April 17, 2012
Our Food Industry In 8 Words: We Think We Can Do Better Than Nature
The problem with our food industry and big agriculture goes far beyond foods which are genetically modified, irradiated, pasteurized, homogenized, enriched, refined, toxically preserved, or grown with antimicrobials, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or any other "cide." The problem is actually in our minds and how we think about food and nature itself. We are filled with knowledge but no wisdom. We think we can do better than nature. We think we can outsmart nature. Most of all, we think there will never be consequences to our superiority complexes in how we treat nature. Nature just waits patiently, until the day comes when she opens the door and decides to cleanse the earth and show the human species who is the smartest one of all. Nature is knocking...can you hear her?
If you don't go back to sleep, but you may wake up one day to the shocking reality of what we have done to this planet. However, if you are informed and receptive to what our species has done to nature, and if you have become complacent about it, then you too may be in for a rude awakening as you are not positively contributing to a resolution to help Mother Earth.
Mother Earth gives us so much and yet we take, take, take and give nothing back to her. She gives us all that we need for life and sustenance and how do we reward her? We pollute her instead of honouring what she provides...the balance of life.
WHO ARE WE TO THINK WE CAN CREATE BETTER FOOD?
Why do we feel we constantly need to create an environment to improve nature? If anything, this type of thinking interferes with nature. Genetically modified (GM) foods are an excellent example.
Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world, yet Monsanto and other corporate interests insist that GM foods can help feed the world. They make these assertions without any knowledge of the long-term consequences of GM foods including allergies, organ damage, cancer, immunotoxicity and damaging transgenes affecting future generations.
"There are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.”
-- Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman.
A major UN/World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change, because better alternatives are available. In particular, the report championed “agroecological” farming which is the application of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment, as the sustainable way forward for developing countries.
"When we start to manipulate genetic material we are going to the
very deepest sources, to the very deepest layers of the human being. It allows us to be almost god like. But the question is: Do we have the wisdom, the morality, the depth to do these interventions? Are we really knowing what we are doing? Are we sure that what we do will not have long-term effects? And we are not experimenting here with animals or plants. We are experimenting with the human being, with the soul of human beings, with the body of human beings." ~ Horst Kornberger
WHO ARE WE TO THINK WE CAN CREATE SAFER FOOD?
Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
All almonds produced in the state of California, destined for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are required (mandatory) to be pasteurized. Even organic almonds will be required to be pasteurized, even though there has been absolutely no incident of salmonella poisoning among organic almonds.
It also contains active enzymes and beneficial bacteria that make digestion and nutrient assimilation a smooth process. As another added bonus, raw milk contains twenty of the twenty-two amino acids our bodies need daily, making getting all of the proteins needed daily an easy task. Raw milk does not create the problems that conventional, pasteurized-homogenized milk creates, such problems as heart-disease and diabetes. To the contrary, raw milk provides nutrition that is near-unbeatable, actually reducing the risk of developing the aforementioned health issues.
When homogenized, milk becomes very powerful and efficient at bypassing normal digestive processes and delivering steroid and protein hormones to the human body (both your hormones and the cow's natural hormones and the ones they may have been injected with to produce more milk).
Homogenization makes fat molecules in milk smaller and they become "capsules" for substances that are able to bypass digestion. Proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach are not broken down and instead they are absorbed into the bloodstream.
The homogenization process breaks up an enzyme in milk which in its smaller state can then enter the bloodstream and react against arterial walls. This causes the body to protect the area with a layer of cholesterol. If this only happened once in a while it wouldn't be of big concern, but if it happens regularly there are long term risks.
Sometimes homogenized milk proteins resemble a human protein and can become triggers for autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer and heart disease.
Instead of allowing natural bacteria and enzymes that would normally counteract the growth of pathogens, we destroy them and any health promoting nutrients to go along with it.
We process everything. Wheat is an excellent example.
The majority of wheat is processed into 60% extraction, bleached white flour. 60% extraction--the standard for most wheat products means that 40% of the original wheat grain is removed. So not only do we have an unhealthier, modified, and hybridized strains of wheat, but we also remove and further degrade its nutritional value by processing it.
Unfortunately, the 40% that gets removed includes the bran and the germ of the wheat grain--its most nutrient-rich parts. In the process of making 60% extraction flour, over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost. Any processed foods with wheat are akin to poison for the body since they cause more health risks than benefits. The body does not recognize processed wheat as food. Nutrient absorption from processed wheat products is thus consequential with almost no nutritional value.
Wheat in its original form from south-western Asia was eaten raw. In this form it was nutrient abundant with high mineral salts, catalytic elements, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur, silicon, zinc, manganese, cobalt, copper, iodide, vitamins A, B, E, K, D, and ferments. It was considered a base for nourishment. Modern wheat today is not wheat at all and in its current toxic form which is barely recognizable to the human digestive, it is very likely that 80 percent of people worldwide will soon stop eating wheat.
