Monday, June 22, 2015

Another response to Jane Brody and her tainted opinion on GMO Labeling

Here is another editorial response to a post by Jane Brody that did not make it into the New York Times.  Leila Baroody, the author, nails it with great references.

At the end of her 6/9/15 Personal Health column entitled Fear, Not Fact, Behind GMO Labeling, I was glad to see Jane Brody finally ask “Are there risks to GMO’s that scientists have yet to discover?”  Ms. Brody needed to add independent science apart from industry-biased science to her data discovery to find there are plenty of already documented genetic engineering risks to humans, animals, soils, waters, whole ecosystems and to genomes as well. GMO technology was prematurely released as a result of political decision making, against FDA scientist warnings asking for further risk assessment.
There is no scientific consensus on GMO safety and that is why consumers need standardized GMO labeling. Or Ms. Brody should have simply asked citizens from “Right to Know” and GMO Labeling Groups from around the country why they are demanding GMO labeling.  Or discussed it with other non-industry scientists away from conflicts such as Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, head of the Council for Responsible Genetics, found here. Or done a literature review here,  and searched other journals to find independent studies which revealed why most of the world’s major economies require GMO labeling.

Recently retired EPA Sr. Scientist, Dr. Ramon Seidler, has publicly spoken out against genetically modified foods and increasing use of pesticides with GM crops. “From the risk assessment, economic, and legal perspectives there are many issues. There is a mixture of unfilled promises, concerns over litigation resulting from cross pollination and seed commingling events, and a disappointment that crop management practices have had significant negative impacts upon environmental bio safety.All of these side effects are happening despite no yield or production advantages of GE crops over traditional crops. There are also major concerns over whether the increased use of pesticides on our food crops have impacts upon the human population.” Full article

Leila Baroody


  



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Response to NYT Post by Jane Brody

Since my letter to the editor did not make it into the NYT, not surprising, I decided to share it here!

Jane Brody’s book was the first book I read on nutrition, and it was what incentivized me to go into dietetics in 1984. 

Needless to say I was very disappointed when Brody’s recent column, “Fear, Not Facts behind GMO Labeling,” (6/9/15) was called to my attention.  As a practicing dietitian for almost 30 years observing patient responses from dietary adjustments, it is my opinion that genetically engineered foods and the pesticides that accompany more than 90% of such foods are a very risky business, especially when consumed by children with developing immune systems.

Current World Health Organization’s (WHO) findings have generated even more controversy over FDA’s declaration of GMO foods’ GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) classification.  (In May, the WHO classified glyphosate as a "probable carcinogen" in humans and carcinogenic to animals.) Further, the vast majority of GMO food produced in the US is used for animal feed and biofuel, in addition to highly processed food ingredients embedded in our food supply, many of which contribute to our nation’s obesity epidemic. 

The proposed USDA’s “voluntary certification program” will not give consumers the confidence or transparency they need to make informed decisions, especially in light of budgetary cutbacks and existing underfunded inspection programs. Plus, we already have the Non-GMO Project Verified program that is independently 3rd party verified. However this program only covers foods from companies which have applied for such certification.   And, most important, our USDA’s organic seal is the best choice for consumers who want to avoid GMO ingredients. 
 Requiring mandatory national GMO labeling such as in  the CT labeling law : “this product may contain ingredients  produced with Genetic Engineering";  is a much more forthcoming way to share critical information that  Americans need to make informed decisions for their families.

If the public truly has a “poor understanding of the science behind GMOs,” let legitimately sourced science prove food safety, through long term, peer-reviewed, and most importantly, independent studies. Long term studies have not been done in the US.  Most studies that show safety are done by the manufacturers or affiliated parties and have conflicts of interest. Over 300 independent scientists and scholars have declared that scientific consensus does not exist on GMO safety  (http://www.enveurope.com/content/27/1/4/abstract )

Most US citizens have no idea that the FDA doesn’t conduct food safety studies; FDA has outsourced this extremely important safety function to food and biotech interests. Additionally, FDA lacks resources to conduct vital food safety or continuing verification inspections. 

