Wifi, Electrical Devices, and Your Energy Field

Electric WorldIn October of 2012 I posted 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from EMFs. I’d like to come to this topic again, as it’s quite relevant to our modern time and important to know what can adversely affect your energy field.

You’ve heard of the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in our environment, which have been linked to cancer. TVs, cell phones, wireless gadgets, computers, wifi, and the newly installed “smart meter” all emit EMFs. 

Your energy field is sensitive and reacts to other energy fields. There is enough data about the long-term health effects of power plants, power lines, and transmitters to warn us that our dependence on electricity, electronics, and wireless data can have health consequences. And, there are things you can do to counter some of these potentially negative health effects.

If you use a microwave, step away from it when it’s on. (Same for dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers.) Three feet is the distance at which most scientists say the EMF from an appliance diminishes. Also, move electronics away from your bed, including electric clocks and especially your cell phone or tablet. Ideally, turn your cell phone and other wifi off at night.

It might be tempting to go to bed with your tablet, laptop, and/or cell phone nearby, but it’s not the healthiest choice. You will be under a steady bombardment of EMFs for many straight hours. Likewise with electric blankets and heating pads. What happens to your energy field when you sleep underneath a blanket that you have to plug into an electrical socket? Or when your unique energy field has a nearby wifi signal beaming through it all night?

You are an electrical being with your own “circuit” and that circuit has the key to your physical wellbeing, mental alertness, and emotional health. One way to help keep yourself more balanced in this wired and wireless era is to touch down to earth once in a while. Remember dirt and grass and trees? Go outside (leave your smartphone inside — maybe even turn it off!) put your feet on the ground, breathe the air, look up at the sky.

Reconnecting with the earth is nature’s way of balancing your energy field and one of the best ways to keep your body, mind, and spirit in harmony.

 

35 Happy Thoughts for Inner Peace

mindPart of maintaining a positive, soulful balance in life is to notice our thoughts and where they’re focused. Our mind is capable of dragging us through mud and muck, taking the pleasure out of life as it creates tales of unfounded betrayal, potential ruin, armageddon, loss, disaster, or just plain disgust and fed upness.

One of the challenges many of us face is to redirect our thoughts, to let the mind know who’s in charge. Left to its own devices, the mind can be a tyrant, beating away at our inner peace.  The most powerful way I’ve gained mastery over my own mind, which can be quite creative and wild in its imaginings, is through meditation. But I also believe positive focused thought can be very powerful, can change the course of things, can turn panic into peace.

Here are 35 of my favorite “positive focused thoughts.” Use them freely to gain a little mastery over your own inner tyrant, help it lay down its club, take a rest, and give you a much needed break from its assumptions.

  1. I dance to my own rhythm
  2. Life is a gift
  3. I’m comfortable being myself
  4. My body knows how to maintain a healthy balance
  5. I am enough
  6. I am complete
  7. I am completely healthy in every way
  8. Every day I’m more optimistic
  9. I have the power to choose
  10. All is well in my world
  11. I follow my heart
  12. I am alive and well on all levels
  13. I remain in balance
  14. I’m steady, strong, and peaceful
  15. I make conscious, positive choices
  16. I have the kind of inner fortitude that succeeds through anything
  17. I live in true comfort and joy
  18. My mind is sharp
  19. I feel great
  20. I accept love
  21. I am open to learning about myself
  22. Abundance surrounds me
  23. All of my needs are easily met
  24. I am divinely guided and protected
  25. Everything around me is for my best and highest good
  26. My body and mind are vibrant
  27. I am an absolute genius at creating harmony in my life
  28. I allow the life force to flow through me
  29. I allow myself to be happy
  30. I forgive myself for everything
  31. I am open to positive change
  32. I flow easily with life
  33. Life is interesting, fun, and exciting
  34. I am loved
  35. I am safe

Lost? Go to your base.

yoga womanLast year when I was on a weeklong women’s retreat at Spirit Rock I had the good fortune to take yoga classes from Mary Pafford. I went to the retreat in a grumbly mood, blaming perimenopause or whatever, and once there in my own private silent space I decided to indulge it. But I simply couldn’t maintain it after the first day, after Mary’s yoga class.

