Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Grocery Store

Most of us shop at a local grocery store. We choose one close by, get to know the aisles and quickly go through picking up the items we need for the week. Occasionally we may visit a local farmers market for fresh fruits or vegetables to round out our needs. It seems simple enough.

Well, now and for the past few years, corporations have been feeding the waters of the very simple grocery store aisles with sharks. Yes, there are sharks in those aisles now that are unseen. Pay attention for the next few paragraphs and I'll tell you how to identify them and how to navigate the aisles with being eaten! Possibly you'll be able to help someone else get out unscathed too. Then, when you really get excited about this, I'll turn you into a quiet activist, making change, and possibly getting rid of the sharks altogether.

A few facts. 99% of all genetically modified foods are corn, soy, conola and cotton. I remember when we were living in Austin TX in the early 90s. A&M University announced that they had genetically altered cotton to grow a specific color of cotton so as to avoid dyes in the future. Hmmmm. I thought wow that's kind of neat. You want blue cotton, plant blue cotton seeds. What could be easier? Then I thought, wait a minute! That's messing with mother nature. I am not sure that's exactly how we want the cotton crop to change. Altered in a lab somewhere. What else are they altering?????? Why are they altering it?

So far we know that Monsanto has genetically altered corn, cotton, canola, and soy seeds. They've altered them so they can control who grows them, how they're grown and where they're grown. They have sold them to foreign farmers cheaply, then later raised the prices, making it impossible for farmers to grow anything else. It is horrible to think a poor farmer somewhere in the world is in debt and being hounded for money and then takes his own life because he feels there is now way out. All so we can have cheap food at our tables, and cheap clothes on our backs. There is no free lunch.

While it is difficult to think about the economic consequences of these products, what is worse is the health consequences to the human body. There hasn't been a whole lot of testing done to see what long term ramifications come with consuming these products over time. We do know, and it is a fact, that one of the very worst foods for your body is high fructose corn syrup. It damages even the best of bodies. We are seeing type 2 diabetes in epidemic numbers all over this continent. For some reason, the FDA hasn't connected those dots and called an end to the use of genetically altered corn syrup, or corn syrup in general.

Side note. The FDA is responsible for policing the food industry to ensure that our food is safe. You should see all the forms that need to be filled out just to bring food into this country. So it cannot contain a bomb or some terrible creepy thing in its container when it enters our country. The "Prior Notice" forms must be filled out, processed in a timely manner, or your shipment is held until a border agent sees fit to allow your shipment into this country. It is very costly and time consuming but food companies do it everyday.

Why then do we not worry about how that food is altered? Why do we not insist the food be safe? We are currently allowing companies like Hersheys, Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, Nabisco, Infamil, Similac and others to use genetically modified foods in their ingredients. While we were distracted worrying about a war in Iraq, the FDA and the federal government have colluded to pull one over on the citizens of the U.S. But don't get me wrong it isn't just the Bush administration. It's politicians in general. As soon as they get a little power they become corrupt, gaining from large corpoations and setting aside the needs, and regulations put in place to protect our nation.

Okay, okay back to the problem at hand. We need to be informed. The list is extensive. However, it is not making it impossible to eat good food that we enjoy and have good things. We just need to buy appropriate and safe products for our families, and unfortunate for you busy people out there, do a little more cooking from scratch. Instead of buying that pre-made "good for you" "healthy choice" dinner. Go pick up a few carrots, potatoes and celery, chop them up and make dinner for real. It really doesn't take any longer than most ready to eat meals. And think of the benefits. If you have your kids help you, you're teaching them to cook too!

Go here. Look at the list. Don't be afraid. Be empowered. Take charge of you eating and begin again. Next post: I'll turn you into a quiet activist!