Killer Foods

In Far away United States Of America, a war has been raging of recent-the war against Monsanto, the food giant that spearheads the research into and production of genetically modified foods, foods manufactured using the activities of genetically modified organisms, GMO. Their Congress has passed a bill that makes it against the law to label foods on the market shelves as being a product of genetically modified organisms. The debate was that, given the fact of an overwhelming evidence that genetically modified foods are harmful to humans, and government insistence that only genetically modified foods are the best for the country, every food that contains GMO should be labeled so that Americans have a choice in deciding whether to buy the GMF or the naturally produced foods. In fact, in recent times, there has been several recalls of shelf foods due to the fact that they were deemed to have used undeclared chemicals in their production.

The government has been at war with the farmers who produce and sell directly to consumers without resort to genetics, with the accusation that their foods are contaminated with the Salmonella species of bacteria. Salmonella is the main causative agent for diarrhea. For example, American federal and state regulators are seeking legal sanctions against farmers in Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California, among others. These sanctions include injunctions, fines, and even prison sentences for farmers who fail to join the genetic bandwagon.

Genetic modification of foods started in the nineteen eighties. The biotechnology giant Monsanto began to genetically alter corn to withstand its activities in trying to round up their weed clearing agenda-or herbicide roundup, as it was generally referred to. The goal was to eradicate weeds but not crops and resist a corn pest called the corn borer. These small changes in the Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, the building blocks of proteins in the body, of the corn are expressed by the plant as proteins. Those proteins act as allergens, provoking a disorder marked by the overproduction of a type of white blood cell called an eosinophil.

The U.S. government started approving GMO corn and soybeans for sale in the mid-1990s, and today, 88% of corn, and 93% of soybeans, are the transgenic varieties. According to my findings, due to cross-pollination via winds, birds, and bees, there’s no such thing anymore as a GMO-free corn crop in the U.S. “It’s almost impossible to find a corn source in the United States that doesn’t have the [protein] in it,” Dr. Mansman, an allergist who works in a Virginia hospital, told an American Magazine.

Beyond all the hype, beyond all the gobbledygook, GMFs have become the stable shelf food in Europe and America, and the idea has become acceptable in other parts of the world. In fact the Nigerian National assembly has hurriedly passed the bill to back the genetically modified foods production in the country. Former President Goodluck Jonathan set up a committee to vet the so called biosafety bill as passed by the National Assembly before he could sign it into law. Then, participants at the 10th anniversary of African Agricultural Technology Foundation, AATF seminar say Nigeria’s dream of achieving food sufficiency in 2015 will be a mirage, unless the country adopts biotechnology in the agricultural sector. Even Olusola Saraki, a senator and chairman senate committee on environment and ecology, who is currently the Senate President, decried the delay in signing the bill into law. “As a matter of fact, the benefits of signing the bill into law by Mr President are numerous,” he said.” These include regulating the safe application of biotechnology in Nigeria to harness benefits in fields of agriculture, medical, environment sustainability and industrial growth.” Further more, the law will promote technological and material transfer for research collaboration and commercialization in biotechnology.” According to him, since 1996, biotechnology-driven crops had been commercially planted and their adoption had increased steadily, with over 8.5 million planting them in 21 countries, with most African countries developing biosafety.He also noted that all over the world, scientists, who recognized the benefits of the technology, had been at the forefront of the call for safety and regulation of activities in the field of biotechnology. “Therefore, there is the need for Mr. President to assent to the bill in the interest of our nation and the attendant economic and employment opportunities that come with it,” he had said. “If this feat is achieved, Nigeria, as a nation, would be sufficient in food production and thereby, save the cost of annual food importation and diversify same into a value chain mechanism.”

