Don’t Eat That!

From pasteurizing all the helpful enzymes out of our milk to processing soy with hexane, our food producers seem determined to not only take most of the good, vital nutrients out of our food, but to add a lot of things that are bad for human health and the environment. 

 I could write a very short post and say if it’s a “conventional” food in the grocery store, don’t eat it, but that’s not feasible in my life and probably not in yours either.

 From my research, these are the foods I avoid if at all possible, why I avoid them and what to buy alternatively: 

 

Genetically Modified Foods

Why:  Most genetically modified foods are modified to either produce or withstand pesticide use.  The most frightening are the ones that make the pesticide themselves.  Their DNA is altered to create a pesticide which activates in the plant and then we consume the plant and the pesticide right along with it.  Gone are the gold old days when all one had to worry about was what they were spraying on our food.  

At least 75% of all conventionally processed foods contain gm ingredients.  This number will only be going up if genetically modified crops continue to be approved and planted.  Especially with the approval of Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa, America is in danger of losing the pure original form of many crops entirely:  corn, soy, cotton, sugarbeets.   Some form of corn and/or soy are used in almost all processed food items you’ll buy in the supermarket. 

What to Buy:  Currently the only way to avoid genetically modified foods is to buy certified organic.  

Conventional milk 

Why:  Cows are treated with rBGH and rBST growth hormones.  Recent studies have shown these hormones to be carcinogenic as well as linking them to early onset of puberty in girls.  Producers will tell you the amount is insignificant, but they won’t tell you that even tiny, tiny amounts of hormones have an effect on the endocrine system.

Conventional cows are also given heavy doses of many different antibiotics.

 What to Buy:  Buy organic raw milk if it’s legal in your state.  Next best:  Buy organic milk or buy local sustainable.  I buy milk through a local dairy that does not use growth hormones on their animals and only pasteurizes their milk (because it’s the law).  Conventional milk is pasteurized (usually twice) and homogenized.  Had I the choice, I would definitely buy raw organic milk. 

Conventional chicken 

Why:  It’s got arsenic in it.  Arsenic is a government-approved dietary supplement for animals.  Roxarsone (4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl arsenic acid) is a common additive to the feed of broiler chickens to control certain types of intestinal parasites.  Producers of the feed and the chickens that eat it say it’s harmless to humans; they say that just because the chicken gets it doesn’t mean you do.  That makes about as much sense as calling nuclear power clean.

 Conventional chicken is also often fed genetically modified feed. 

What to Buy:  Buy organic chicken (it’s fed no arsenic-laced or gn feed) or better yet, make it local and sustainable chicken from a farmer who free-ranges.

Conventional Beef 

Why:  Most non-organic U.S. cattle are given androgens (testosterone surrogates) to fatten them up for slaughter.  Others receive the female sex hormone, estrogen, which shuts down estrus and allows their bodies to build muscle mass.  They’re fed genetically modified feed and given antibiotics.  Same old, same old. 

What to Buy:  But organic or local, sustainable.  Grass-fed.  Cows are grazers. 

Conventional Pork 

Why:  Like conventional chickens and cows, conventional pigs are pumped up with hormones, antibiotics and are fed a diet of genetically-modified grain. 

What to Buy:  Buy organic or local, sustainable. 

These conventionally grown fruits and vegetables:  strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, peaches, nectarines, celery, apples, pears, grapes, raspberries and potatoes. 

Why:  For varying reasons these 12 items are heavily sprayed with as many as a dozen different pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.  All of the sprays are toxic and carcinogenic to the human body as well as the soil. 

What to Buy:  Organic or local, sustainable. 

 Canned Food 

Why:  BPA or bisphenol A, a synthetic estrogen, is used in the lining of the cans.  It leaches into the food and then into our bodies.  Another added hormone our bodies don’t need, weren’t meant to have, and that is known to disrupt the endocrine system. 

What to Buy:  Some manufacturers are voluntarily stopping the use of BPA and are labeling their canned products as such.  Otherwise, if it’s in a can, don’t buy it. 

Soy products 

Why:  Most of the soybeans and soy protein used in foods today are bathed in a toxic, explosive chemical solvent called hexane.  Hexane is a neurotoxin produced as a by-product of gasoline refining.  Also, soy is a biggie on the genetically modified list.  Soy is especially troublesome as it’s hidden in so many foods from nutrition bars to infant formula. 

What to Buy:  Buy only organic soy products. 

Well, that’s quite a list.  It’s discouraging to know that I’ll only be adding to it as more foods become contaminated with gm ingredients, or some by-product of gasoline refining, or any number of sex hormones, or heavier and heavier application of pesticides like glyphosate, the ingredient in Roundup.

There is some good news.  There are many vegetables and fruits that are sprayed very little or not at all.  These are currently okay to purchase non-organic:

asparagus, avocados, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cilantro, daikon radishes, eggplant, garlic, ginger, grapefruit, grapes, green onions, leeks, mandarin oranges, mangoes, okra, onions, pineapple, radishes, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, tangerines, zucchini.

Every time I go to the grocery store I remind myself that every penny I spend is a political act.  I can support Monsanto and the biotech industry or I can say, “Hell, no!” and buy healthy foods grown as close to home as possible as sustainably as possible.  The more of us that do this, the less power the perpetrators have to keep committng these horrible food crimes.

Thank you for visiting Eve’s Daughter.

 

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2 responses to “Don’t Eat That!

  1. Angie–
    First thanks for the post. I came here via Mary @ Letting Go. People have no idea about the scope of the problems in our foodsystem here, for the most part. Thanks to people like Barbara Kingsolver and Micheal Pollan, and bloggers eyes are being opened even as we speak.

    I live in the middle part of the country where family farms have disappeared at an alarming rate. I’m sure that no matter my best efforts, the water tables here are so contaminated from runoff that it might just be futile for me to continue growing my own food and gardening organically. I raise chickens too, for eggs. I don’t have a lot of land, but it’s amaing what you can accomplish in a small space.

    Thanks again for fighting the good fight. I will be back and am looking forward to following your blog.

    Annie

  2. Annie,
    Thanks for your comment. I agree; people have no idea how bad it is. My hope is to at least inform my family and friends so they can take action if they so choose. Love your blog, too!

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