By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
I’ve written before about choosing organic food over processed or genetically modified, but I’ve struggled with it. This is mostly due to the fact that GMO foods are so common that you can find them in any household in the U.S., and especially when it comes to eating with other people, it seems impossible to avoid them.
With how pervasive GMOs are in the American food supply, it can be confidently stated that any restaurant you go to is serving them. The same can be said about the food your family eats. Almost all non-organic corn is genetically modified, for instance, and it goes out to everyone across the country who eats corn that isn’t organic. There are countless other examples with common foods we eat every day, and in this country, GMOs have become a plague that we need to stop now if we want any chance of defeating.
I’ve also been hearing a lot about the benefits of alkaline-rich foods. We’re apparently supposed to keep a balance of alkaline-producing and acid-producing foods in our diet, and the common western diet of processed, overly sugary foods is causing us to get too much of the acid-producing ones, which leads to disease.
It’s almost as if a poor diet was purposely introduced into western society to make us all sick so big pharma could enjoy unnecessarily handsome profits from the diseases that result, and it’s no secret that cancer is a huge business. It’s destroyed so many lives yet made so many people rich, and we might avoid it altogether if we pay more attention to what we eat.
We’ll focus on organic food first, and personally, this was the first kind of ‘healthy’ food I ever discovered. Even if you eat GMOs, willingly or unwillingly, I’d recommend throwing some organic food in your diet. It couldn’t hurt!
Renee Loux at Prevention.com gives us one of the best reasons to eat organic: We won’t consume all the chemicals that are used to grow modern Frankenfood.
“Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons present in commercially grown food. More than 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America, to the tune of billions of pounds annually. The average application equates to about 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person every year. Many of these chemicals were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before extensive diet testing.
“The National Academy of Sciences reports that 90% of the chemicals applied to foods have not been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed ‘safe.’ Further, the FDA tests only 1% of foods for pesticide residue. The most dangerous and toxic pesticides require special testing methods, which are rarely if ever employed by the FDA.” (1)
As you can expect, organic food also gives us the nutrition our bodies need.
“Organically grown foods have more nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients—than commercially grown foods because the soil is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards.
“The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine conducted a review of 41 published studies comparing the nutritional value of organically grown and conventionally grown fruits, vegetables, and grains and concluded that there are significantly more of several nutrients in organic foods crops.
“Further, the study verifies that five servings of organically grown vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage) provide an adequate allowance of vitamin C, whereas the same number of servings of conventionally grown vegetables do not.
“On average, organically grown foods provide: 21.1% more iron (than their conventional counterparts); 27% more vitamin C; 29.3% more magnesium; 13.6% more phosphorus” (2)
We can avoid GMOs if we eat organic, because organic food can’t be genetically modified.
“Genetically engineered (GE) food and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are contaminating our food supply at an alarming rate, with repercussions beyond understanding. GMO foods do not have to be labeled in America. Because organically grown food cannot be genetically modified in any way, choosing organic is the only way to be sure that foods that have been genetically engineered stay out of your diet. (Here’s what you need to know about GMO foods.)” (3)
Finally, we can avoid those nasty chemicals I mentioned earlier, which include drugs and growth hormones.
“Conventional meat and dairy are the highest risk foods for contamination by harmful substances. More than 90% of the pesticides Americans consume are found in the fat and tissue of meat and dairy products.
“The EPA reports that a majority of pesticide intake comes from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products because these foods are all high on the food chain. For instance, a large fish that eats a smaller fish that eats even smaller fish accumulates all of the toxins of the chain, especially in fatty tissue. Cows, chickens, and pigs are fed animal parts, by-products, fish meal, and grains that are heavily and collectively laden with toxins and chemicals. Lower-fat animal products are less dangerous, as toxins and chemicals are accumulated and concentrated in fatty tissue.
“Antibiotics, drugs, and growth hormones are also directly passed into meat and dairy products. Tens of millions of pounds of antibiotics are used in animal feed every year. The union of concerned scientists estimates that roughly 70% of antibiotics produced in the United States are fed to animals for nontherapeutic purposes.