Her class got me back into my glorious body. Among other things, Mary teaches how to get into contact with your perineum. Brilliant! She teaches that women’s wisdom can come from deep within, deep down, way down, and so my dark attitude began to fade as I reconnected to this depth in myself through Mary’s playful example.

So, with her permission, here is what yoga teacher Mary Pafford says about going to your base, an excerpt from a longer piece titled “Periwinkle Ahoy! Tales of drought, overwhelm, and perineums.” I think you’ll benefit from her words of wisdom, especially in times of uncertainty and unease.

GATEWAY AND BANDHA

GATEWAY TO THE EARTH by Mary Pafford

This is where the perineum can be helpful. “When you don’t know where to go, go to the base.” A refrain in many of my classes. This is your internal GPS. When trauma arises we often close this area down, rather like an animal fearfully drawing its tail under and in. A temporary protection but many of us are walking around the universe with our tails drawn in as a permanent state of being. Or we have absolutely no connection to this area at all. There’s the taboo associated with sexuality and excretion and we just don’t want to go there. Beyond our own physical body, we have lost our way of being in touch with the world.

Consider the perineum not as a floor as its often called, but a sacred membrane and the way that we communicate on a deeper level with the earth, with our true nature. By simply being in contact, breathing here, one finds a sense of ground. Notice this when you are in transition or in some way threatened or overwhelmed. How helpful it is to just exist in the perineum, not contracting or tucking, just trusting the earth beneath and within you. “When you don’t know where to go, go to the base.” 
 
MULABANDHA

In the yoga world, some teachers encourage a strong engagement of the perineal muscles to draw the energy up and away from the earth to the heavens to cultivate Mulabandha. In this way, abandoning our human beingness ~ earthiness in the pursuit of “higher selves” ~ a new age type of refrain. If you listen to this little clip from Richard Freeman, you will see that this isn’t necessarily the most illuminating way to approach the pelvic floor… or life!

Richard suggests that the Goddess needs to be invited and cannot be forced, thus cultivating relationship rather than a practice of control, attainment, and separation from the mud of being. Can one root through the bones of the base of the pelvis and invite the rebound? The earth deities rise up and support life in the same way that we tend to the earth and this merges and supports our spiritual aspirations as many indigenous traditions encourage. In many of these traditions the earth is spirit – there is no separate word for spirituality.

Kirkus Review for The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer

BookCoverImageAlthough I have many wonderful reviews of my book on Amazon.com, I’m pleased to present my first book review by Kirkus Reviews, a tough critic and trusted voice in the world of book reviews.

I waited for many weeks for this review to arrive, sometimes wondering what I would do if it were negative, perhaps reviewed by someone who “didn’t get it.” I figured I’d spend the first few days in seclusion, the next few weeks moping, and then get on with life. But, alas, it has arrived and I’m quite pleased with it. Here it is:

“In this debut memoir, a holistic healer shares her story of breast cancer and explores an array of approaches to physical and spiritual health.

Grant, a California-based holistic healer, found herself under the surgeon’s knife, facing breast cancer surgery, nearly a decade ago. In this wide-reaching guide, Grant details her personal struggle with her diagnosis, then touches on the variety of ways that she believes one can help combat breast cancer and most other “dis-eases.” “I simply couldn’t proceed blindly onward hoping surgery, caustic drugs, and radiation were enough to ‘get me back to my old life,’ ” writes Grant. “I had to give equal consideration to the importance of food, body movement, stress-reduction, immunity, environmental toxins, lifestyle, emotions, mind, and spirit.”

