8 Apr
2017

What is phytic acid?

There are four types of foods that contain phytic acid: grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.  For ease of reference, I will refer to these four food groups together as GLNS through the rest of this article.

Adzuki Beans

Also known as phytate when in the form of a salt, it is an amazing mechanism developed by many GLNS’s to store phosphorus.  Phosphorus is important for the germination and growth of the GLNS’s and the continued growth of that sprout to a full-grown plant.

This is a particularly interesting protection mechanism for these little plant precursors.  These little guys are popular food choices for many wild animals, and when consumed, can survive the digestive process and germinate.  Phytic acid is the mechanism by which the GLNS’s protect their source of nutrients so that if they survive digestion, they can go on to grow and establish.

Why should I be concerned about it?

While phytic acid serves an excellent purpose for the GLNS’s that are trying to stay alive, it doesn’t benefit in the same ways.

Ruminant animals such as cows, goats and sheep are able to digest phytic acid because they have a rumen that functions to ferment the food and break it down before completing digestion.  We, however, are not ruminants.

Because we are not ruminants, the foods that we eat that contain phytic acid tend to sit in our stomach undigested.  This can lead to heartburn and acid reflux as the food begins to ferment and rot (lovely, right?).  Eventually it all passes through the system but we repeat the cycle every time we eat food with phytic acid.

Aside from the digestive discomfort, phytic acid is considered an anti-nutrient for three main reasons:

  1. It blocks the absorption of the minerals in the food we eat that contain it,
  2. It binds to other minerals that our bodies need and holds on to them so we cannot absorb them,
  3. It inhibits the digestive enzymes produced by our body to digest the food we eat. (Acid reflux happens here) [1]

Let me clarify here that I am NOT saying that these foods are inherently bad for you!  What I am saying is that they need to be used with intention.  We can glean great nutritional benefit from these foods.

How to eat foods with phytic acid

Phytic acid is neutralized by soaking other acidic foods or fermenting.

An excellent resource to learn how to implement this into your everyday cooking is a book called “With Love From Grandmother’s Kitchen” by Monica Corrado.  This book outlines specific soaking times and mediums for the variety of GLNS’s that you eat.

Fermenting these foods also yields the neutralization of phytic acid, but it takes longer than soaking.

You can also find pre-soaked foods if you feel like the process is too time-consuming.

Pre-packaged grains like noodles can be soaked but I have found that they become mushy when cooked.  The best solution I have found is to cook noodles with apple cider vinegar in a ratio of 1 tablespoon per cup of water, keeping the ratio to the quantity of water you need.

If these things are a part of your life…

If you can relate to any or some of these things, you may need to consider changing your routine with GLNS foods:

  • Take a prescription or over-the-counter antacid frequently or daily
  • Often have heartburn or digestive discomfort such as bloating, slow digestion, or constipation
  • You have allergies to grains, legumes or nuts
  • You have a chronic inflammatory disorder
  • You are constantly hungry, even after having a large meal
  • You eat a lot of carbohydrates
  • You strive to eat a raw food diet and have problems with fatigue, weight gain or tooth de-mineralization (these occur at times with the paleo diet)
  • You suffer from malnutrition-type symptoms but don’t know why
  • You suffer from mood swings or other emotional difficulties

Do these ring a bell?  Then consider purchasing the book I recommended above and integrating the suggestions into your diet.  You will be glad you did!

I have lived with what I thought was a gluten intolerance for many years, and cooked all gluten free.  After I began soaking these foods, I have found that I can eat foods containing gluten.  It has broadened my choices in food and I feel much better for it!

1. Weston A. Price.  Living With Phytic Acid. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/vegetarianism-and-plant-foods/living-with-phytic-acid/
27 Mar
2017

The short answer is yes.  You should be concerned.  I believe too often we shrug off concerns because we don’t see an immediate threat looming in front of us.  Let us consider this…as you reflect back on the negative experiences of your life, how many of them presented as a big looming threat at the outset?  If you’re like me, probably not many.

It makes me wonder why it is that we as humans don’t heed the warnings when they are small so that we don’t suffer the larger consequences down the road.  I’ll let you answer that one for yourself, but let me pose a few hypothetical comparisons to the subject of this blog.

 

  • If someone you knew told you that they contracted food poisoning from a certain restaurant, would you rush over and have lunch?
  • If you knew that the waiter that was serving you your food spit in it, would you eat it?
  • If he dropped your food on the floor and the scooped it back on the plate as if nothing had happened and set it in front of you, would you eat it?