“US farmers have been giving sex hormones and growth hormones to cattle to artificially increase the amount of meat and milk the cattle produce without requiring extra feed. The hormones fed to cows cannot be broken down, even at high temperatures. Therefore they remain in complete form and pass directly into the consumer’s diet when meat is eaten.” (4)
Most people don’t think they need to question what’s in their food or how it’s made, but we’re in for a rude awakening. The standards to keep our food safe and healthy aren’t what they’re supposed to be, and this is why so many supposedly snobby people are starting to care about what they eat. It isn’t because they’re snobs; it’s because they’re remembering that the purpose of eating is to give the body the nutrition it needs, which the earth provides in abundance.
Corporations take the earth’s gifts, fill them with chemicals (and genetically modify them) and mass-produce them for a price, and we could get rid of all of that if we learn to grow our own food.
But most people probably won’t be comfortable with that for a while, so the best thing we can do right now is choose healthy food that has the nutrition it’s supposed to and isn’t tinkered with to the point that it’s become hazardous.
Now, I’d like to look at the benefits of alkaline-rich foods. As we’ll learn here, we don’t want to eat an entirely alkaline-based diet because it would drive up our pH level too much, but the modern western diet is filled with acid-producing foods that gradually weigh on our health.
Briana Ryan at Greenopedia.com explains what our pH level is and how it relates to alkaline and acidic foods.
“Balance is key. And when it comes to our body’s pH levels, it’s the key to life!
“pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is and our blood pH needs to maintain a slightly alkaline level to keep us healthy. We help our bodies to maintain this pH balance by eating more alkaline-forming foods and fewer acid-forming foods.
- Alkaline-forming foods include most fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds and herbal teas.
- Acid-forming foods include most grains, beans, meats, dairy products, fish, fast foods and processed foods.” (5)
If our diet doesn’t contain enough alkaline, the body has to get it from internal sources.
“When we eat acid-forming foods, our body has to work hard to bring our blood pH back into balance. It does this by releasing alkaline-rich minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium into our bloodstream.
“If we are not eating enough alkaline-forming foods, then our body has to pull these important minerals from our bones, teeth and organs. This can compromise our immune system, cause fatigue and make us vulnerable to viruses and disease.” (6)
Our acidic foods don’t have to be processed, and we can get what we need from beans, grains and a few other healthier options.
“Eat a diet of 60-80% alkaline-forming foods and 20-40% acid-forming foods.
“For the acid-forming foods, skip the fast-food burgers and processed foods. Instead choose healthier options like beans, grains and other fresh foods. Pesticides tend to be acid-forming, so choose organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible.” (7)
Briana gave us another reason to avoid GMOs and pesticide laden foods. We’ll have to avoid pesticides if we want to avoid acidic food, so it seems that eating organic and maintaining a healthy alkaline diet go hand-in-hand.
Plenty more research can be done about eating organic and balancing our pH with healthy alkaline and acidic food, and I’m sure I’ll have more on both subjects sometime soon. I can say that genetically modified, pesticide-laden, highly acidic foods make you feel pretty awful after you eat them.
I don’t think everyone suddenly become militant about what they eat, but I think we should show some interest. We shouldn’t just eat whatever we’re given, and the modern western diet is clearly lacking in consciousness.
I’m sure people will make a change when they realize the big food companies have been deceiving us just as much as our governments, who give the food companies leeway to basically do whatever they want, and for now, let’s at least be a little interested in how our food is made.
Let’s get active and raise awareness of the corruption in the food industry, because I don’t want to keep eating GMOs. I want to know if they’re in certain foods or brands so I can avoid them, but the first step is to avoid them anyway, even if it means giving up cherished foods.
There are plenty of benefits to paying attention to what we eat, and I guess we’ll just have to try it for ourselves to see what it does for us. I feel better every time I eat better, and if we want to improve the world, maybe we should start by improving the quality of our food.
- “Top 10 Reasons to Go Organic” by Renee Loux, Prevention.com, November 3, 2011 – http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/top-reasons-choose-organic-foods
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- “The Benefits Of An Alkaline Diet” by Briana Ryan, Greenopedia – http://greenopedia.com/alkaline-diet-benefits/
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