Well, it’s been a long month of packing. Packing and a bit of great traveling, but now it’s back to business. Well, back to the business of finishing packing and heading out! Finally. We had an amazing time in NY. Wedding, family, sightseeing, the works!
During our travels I was reading this incredibly important book: “The Unhealthy Truth - How Our Food is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It” by Robyn O’brien. If you’re a Mom it’s an absolute must read. If you’re a Dad it’s a must read. If you’re a grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, or anybody who puts food in children’s mouths, not to mention YOUR OWN - it’s a must read.
Now I will admit that I already come from a ‘health’ standpoint in the way live, eat, drink and medicate. At least we try to. Given that but if info I guess you could claim I am somewhat biased. But even if you are a sceptic and a potential nay sayer, you owe it to yourself and the children around you to at the very least read it. After you've read it, then decide how you will proceed. As I see it, there’s no such thing as too much information even if it’s information you don’t necessarily believe or agree with, initially anyway. Another disclaimer: Though we live in the same area, I do not know Robyn nor do I have any connection to her or her work, other than strongly believing in it that is :-)
So, what’s this book about?
Well, the title’s pretty self explanatory. Specifically though, Robyn discusses how our food supply, and particularly foods marketed directly at children, are more than likely causing the increase in the so called 4-A disorders, a term coined by Dr. Kenneth A. Bock in “Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies”.
She discusses ‘food politics’, the history of food ‘manufacturing’ (as opposed to food growing as I see it), the hazards of hormones, artificial ingredients, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and antibiotics (in our foods). She guides us in how to examine studies and so called official websites. Those include all those run by formal associations and often even those government sponsored ones. We learn how to become detectives when determining who’s behind the studies and reccomendations, what money is potentially influencing outcomes and how to open our eyes wide to the revolving door between the government agencies that are meant to protect us (AKA the FDA, USDA, etc.) and the high powered food and chemical manufacturers and their legal representatives, chiefly Monsanto.
Though I had previously known about a lot of what she discusses, what shocked me in particular was the fact that there are American companies out there, big ones, who have changed the ingredients in their products to suit European demands. Europe (among other areas of the world) has insisted upon the removal of a variety of artificial ingredients and marking packaging clearly stating the presence of GMOs. Companies, including U.S. companies, have voluntarily removed various artificial ingredients from foods sold in The United Kingdom. The research that came out of South Hampton University in 2007* and the public concern and demand following it were enough to get those companies moving.
However, and here’s the BIG shocker: The people in this country are apparently not important enough to do the same for! Here, many companies continue to use GMOs in their products, Kraft continues to use artificial ingredients in it’s Mac and Cheese (among all their other creations) and marking packaging clearly when GMOs are used? Fugetaboutit!
Europeans (among others) have already questioned and realized the hidden potential dangers lurking in our foods AND have done something about it. Us here? Not even close. So so sad, to say the very least, but true.
My impression is that the way things stand now ‘new’ ingredients used in our processed foods seem to be innocent until proven guilty. The so called studies that are conducted on them are for the most part funded by the companies that manufacture them or by researchers who have some kind of financial ties to those same companies. Often, the FDA puts the onus of determining the safety of said ingredient on the manufacturer!!!
It’s like trusting a tobacco company’s study on the safety of cigarets, which many many people did of course. Would you do that today????
As Robyn points out, do you really think one can get unbiased results that way?! Are you prepared to be these companies guinea pigs? Are you prepared for your kids to be?! I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like reading about the danger of substance xyz 10 years from now. 10 years after I’ve been loading myself and my kids up with it. Let’s not fall into the same trap we did with the tobacco companies. They claimed their products were safe, they did study after study. They fought their case in court for years and years and years all along claiming their product was safe. Now we know the truth. Do we want to play this game all over again with the food we eat?
I know I sure don’t.
*In case you’re interested in the reference info for this study: D. McCann et al., “Food Additives and Hyperactive Behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old Children in the Community: A Randomised, Double-Blinded, Placebo-controlled Trail,” The Lancet 370, no. 9598 (November 3, 2007): 1524-25.
In case you're interested, another incredibly eye opening and shocking book is "The Secret History of the War on Cancer" by Devra Davis. Not an easy read by far, but a MUST as far as I'm concerned.