The answer to all of these is, of course, no way!

And yet we do something similar on a daily basis when we choose to consume foods without knowing or understanding their origin or the potential effects they may have on us.

What is Transgenic Gene Transfer?

If it sounds complicated it’s really not.  The basic definition is the transfer of genetically modified DNA from one species to another after the modified food is consumed.

If you haven’t already, read my blog about GMO meat to get a better understanding of what the research in animal studies has shown.  This has been shown to occur in animals in many research studies.

Why you Should be Concerned about Transgenic Gene Transfer

The first print-out of the human genome in book form. More than 100 volumes, 1000 pages long.
The biggest reason is because we as humans have a habit of choosing to be ignorant of the things around us and put
an excess amount of faith in others to spoon-feed us information so we don’t have to take responsibility for ourselves.

The second reason is that, while it is not made public, research has shown that this does occur inside the human body.

The third reason is that, because this is happening, the potential harm that it is causing is something of great concern.

What does the Research Say?

Let me digress for a moment and share with you how much research has really been done on the potential long-term effects of GM foods.

A very telling critical review published in December 2014 detailed how many long-term feeding studies using rats were published for each genetically modified food that is currently available on the market as of then.  The results are astonishing and highly alarming.

Of all of the GM crops listed, only 19% of all GM crops has undergone long-term research, and many of those have only undergone one study.  This is like one pea in a five-gallon bucket…much more research would need to be completed to get a full understanding of the potential outcomes of rats consuming genetically modified foods.

It is discouraging to report that most of the crops have had ZERO research.  And most of the studies that were published were published long after the food became available on the market, indicating that safety studies were not responsibly completed before exposing the masses to these foods [1].

I strongly encourage you to, at minimum, review Table 1 of this review for yourself and, if you feel motivated, read the entire thing.

Transgenic Transfer

It has already been shown that transgenes survive digestion through the stomach and small intestine in humans.  Human feeding studies are sorely lacking in this department (another reason to question the safety of GM foods), but there has been one study that indicated that transgenes were transferred to gut microflora (bacteria) [2].

Interestingly, the transgenes that were transferred to the microflora were not from the foods provided during the test study but from foods consumed prior to the test.  This confirms that we have very little understanding of how long transgenes will survive in the GI tract.

Why does this matter?

It may just be my bent, but I don’t like the idea of my body absorbing the products of a science experiment…and the possibility that I am then becoming a subsequent science experiment from that point forward.

But functionally speaking, the biggest reason of concern lies in the transfer of transgenes to gut bacteria.  Because

L. Acidophilus, one of many healthy bacteria in your gut that many fall victim to gene transfer
the research is so undefined at this point and the outcomes are unknown, we are looking down the barrel of a potentially incurable health crisis.

When these genetically modified genes are integrated into the DNA of the gut bacteria, the bacteria still produces proteins from that bacteria.  Genetic modification is used for the primary purpose of creating toxic proteins, that the bacteria inside your body now have inside them.

So, the proteins that your gut bacteria are making from this GM DNA is the same toxic protein produced by the plant it came from, except now it is inside you!  The potential health outcomes of this are entirely unknown at this point, but if our gut bacteria are producing toxins inside us we are literally becoming toxic from the inside out.

And we can’t stop it.

Want to learn more?

Glad to hear it!  The book titled Genetic Roulette by Jeffrey Smith provides more research that explains the potential outcomes of genetically modified foods.  An excellent resource at an excellent price at ThriftBooks.com.

 

1. I.M. Zdziarski, J.W. Edwards, J.A. CarmanJ.I. Haynes.  GM crops and the rat digestive tract: A critical review. Environment International Volume 73, December 2014, Pages 423–433

 

18 Nov
2016

recombinant_dna
Recombinant DNA experiment in a petri dish

It has been a long-standing belief that all of the animal studies undertaken to test the dietary safety of GM grains have proven that GM grains have no negative effects on health.  There are, however, many other studies that seem to say the opposite that have failed to rise to the surface of public access.  Whether or not the involvement of monetary exchanges and politics has anything to do with that I will leave to your judgment…suffice it to say I believe it does.

 

Animal studies undertaken to test the safety of GM foods that are not included in mainstream science can be somewhat difficult to track down.  If you are interested in finding such studies, one of the most efficacious ways it to “follow the breadcrumbs,” so-to-speak, and read the references.  This will guide you to other resources more easily.