Almost every food category can now be legally irradiated by government regulators at the expense of our health. Irradiated foods are exposed to high level radiation for the purpose of sterilizing it. There is an abundance of convincing evidence in the refereed scientific literature that the condensation products of the free radicals formed during irradiation produce statistically significant increases in carcinogenesis, mutagenesis and cardiovascular disease in animals and man. This is in addition to the destruction of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Take a look at the following list of now acceptable irradiated foods provided for the American Council on Science and Health.
Most foods available at major grocery chains can be potentially irradiated since the list is inclusive of all food categories.
The free radicals caused by irradiation kill some bacteria, but they also bounce around in the food, damage vitamins and enzymes, and combine with existing chemicals (like pesticides) in the food to form new chemicals, called unique radiolytic products (URPs).
Some of these URPs are known toxins (benzene, formaldehyde, lipid peroxides) and some are unique to irradiated foods. Scientists have not studied the long-term effect of these new chemicals in our diet. Therefore, we cannot assume they are safe.
Irradiated foods can lose 5%-80% of many vitamins (A, C, E, K and B complex). The amount of loss depends on the dose of irradiation and the length of storage time.
It is a fact that science has not proved that a long-term diet of irradiated foods is safe for human health. Yet we think that nature that has provided food for millions of years to earth's inhabitants now suddenly produces foods that are unsafe for our consumption.
We Toxically Preserve
We artificially preserve thousands of foods to extend their shelf life.
As one of the most prolific preservatives in the food industry, it is difficult to find many foods without potassium sorbate. Food and chemical toxicology reports have labeled potassium sorbate as a carcinogen, showing positive mutation results in the cells of mammals. Other studies have shown broad systemic and toxic effects on non-reproductive organs in animals. No long term studies have ever been initiated on either animals or humans, so there is simply not enough evidence to theorize what could happen after years of ingesting this preservative. However, based on short-term carcinogenic and toxic effects, is it worth the risk to find out?
Sodium Benzoate can convert into lethal carcinogenic poison when combined with absorbic acid. Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria. "These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether." he stated.
"The food industry will say these compounds have been tested and they are complete safe," he said. "By the criteria of modern safety testing, the safety tests were inadequate. Like all things, safety testing moves forward and you can conduct a much more rigorous safety test than you could 50 years ago."
Sodium Benzoate, as most other preservatives, should not be ingested in any quantity. This toxin is banned from all foods and drinks for children under three, and is currently being phased out of all Coca-Cola products.
The food industry's nature to preserve is directly correlated to extending shelf life to increase profits and reducing waste. If we were to live in sustainable societies where we would consume only what was necessary and balance our sustenance with ecological systems and principles, preservatives would be completely unnecessary and redundant. If anything, food preservatives will soon be in harmony with natural living and free of chemicals. This is where our food industry is headed and toxic preservatives will soon be a thing of the past.
We "cide" Everything
We use pesticides to control insects, herbicides to control weeds, fungicides to control mold and fungus, rodenticides to control rodents and antimicrobials to control bacteria. We use any "cide" we can get our hands on to attempt to control anything we think is out of our control.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic, or cancer causing. And as written on the EPA site, laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems such as:
- Birth defects
- Nerve damage
- Blocking the absorption of important food nutrients necessary for normal healthy growth in children
- Other long-term effects
Pesticides are especially dangerous to children since they are still developing and may not be able to fully remove pesticides from their body. There are also periods during development when exposure to pesticides, or any toxin, can cause permanent damage to their system.
Pesticides are not only problematic on fruits and vegetables, but also in animal products. Factory farm animals eat feed that is loaded with pesticides, and these toxins accumulate in their flesh over their lifetimes. If you eat factory-farmed meat, you are also eating the pesticides that have accumulated in the animal’s flesh (not to mention the antibiotics and hormones).
We medicate all our bee populations with terramycin or oxytetracycline because we think that their diseases are not natural and must be controlled so we can continue to reap profits from their hard work. We then consume these medications from the honey and honey products bees produce.
A third of our food relies on bees for pollination. Both the US and UK report losing a third of their bees last year. Other European countries have seen major die-offs too: Italy, for example, said it lost nearly half its bees last year. The deaths are now spreading to Asia, with reports in India and suspected cases in China.
Due to genetic modification, different viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, honeybee colonies in different parts of the world are beginning to dissipate. Without honeybee pollination, some crops like almonds, pumpkins, watermelons, and some other melons would disappear completely.
We Are Losing Our Earth Because of Our Lack of Wisdom
There are so many researchers, experts and scientists expressing vast amounts of knowledge without any real wisdom. They were always so preoccupied about figuring out if they could, they never really thought about if they should. This is the predicament the scientific community is now facing. In science lies evidence and foundations of what we consider valid through controlled experimentation and process.
But what happens when that process is hijacked by corrupt corporate interests who do not have the foresight or the wisdom to comprehend the consequences of their actions? What happens is that a deeper understanding of human nature is lost along with the flexibility to see issues from perspectives other than their own. Wisdom shapes life and knowledge can often destroy it. If we can tip the scales and show humanity why wisdom must prevail over knowledge, Mother Earth may decide to spare us. In the meantime, she keeps knocking and waiting for us to listen. She is patient, but if she gets tired of waiting and opens that door, we won't want to be on the other side.
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.