While it may be no surprise that a holistic healer would favor alternative approaches, Grant admits that she also had to overcome her own bias against traditional doctors in order to get better, with an acupuncturist friend telling her to “see them as healers, because they are. They are part of the world of healing and some of what they say is valid.” Thus, Grant acknowledges, “There is no right or wrong way. But there is a path that is best for you and I’m here to help you honor that.”

This accepting spirit infuses the narrative, which presents a host of holistic options in workbook style. Each chapter ends with a “Take a Moment for Yourself” section, featuring questions for self-reflection.

Grant’s book contains a wealth of information, from recipes to lists of inspirational music selections and health and healing reference works. Although this guide is largely well-organized, there is some repetition, and Grant’s personal story sometimes disappears within the larger topics she discusses. As a whole, however, this overview may be a welcome aid to those with breast cancer and helpful to anyone seeking to achieve a healthier life.

A personal, expansive tour into the world of holistic healing.”

Kirkus Reviews

By the way, my book is best in the paperback version so it can be easily used as a reference, but it’s a great deal for the Kindle currently at $4.99. It will be a valuable addition to your library, if I do say so myself.

Estrogen Dominance and Xenoestrogens

estrogenEstrogen dominance and xenoestrogens are words smart women are learning about to keep their bodies healthy and strong in our plasticized world.

Signs of excess estrogen in your body include painful or unpredictable periods, PMS, cervical dysplasia, depression, anxiety, worry, decreased libido, fatigue, weight gain in the hips and stomach, possibly cold hands and feet, and fibrocystic breasts or cancer. Estrogen dominance is partly caused from foods, cosmetics, and other products that carry xenoestrogens (fake estrogens) into the body.

Some chemicals found in plants act like the female sex hormone estradiol, our primary estrogen. Synthetic forms of this chemical are found in plastic, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and in drugs given to livestock and poultry to prevent miscarriage and promote growth.

To lower the chances for these xenoestrogens to enter your body and behave like estrogen, reduce or eliminate foods that come in plastic wrap and plastic packaging. This includes water you buy in plastic bottles, since chemicals in the plastic leach into food and water.

In a study at Tufts University published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 1991, Drs. Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein observed that breast cancer cells placed in plastic dishes would grow quickly. Knowing these cells need estrogen to reproduce, they were curious about what contributed to the rapid cell growth. They discovered that the chemical nonylphenol, which prevents plastic from cracking, caused the growth of the breast cancer cells. Apparently nonylphenol had leached out of the plastic dishes and behaved like estrogen with the cells. Researchers then experimented with other commonly used plastics, detergents, and pesticides. They witnessed rapid growth when the breast cancer cells were exposed to these products. (See my post Breast Health through Liver Health for numerous ways to help your body clear these toxins.)

Conventionally-raised beef and dairy cows are given growth hormones. Their feed is treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. When you consume conventional milk, cheese, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, chocolate, and processed foods with beef, milk, or milk products in them, you risk overloading your body with xenoestrogens. (Not to mention what the GMOs are doing.) Read more about this in Milk: Does it Do a Body Good?

Organic, grass-fed beef and dairy are the better choice. If you can’t find them or if they are too costly, look for hormone and pesticide-free products. Eat organic chicken and eggs when you can find them, organic grains, and produce that is free from toxic sprays. Note that chemicals used to kill bugs and fungi on the food supply penetrate the surface of whatever they land on, including the soil. Even washing these foods well before you eat them won’t take away the chemicals they have absorbed.

Sometimes you will be in situations where poor quality food and water is all there is. I find this happens most when I travel or attend public events. Until the “food consciousness” raises in this country and truly healthful choices are accessible, we can make the best of it based on what is available. Bless your food and water then return to your organic, food-from-nature, plastic-free diet when you return home.

Choose Butter from Grass-fed Cows ( & Never Margarine)

butterRemember when margarine replaced butter as a healthier alternative? Butter was bad and margarine was good. Even people who had heart attacks were told to avoid butter and use margarine instead. But we now know otherwise. That was simply poor advice.