Before I proceed, please understand that I am aware that I am skirting on the very edges of what may be publicly acceptable when approaching the subject of GMO food research and I am perfectly comfortable with that.  You are free to leave your comments below, but I ask that you remain respectful if you are in support of GM foods.   Now, let us continue…

One of the top resources I have found that is easy to access is http://www.gmoevidence.com.  There is a surprising amount of research that has been completed on this website by scientists that are in the know about how to properly conduct a research experiment.  For the purpose of time, I am not going to summarize it all here but I will bring to the surface a handful of them.

A long-term study completed by Seralini et. al. that was conducted over a period of two years was one of the most telling of all animal studies conducted.  In this study, rats were fed a diet that contained 11% Round-up tolerant GM corn, with subgroups of corn that were cultivated both with and without Round-up.  I quote the abstract:

“The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological pro- files were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences” (highlights are mine).

2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

As you can see in the text I have highlighted red, there was an increase in breast cancer and pituitary dysfunction in female populations of rats, and increased liver necrosis (death), kidney disease and kidney tumors in male rats.  There was huge endocrine disruption in both sexes partly due to the Round-up chemical itself, but also due to expression of the genetically modified gene in the corn itself in the body of the rat.

This brings me to the question…how many people to you know that have  or have had breast cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pituitary imbalances, liver disease that was not caused by toxic substances, and kidney cancer or failure?  I have known several and the occurrence continues to rise.  It seems that seemingly healthy people are being diagnosed with breast cancer, and I find myself wondering if the GM food that we are all consuming is causing the expression of genetically modified genes from the food we eat in our own bodies that is creating hormone disruption and causing cancer, based on the findings of the study above.

256px-more_pigletsAnother study that raises a cause for concern in my eyes is one by Dr. Judy Carman.  She conducted a study using pigs, comparing groups fed a GM diet of corn and soy with a group that was fed non-GM corn and soy.  Pigs have a
digestive system that is very similar to that of humans, so the outcomes of such a study are more directly applicable.  You can find the summary here; but to summarize for you, the group that was fed GM feed showed severe stomach inflammation upon autopsy findings.  This is following the observations by investigators that noted there was a reduced ability to concieve, higher miscarriage rates, observable intestinal problems such as bleeding ulcers and death of the animal via hemorrhagic bowel disease (internal bleeding to the point of death), among other things.

Again I reflect on this and consider how many women I know that have had unexplained miscarriages and the inability to conceive despite trying even the strongest interventions, like IVF.  And digestive issues!  We all know people that have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, bleeding ulcers and long-standing stomach aches with no apparent cause.  Does this make you wonder?

There are many arguments as to why animal research is not applicable to human outcomes.

  • One is that animal physiology is different than human physiology so we cannot compare them.
    • My response: while this is true, the end result of any digestive process is break-down and assimilation of the food that is ingested.  Whether that happens in one step or ten, the end result is the same.   Food is broken down and absorbed into the body, so there is a high likelihood that the effects of consuming GM foods will be very similar.
  • Another is that we do not consume the same diet in content so therefore they are not comparable.
    • My response: we do not consume the same ratios of foods as other animals, but we do regularly consume the same foods.  In this instance we are referring to GM foods.  In fact, I think many of us are completely unaware how much we do consume, given that GM soy and corn is in a large portion of packaged and prepared foods.
  • My overarching concern is fact that these reactions are occurring at all!  It truly shakes me to the core that we as people would even be open to consuming these foods given the possibility that this could be causing the same symptoms in us as it does in the animals in these research studies.  We need to back the truck up and re-evaluate.

You will find more on the website, and you will see more from me on the research that should be turning the world inside out.  I encourage you to do your own digging and educate yourself so that you know the truth.

 

7 Oct
2016

Is there such a thing as GMO meat?

This question is the subject of some intense debate.  While animals bred for meat purposes have not yet been genetically modified, the direct effect of GMO feed on the DNA of meat animals has not yet become a reality.  But many farmers and ranchers are feeding their livestock GM animal feed, so what does the end result of that mean?  While the meat of these animals has yet to be tested genetically for changes related to these feeds, I implore you to follow my line of logic and give it some consideration.

As you probably already know, DNA is the code of life for practically every living creature on the planet.  Unique DNA exists in every species, and each individual within that species retains its own unique DNA that gives it its specific traits inherited from two parents.  Individuality is what makes the world so diverse.

DNA, in its simplicity, is literally what comprises an individual animal and maintains its survival.  It is the instruction manual for the growth, development, physical characteristics, and day-to-day function and can replicate itself to ensure the life of the individual.  It is hard to imagine something as simple as a helix being so very important!

