

 

21 days may seem like a long time, but in a lifespan it’s an incredibly short period of time…  And it is a transformative period that allows us to break free from foods causing us harm, and effectively “reboot” our brain and our body to allow us to enjoy what real whole foods taste like.  The reality is our bodies crave whole natural foods grown in rich soil.  We need to give our bodies the time to once again learn how to appreciate these delightful foods that actually give us life instead of take it away.

In great health,

The Joyful Elephant

Give the Gift of Total Health this Valentine’s Day

 

Give yourself the gift of optimum health.  Give the gift of life.  Love yourself so much that all you want to do is eat nutritious whole foods.

 

If you love someone so much, wouldn’t you want to give the gift of optimum health where they can live their lives disease free without heart attack or stroke or cancer?

 

You have the power to give that gift to yourself by eating only nutritious whole plant foods.

 

What is Total Health?

According to Paul and Patricia Bragg, “Total health is a combination of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual components.  The ability of the individual to function effectively in their environment depends on how smoothly these components function as a whole.  Of all the qualities that comprise an integrated personality, a well-developed, totally fit and healthy body is most desirable.

 

A person is… totally physically fit if they can function with efficiency and without pain or discomfort of any kind.  It means having a painless, tireless, ageless body that possesses sufficient strength and endurance to maintain an effective posture, successfully carry out the duties imposed by one’s environment, meet emergencies satisfactorily, and have enough energy for recreation and social obligations after the “work day” has ended. 

 

The total person’s body also meets the requirements for his environment through efficient functioning of sensory organs, possesses the resilience to recover rapidly from fatigue, stress and strain without the aid of stimulants, enjoys natural sleep at night and wakes feeling fit and alert in the morning, prepared for a full day ahead.

 

The results of a plant-based lifestyle can be measured in happiness, radiant health, feeling ageless, peace of mind, and a higher achievement in the joy of living!”

 

Love yourself and others with the gift of excellent health and physical vitality via a whole foods, plant-based diet.

READY? SET. GO!


Headline reads: “Followers of plant-based diet reach age 100 and are still going strong!”  …Many people have found excellent quality of life, completely avoiding heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and cancers.  How do they do it??!!

 

If you could have a significantly lower chance of breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, dementia, and a virtually non-existent chance of stroke, heart disease or type 2 diabetes would you change your eating habits to obtain this reality?

 

Never before has there been such a mountain of research supporting a whole foods, plant-based diet as the key to optimum human wellness!  Just Google any of these names and you will find loads of testimonials, and abstracts of studies clearly demonstrating a significant correlation between a whole foods diet rich in fruits and vegetables and positive health outcomes…. T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Rip Esselstyn, John A. McDougall, Julianne Heaver, Joel Fuhrman, Jeff Novick, Doug Lisle, Neal Barnard, Dean Ornish, Brendan Brazier, Scott Jurek, Bill Clinton, Sanjay Gupta, etc.

 

If we want to have the best possible quality of life and the best chance of being free of disease, not to mention fewer colds and flu, then we need to get serious about food.

 

Food is all I think about and I want food to be the most important thing that you think about on a daily basis.  It’s a new year, and those of you out there who haven’t 100% committed to a plant-based diet, now is the time to go “ALL IN.” 

 

When you look at research on human change, the “slow and steady” approach only works for a small percentage of people.  Most of us need to embrace a new lifestyle immediately and with 100% determination in order to succeed at the change we desire.

 

Here’s your assignment for this first weekend of 2013:
(1)  If you’ve already adopted a plant-based diet lifestyle, then commit to helping one person you love make the transition to healthy eating.
 
(2)  If you haven’t seen the film Forks Over Knives yet, watch it this weekend via Netflix or Amazon streaming video.  If you have already, watch it again.  Better yet, invite your neighbors over and have a viewing party.
 
(3)  Remove all the processed and packaged foods from your pantry, cupboards, fridge, freezer, basement, garage, or wherever you have them hiding.  Throw these things out, or donate them.
 
(4)  If you haven’t already, purchase a plant-based cookbook such as Forks Over Knives and bookmark 3 recipes you’d like to make this weekend.  Or, search a plant-based blog for recipes such as www.happyhealthylonglife.com, www.savethekales.com, http://engine2diet.com/recipes/favorites/, or http://www.nutritionmd.org/recipes/index.html. If you are new to this way of cooking, choose the simplest recipes with ingredients you understand and are readily available.  Set yourself up for success!
 
