by Dr. Jacqueline Chan
Imagine this…I’m walking into a TEDx Salon in Marin on the Future of Food this fall. At the crossroads of food culture, innovation and technology this evening was to explore how we reshape our promise with food, how our environment will force changes on our future diets, as well as vertical farming projects for urban populations. We were promised a pre-show reception of wine and spirits and tasty treats. It was not only sold out but over sold.
Walking into the lobby of the Art Building on the College of Marin Campus with what seemed like 1,000 other people in line for those wine, spirits and treats there was something I sensed that was oddly off. I couldn’t smell food. What unfolded behind the lines of people after pushing my way to the front was a little like walking into the food vendors of a space ship odyssey.
Here’s what I saw: a meal in a bottle. white powder that you just add water to and shake complete with 10 gm fiber 25 gm protein and fat (yes it was all organic); cheese not made from dairy cows but cashew nuts; molecular spirits which were wine made without grapes and whiskey made in 48 hours in a lab with no barreling and fermenting. This stuff… was … well … let’s just say significantly substandard to a lovely oaky flavored wine or a nice steak and roasted potatoes with broccoli.
Skip ahead to just 3 days later and that same college campus is covered in smoke with warnings not to go outside without a protective air mask (which are now sold out) due to the immense air pollution after 6,000 structures burned down on top of 111,000 acres of trees. This new “abnormal” issue from global climate change on the heels of the largest forest fire in the history of California burning at a rate of 80 football fields per minute is changing how we eat. Now I can see how having enough wood for barreling wine and whiskey… or land to feed cows for diary…are things of the past that we have taken for granted and that may be at risk when we look to the future, especially if they are saying the next 10-15 years as science predicts with an increase in 1 degree could be cataclysmic.
These means of feasting and enjoying life with a filet mignon and a lovely glass of California cabernet may the new luxury item. Will a steak be $200 or wine $300 a glass for the elite, as our land burns, hurricanes demolish, seas rise and a whole new population of environmental refugees like never seen on the planet before seek land to live on? I know I may be catastrophizing in my mind… but indulge me for a moment.
I need another whiskey, but what I tasted was just like it had been made in a lab, which it had… I suddenly felt a sheer longing for the peat smoky scotch I had tasted in Scotland that took 12 years to make.
One of the speakers, an attorney, Alison Hagey, partner at BraunHgey and Borden, spoke of the new innovations she is seeing come up in the Bay area:
- Leather made from mushrooms
- Crickets bred and used as a protein powder for dog food and cat food
- Shrimp and scallops made from vegan protein
Another speaker, Mark Squire, President of Whole Foods, and an organic farmer did a series of mathematical calculations showing that if you eat organic, since organic farming absorbs 18% more carbon into the soil, it’s the same as taking 4 cars off the highway driving. In other words, eating organic vegetables and fruits not only is tastier and healthier for you, but also better for the environment.
How do we eat for a whole planet? I realized… if I have my white powdered meal in a plastic bottle for lunch instead of a Chinese chicken salad or hamburger and sweet potato fries, maybe I’d be letting someone else have a full meal, because I’m sharing resources. What’s a little pea protein shake as a trade-off? We will be sharing precious resources in a world where there will be droughts, shrinking crops, less land and possibly wood a rare commodity.
What is really in our food today? We’ve strayed far from the concept of healthy top soil, clean rivers and oceans for our fish and sustainable agricultural practices.
I’d like to share some information about our food today after listening to a webinar by Jeffrey Smith. Jeffrey Smith is the founding director of the Institute of Responsible Technology who has been educating the world for the past 22 years on GMO, Roundup and their perilous health affects lecturing in 45 different countries by writing books and being interviewed in movies. The movie to see is OMG-GMO
GMO or genetically modified organisms was a process that began in the 1990’s in which a gene from a virus or bacteria was forced into the gene of another species. The FDA reviewed GMO’s in the 1990s and said there needed to be further studies on possible toxicity due to new allergens forming in Monsanto’s GMO food. For example, corn produces cadavarine and putrisine, the chemicals that make a cadaver stink, and GMO soy is seven times more allergenic than regular soy. The person in charge of policy at the FDA however became the Vice President of Monsanto and worked for the FDA and the scrutiny on GMO foods was lifted. The GMO Food list currently consists of: soy, corn, cotton, cottonseed oil, canola, zucchini, apples, potatoes, sugar beets, alfalfa (hay), papaya from China or Hawaii and salmon.