This holiday season, refuse to use margarine and instead replace it with organic butter from grass-fed cows. It’s not only made a comeback, once again we’re seeing that food from the most natural sources found in nature has the most health benefits. You can set it out on the table proudly after tossing out the plastic margarine tub.

In her article “The Top 5 Best and Worst Foods of All Time,” my friend and fellow author Gina Renee says this about margarine: “Margarine is a non-food; a hydrogenated concoction of junk oils from genetically engineered soy, canola, and cottonseed mixed with artificial colors and flavors (to get it to look and taste like butter), stabilizers like propylene glycol to hold it together and make it spreadable, and preservatives so it can stay on the shelf or in your fridge a long, long, time. It’s a worthless so-called ‘food.’ Look at the ingredient label sometime–not too appetizing. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils increase cholesterol and rates of coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer. And, they make us FAT–actually causing alterations in our fat cell size and number. Throw out the margarine and switch to organic, grass-fed, raw butter.”

margarineAbout 10 years ago I began to change my thinking about margarine. All my life I had avoided the dreaded butter, opting instead for margarine, which I believed was better, and which many people still believe is better. It isn’t! I can’t remember at this point why I believed margarine was better, but I can only assume it was the result of a savvy marketing campaign.

Many of our ancestors ate butter regularly without experiencing the rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity that are now common. Real butter from grass-fed cows contains trace minerals, lecithin, healthy cholesterol, and an important cancer preventing component called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Organic butter from grass-fed cows provides this CLA, but when cows are fed grains or processed feed the CLA disappears.

It’s important to keep in mind that GMO soy and corn drenched in pesticides are used to feed conventionally-raised cattle. This is NOT their natural diet. Grass is their natural diet. Soy and corn cause the cows digestive disturbance and much more. So if you buy butter and it’s from a large factory farm, you won’t get all the positive benefits but you will get the pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides poured onto their GMO feed, plus the antibiotics and other drugs given to the cows to try to get them well from their horrific living conditions.

Please learn the truth about the serious debacle that GMOs are causing in our world (and in your own body) by reading a recent post by physician and guest blogger Dr. Randy Baker called Why Eat Organic Food? The time has come for us to take our power back.

The World’s Healthiest Cranberry Sauce (Encore)

cranberriesThere was something oddly comforting about that jellied cranberry sauce slurping out of its can onto a plate, where it was cut into even slices. Although it never seemed like “sauce” to me, it was tradition, served at every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner during my childhood.

Nowadays, I eat many more fresh foods, avoiding canned items whenever possible. So I was thrilled when my friend Gina Renee gave me this recipe several years ago. It’s printed out from an email she sent me and kept in a special box.

When you make this cranberry sauce you’ll know why it’s special. I’m particular about food, and this one’s a keeper. It goes perfect with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, or whatever else you might be cooking up this Thanksgiving. You can make it a day or two in advance, which means you’re not rushing around at the last minute putting it together. And here it is…

The World’s Healthiest Cranberry Sauce

12-14 oz fresh, organic cranberries

1 cup fresh squeezed organic orange juice

1 tsp fresh minced ginger

1 tsp orange zest (zest the organic orange first, before squeezing it for the juice)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup crushed pineapple

1/2 cup raw honey

Bring orange juice, ginger, orange zest, and cinnamon to a boil on high heat. Rinse cranberries and add them when the orange juice mixture is boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until cranberries are soft and the mixture thickens. Add crushed pineapple and honey. Remove from heat and cool.

You’re going to love it!

7 Ways to Get Grounded (& Why It’s Important)

groundingIn a state of ungroundedness you can be easily influenced by others, experience injuries and accidents, foggy thinking, and emotional states like anxiety, worry, and irritability.

