Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why I Just Say No to GMO (and Roundup)

It amazes me when people ask me what’s so wrong with genetically modified food. What’s not wrong with it? GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are plants or animals created through gene splicing that merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes that cannot occur in nature. Virtually all commercial GMOs were developed to withstand the application of herbicides and pesticides, chiefly Roundup made by Monsanto.

The bottom line is that GMOs have been sprayed (massively) with Roundup. The most significant genetic modification that Monsanto has made to selected food crops is a modification that has made them immune to Roundup. The whole point of this is that if you have corn, for instance, that does not die when you spray Roundup on it then you can spray the heck out of the corn field to get rid of all the other weeds and not kill your corn crop. These GMO crops are called “Roundup Ready.” The crops presently modified in this way (according to the Non-GMO Project) are alfalfa, canola, corn, soy, cotton, papaya, sugar beets, zucchini, and yellow summer squash. For this reason, I have become extremely careful to buy only food products labeled non-GMO or organic (which means they contain no GMO ingredients) that contain any of these ingredients. Continue reading to learn about the impact of Roundup on the human body.

A peer-reviewed scientific study released in April 2013 confirms that toxins in glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup (a Monsanto product) directly contribute to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. (Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome, Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, 2013.) Well, sheesh. I didn’t need a study to tell me this. Although I have always avoided the use of Roundup, I now live in a neighborhood where people regularly spray this toxic stuff to keep the weeds down in their parking strips. Sadly, although I spray my weeds with plain white vinegar, I can’t escape the toxic Roundup that laces my environment.                            

Studies done in Germany on the impact of GMO food on animals have produced the exact same behaviors in the animals that are identified as autistic behaviors in humans. If you want to choose a culprit for the rise in autism, don’t be pointing your finger at vaccinations. Look at the food we are eating.

The chemical glyphosate, which is a key ingredient in Roundup, is frightening. Many recent scientific studies provide insights into the effects of glyphosate on the human body. It triggers all the health problems listed above. Glyphosate alters the chemistry of the body and disrupts the P450 (CYP) gene pathway, which manufactures enzymes that assist with the formation of molecules in cells, as well as breaking them down. CYP enzymes detoxify “xenobiotics” from the body. Examples of “xenobiotics” are chemicals found in pesticides, drugs, and carcinogens. Glyphosate inhibits the ability of the body to manufacture CYP enzymes.

The CYP pathway supports many important biological systems within our bodies. One of the many detrimental things that happens when we are exposed to glyphosate (i.e., Roundup) is that we lose the normal ability to respond to the neurotransmitter serotonin. The loss of the ability of the body to respond to serotonin directly results in, among other things, overweight/obesity, depression, and Alzheimer’s. Monsanto knows all about this and that glyphosate disrupts the CYP gene pathway, resulting in illness and disease. One has to wonder if Monsanto and pharmaceutical corporations making big bucks aren’t in bed together. Seriously. The same major financial institutions that own major biotech and food corporations also own most of the major pharmaceutical companies. Fidelity investments, State Street Corporation, JP Morgan Chase, and The Vanguard Group own all major food corporations as well as pharmaceutical companies. Our food industry is basically designed to make us sick. You can do something about it. Shop and eat consciously.

In addition to the list of GMO crops I offered above, I also want to give a heads up about other foods that are contaminated. Many animal products, such as meat, milk, eggs, cheese, and honey, can be contaminated because of GMOs in feed (so buy organic). I am proud to live in Mendocino County, the first county in the country to ban GMOs through legislation (despite a huge campaign to defeat this legislation when it was on the ballot bankrolled by none other than Monsanto). Note also that there is a list of “monitored crops,” for which suspected or known incidents of GMO contamination have occurred and those which have genetically modified relatives in commercial production with which cross-pollination is possible. These monitored crops include:  chard, beets, rutabaga, Siberian kale, bok choy, mizuna, Chinese cabbage, turnip, rapini, tatsoi, acorn squash, delicate squash, patty pan squash, flax, rice, and wheat.

If you go to the website for the Institute for Responsible Technology, you can download a Non-GMO shopping guide to help you find foods with no GMOs in them. Thislink should take you right to the shopping guide. And for more details about what food substances have GMOs in them visit the Non-GMO Project website at this link.

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