Rallying Against Genetically Engineered Food (GMOs)


Stan Starsky: Hey, this is Stan Starsky from Peace, Love & Snacks, writer of the healthy snack cookbook called Peace, Love & Snacks. I’m with Julie E who is a registered dietitian. She practices holistic health and wellness. She’s also been an aerobics instructor. She’s been in the fitness industry and I guess practicing nutrition and health and being a registered dietitian in all of that area maybe about 20 years or so. Hopefully, I got that right. You want to check out her website for more information. That is julieEhealth.com. Julie, welcome.


Julie E: Thank you! Happy to be here.


Stan: Yeah! We talked a little bit earlier and we’re going to talk about GMO food. This seems to be a really hot topic now. It’s something I would say I know a little bit about, but I don’t know as much as I’d like. I’m really curious to learn more. Let’s get right into it. What are GMO foods?


Julie E: Well, the letters GMO stands for genetically modified organism. They have been in the past also had the initials GE for genetically engineered. Basically, it’s a food that is made in the lab from two other food by changing their genetics. So, it’s down to the cellular level.


For example, there’s all different types of combinations, but they’ve taken the cells of spiders and injected them into the cells of cows, so now when you’re eating that hamburger or that milk or cheese that comes from a cow, the human body is also getting genes from spiders in our body.


At the beginning, I would like to think that they believed this was a healthy thing and a cool thing and a great way to help us grow more food that cost a little bit better and a little bit quicker and a little more efficiently, but in the end, when the company that invested in this hired researches to figure out all the health effects of it, they found nothing but harmful… and harm… and more harm. And yet the company decided to keep going with it.


The bottomline of it is that we do not want to eat anything that is a GMO unless we want to completely destroy or genetics and our health. I would like to say that the average person does not want to eat anything GMO. It’s unfortunate that for the past 10-20 years, the prevalence of genetically modified food in our environment has been on the upright instead of the downturn.


Right now is the time for people to educate themselves and get informed about this so that we can make a change.


Stan: Very interesting. It sounds pretty scary, having crossing a spider with a cow on a cellular level. I can maybe guess why they would do this, but why in the world would anybody want to do this?


Julie E: A really good question! At the beginning of the invention (because they are really inventions), they were trying to make – for example, the spider with the cow actually comes out to making bullet-proof vests. There was an incentive to make products that would help us and then, there was also an incentive to make a weed killer so that they wouldn’t have to spray so many pesticides on our produce as it’s growing, but the end result was that it actually doesn’t really work. It causes more harm.


There’s a product called RoundUp that a lot of people may use. It’s like a little handheld bottle. They have those at garden stores. You can spray it on your grass and your plants and your flowers. It kills the weeds and it also kills some of the bugs, so that plants can flourish and grow happily. They use this in a much bigger scale on farms that grow our food.


I guess I’ll just go on and explain a little bit more of you. the company that invented this is called Monsanto. And as it turns out, Monsanto is the company that invented DDT and all the other harmful chemicals that we’ve known about – PST’s and DDT’s pretty much. There’s a very interesting video that you can find on YouTube called The World According to Monsanto. I highly recommend watching even just 5 minutes of this mouth-, jaw-dropping movie and then, you can get an idea about this company, Monsanto. This is who they are. They’ve invented harmful things in the past.


They invented this RoundUp. The idea, as I’ve said I’d like to believe was that it was supposed to benefit us, but it’s harmful. What they did, to me, personally, the way I believe them to be is acting a little bit like Hitler when he just decided to do away with a lot of people and Monsanto has gone around the world and convinced farmers (even after they’ve known this is harmful and all the health problems it causes for people) that it’s the best and that they absolutely need it. And so, a lot of farmers all around the world replaced all of their regular seeds with genetically modified seeds. A lot of them are also using this RoundUp product to be weed killers.


What they found is that they didn’t feel so good when they were eating their own produce. Their animals that were  eating the produce were getting sick and many of them were dying. There’s also a very informative movie that you can find online. You may have to buy it. It’s called Genetic Roulette just like playing roulette with a gun in the sense of that word, genetic roulette. That would also be super informative for anyone that wants to know a little bit more about the big picture of the GMOs.


