Saturday, March 17, 2012

You Are What You Eat? A Note on Genetically Modified Foods

We have so often heard the quote, "You are what you eat."

Technically speaking, this isn't true - if we eat an apple, we don't turn into an apple. But, in some regards it is true. If we only eat doughnuts, then we will most likely gain weight around our midsection. If we eat only fruits and vegetables, we become very thin and healthy like a fruit or vegetable.

Many people have also heard about the Doctrine of Signatures for plants and foods. Kidney beans are good for our kidneys because they are shaped like a kidney. Walnuts are good for our brain because they look like  our brain. The food that we eat definitely leaves its print in our body and provides nourishment (especially for the parts it promises with the doctrine of signatures).

Knowing this, what do you think about a food that has been genetically modified so that it can no longer reproduce itself? It no longer has any seeds. It is infertile.

These genetically modified foods are common in our world today. We so often think "The seeds in this watermelon are so annoying. I have to keep spitting them out while I'm eating." Because of this, watermelons have been modified by removing their seeds. Cucumbers in the market rarely have seeds either, since this common food has been genetically modified too.  Do you know what foods you are eating that have been genetically modified?

Probably not.  Labelling of genetically modified foods/organisms (GMOs) is NOT required in the United States or Canada. You don't really have a choice whether or not you want to eat them.

Knowing this, what do you think GMO foods do to your body? Have you seen the dramatic increase in the number of women who are trying to conceive unsuccessfully? Studies have linked GMO foods to the increasing rates of infertility (which can be found by clicking here).

It is so important to inform everyone you know about genetically modified foods. The big claim of these companies is that they are saving the world by providing it with crops that can withstand anything. The very sad part is that, because of the genetic modification and outrageous use of herbicides/pesticides, and the depleted soil, we are being starved in a different way. Genetically modified crops are usually grown on fields that are totally deficient in minerals, and so toxic that nothing else can grow. And, if they're not totally deficient in minerals, they are sprayed with glyphosates (aka ROUND UP), which totally bind all minerals so no "weeds" can grow. Farmers must then purchase their seeds from a GMO manufacturer (aka Monsanto). These companies (Monsanto) have gotten smart - the seeds won't 'activate' or grow until they have been sprayed with Round-Up. Farmers are not only forced to purchase the seeds, but they must purchase the activator too, which is a highly toxic compound found to cause serious health complaints in humans.

Genetically modified organisms are not saviours to starving people. In fact, in many countries that have a high population of starving humans, genetically modified crops are abundant. Well, they used to be at least - when the farmers could actually afford to buy the seed and herbicides/pesticides every year. The farmers in these countries are now starving too. They cannot plant any other crops in the fields that have been sprayed. Nothing will grow.

Some countries have banned GMOs altogether, while others have banned certain products or limited the distribution in their country. Hungary has totally banned and burned all GMO crops and seeds, while other countries have banned certain GMO crops.

In the U.S., we are certainly behind in health consciousness. In 2011, the United States ranked 37th in life expectancy. That means there are 36 countries that live longer than we do, despite the fact that we spend more money per capita than any other nation. This is shocking.

What you can do now to better your health: avoid GMO foods as much as possible. The top foods to avoid are:

  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Sugar (made from sugar beets - which is the majority of all sugar)
  • Canola
  • Aspartame (artificial sweetener in DIET products - manufactured with the aid of genetically modified E. coli bacteria)
  • Papaya 
  • And now, farm raised salmon
In the U.S., over 90% of all canola grown is GM Roundup Ready canola, as is about 90% of soybeans, and about 70% of all corn and cotton. These crops also cross-pollinate with other crops that haven't been genetically modified and create something else entirely. Something that nature hasn't designed itself.

It can be very difficult to eliminate these foods at first, especially since I probably just named about 95% of your diet. But, I promise, you will feel better without these foods. If you are struggling with infertility please make an effort to stop eating these foods. If you know someone who is, pass this information along.

There are many petitions out there that you can sign about GMO crops. Many states in the U.S. are trying to pass a law that all GMO foods are labelled (as well as other countries worldwide). Other states are trying to ban GMOs altogether. If you would like to become better informed, there are many beautiful documentaries out there. Life According to Monsanto, The Future of Food, and One Man One Cow One Planet all have an incredible amount of information on GMOs. There are so many resources and books out there too. Inform yourself.