The partner to DNA is RNA, as it is the molecule that “reads” DNA.  RNA reads DNA in order to manufacture proteins to be used in the growth, reproduction, physical characteristics and day-to-day function of the individual.  These proteins are made in the cells and sent out to where they are needed, sometimes within the very cell it is made in and other times in a completely different part of the body.

So, when genes are genetically modified, the RNA reads the genetically modified DNA and makes proteins based on that modified DNA that is not original to the individual.  Those proteins then become part of the structure of the individual that was genetically modified.  It is the proteins created that render a genetically modified plant resistant to insects or herbicides.

So the big question pertaining to this line of questioning is….what happens when a livestock animal eats a plant that has modified DNA?

The answer is, several things.  Many studies have supported the reality that the digestive system was designed to break down proteins (and other consumed foods) into the individual counterparts, which in the case of proteins is amino acids.  Those amino acids are then absorbed and used again to make new proteins.

This is simplistic and for quite some time research was not sophisticated enough to detect otherwise.  Now, however, research shows differently.

From 1994 to 2003, several completed research studies have indicated that ingested DNA and proteins may not be digested and may even be absorbed undigested into the bloodstream to then be used in the internal organs or absorbed into the tissues of the digestive tract.  This was found in a wide range of animal species: mice [1], pigs [2, 7], sheep [3, 7], cows, chickens [4], and humans [5, 6].  Research has also suggested that ingested foreign DNA can evade digestion and be transmitted via the placenta to the unborn fetus [8, 9].

If you are wondering if you should be concerned about this, read this blog.  The point for this blog is that research strongly suggests that animals eating GM feed may very well be absorbing and integrating genetically modified proteins into their bodies.

If this is the case, then this also raises the concern that their genome may begin to produce genetically modified proteins from the genetically modified genes their digestive system absorbed.

So what’s the big deal, you ask?

Remember that those genes in the plant-based animal feed that were genetically modified were modified for the purpose of producing toxic proteins.  If those genes are producing toxic proteins from inside the animal via their genome, their genes are producing the same toxins the corn or soy plants produce that comprised their feed.  These proteins then go on the make up the muscle tissue of the animal you cook up to eat.  And there you have GMO meat.

1. Schubbert R, Lettmann C, Doerfler W. Ingested foreign (phage M13) DNA survives transiently in the gastrointestinal tract and enters the bloodstream of mice. Molecular and General Genetics. 1994 Mar;242(5):495-504.
2. Chowhurdy, et al. Detection of genetically modified maize DNA fragments in the intestinal contents of pigs fed StarLink CBH351. Veterinary and Human Toxicology
3. Duggan PS, Chambers PA, Heritage J, Michael Forbes J. Fate of genetically modified maize DNA in the oral cavity and rumen of sheep. British Journal of Nutrition. 2003 Feb;89(2):159-66.
4. Einspanier, et. al. The fate of forage plant DNA in farm animals: a collaborative case-study investigating cattle and chicken fed recombinant plant material. European Food Research and Technology (2001) 212 :129–134.
5. Forsman, et. al. Uptake of amplifiable fragments of retrotransposon DNA from the human alimentary tract. Molecular Genetics and Genomics. 2003 Dec;270(4):362-8.
6. Martín-Orúe SM, et. al. Degradation of transgenic DNA from genetically modified soya and maize in human intestinal simulations. British Journal of Nutrition. 2002 Jun;87(6):533-42.
7. Sharma R, et. al. Detection of transgenic and endogenous plant DNA in digesta and tissues of sheep and pigs fed Roundup Ready canola meal. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 2006 Mar 8;54(5):1699-709.
8. Doerfler W, Schubbert R. Uptake of foreign DNA from the environment: the gastrointestinal tract and the placenta as portals of entry. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1998 Jan 30;110(2):40-4.
9. Schubbert R, Hohlweg U, Renz D, Doerfler W. On the fate of orally ingested foreign DNA in mice: chromosomal association and placental transmission to the fetus. Moecular and General Genetics. 1998 Oct;259(6):569-76.
7 Oct
2016

It may not be GMO on purpose, but it still is

hjhd_08_k_ubtWhen I was growing up I, like most kids, loved the cute little farm animals.  What I never found appealing was the idea of eating an animal that I loved like a pet, and I still don’t so I stick to the grocery story.

What I’ve begun to realize is that animal meat is not GMO-free either, and it’s not necessarily because they’re made that way intentionally.