Once when I was ungrounded, I stepped right off a curb I didn’t know was coming and sprained my ankle. Another time, I fell off a 2″ high doormat which brought me surprisingly and suddenly to the ground, spraining the same ankle. (Yes, a 2″ high doormat that said “Peace” on it.)

Yet another time, in a truly ungrounded state, I fainted flat to the ground and still have the scar on my face to show for it. There have been others too, falls and stumbles that have shown me when my thoughts (and energy field) have floated into another realm and are not with the earth.

As a result, don’t you agree I’m uniquely qualified to discuss how to get grounded and the reasons why it’s important? As a psychically sensitive person, I’ve often had my awareness somewhere else. Over time, I’ve had to learn how to remain earthbound. Besides the falls, bloodied face, skinned knees, and sprained body parts, I was born with half of my birth chart planets in earth signs and zero in air. Astrology-minded readers will understand I was meant to be earthbound in this life despite my tendencies otherwise.

Now let’s talk about how to get grounded!

The first step is to pay attention to your physical body.

How does the chair feel that you are sitting in?
What do your feet feel like?
Are you ignoring any physical signs or symptoms? For example, are you thirsty?
Do you have pain or tightness in your body? An anxious feeling? By the way, most cases of anxiety I see in my practice are nothing more than a mental and energetic disconnect from the body.

Next, notice your breathing. This will bring you to a deeper awareness of your body.

Follow your breath.
Bring breath into your belly.
Slow it down.
Lengthen your breath.

Be aware of the subtle changes in nature.

Notice the weather.
What is happening in your natural environment?
Feel the breeze.
Watch the sunset.
Smell the earth’s scents.
Note how the sun feels.
Watch the trees lose leaves or change into their winter state.
Listen to sounds.
Return frequently to notice your own breathing and the weight of your body on the surface you’re sitting or standing on.

Connect with the earth.

Stand or sit for a few minutes with your bare feet on the earth. Scientific evidence shows that the earth balances your energy field. But you don’t need proof from science when you can just do it and see for yourself. Those of you in cold climates, visualize it. Imagine yourself as a big healthy tree with deep roots going into the earth. Check out more reasons to connect with the earth.

Eat earthy food

Hearty meals tend to be grounding: meats and root vegetables especially.

Stop, Feel, Listen, Notice

And finally, if you’re still needing some assistance, have an energy healing session with Dr. Christina Grant. I hear she’s had a lot of experience with it…

Women of a Certain Age and the Holistic Approach

Cynthia Johnston, herbalist, MoonMaid Botanicals founder, and host of "Women of a Certain Age" on BlogTalkRadio.

Cynthia Johnston, herbalist, MoonMaid Botanicals founder, and host of “Women of a Certain Age” on BlogTalkRadio.

Tonight at 7pm Eastern (4pm Pacific) I’ll be the guest on “Women of A Certain Age” on BlogTalkRadio. Women of a Certain Age is hosted by Cynthia Johnston, founder and herbalist at MoonMaid Botanicals located in Cosby, Tennessee. Her radio program offers ideas, solutions, support, and encouragement for women of all ages as they go through various stages of life. As Cynthia says, “As our environment changes, our bodies change. I offer tools helpful for these changes.”

So tonight one of the tools she’s offering is… me! So be sure to tune in! We’ll discuss some of the important topics from my recent book, The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer: Every Woman’s Guide to Health, Vitality, & Wellbeing, which is also relevant and applicable to anyone who’d like to be in the driver’s seat of their own health and wellness.

Yes, there are drugs for every bodily issue under the sun, and these can stop the symptoms some of the time, but they’ll also cause undesirable side effects and don’t address the underlying cause. When our bodies are out of balance it’s not an isolated problem. It’s an issue affected by your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Addressing symptoms from this perspective brings fuller, deeper healing and can prevent the ailment from recurring. Read a little more about the holistic approach to wellness in my recent blog post What Does “Holistic” Mean Anyway?