But the question is, how safe is BMF? Investigations indicate that even scientists at the forefront of the promotion of biotechnology are coming out to speak against it. Most food literature focuses on poor nutritional quality of canned and pre-packaged food, which is the only source of food to certain urban people who have no access to fresh foods from the farm. Chemicals found in food packaging are unhealthy-as, for example, Bisphenol A, or BPA. This chemical has been banned from baby bottles and sippy cups in the United States but find ways into the stable consumption of the nouveau-rich in Nigeria. Since it is used to line food cans, intended as a protective barrier between the metal and the can’s contents, BPA actually leaches into the food we eat. The effects of leaching BPA are likely most detrimental for pregnant women, babies and children. This chemical has been linked with obesity, cancer (breast and prostate), early onset of puberty, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD and retardation of development of brain and nervous systems. The case of early puberty has been a serious societal issue that results in increased rape cases and pedophilia simply because the children look older than they actually are. And Monsanto and other companies are at the forefront of these drugs. France has banned the use of BPA in the preservation of canned foods with effect from 2015. Soon, other European countries will follow suit. Apart from BPA, Aspartmine is another chemical. Aspartame has been linked to several different cancers and even degenerative brain conditions. Consuming aspartame regularly will burn out neurons and has been linked to headaches, mood alterations and even brain tumors. It is regarded as a healthy and sweeter alternative to sugar, though it actually causes diabetes and may also cause obesity. It was developed in a bio-weapons laboratory from excrement from bacteria culture and bleached with other chemicals by Monsanto corporation. It is currently sold under different brand names and used in food seasonings. Unfortunately this chemical, originally sold by Monsanto Corp, is now being re-branded under different names There are currently efforts underway to include aspartmine in milk and so called diet products-“low sugar” or “sugarless” drinks, even though aspartame is contained in many products already that do not list it as one of the ingredients. But by far the most important of these products are the genetically modified foods. “Introduction of genetically modified food has raised a number of fears, some genuine and some irrational,” says Dr.Leo d’Souza, a Jesuit priest and biotech researcher. “Human fears, whether genuine or irrational, have to be attended to.” These fears are currently being expressed by Nigerians who are skeptical of the benefits of the foods. For example, The Daily Trust Editorial of 26 June 2013 was particularly critical of the bill. “It may come as something of a surprise,” the paper wrote, “to some, even shock to many, that such a profound policy step would be taken without as much as consultation with the public.” The paper continued: “Still, even in advanced nations that have pioneered the technology and fully embraced the crops, controversies over them linger. Scientists have raised concerns about their effect on human health and on the environment. It is alleged that the crops damage the soil and that large quantities of fertilizers and hazardous chemicals are required to successfully cultivate them. And for particularly the developing world, GM crops portend another challenge of having to depend on giant companies in the West for seed imports to replant as some of the crops do not have seeds or those with seeds cannot produce high-yield varieties when they are planted. Unless these allegations about the disadvantages of the crops are satisfactorily addressed, it would be premature to expose Nigerian farmers to GM seeds when the technology is still in its infancy in the country, if at all.” The paper insisted that the main challenge now is that a large percentage of the national arable land is not being put under cultivation. ” Since the advent of the oil boom nearly four decades ago, successive governments have paid scant attention to agriculture as a national security issue. This is the time to do it, by going back to agriculture, which offers better food and economic security than oil. Efforts should also be made to find a solution to the huge post-harvest losses that farmers suffer. If these and many other steps are taken, the country may in the end find it does not have any need for inorganic substances like GM crops to feed the people,” the paper concluded.

A group known as the Mother Earth Foundation frowned seriously at the proposed bill. In a statement signed by Nnimo Bassey, Director of the organization, noted that African countries have been generally resistant to the policy. “Contrary to the claims of the{minister of science and technology), Burkina Faso has not introduced GMOs into their food.”, Bassey said, “That country planted genetically engineered cotton otherwise called Bt Cotton. The first harvest of that cotton last year was a big disappointment as the farmers got short fibre cotton rather than the long fibres they harvested from the conventional cotton they were used to planting. South Africa is the most problematic on the continent when it comes to the regulation and introduction of GMOs. Public resistance have been strong, but the historical political context must also be considered in understanding the path the nation began to toe and the difficulties in ensuring a transition from certain routes. Studies by the African Centre for Biosafety has revealed that corn products supplied by Tiger Brand in South Africa to companies including to Dangote Foods, a Nigerian conglomerate, has high GMO corn contents. This revelation ought to drive the Nigerian government to order an investigation into the importation of unwholesome foods and food products into Nigeria rather than making announcement of backdoor moves to ambush Nigerians into eating GMOs without their consent.” They noted that the widespread dependence on chemical inputs have led to the death of pollinators like bees and saddled the world with silent farms and forests without insects and other beneficial species. “Certainly Nigeria does not want to join the ranks of nations that hire or buy bees to pollinate their farms,” Bassey noted. “We are not sure also that Nigerians want to toe a path that may lead to farmers pollinating their crops by hand,” he concluded. A federal minister has recently indicated that one of the GMO companies has been approved to open up an office space in the country. “Yes, Monsanto may soon be in Nigeria”, a source from the ministry of Agriculture said, “the honorable minister is all taken up with the program.”

