* 9-22 Update on this post—Thanks to everyone for your great comments and input. Jane from PA was the winner of the give-away, but if you haven’t read the post yet, please do so. It’s full of compelling information.
Did you know?
• Almost 29 million pounds of antibiotics are sold for subtherapeutic use in agriculture each year (2009 estimate from the FDA). Animals are routinely given antibiotics to compensate for the unhealthy living conditions on factory farms. The overuse of antibiotics in our food supply is connected to the increase in antibiotic-resistant organisms. Unfortunately, that impacts the treatment of life-threatening diseases in humans. According to the State Environmental Resource Center, the USDA estimates that 70% of all food borne illness in the US can be traced to meat.
• In his book, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies, Kenneth Bock, MD states that in the past 2 decades, autism has increased 1500%, ADHD 400%, asthma 300%, and allergies 400%.
• Recombinant bovine (cattle) growth hormone (rBGH / rBST) is a genetically engineered hormone approved by the FDA in 1993. The product, used to increase milk production in dairy cows, carries with it an elevated risk to the animal of mastitis (udder infections), digestive disorders, and a host of other negative health conditions. Treatment requires routine antibiotic injections. These hormones and drugs find their way into the milk supply. Canada, the European Union, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have banned the use of rBGH. We have not.
• Genetically engineered (modified) foods contain genetic material that has been artificially altered. These foods convey characteristics that weren’t previously found in our food supply, including the possibility of new allergens. Eighty percent of all processed foods in the US contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
• Epidemiological studies indicate that exposure to certain crop pesticides may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease by up to 75%. Exposure to multiple chemicals acting synergistically may increase the effect of each chemical.
• A recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found the prevalence of food allergies in children under the age of 18 to be 8%. Among children with food allergies, 38.7% had a history of severe reactions and 30.4% had multiple food allergies.
• Researchers at the University of Southampton found that hyperactivity and behavior problems increased in children who were exposed to artificial food colors and the preservative sodium benzoate. Check here for details.
• Through extensive research, Dr. Joseph Murray (Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and Celiac disease specialist), has found that Celiac disease is five times more common now than it was 50 years ago. He believes something has changed in our environment to trigger the increase. This isn’t about an increase in diagnosis, it is about the increase in occurrence. Check here for his explanation. There has also been an increase in non-Celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy.
• The wheat we eat today is very different from the wild version our ancestors first cultivated thousands of years ago. We now have over 25,000 genetic variations of wheat, many with high yield and high gluten properties. Gluten is a common ingredient in processed food, is difficult to digest and is of no biological value.
• On their website, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, states that the prevalence of asthma increased 75% from 1980 – 1994. Asthma rates in children under the age of five have increased more than 160% in that same time period. In 2007, 29% of children who had a food allergy also had asthma.
• In a 2008 press release, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that the number of young people who had a food or digestive allergy had increased by 18% between 1997 and 2007. The CDC report determined that children with food allergies were up to four times more likely to have asthma.
I could go on (and on), but you get the idea. These are random facts that impact our health. I believe they’re all connected. What we eat today is vastly different from what our grandparents ate fifty or sixty years ago. The introduction of highly processed foods, the overuse of antibiotics, genetically engineered ingredients, additives and dyes, crops sprayed with pesticides, fast food on every corner, patented seeds, and compromised soil have all played a part in changing the quality of the food we eat and how our bodies react to that food.
Why does it matter?
A large part of the immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract. When we eat foods that contain pesticides, additives, hormones, antibiotics, etc., it confuses the very system that is designed to keep us healthy. We end up with nutrient deficiencies, food intolerances/sensitivities, bacterial imbalances and an increased risk for all kinds of diseases and disorders.
Robyn O’Brien, founder of the AllergyKids website and author of The Unhealthy Truth, is on a mission to raise awareness regarding the proliferation of toxins in our food supply and how that relates to the rapid rise in serious health conditions. I’ve met Robyn on a couple of different occasions and had the pleasure of joining her and several other health bloggers for lunch recently. We’re all in this together and sharing reliable information about the toxic changes in our food supply is important. For more information about Robyn, check out her TED talk video. She has a fascinating story.
I don’t often do give-aways or events on my blog as I’m too scattered, busy, and unorganized to commit to them. But – I’m passionate about wholesome, nourishing food. I’m also a nutritionist and mom to four kids and I don’t like the thought that my family (or yours) is being exposed to dangerous substances without our knowledge. Several other writers who attended the lunch with Robyn are participating in this “awareness” event and giveaway as well. Please see the links below. I’ll be adding more as the posts are published.
Okay, no more ranting. If you made it this far, please leave a comment and I’ll pick one lucky reader to receive a copy of Robyn’s informative and eye-opening book (The Unhealthy Truth), a copy of the Stonyfield Organic Yogurt cookbook and 5 coupons each for Oikos organic Greek yogurt and YoBaby organic yogurt. To increase your karmic odds, but not your statistical odds, please share this post with your friends and join me on Facebook and/or Twitter. I add lots of good information on both social network sites that I don’t have time to post here on the blog. I’ll give it a couple of weeks and then I’ll have my 5 year old neighbor pick the winning number out of a hat. I have no desire to figure out how those random raffle picker programs work, so you’ll have to trust that my little neighbor and I will do this fairly.
Check the following posts for more information. It’s a blog hop!
Write Mind Open Heart (The Unhealthy Truth – with giveaway – and why I’m on alert for frankenfood)
Stapleton Moms (Just one thing to make your family healthier: no rBGH in your milk)
Mile High Mamas (I fed my family WHAT? Toxic secrets revealed in The Unhealthy Truth)
Lifenut (A food fight for our lives)
Evolving Mommy (The Unhealthy Truth)