All large corporations that raise meet stock feed their animals grain feed, it is easy and it makes the meat taste good which we as consumers really like.  The only problem with grain fed animals is that they are most likely eating GMO grains like corn and soybeans.  The phrase “you are what you eat” comes in to play perfectly here, as what the animal eats is broken down and digested and converted into the being of the animal.  So, unless you are buying 100% grass fed beef you are likely consuming GMO meat.

Are animals being genetically modified?

Yes would be the answer to that question.  You may have even seen the outcome of that when you visit your local Wal-Mart fish section.  Glo-fish are one of the current GM animals that are welcomed into most homes in the US.  Other glow-in-the-dark animals have also been created, including rabbits and cats.  Other larger meat animals that are being genetically modified are the pig, affectionately named the EnviroPig, goats, and cows. glow_light_tetraGM salmon were recently introduced, and farm-raised tilapia have been modified as well (another reason not to eat farmed tilapia).  The one that I find rather odd is the featherless chicken.  This article offers a short description of each.

Animals are being genetically modified to create human drugs.  The first drug created in 2009 was from a genetically modified goat.  The drug is called ATryn, and is a blood thinner that is used for a rare genetic clotting condition.  The list is somewhat long and GM animals for the creation of drugs is on the rise.  The 1999 USDA list of GM animals being used to produce drugs is revealing, I am on the hunt for an updated list.

The goat has since been modified to produce in it’s milk the same protein as what is in the spider web.  The protein is isolated and used to make high-tensile cords and related products.  The FDA offers a simplistic explanation of how this occurs here.  Have you checked the source of your climbing rope lately?

5 Oct
2016

The Helix of Life

Remember in biology class when you learned about how the human body is made?  There are carbohydrates, fats and proteins and many different classes of each.  I always found it remarkable how complex the body is and how many micro-structures come together to comprise each of us.  The one thing that I find bdna_croppedmost remarkable is that everything that our body needs to operate is held within a double helix of DNA in each of our cells.  It’s such a small, rather uninteresting piece of matter comprised of only four different types of proteins.  Yet with the billions of combinations possible it regulates every action that occurs in our body.

GMO You

Take that thought and the image next to it, and image that someone took some of that life-regulating DNA, artificially removed a piece of it and added a piece of DNA from a bacteria, and then put it back in you to be a part in forming the next generation of your family.  Oh, and let me add that before scientists began this experiment they did not test if this would have an adverse effect on you or what the possible outcomes might be.  Hmmm….how does that make you feel?

Disturbing the Helix of Life has Life-Altering Consequences

Literally.  Genetically modifying a gene from any species will forever alter the way that gene is expressed and what products it produces.  If the products of that modified gene do not serve the function the body needs for it to serve, it creates a gap that can no longer be filled within the organism itself.  So the genetic structure has to change further to adapt to the initial change, and the possible outcomes of this adaptation are unknown to all.  Besides that, the new products that this genetically modified gene are producing are completely new and unresearched so no one knows what these genes are producing and how they will impact both the organism and the one consuming it.

Do you want to eat that?

256px-cookedcornonthecobIt is becoming a larger and larger concern that the regular consumption of GMO foods is leading to a higher number of food allergies that were minimal prior to their introduction to our food supply.  I personally have developed intolerances to wheat, soy, and corn and I fear that it is due to the consumption of GM foods before I knew what they were.  Foods that, prior to GM foods, the body recognized as a safe form of nutrition are now unsafe and creating inflammatory conditions in the digestive system that leads to other health issues, not only in humans but also in the meat animals that we slaughter and eat.  Research is confirming this more and more, you can read one example here.

Keep up

Stay tuned to my website, I will always provide you with the resources you need to be informed!

3 Oct
2016

256px-healthy_foodDo you think you are healthy eater?  I thought I was a couple years ago.  Everyone else thought I was too.  I cooked the majority of my meals at home, largely avoided pre-packaged and frozen foods and rarely at out.  So why do I say that I really wasn’t as healthy of an eater as I thought?  All of that was before I began learning about genetically modified foods and how detrimental they are to our health.  Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, were first discovered in 1973 with the use of bacteria and the first GMO crop was introduced in 1982.  Since then, GMO crops have become more and more widespread and prevalent in our food supply.

I am very glad that you have visited this website.  It has information for you so that you can gain a better understanding of what GMOs are, their origins, their prevalence in our society and why you may not want to make them a regular part of your diet.  Keep up with the blog for more thoughts and updates on GMO foods and a non-GMO diet!