Studies have shown that GMO feeds have proven harmful to pigs. According to a report, “GM-fed females had on average a 25% heavier uterus than non-GM-fed females, a possible indicator of disease that requires further investigation. Also, the level of severe inflammation in stomachs was markedly higher in pigs fed on the GM diet. The research results were striking and statistically significant. The new study lends scientific credibility to anecdotal evidence from farmers and veterinarians, who have for some years reported reproductive and digestive problems in pigs fed on a diet containing GM soy and corn.” Pigs have basically the same digestive structure with humans, and pork is a stable food in most countries. Most of these pigs are eaten by humans with accumulated GMO passed on to humans who consume them.

Genetically modified foods are a typical example of how man tries to show he can control nature. But the final effect will be a disaster to mankind, because, in the new time, every distortion of natural order will be violently corrected, resulting in so many hitherto unknown diseases. Unfortunately, this will coincide with the time of total collapse of World economy, amid political crisis and Natural disasters in a time that was described as a time of great tribulations.

Do the Switch: How to Go From Processed to Whole Foods

What are processed foods?

If one day you have some free time, go to a supermarket and check out the nutritional label of a local brown bread brand, you will be surprised by the amount of ingredients that it contains, out of which you will definitely recognize Sugar and vegetable oil.

On the other hand, if you go to a proper baker and ask about the natural components of whole wheat or whole grain bread, you will be told that it contains just whole wheat flour, water, yeast and maybe wheat germ and bran, depending on the type of bread.

Basically, food processing is a series of procedures that involve physical and chemical alterations (additions and eliminations) to raw foods, in order to make it marketable and easily prepared and served.

How does it affect my weight?

OK, let’s focus for now on weight loss for now – we will come to health risks later on. If we consume a 100 calories of processed turkey, shouldn’t it be the same as consuming 100 calories of whole turkey roast?

“Calories are not made the same”

Well according to the law of thermodynamics, it should be the same. If calories-in (consumed) are more than calories-out (burned), we add weight. If calories-out are more than calories-in we lose weight.

Simple, right?

Unfortunately our bodies are more complex than that. Last article I discussed how calories are processed differently by our bodies. Scientists discovered that the process of chewing, swallowing, digesting, absorbing and excreting food actually costs the body some energy. They call it the Thermal effect of food (TEF)

On average, we use around 10% of our daily energy expenditure digesting and absorbing food, but this percentage changes depending on the type of food we eat. Protein takes the most energy to digest (20-30% of total calories in protein eaten go to digesting it). Next is carbohydrates (5-10%) and then fats (0-3%);

Going back to the turkey example. In the 100 calories of unprocessed turkey Roast, the body will burn 30 calories out of the 100 in the process of digesting the fibers and proteins in the turkey meat. So you will actually be consuming 70 calories only. In the case of the 100 calories from processed turkey, where the meat does not contain as much fibers and proteins, the body will burn less energy to digest it. So you will be consuming around 90 calories.

So if we consume on average, 21 meals per week, wouldn’t that make a huge difference? It turns out that calories are not made the same after all.

Is processed food bad to my health?

Well, here are some of the announced drawbacks of food processing:

  • It affects nutrient density.

Processing and altering food causes it to lose many of its nutrients. For example, during the heating process, the Vitamin C content is destroyed. Same with other important nutrients.