Basically, for example, some farmers in India because these guys have ethics, they found that they were feeling sick, their families were feeling sick from eating these foods they were growing and their animals are getting sick that they were in a contract with Monsanto and they’ve put all their money into into buying these seeds and into these contract, they didn’t have enough money to buy non-genetically modified seeds and so, there is a story that 250,000 farmers in India committed suicide rather than growing genetically modified food and eating it themselves.


It’s pretty profound. It’s pretty prevalent all over the world. There’s nothing positive to eating genetically-modified food. When you eat it, it’s genetic, so it’s in the cells. The only thing that we know about the human body so far is that when we eat it, it gets incorporated into our cells. It is in us for the rest of our lives and when we reproduce, it is in our offspring and when they reproduce, it’s in their offspring.


At this point, I would say that every person in the United States has eaten genetically modified food. We’ll talk about what the exact foods are in a moment. We’ve all eaten it. It’s just a matter of how much we’ve eaten it and how many ill-effects we’re even aware of that are just because of this.


It gets incorporated especially in the small intestine where we digest and absorb and assimilate. If you look at people that had IBS, they’ve had chronic disease. So many people have digestive problems. We cannot even trace it back now to being a genetic modified organism. Our doctors don’t have tests to figure that stuff out. In my holistic world, I don’t really have a specific way to figure out if this is what they’re eating.


But genetically modified foods are the foods we eat. About seven of our top foods are genetically modified. For everyone, I would get a pen and write this down right now: corn, soy, sugar that comes from sugar bits, papaya and yellow crooked neck squash are among the top five foods. And if you know anything about food or processed food, you can be sure that corn is in almost everything, i.e. corn syrup, corn syrup salad, high fructose corn syrup, the Halloween candy our children are all about to eat. Pretty much 98%, I would say maybe even 100% has corn in it.


There is about seven categories of food that has genetically modified organism, but they make over 800 products with these in it. Stan, it’s a pretty big deal out there in the world. It’s sad really.


First of all, Europe does not allow GMO’s in their country. What does that say to you about the United States? Europe does not allow it in.


Why there is a lot of hype right now about GMO’s? Because November 6th, 2012, there is an election in the  State of California. It’s called Prop37. It’s about labeling GMOs on your food labels. Over the years, we’ve had people label peanuts are in the food because people get sick when they eat it, then we label if there’s fiber. Usually, if there’s something to brag about, a company wants it on the label and if there’s something potentially harmful to a certain population like allergens, we’ve gotten that label. Right now, Monsanto has spent over $20 billion in every which way you can possibly imagine including supporting candidates that are running for office to prevent the labeling of GMOs on the label.


My entire history in the nutrition world, I’ve always said (and I’ve seen it everywhere), if you have something to brag about, you put it on the label. And so, you look at this and you say if Monsanto thinks GMO is such a good thing and everyone needs it, then put it on the label because we then can make a choice. It all comes down to choice in this country and in our world. Do I want to eat it or not? Do I want to eat something with peanuts or not? Do I want to eat something with soy or not? With GMOs, we right now do not have a choice. Basically, it’s hidden. It’s secret. It’s pretty much in everything! So, unless you’re eating raw, fresh food, you’re probably eating GMOs. And now, the sad thing is that even if you are eating raw, fresh food like corn and papaya and squash, you’re possibly eating this, too. It’s pretty scary.


The world right now, I mentioned that Europe does not allow GMOs in. There are 49 countries that mandate the labeling of GMOs. Right now, United States does not have any mandatory policies about it. And so, myself and numerous other activities who are out there trying to get this top test because California has long been synonymous with health and being on the forefront and being pioneers in the health world.


There’s all kinds of talk on the Internet. People are relying on the State of California to pass this proposition because if California passes it, many other states will follow suite and many other countries eventually will follow suite. Like anything supply and demanding, if you start showing me all the foods that have GMOs in it and you stop selling them, what do we think is going to happen to GMOs? Are they going to be as prevalent? Probably not. That is probably what Monsanto is afraid of. Monsanto is supporting the anti-Prop37 campaign and everyone else is supporting the Prop37 compaign.