Breast Balm 1I’d like to mention that Cynthia Johnston’s company, MoonMaid Botanicals, is the maker of Breast Balm, a blend of St. John’s Wort, poke root, calendula, and thuja infused in organic olive oil. Designed to be used for breast massage, it is the balm I recommend in The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer.

Tune in tonight at 7pm EST (or 4pm PST) by going to Cynthia’s Women of a Certain Age site and listen to some fresh ideas to inspire you to greater wellness in body, mind, and spirit. Share this link with your friends and loved ones who you know will benefit from a more healthful approach to their own wellbeing!

Why Eat Organic Food?

Today we have an important guest post by Randy Baker, MD, a holistic physician who integrates western medicine with nutrition, herbal medicine, mind/body medicine, & homeopathy. The post is thorough, complete with studies and research, and will answer most, if not all, of your questions about organic food.

organic marketA common concern regarding diet is the importance of choosing organic food. While I am a strong supporter of organic food, it is significantly more expensive than conventional food. Also, if one eats at restaurants many of them do not have organic food (or only some of their food is organic). So a common question is, “Is organic food really worth the extra expense? What is the risk of eating non-organic foods?” And, like everything related to the complex realm of diet and health, the answers are not black and white.

Many people question whether there are even any benefits to eating organic foods. Indeed, in September 2012, the media was awash with reports of a major study at Stanford University that claimed that organic food was not substantially different than factory-farm foods in terms of its nutritional content. These results are actually highly questionable (see below) but even if true, totally ignore the main reason most people originally have chosen organic foods, which is to minimize exposure to pesticides. These days, however, I feel there is a much more important reason to eat mostly organic foods, which is to avoid genetically modified (GMO) foods.

While natural substances like sulphur were used as pesticides since about 2500 BC, pretty much all food grown would have met modern organic standards until after World War II, when DDT use became widespread. In the 1960′s DDT was found to cause environmental havoc as it spread through the food chain and its use in the US was curtailed, but by then many other pesticides had come into widespread use.

Over 600 registered pesticides are in use in the US currently. In 2007, 877 million pounds of pesticides were used in the US. Also, 150 million pounds of the toxic herbicide Round-Up are used annually in the US. Significant amounts of pesticide and herbicide residues are found in many non-organic foods.

organic certifiedThose who choose organic generally believe that organic foods contain no pesticides, except, perhaps, trace amounts that might have drifted from adjacent fields being sprayed. However, as my favorite nutrition blogger Denise Minger writes in her post “The Lowdown on Organic Food,” unknown to most, organic farmers can and do often use pesticides – it is just that the pesticides they use are natural “organic” pesticides like pyrethrum and rotenone. Just because something is natural does not mean it is non-toxic – consider mercury, cyanide and death-cap mushrooms as natural substances that are harmful. Some of the natural pesticides used in growing organic foods can be more hazardous than many of the synthetic pesticides used, some of which break down rapidly and are gone by the time you eat the food!

Despite the findings of the “Stanford Study” “Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review”, that purported to find no significant difference in the nutritional content of organic vs. conventional foods, a similar large-scale review of the literature, “Agroecosystem management and nutritional quality of plant foods: The case of organic fruits and vegetables” by Kirsten Brandt et. al. published in Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 4/29/11 found a significantly higher level of beneficial nutrients such as flavanols.

Quoting from Lynne Peeples’s article “Stanford Organics Study: Have Faulty Methods, Political Motivations Threatened Kids’ Health?” “Brandt wondered how the Stanford team, led by faculty from the School of Medicine and Center for Health Policy, could have found no difference in total flavanols between organic and conventional foods when her own results showed organics carried far more of the heart-healthy nutrient. Upon further inspection, she noticed that the team had actually calculated the difference in total flavonols, a different nutrient, and reported the result with the swap of an “o” for an “a.”