  • It endangers Human Microbiome.

Not fermenting foods during processing kills the healthy bacteria (Microbiome) in our gut. Such bacteria are crucial for a healthy gut. (Have you ever had stomach problems after a certain food, well that is one reason for it)

  • It contains additives.

From sugar to MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. Such additives affect us differently depending on our intolerances and health status. (Sneaky added sugar, could be a serious problem for a person with diabetes)

  • It might contain a risk of contamination.

This is an interesting one. Processing foods involves huge grinders and large mixing bowls. Over time, these machines wear down and are liable to fracture, so when it actually happens, it leaks small to large metal particles which sometimes go unnoticed and make their way to our stomach. (So next time when you crack something while eating a chocolate, you will know what it is!)

So how would I know if I am eating whole foods?

Here are some questions you want to ask yourself when differentiating between whole foods and processed foods:

  • What’s on the ingredient list?

Don’t get tricked into the nutrition facts, which tells you the amount of calories and macronutrients, like the amount of carbs or sugar in that product. Instead, check the ingredients list.

  • Do I recognize all these things?

I always say, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

  • How many steps did this food take to get to me?

Think of the original raw component. The closer it is to it, the more whole it is. (Olives are more whole than olive oil, oranges are more whole than orange juice)

  • Does this food come in a bag, box, or can?

Go for the fresh veggies, the local butcher and the local baker. The more local you go, the more whole foods you are consuming. Also learn to ask what’s in that food you are buying.

Bottom line

Switching your diet to whole foods, will save you a lot of hassle, from trying to take nutritional supplements or counting calories to losing weight. You will be healthier and much happier.

Food Diary: An Objective Learning Tool to Love Yourself Past a Binge, Part 2 of 2

Behind every binge is an intense emotion, either positive or negative, that is uncomfortable to the binge eater. It may take a little practice to learn to uncover that emotion.”

-Gloria Arenson, Ph.D.

Food journalling. If you’ve been in the habit of keeping track of what you were eating for any length of time you know how painstaking and frustrating it can be to constantly monitor your every bite, lick and taste (BLT) But beyond that, if you consider yourself to be an emotional eater, you can probably relate to feeling horrible every time you’ve eaten more than you think you should.

For many people, conditioned to think as dieters, overeating is almost considered morally wrong. We often judge ourselves as shameful, feeling guilty and out of control. Can you relate to feeling tempted to just want to sweep the incident under the carpet and forget about it? I can and that’s why I stopped keeping a food journal years ago once I made the decision to stop dieting. Now I realize how food journalling can be your best friend to give you the awareness you need to end your emotional eating. Let me tell you what I learned.

Recently I was doing research to answer a question for a woman in my Juicy Woman Yahoo group. My search led me to a book that I had read years earlier. In the book, “A Substance Called Food: How to Understand, Control and Recover from Addictive Eating,” author and licensed certified psychotherapist, Gloria Arenson, Ph.D discusses the value of using a food journal to gain awareness of one’s eating patterns in order to transform from a binge eater to a healthy eater.

Dr. Arenson is one of my most beloved go-to experts because she really understands what it takes to overcome emotional eating. Having worked in the field of eating disorders for over 30 years, specializing in the treatment of bulimia and compulsive overeating and as a former binge eater, herself, she really gets it. As the former president of ACEP (The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, an international organization dedicated to establishing and promoting the practice of Energy Psychology tools, such as Emotional Freedom Technique around the world) Dr. Arenson ranks in my book as a hands down expert on the subject of how to end emotional eating.

In her book, “A Substance Called Food,” she outlines a multi-dimensional four level plan she uses with her clients to overcome the problems of compulive eating, binging, purging or starving. She credits this system with creating change on the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual levels for the individual.

Dr. Arenson explains how a binge is our body’s way of crying out for help because most people who abuse food are not conscious of the connection between emotions and their tendency to overeat.

In the first step of her self help program for change, Dr. Arenson describes the importance of keeping a food diary for a week. Just one week. This is intended to show what, how much and when the client eats.