Since we are what we eat, I surely don't want to become a genetically modified organism. I was made in the "image and likeness of God" and that is not as a genetically modified being.


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 


  1. Quite agree that leaving genetic modification to market forces is likely to result in borderline unsafe practices, but was a bit worried by the mid-passage of your blog: there is plenty of modification of fruit, veg and livestock that has nothing to do with the laboratory and everything to do with selective breeding, hybridization and simple survival of the juiciest/fattest/weed-resistent/season-stretching types. Seedless varieties of many fruits have been around a long time, propagated by cuttings. Likewise, genetic modification can lead to a lesser need for chemical fertilisation and pesticide. In both cases, the result could and can be inedible or unhealthy, but in the right hands can also lead to safer, cheaper and healthier. What we need is clarity, and that clairity needs to come from industry-independent sources. And then one chooses.

    1. Hi Ian,

      I appreciate your comment. THis helps to clarify a few things on this blog. I am not an expert in the GMO field, that's for sure. I'm just an educated consumer who is totally against any genetic modification of plants (and animals).

      However, I have to disagree with you on a couple of things. "Genetic modification can lead to a lesser need for chemical fertilization and pesticide" - this is not true at all. If you talk to a farmer, they will tell you that they use MORE pesticide and herbicide than ever before. And, I don't think GMOs can be safe in any hands - even "the right hands" as you put. The "right" hands would be those of God. God created us in his image and likeness - he created a beautiful masterpiece of nature and human existance together.

      There are "super" weeds that are coming into pesticide/herbicide toxic fields. These super weeds are sucking the excess nitrogen out of the soil. If cattle ate those weeds, they would die (proven by experience). But, the weeds are helping to detoxify the fields. Nobody has genetically made those weeds to clean those fields. They are a natural occurence. It's quite a beautiful thing.

      So, as an educated consumer, I will NOT promote GMOs in any way, shape, or form. And, I will never recommend them to anyone either.

      Blessings to you,

  2. There are a huge number of very specific rules given in the Old Testament that would have gone against even medieval practices, but your quote is preceded by a verse "replenish the earth, and subdue it". There is nothing I can see that claims we shouldn't alter genes, although the sacrifice of the best livestock does argue against the selective breeding that's been going on since the 1700s. Letting God choose the quality of our harvests hasn't been accepted since the Egyptians started irrigating the fields round the Nile. Assuming that all decisions regarding genetics or any other kind of tampering with nature are intrinsically wrong just because God wasn't directly involved in the decision is a big leap to take and I'd rather face the issue and petition for openness and regulation than stamp it out. Not all scientific experiment is successful, and I understand how genetics haven't been as revolutionary as billed (certainly not as much as the 20th century's green revoltion fueled by machinery, fertilisers and pesticides), but I really feel an immature science needs guidance against premature commercial exploitation rather than one crowd saying yes and another saying no. As a wishy-washy liberal I worry just as much as you do on the effects of rushing into these things, just as such a lot of development seems to have a mind of its own without regard to longterm effect, but the days are long gone when the world's population could survive on what bare earth has to offer, and if draconian birth control isn't the solution then finding methods of increased crop yields is the next best there is to offer. If only governments prioritised this and cleaner ways to power their populations than ringfencing their resources and closing their eyes to the seedier (pun intended) side of capitalism. (P.S. I'm from UK - farming and shopping practcies may differ. It is quite possible to go the organic route and vote with your wallet, although they do have to be thick wallets for some items.)

  3. Hi Ian,

    Thank you for your comment. Good points indeed. Have you ever been to the USA? GMO crops are EVERYWHERE here. Even if you are a farmer and you don't want to plant GMO seeds, chances are that your crop will be cross-pollinated by GM seeds. So, in the end, you have no choice what comes up in your field. Furthermore, some of the big companies (like Monsanto) have sued farmers for millions of dollars for having GM seeds in their crops, even though they never planted them. In addition, the more GM seeds we use, the more pesticides and herbicides we must use and the more toxic our environment becomes. Studies are also being conducted to show the long term effects of GM crops - infertility and a whole host of other problems. I am not one to just sit back and let the government figure it out. No thank you.

    So, in the end, my quote about God above is only a portion of what I believe. It's not what makes my decision, but rather just a supporting statement :-).

    Be well friend,