(5)  Make a grocery shopping list of the ingredients you need to complete the recipes you’ve chosen.  Add to it the following:

 

  • 1 of each of these fruits: apple, banana, and citrus fruit of your choice - per person in your household per day (i.e. if you are shopping for food for the next 5 days and there are 3 members in your household you would buy 15 apples, 15 bananas, 15 citrus fruits)  Three is the minimum number of fruits that each person should eat per day.
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) of mixed salad greens or spinach per person per 5 days
  • 1 bunch of kale or swiss chard per person for every 3 days
  • ½ pound of raw or frozen vegetables per person per day
  • 1 garlic bulb (for use with sautéing kale or chard)
  • 2 lemons (squeeze juice over sautéed greens or steamed vegetables)
  • 1 pound of whole oats or Bob’s Red Mill Muesli or similar whole grain cereal per person per 5 days

 

This will get you started and set up for the next 5 days.  If you still have remaining produce in your house after the 5 days you didn’t eat enough.  The quantities I have listed above are minimum requirements.  The goal is to increase the volume over time as your body and palate adjusts.

 

I’ve decided I am going to offer free unlimited email support to all Joyful Elephant followers from now through January 15th.  If you have a question, email me and I will provide an answer to you within 24 hours (48 if it’s a weekend.)  I want you to succeed and I’ll do all that I can to make sure that you get a great start in this new year.  …and it would be wonderful if you refer yourself or a friend for my food coaching service, because after all that is how I make my living.  My direct, honest, valuable insight (and recipe consultation) is free to you until January 15, 2013.

 

READY? SET. GO!

 

In great health,

Michelle

Strategies for attending Holiday parties on a diet

 

I’ll be attending the first holiday gathering of the season tonight and thought I would share my strategies of how to stick to a mostly plant-based diet when faced with high-fat holiday temptations.  Here are the strategies I found work for me (and are research supported)…

 

1.  Before you arrive at the event, eat an entire apple, sliced, with a bit of peanut butter spread on each slice.  If you are sticking to a low-fat plan for weight loss then use a product called “Just Great Stuff” powered peanut butter.  It is 85% less fat but tastes great.  Why the peanut butter with the apple?  The fiber in the apple will help to fill your tummy and the protein in the peanut butter will energize your brain so that you can think more clearly (I’m serious!)  The PB is also salty sweet and I find that if I get a taste of that before I go to a party I eat less dessert.  See if it works for you!

 

2.  Drink less alcohol.  The more you drink, the more you eat.  The average beer has 150 calories per 12 oz. and a 5 oz glass of red wine has 125 calories.  I’d choose the beer because not only does it fill you up faster, but it has half the calories of wine ounce per ounce.  If you can find a light beer you’ll only consume 65 to 90 calories per bottle.  The neat thing about beer cans and bottles is that it isn’t easy to tell how much liquid is in there.  So you can walk around at a party with the same beer bottle for hours and very seldom will you get offered a refill.  It’s different with a glass of wine… as soon as someone sees that your glass is low they will fill it up quicker than you can say “no thanks.”

 

3.  Go for the fruits and vegetables first.  Leafy green salads, grapes, carrot and celery sticks, fruit salad, etc.  Eat this stuff first, if it’s available, to help fill your tummy so that you have less room for the more calorie dense foods.

 

4.  Stay away from cheese and fatty meats.  So this means no pieces of hard or soft cheese, spreads, or creamy dips and no sausage, mini hot dogs, or anything wrapped in bacon.  Absolutely no egg nog!

 

5.  Choose one dessert.  They all look good?!  Tough it out.  Just pick one and enjoy every bite of it slowly.  Try to stay away from the cheesecake!

 

6.  Spend more time talking and less time eating.  Enjoy the chance to socialize and spread holiday cheer.  My favorite gatherings are those where most people are standing around talking rather than sitting at tables. 

 

7.  Don’t stress.  The more stressed we are, the more we eat.  Go to the holiday event to enjoy yourself and the people you are with.  Clear your mind while you are there and just enjoy being present with friends, family, and co-workers.

 

If you have any tips that work for you, please share them!  Happy Holidays!

~ Michelle

Mindful Eating

 

I know it’s been awhile since my last blog post, and I do apologize.  My excuse is that The Joyful Elephant has been flooded with inquiries from individuals wanting resources for healthy meal planning as a result of some recent publicity that I received.  It’s nice to feel the love!  I do post to The Joyful Elephant Facebook page several times a week and that is the best way to keep in touch with me.  Facebook is where I share tips, recipes, and links to relevant news articles and other nutrition experts.  (You do not need to have a Facebook account to view my page.)

 

This blog post is about Mindful Eating.

 

There are many books on the subject and you can explore more about it on the internet, but I wanted to give you a brief overview of the key concepts that I discuss with my clients, especially those looking to lose weight.