Many of the other nutrients Brandt analyzed and found to be greater in organics were also missing altogether from the new review, she noted. “The choices they made don’t seem to make sense — they seemed to include ones where the difference was smallest to begin with,” said Brandt. “I’d like to know why they chose these and not others that were just as well-described in the same papers they included.”

Quoting Ms. Peeples more, “Further obscured in the review are organics’ more important selling points. Organic farming methods encourage soil and water conservation and reduce contamination of air, water, food and human bodies by avoiding antibiotics, hormones, synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Genetic engineering, under increased scrutiny by health experts, is also prohibited for organics.”

While the researchers didn’t address many of these health concerns, they did note lower levels of pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in organic compared to conventional foods. But critics suggest that these points were glossed over or manipulated. For example, the authors reported that organic produce had a 30 percent lower risk of pesticide contamination compared to conventional fruits and vegetables. Not included in the publicly-available abstract or press release was the fact that pesticide residues were found in 7 percent of organics and 38 percent of conventional foods. In relative terms, that’s a more impressive 81 percent difference.

“Come on, that’s simple math”

For more critiques of the Stanford Study: see http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/that-flawed-stanford-study/ and http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/09/five-ways-stanford-study-underestimates-organic-food. Another fascinating though completely unrelated study, done as a 10th grade science project, gives strong evidence that an organic diet increases longevity: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/is-organic-better-ask-a-fruit-fly.

The bottom line is that Organic Foods are more nutritious and have an 81% lower chance of having measurable pesticide residues and even when such residues are present are likely to have much fewer pesticides. Organic meats are less likely to harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Organic farming is also, of course, much better for our environment and for the health of farmworkers.

Not all foods are equally prone to pesticide contamination. The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of the “Dirty Dozen” foods with the highest level of pesticide contamination, as well as the “Clean Fifteen” that tend to have few if any residues. The worst of the Dirty Dozen are Apples, Strawberries, Grapes, Celery, Peaches & Spinach. The best are Onions, Pineapple, Avocado and Cabbage. For those who can not afford to eat exclusively organic (or for when one is eating at restaurants) this list can be a helpful guide.

An excellent recent article on the science of how even tiny amounts of pesticide residues well below the levels considered “safe” by the EPA may still cause very serious health problems is “Stealth Attack” in the 10/12 issue of Psychology Today and also here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201208/stealth-attack.

organicWhile I believe it is optimal to eat organically to avoid pesticide exposures both personally and for our planet, these days a far more compelling reason to choose organic produce is to avoid Genetically-Modified Foods, also known as GMO’s. GMO foods have permeated the American food supply. Over 80% of processed foods contain GMO’s. The most common GMO foods are corn, soy, sugar beets, canola & papaya. See http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo.

Most processed foods contain GMO corn, soy or canola oil – the corn and soy is often present as vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, dextrose, soy sauce, lecithin, etc. – even “natural flavoring.” Of great concern to me is that most animal-derived foods – meats, dairy and eggs, come from animals fed GMO corn and soy. I don’t want to eat cheese from cows fed GMO corn or eggs from chickens fed GMO soy. I don’t care if a chicken is “All-Natural Free-Range Hormone & Antibiotic Free.” If it is not certified organic it has almost certainly been raised on a diet of GMO corn and/or soy! There is an old saying, “You are what you eat.” In the case of dairy, eggs and meats, you are also the food that what you eat eats! I don’t believe that an animal fed GMO corn and soy can possibly be healthy and I certainly don’t want to eat it (or its products like eggs and dairy).

Unfortunately, most restaurant food is cooked with GMO oils. Thus, the only way to avoid GMO’s is to choose processed foods that are organic or labelled as GMO-free and, besides wild fish, to only have meats, dairy & eggs that are certified organic.