My Experiment Keeping a Food Journal as a Committed Non Dieter

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, in the past I’ve had a tendency to be incredibly obsessive in my quest to keep track of my food intake. Back in my dieting days, it was almost like a perverse badge of honor to be so rigorous in my pursuit of staying in control of what I was eating, the amount of water I was drinking, how much I was exercising and the fluctuations in my weight. It pretty much became a full time job to be so compulsive in my record keeping. It was no wonder that it was the first thing to go when I stopped dieting.

I was certain that food trackers and journals were things of the past, evil tools designed by the diet organization intended to make you feel badly about yourself. All kidding aside, I did realize that they do have a positive intention, but it has been far too difficult to observe the potential benefits of journalling because I was so stuck remembering all the negative aspects of trying to keep myself under such rigid control.

I’ll be the first to admit that because I was still caught up in the all or nothing thinking so commonly associated with a dieter’s mentality, I was unable to recognize the benefit of food journals until recently. Dr. Arenson’s fresh perspective on journalling helped me to see the light.

At the time of this writing, I have just begun keeping a written record of what I’ve been eating for only a few days. In this short period of time, I am surprised by what I have discovered about myself.

Here are a few helpful tips and insights that you can use to get started to make food journaling work for you.

It’s not personal – Despite how you may feel, nobody but you is looking over your shoulder. The important thing to remember is that you are doing this for yourself in an effort to understand what drives you to eat when you’re not hungry. If, however you do choose to share the contents of your journal with anyone else make sure that they are someone who has already earned your trust.

Be patient with yourself – If like me, you find that you are doing things to sabotage your ability to keep the journal, like forgetting to write things down, not having a pen or paper available or not keeping everything in one place to find it easily, give yourself a break. This is only your brilliant subconscious mind at work doing its very best to keep you safe in your old comfort zone. To move past this resistance, just forgive yourself and move on. Picking up and continuing where you left off as often as you need to is much more effective than beating yourself up trying to remember forgotten meals. Do your best to record 7 days in order to have enough information to discover your eating triggers.

Embrace your emotions. Write down some of the thoughts and emotions that you are experiencing along with the food you eat. This is what you will need to refer back to when you review your journal. This objective review process will enable you to better understand the why’s behind your binges. Knowing this information will give you insight into what kinds of situations cause you to reach for food when you’re not hungry. By paying closer attention to how you feel, it will also uncover all the hidden emotions you are experiencing when you sit down to a meal.

Be curious, not critical. This new tool is a gift for you. It’s not a punishment. It can only help you to nurture yourself more deeply and love yourself more compassionately. Look for the specific idea that fueled the binge or the event that preceded the overeating. For example: If you’re a mother with young children, you may have a belief that you are the only personal capable of caring for your little ones. If everyone is always dependent upon you, it can lead to a lot of resentment. If you have a belief that you can’t or shouldn’t ask for help, the overwhelmed emotions you feel will drive you to deal with your stress in the only way you know how. If food is your drug of choice, you’ll find yourself eating out of control. The kindest thing you can do is to feel the deepest of compassion for yourself and realize that you were only doing the best you could.

Take 100% responsibility– After re-evaluating your eating and better understanding what drove you to eat when you weren’t hungry, now you can reclaim your power by taking responsibility for finding new ways of dealing with your stress besides using food. Be more assertive. Make a list of the needs that have gone unfulfilled in your life up until now. Rather than running ’round the house screaming, “Nobody ever helps me.” Consider what requests of others you can make to ensure that you get the support you need. This may require negotiation to ensure that everyone gets their needs met and to clarify a new agreement that you want in place. For example if you realize that you want your daughter to get dinner started before you come home, rather than nagging or arguing with her, state specifically in a calm voice what you want done. “I want you to cut the carrots and put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta before I come home. Thank you.”

Get support- If you find yourself struggling with any disempowering thoughts such as feeling unworthy, fearing failure, overwhelm, judgment or any other negative emotion, I’d like to invite you to come join my Juicy Woman Yahoo group. There as your guide, I’ll show you how you can use Emotional Freedom Technique and other energy coaching tools to wipe away those old limiting beliefs so that you can get down to the business of getting what you want.