 

What does the word ‘mindful’ mean to you?  To me it means doing something purposefully and thoughtfully.  When I am being mindful, I think about what I am about to do, and I am present in the moment when I am doing it.  If we apply this approach to food we can be very successful in sticking to our diet plan.

 

1.  When you are planning your meal, or deciding what you are going to eat at this moment, remember your health and wellness goals that you have established for yourself.  Ask yourself, is what I’m about to eat enable me to reach this goal?  For example, if your goals are to lose weight and reduce your cholesterol, eating a piece of cheese will sabotage your goals.  Your diet success starts with mindfully choosing foods that will help you to reach your health goals, and feeling good about those choices.

 

2.  If you are struggling with a food craving that you know you shouldn’t eat, for example a high fat, high sodium junk food item, I recommend closing your eyes and meditate on your wellness goals.  Really center yourself and remind yourself that you are in control and you have the CHOICE to eat, or not eat, that food.

 

3.  Think about every bite that you take of your food and enjoy its flavor and texture.  In your mind, describe the taste of your food:  crunchy, creamy, crispy, firm, bitter, juicy, aromatic, herbaceous, nutty, lemony, etc…  You can accomplish this by sitting quietly at the dinner table and keep your thoughts in your head, or you could challenge your family to come up with the adjectives as you enjoy your dinner together.  It could prove to be riotously funny if you have some creative family members!

 

4.  Ask yourself, “am I truly hungry?”  A great tip for diet success is breaking habits.  Many of us have habits such as snacking in front of the tv, or eating a granola bar between breakfast and lunch, etc.  We do these things simply out of routine, but we really aren’t hungry.  Our brain tricks us into thinking we’re hungry, but in reality our brain is merely reminding us to do something that we do regularly.  So we need to retrain our brain by breaking these routine habits and understand when we are really hungry. 

 

Switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet from the standard American diet is stressful for most of us.  In order to reach our health and wellness goals, whatever they may be, we need to drastically change our approach to food.  We obviously can’t eat the same things in the same quantities and still reach our goals.  We need to completely change the way we do everything relating to food.  This requires planning and conscientious thought. 

 

As always, your comments are appreciated.

 

In great health,

The Joyful Elephant

What happens to us when we consume a (minimum) 90% plant-based diet?

 

As we know, a Plant-based diet is a whole foods diet.  When we eliminate processed and packaged foods we are no longer consuming food additives, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, GMOs, added salt, added sugar, or added fat.

 

We are eating foods in their whole form as nature intended.  We are maximizing the amount of nutrients we consume.  Every calorie we eat is full of fiber, quality proteins, good carbs, good fats, antioxidants, and minerals.

 

Our blood cholesterol improves

When we eat mostly plants and fewer animal products (meat, fish, eggs, dairy) we ingest a lot less cholesterol.  There is no cholesterol in plants!

 

We are better protected from toxins that lead to illness and disease

Plant-based diets provide us with a lot of fiber.  Fiber helps to flush toxins from our bodies.  These toxins can come from consuming processed foods, but they can also come from our environment such as the water we drink, the air we breathe, the cleaning chemicals we use in our homes, etc.

 

A plant-based diet protects our bodies against toxins that can create ailments such as allergies, autism, joint inflammation, chronic pain, muscle pain and weakness, migraines, digestive disorders, auto-immune disorders, and cancer.  Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce, eliminate, and reverse these illnesses in human beings.

 

We benefit from fiber rich foods to improve the health of blood, muscles, and connective tissue

By eating a 90% plant-based diet we are consuming the fiber our bodies need to have excellent digestive health, and give our organs and muscles the quality of blood they need to function at peak performance.  Delivering quality blood throughout the body is not only heart healthy it is brain healthy reducing our chance for stroke and dementia.

 

We can suppress harmful genes

Dr. T. Colin Campbell (author of The China Study) has proven through his research that we can suppress harmful genes when we eat as close to a 100% plant-based diet as possible.  Let’s face it, each of us has inherited some “bad gene” that we may or may not know that we have, for example, genes relating to breast cancer, heart disease, or obesity.  Through Dr. Campbell we know that it’s what we eat that controls whether or not these bad genes are expressed.  So, can you actually keep that breast cancer gene or Alzheimer’s gene dormant your whole life?  Dr. Campbell and plant-based followers believe you can! 

 

The results are obvious

The phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in plants create wonderful beneficial effects that we can realize within a few days of transitioning to a mostly plant-based whole foods diet.  Here are some quotes from my friends and clients on how they felt after they achieved 90% plant-based.