So, given how much an effort it takes to avoid GMO’s, why should we make the effort? Let’s examine the most commonly eaten GMO food, corn. In his superb book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan discusses evidence that most of the carbon in our bodies ultimately comes from corn, either from eating corn directly, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, or from eating dairy, eggs & meats fed on corn. The way corn is genetically modified is by inserting a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) that produces a chemical called Bt-toxin. Bt-toxin is a pesticide; when certain insects eat them it breaks open their stomachs and kills them.

Think about this: normally pesticides are sprayed onto plants. If we are lucky only traces of it remain and perhaps some of the residues can be washed off, but not in this case. Each ear of corn has been turned into a pesticide factory. Pesticides permeate the entire plant; there is no removing them. Thus, it would be nice if there was evidence that Bt toxin was safe for human consumption. Such evidence does not exist. Monsanto claimed that the Bt toxin would be completely destroyed by the human digestive system. However, research in 2011 found that Bt toxin can be found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women and in the umbilical cord blood of 80% of their babies.

Incredibly, there have not been any safety studies done on this powerful toxin that now permeates our food supply, but animal studies show it can trigger allergies and autoimmune disease. See http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/06/dangerous-toxins-from-gmo-foods.aspx for a more thorough discussion. A recent study found that Bt toxin may cause anemia and be a cause of leukemia. See http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/new-study-links-gmo-food-leukemia.

The other main food source of GMO’s is soy, which has been modified to be “Roundup Ready.” Roundup is a powerful herbicide manufactured by Monsanto. GMO soy is modified so that huge amounts of Roundup, which would otherwise kill the plant, won’t affect it. However, the resultant crop contains large residues of Roundup. The “active ingredient” in Roundup, Glyphosate, has been shown to cause DNA damage, endocrine disruption and cell death at levels that are legal in our food (see http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/Roundup-Weed-Killer-Toxicity.aspx#axzz2REHtZpu6). Recent research shows that one of the “inactive ingredients,” POE-15, may be much more toxic than Glyphosate. See New Study: Roundup more toxic than officially declared.

No GMOsThere are NO research studies demonstrating that GMO foods are safe for humans to eat. ZERO. NONE AT ALL.

However, there are many quality studies on the effects of GMO foods on the health of animals that consume them. Quoting http://www.globalresearch.ca/potential-health-hazards-of-genetically-engineered-foods/8148, “independent studies showed stunted growth, impaired immune systems, bleeding stomachs, abnormal and potentially precancerous cell growth in the intestines, impaired blood cell development, misshaped cell structures in the liver, pancreas and testicles, altered gene expression and cell metabolism, liver and kidney lesions, partially atrophied livers, inflamed kidneys, less developed organs, reduced digestive enzymes, higher blood sugar, inflamed lung tissue, increased death rates and higher offspring mortality as well.”

Here is another well-written article on the hazards of GMO foods: “Why genetically engineered food is dangerous: New report by genetic engineers.”

61 countries including the European Union, Russia, China, Brazil and Australia require the labeling of GM foods. (See http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/international-labeling-laws). In a March 2013 survey, 82% of the American public think GMO foods should be labeled while only 9% say they should not (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/gmo-poll_n_2807595.html). It would seem that in a democracy this wish would be honored, but Monsanto has an undue influence on government agencies through lobbying and having many of their former executives now put in charge of regulating Monsanto! See http://openyoureyessheeple.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/monsantos-government-ties.

Given how unlikely it is that our leaders will respond to the public’s desire for GMO labeling, the best hope is the action of individual states. However, in the November 2012 election, California State Proposition 37 to label GMO foods was narrowly defeated after Monsanto and companies that produce GMO-containing foods outspent proponents five to one with a very deceptive advertising campaign. Prior to the campaign, 91% of Californians said they supported GMO labeling! There is hope such a similar proposition will be passed in Washington State this fall.

However, for now, the only way to avoid GMO exposure is to eat mostly organic!!!

To learn more about Dr. Randy Baker’s integrative approach to health and wellness, follow his Facebook page.

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