I have some numbers for you, Stan. These are going to be percentages. In the United States, 88% of the corn grown is genetically modified – 88%. Ninety percent of cotton. Do we eat cotton? Not that much. It’s a Roundup though. On some cotton candy, it’s really made out of sugar, not cotton. I don’t really know. I’m not a manufacturer. I don’t know if cotton is in our food supply, but it’s still pretty scary, that 94%.


Ready for this one? Soy. Ninety-four percent of the soy made in the United States is genetically modified and ninety-five percent from sugar beads. You can pretty much guarantee if you’re eating soy anything, i.e. if you’re using soy bean oil or anything that has sugar in it – we’re not even worried about sugar in terms of being unhealthy anymore, we’re completely worried about sugar being genetically modified.


Is that pretty scary for you?


Stan: Yes! Yes, it’s pretty significant.


Julie E: It’s really significant. There are some commercials in the State of California on television where they have some guy from Stanford University and they have some pediatrician lady telling you that Top37 is confusing and so, you shouldn’t vote for it. I can’t believe that Monsanto found someone – I’m sure they’re paying them a ton of money – to get on TV and tell you to vote no. Even the commercial doesn’t make sense. They’re saying, “It’s confusing. Why would we label dog food, but not chicken? That human feed?” My dog barked [laughing]. What does that mean?


The question is why is everything not being labeled on this problem. It’s a pretty big deal.


I highly recommend to check out the movies that I’ve mentioned. In my Facebook page (it’s julieEhealth), there’s all kinds of pictures and information. In my photo albums, I put pictures of store-bought products that you can buy that have GMOs in them. People need to be informed and people need to understand what this is. It’s genetic. It stays in your body for a really long time. The sum of the effects of GMOs are allergies, frequently being sick, cancer, runny noses. There’s really not one benefit. We have yet to find any. The only benefit that happens is that Monsanto gets rich.


GI, intestinal track disturbance, pancreatic and liver problems, severe headaches, diarrhea, pneumonia and I’m not sure if I’ve said this yet, smaller brains – these are some of the side effects of genetically modified food. It’s pretty scary. We need to get this proposition passed because that’s the only way we can start making a change, one step at a time basically.


There is good news. There’s a movement called the Non-GMO campaign. They have their own website. You can download an app called Non-GMO Shopping Guide on your iPhone, your iPad, whatever it is. You can look up brand name products. There are many, many healthy healthy manufacturers that make organic and healthy food that for the last few years I’ve known about them and been in touch with them, they promised to never, ever use genetically modified ingredients. Thank goodness there are some good people in the world that manufacture products.


There’s a logo that has a butterfly and a green check mark (it’s kind of like a flower), it means non-GMO verified. If there’s a product that has that logo on it, then it’s safe.


In the last couple of weeks, the whole foods market took a stand and they donated a ton of money to support proposition 37. They now also at all of the whole foods in my neighborhood in Los Angeles all over California, they now put a picture of this logo on the shelf right next to the product.


They’re trying to make a big statement and trying to help people. This top being on the polls right now. A lot of people really getting involved has already made a big movement and a big change is happening. It’s just that we need to keep going with it because the state of health in the United States is worse than in most other countries. And when you look at this company like Monsanto and the products they’re having and what they’re trying to convince people of, it’s only going to go downhill unless people are informed and educated.


Stan: Sure! Let me ask you this. That is really interesting. I didn’t realize how many things were modified, too. When something is listed as organic, is that safe to assume that it’s not modified?


Julie E: It used to be and we might keep it that way, but right now, it’s not 100% safe. Here, I’m reading something from the Non-GMO Shopping Guide. It says, “If it’s not labeled organic or verified non-GMO, avoid it.”


They are saying that organic means non-GMO. I’d like to say that that is true, but I would always err on the side of caution. I want people to go for the ones that are verified.


In the world of organic, about six months ago, there was a study or a report, something came out that said that – and this is FDA regulating or not regulating, however you want to look at it. There was something that came out in the media about six months ago that said that even if it says organic, it may not be 100% organic because they are allowed to not put something on a label or in the ingredients list if there’s an insignificant amount of it. It could still be in there, but if it’s not like 1% or 3% or 5% of the product, they don’t have to list it on the label.