 

“I sleep so much better.  My joint and muscle pain has been reduced to the point that it doesn’t wake me up at night.”

 

“I have so much energy in the afternoons I no longer have to put off tedious tasks that require a lot of brain power to the next day.  I accomplish a lot more and I really appreciate the increased brain function.”

 

“I am so happy with my weight loss.  I failed on every diet I attempted.  Now I finally succeeded with one where I didn’t have to obsessively count, measure, or weigh my food.  No more point tracking.  No more agonizing over what to eat.  Now I just eat as much as I want until I’m full.”

 

So, my friends, as Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”

 

Maximize your health.  Maximize your potential.  Maximize your life on this earth.  Every single cell in your body will thank you.

 

In great health,

 

The Joyful Elephant

Can we trust our food?

Can we trust our food?

 

I’m angry about the safety of our food supply.  Are you angry?  I’ve been asked to compile a list of references that expose the reasons why we shouldn’t consume processed and packaged foods unless they are 100% organic.  This is my first installment… (see my Facebook page for future updates.)

 

This post will focus on Genetically Modified food.  GMOs are the primary reason why we should not consume processed and packaged foods, including commercially raised meats and poultry from the grocery store.  What’s left to buy at the grocery store?  Not much, that’s why I shop at farmer’s markets and natural foods stores.

 

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about GMOs from the scientific researchers and physicians in the medical community whom I trust.

 

Here is the definition of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) from Wikipedia:  “GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes.”

 

Here is a great 5 minute You Tube video from the TEDx conference – the presentation is by an 11 year old who was greatly disappointed when he completed a project for school where he researched the U.S. food supply.  He did not like what he found!

 

GMOs have been in the media a lot lately and consumers are complaining that foods manufactured with GMOs are causing wide spread health problems.  There is a substantial increase in food allergies in kids.  What’s more alarming is food safety tests are inadequate to protect public health.  The government is moving slowly because large U.S. corporations produce these GMO crops.

 

GMO crops were developed to withstand pesticide and herbicide spraying and also to increase crop yields.  We have been eating GMO foods for more than 20 years, and it has been very prevalent the last ten.  But what’s worse is livestock and poultry consume many more tons of GMO feed than we do and this stuff lives in the flesh of these animals that we eat.

 

I’m not opposed to eating meat.  But I am opposed to eating meat from large commercial operations, which basically is all of the meat in grocery stores.  If we choose to eat meat we should buy from local organic sources. 

Here are two local sources for beef Meadow Brook Farm and Meadow Mountain Farm  For more Lehigh Valley sources go to: Buy Fresh Buy Local.

 

I’ve taken a few high school and college biology courses in my time, and I understand basic biology.  It makes sense to me that if you are altering the basic cellular structure of a corn or wheat plant, our body no longer recognizes it as corn or wheat.  It is a foreign substance and our body is going to reject it.  I understand now why there are more children with allergies, ADHD and autism.  I understand why we have more pain and inflammation and higher cancer rates.  We are eating stuff that we believe is food, but is really NOT food.  It was created in a laboratory and processed to give it a long shelf life.  It simply goes against nature.

 

To get the latest on GMO medical studies, government action, and consumer activism go here.

 

The Organic Authority says, “The bottom line is that genetically modified organisms have not been proven in any way to be safe, and most of the studies are actually leaning the other direction, which is why many of the world’s countries (i.e. Europe) have banned these items whose DNA has been genetically engineered. In America, they aren’t even labeled, much less banned, so the majority of the populace has no idea that they are eating lab-created DNA on a daily basis.”

 

The largest GMO crops are: soybean, corn, canola, rice, and cotton seed oil.  A recent study says that at least 70% of packaged products contain GMO ingredients.  That makes sense since 93% of U.S. canola, soy, and cottonseed oil crops are GMO, and 86% of U.S. corn crops are genetically modified as well. 

 

This PBS publication provides insight from both sides of the GMO argument and is a good read.

 

If you do buy packaged products, make sure the label clearly reads 100% organic and should be certified by the USDA or QAI.  If it is labeled “contains organic ingredients” or “made with organic grains,” it is not 100% organic and may contain GMOs and other additives.

 

In fact, we should disregard food labels because they are too misleading.  Today major lawsuits were announced regarding food labeling you can read the quick story here from ABC news

 

I’ll be posting to my Facebook page in the days ahead more links to stories concerning the safety of our food supply.  I don’t like to deliver bad news, so I’ll end on a positive note.  If we follow a plant-based diet and consume a minimum of 90% of our total calories from whole food, plant-based sources, we can protect ourselves from the diseases resulting from what I’ll call the “complicated contamination of our food.”