Genetically Modified (GM) foods are the result of gene technology collaborating with modern agriculture to produce what is perceived as hardier plants. These plants typically have altered DNA that is combined with DNA from viruses, bacteria and other organisms in order to make the plant more disease, drought, and pest resistant. Many producers will argue that gene modification improves food crops. However, several animal studies have linked GM foods to disruption in the immune system, increase in allergies, damage to internal organs, changes in metabolism and increase in oxidative stress. This type of damage is especially dangerous because it affects so many systems in the body.
Long-term studies on the safety of human consumption of GM foods have not been conducted. We have been eating GM foods for only about 20 years, and it has only been in the last 10 years that the rate of consumption has increased due to advances in gene technology. There is no way to determine the long-term effect of eating these kinds of foods until it is studied in more depth.
To keep your family safe from GM foods, here are some tips:
1.Buy Organic. Any food labels that say organic on them cannot by virtue of being organic contain any GM foods. This is true for produce, as well as meats and dairy. Considering that soy is often a GM food crop, make sure to buy organic tofu, non-dairy alternatives, and other soy-based products, or stay away from soy altogether.
2. Look for GMO-Free Labels. Look on the food label to see if it says whether its GMO free or not. One organization helping with food labeling is the Non GMO Project. They verify individual products from food to health and beauty so that you know it is GMO free. Look for their label.
3. Avoid Common GM Foods. Some common GM food crops are corn, soybean, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. These foods need to be purchased organically. One problem, is that many of these are used as ingredients in other foods, such as the oil used in a bag of pita chips, or the sugar to flavor a chocolate bar. It's important to read labels and look for both organic and GMO-free labeling.
4. Use a Shoppers Guide. One great shopping guide is the Non GMO Shopping Guide. This will give you a list of verified products from condiments and other food items to health, beauty and hygiene products.
20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods. n.d. World Health Organization Website.
Genetically Modified Foods. n.d. American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
Non-GMO Shoppers Guide. n.d. NonGMOProject.org
Limes are an excellent overall tonic for the body, especially if you have been consuming GM foods. Their extremely high Vitamin C content makes them a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C is especially helpful in repairing the effects of oxidative stress and free radical damage throughout the whole body because it is water soluble. This allows it to travel between cell membranes through the aqueous environment in the body. It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties that protect the body, as well as boost the immune system. To add more lime to your diet try putting fresh squeezed lime juice in your water and tea, add to olive oil for a light salad dressing or marinade meat and seafood in a strong lime infusion. If you have problems with oxalates, avoid eating the peel.
Lemon/Limes. World's Healthiest Foods Website.
Cilantro, also known as Coriander, is a nutrient-rich plant that has many health benefits. Research studies have shown that Cilantro helps control blood sugar regulation by stimulating the body to release insulin. It also helps lower bad cholesterol in the body, has antimicrobial properties and serves as an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radical damage. In animal studies, it was even shown to protect cells against heavy metal damage and absorption. It is an excellent overall tonic for the free radical damage that can be caused by GM Foods. To add more Cilantro to your diet, try adding it to salsa, salads, soups, marinades and your daily green juice. The volatile oils in Cilantro are an important part of it's healing properties, so make sure to use fresh leaves rather than dried herbs. If you have trouble using an entire bunch, you can freeze cilantro drizzled with olive oil in ice cube trays for future cooking.
Cilantro. n.d. World's Healthiest Foods Website.
Aga, M., Iwaki, K., Ueda, Y., et. al. 2001. Preventive Effect of Coriandrum sativum (Chinese Parsley) on Localized Lead Deposition in ICR Mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 77(2-3):203-8.
This fresh summer dip has the added benefit of fresh lime juice and cilantro as well as other super foods.
Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and tomato; mash some more. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness.
An important, first-line of defense against the whole body damage caused by GM foods is a good multi-vitamin. Our bodies need a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to maintain optimal health, as well as repair cellular damage.
There are many kinds of multivitamins on the market, and they come in different forms such as liquids, powders, tablets, chewables, capsules, and injectables (including IV). Some of these forms are easier for the body to absorb than others, depending on your overall state of health. Each multi will have differing ingredients and amounts. Also, the quality of the ingredients in the multivitamin will determine its over healing and protective properties.
Based on your individual state of health, it is essential that you work with your Naturopathic Doctor to get the best supplement for you. A good multi will contain specific kinds of Vitamin E, for example, called mixed tocopherols. If you are already taking a multivitamin, make sure to have your Naturopathic Doctor evaluate it for optimal potency.
Gaby, A. (2011). Nutritional medicine. Concord, N.H: Fritz Perlberg Publishing.
Pizzorno, Joseph E., and Michael T. Murray. 1999. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
Colon Hydrotherapy helps to flush out the lower intestines by using clean, temperature-regulated water to remove toxins and impacted stools for a gentle detox. One of the reasons this gentle flushing is good for the body is that it eliminates a buildup of waste that often contains toxins. The foods we eat and even our water supply all introduce toxins into our body. Colon hydrotherapy gently encourages and supports the elimination of these toxins. This therapy dates back to the mid 1900s, and has a long history of clinical evidence from physicians who routinely saw the difference it made in their patients' symptoms. To this day, doctors continue to report the positive effects. Colon hydrotherapy is so gentle and effective, that hospitals are now using it as an alternative to the oral laxatives usually used before a colonoscopy. As with any health procedure, it is important to go to a trained and certified colon hydrotherapist. When this procedure is done by a trained professional with proper equipment, the rate of adverse reactions to the therapy is extremely low.
Walker, Morton. 2000. Value of Colon Hydrotherapy Verified by Medical Professionals Prescribing it. Towsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (205/206).
A New Choice For Colonoscopy Preparation. Danbury Hospital Website.
Richards, D. McMillin, D., et. al. 2006. Colonic irrigations: a review of the historical controversy and the potential for adverse effects. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine 12(4):389-93.