I like to err on the side of caution. The Non-GMO people are saying, “If it’s organic, you can feel confident.”


I know over time, people change their minds over what they say sometimes. I’d like to say that I wouldn’t guarantee it. I would like to say that we should play safe than sorry and really look for the ones that are non-GMO verified. That means that this non-GMO company (or organization really because they’re non-profit) that they have verified the product in all the way they keep their standards and their quality control.


I would like to also say that we’re already paying for the GMOs in terms of health and health care, we’re buying the foods and we’re supporting it that if anyone wants to donate money to help get this thing more publicized and help the non-GMO campaign, they’re always looking for a dollar or five dollars, whatever people want to donate. They can look for that on their website. We have to keep this going. We have to keep informing people. Your children are eating everything unhealthy if you’re letting them eat candies. It’s terrible!


Stan: That is pretty scary. As you’ve mentioned, it’s another reason to avoid processed sugar. And then, you mentioned corn. Corn is in a lot of things, too. And certainly, soy, as well. It’s certainly another reason to try and eat as many whole foods as possible, too. That is really interesting stuff.


Julie E: One more comment I’d like to just share because as a proponent of the non-GMO campaign, I write to companies – I’ve been promoting a lot of companies that are gluten-free or organic and healthy. I’ve reached out to a lot of them to ask what is their stand on the GMO. There is this company who makes gluten-free, healthy pancake batter. What are they? The zoo animals. This is like Snack ‘Em All. It’s not Barbara’s. Barbara’s makes Snack ‘Em All and all of her products are GMO-free. There’s another company that makes like animal crackers. They’re gluten-free and they’re free of the vast stuff in them. I write to them and I ask them, “I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. I would like to confirm that your products are GMO-free” because they do use corn in there.


The guy writes back, one of the head founders of the company I guess, and he says, “This is a topic we are well aware of, however our focus is on providing the safest, best quality gluten-free food and we’re dairy-free, peanut-free and kosher, we cannot possibly also add in GMO-free or we would have no ingredients to make our products with.”


It’s kind of like he’s caught between a rock and a hard place because they want to make it healthy, but there isn’t any healthy available product for them. I’m just saying that people are so focused on their gluten-free and their carbohydrate-free, whatever they’re thinking, but they could really be missing the boat. I have a lot of children that come see me that the parents are worried because they have allergies and suddenly, they’re sick or something tightened and it could just be the healthy food they’re eating.


Stan: Sure. Yes, that is really pretty scary. Julie, I didn’t want to take up more of your time, but is there anything that you would like to wrap up with? Is there maybe one or two or a couple of final thoughts that you could leave us with?


Julie E: I’d like to always tell people that it’s what you do most of the time that makes a big difference or a big impact on your body. Something like a topic like this might completely overwhelm people. I really do not promote all-or-none-behavior. I always promote a middle-of-the-road approach. It’s really just about taking a couple of deep breaths, getting informed and making the changes that are easy to make like cutting corn out. We don’t eat corn-on-a-cob in my house anymore because I just don’t feel like we can trust it. We don’t eat soy or tofu or any of those kinds of products especially out of the house. There are good products. There are non-GMO that say tofu or soy products. You could buy it and eat it in the house.


You can control your household environment and then, you eat a little bit of this stuff outside the house and you’re going to be healthier than you are if you don’t pay attention at all. People, just take a deep breath and just focus on small steps that lead to significant improvements in your health.


Stan: Very good. Very good. Yes, I appreciate that you’re wrapping up on that note, too because it did seem a bit overwhelming. I appreciate that kind of final thought. Very good!


Alright, Julie E. Thanks again. I really do appreciate it. Once again, I’m Stan Starsky from Peace, Love & Snacks. I’m wrapping up a great conversation with Julie E. You should check out her website for some more information. That’s julieEhealth.com. Julie, thanks again. That about wraps it up.


Julie E: Great! Have a healthy day, Stan.


Stan: Snack time!

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