GMO is also in the animals that we feed with those foods such as corn-fed beef. Interestingly, both animals and humans have the same diseases which are rising with the use of GMO. Animals that were fed GMO feed were found to have early death, precancerous cells, multiple tumors, small brains, and shrunken livers and testicles. Jeffrey Smith compiled data to look at disease incidence that has been associated with GMO and they are:
- Digestive problems 85.2%
- Fatigue 60.4%
- Overweight or obesity 54.6%
- Brain fog 51%
- Mood issues such as anxiety/depression 51%
- Food allergies 50%
- Memory concentration 48%
- Joint pain 47%
- Seasonal allergies 46%
- Gluten sensitivities 42%
- Insomnia 33%
- Other skin conditions 30%
- Hormonal problems 30%
- Musculoskeletal pain 25%
- Autoimmune disease 21%
- Eczema 21%
- Cardiovascular problems
- High blood pressure 19%
- Asthma 14%
- Menstrual problems 13%
- Diabetes 10%
- Other mental disorders 7.9%
- Underweight 6.5%
- Cancer 4.8%
- Kidney disease 4.5%
- Infertility 3.8%
- Autism spectrum 2%
- Alzheimer’s 2%
- Parkinson’s disease 1%
Studies by American Academy of Environmental medicine show that these diseases also in animals and animals get better when taken off GMO foods just as humans do also.
In order to understand the physiological effects of GMO food we have to also learn about Roundup. Roundup is an herbicide that is put on GMO crops to kill weeds. GMO crops are “Roundup ready” meaning that they are immune to roundup. Roundup is also known as glyphosate and it was used initially to clean boilers by stripping the mineral buildup in pipes. Roundup is sprayed on crops heavily 3-5 days prior to harvest. Glyphosate or roundup is a mitochondrial toxin, it disrupts key physiological mechanisms. Yet another physiological process that GMO does which can cause mood issues and ADHD is to block the shikinate pathway in plants. What this means is that the plants we eat can’t create the essential amino acids we need to help our mood. Glyphosate works by inhibiting the synthesis of tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine in plants. Interestingly, humans need these three amino acids to make our appropriate happy or peaceful mood brain chemistry. When food sources have scarce amounts of these amino acids due to glyphosate use, humans are at risk of deficiency too.
Glyphosate also breaks down the blood brain barrier leading to a leaky Gut/Brain Axis because it decreases the number of good bacteria in the gut such as bifidobacterial and lactobacilli. Glyphosate allows for the overgrowth of harmful bacteria such as campylobacter and C. difficiles. In an article titled, “Roundup Linked to Global Boom in Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance” it was stated that:
“Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome are on the rise worldwide, and that rise has taken place in parallel with the increased use of glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide, shows a new US peer-reviewed paper from Dr. Anthony Samsel and Dr. Stephanie Seneff. The review has been published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology.”
It’s interesting that as the rates of GMO food and Roundup use have gone up in our food supply, we find two terrible conditions in our pediatric population: cancer and autism. Cancer is the number one killer in kids today and the Autism rate was 1 out of 10,000 in the 80’s and is up to 1out of 27 now.
Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen in humans and possible cancers linked to glyphosate exposure include Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, renal tubule carcinoma, pancreatic islet cell adenoma and skin tumors. Studies have also indicated that glyphosate disrupts the microbiome in the intestine causing a decrease in the ratio of beneficial to harmful bacteria. Renal tubular nephropathy has reached epidemic proportions among young male farm works in sub- regions of the Pacific coasts of Central American countries of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Ria, India and Sri Lanka. Researches propose that glyphosate forms stable chelates with a variety of toxic metals and some can be absorbed through the skin.
Wouldn’t you want to know if you had this horrible stuff in your system? This is tricky because glyphosate gets stored in our bones, our kidneys, intestine, and spleen. The Great Plains Lab is the only CLIA certified lab currently performing a test for glyphosate in the urine. In fact, I just saw a patient last week who has had gas and bloating and diarrhea every time he eats wheat as well as profuse allergies now for a couple years and as a young father, he wanted to be checked out for wheat allergies so that he can remain healthy for his daughter. We were shocked to see that his blood test showed no allergens to wheat, but his glyphosate test was positive. Aside from giving him the Non-GMO shopping guide, I am trying a new product shown to remove glyphosate from the intestines.
The good news is you can avoid GMO and people do get better when they go off of GMO foods. The two best ways to avoid GMO is to drink reverse osmosis water and to eat organic, non-GMO foods. People eating organic food have considerably lower concentrations of glyphosate in their urine. In Jeffrey Smith’s multiple travels, he found that when 5,000 were placed on non-GMO diet even animals got better in the same way humans did.
Back in the theater room at the College of Marin TedExSalon our last speaker gets on stage. Harvard trained Sara Gottfried, M.D., spoke eloquently to the audience, “The future of your destiny is in your fork” … “If you eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day you prolong your life by 14 years.” Her goal is 20-30 different species of fruits and vegetables a week. Well, that statement impacted me and instead of only buying apples and bananas at the grocery store I added a few pomegranates, pumpkin squash, pears and tangerines.
Consider adding on glyphosate testing to your next doctor’s appointment!
Reference: “The Importance of Testing for Glyphosate: The World’s Most Widely Used Herbicide by William Shaw, PhD and Matthey Pratt-Hyatt, PhD – Director and Associate Director of the Great Plains Laboratory, Inc. Townsend Letter, January 2017 Issue #402