Lastly, the golden rice and GMO salmon technologies have been fraught with failures and problems. In golden rice, peer-reviewed studies are lacking to confirm the absorption of beta carotene or its conversion to vitamin A.  Regarding GMO salmon, in the absence of a GMO animal regulatory structure at the time of application to FDA, the salmon was regulated as a “New Animal Drug Application.” Continued dosing of antibiotics was apparently needed to maintain animal health and weight until of sufficient marketable growth for human consumption.

Traditionally bred foods are not tested, because they are bred naturally and have been shepherded over generations; they have naturally evolved with the environment over time.  .
What consumers don’t understand is that most GMO crops have been genetically engineered to survive spraying with herbicides, and have created an explosion of herbicide resistant weeds, treated with yet more herbicides, which end up in our food, water and bodies.  

We have witnessed increasing rates of auto-immune diseases, allergies, cancers, and autism in the US, since GE foods have entered the food supply.  While association can’t prove causality, we have to question how genetically engineered crops, and their associated herbicides have contributed to our health problems. Introducing unnatural gene traits into our food and bodies adds multi dimensional safety risks, including increased potential for allergic reaction.  The insertion of antibiotic markers, required to identify which gene traits take hold in the novel GMO foods, increases our vulnerability to antibiotic resistance.

In her column, Brody stated, “A legitimate safety concern involves delayed deleterious effects of genetically modified products on consumers…”   and suggests “continued monitoring of their effects is essential…”  Yet how can we monitor without labeling and tracking?  Clearly, mandatory GMO labeling is necessary to properly assess adverse reactions.

Thanks to Leila Baroody for helping me write this and fellow dietitian warriors for their support and edits: M.H., J.S., C.M., and J.L.  I am so fortunate to know you all, and the world is lucky to have us defending it!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lentil soup kicked up a nutritional notch with Liquid Hope

There was not much to choose from in the refrigerator or pantry for tonight's dinner.  But the last thing I felt like doing after a long work day was to get back in the car and go to the grocery store.

 Since I had some organic sausage in the freezer, I decided to make some lentil soup, I LOVE the combination of lentils and sausage or kielbasa!   With only carrots and onions as available veggies, the taste was a little boring.  That's when I remembered that I had a sample bag of Liquid Hope in the pantry. (Liquid Hope is a tube feeding formula made with REAL FOOD, that is organic and filled with good nutrients, like garbanzo beans, peas, carrots, quinoa, brown rice, broccoli, almond butter, kale, garlic, tumeric, and ginger.) It is  plant based, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, corn free, non-GMO and packaged in a BPA free pouch - See more at: http://functionalformularies.com/liquid-meals/#sthash.ZTR0nsg6.dpuf 

It was delicious.  Most people won't have Liquid Hope in their pantry, but I hope this will encourage readers to be creative.  Lots of us will have things like almonds or almond butter (pureed almonds) and a can of garbanzo beans in the pantry - why not add them to soup? Turmeric is a  super-spice that acts and an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant, pain reliever, improves brain function, and may help prevent heart disease and cancer.  Source

Soup is such an economical way to nourish your family! I hope you enjoy your own variation of this recipe. Have fun!!!
                                                                 
                                                                   Lentil Soup

2 cups sprouted organic lentils. (sprouting enhances nutrient uptake and organic lentils are a must since conventional lentils are sprayed with a cancer -causing herbicide to dry them out just before harvesting!)
6 cups filtered water
1 package organic sausage or kielbasa, cut into small bite-sized pieces
4 carrots,  cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 pouch of Liquid Hope
salt, pepper, and spices from the garden (basil, thyme, rosemary)

Boil lentils in water.  In a separate pan, cook sausage and onions together, slowly, until the onions are sweet. Add to the lentil mixture. Add carrots and Liquid Hope and let simmer - the longer the better. Season with salt, pepper, and spices.

                                                                       



                                                                                                                                                                                              

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Eating organically on a Budget

Eating organically is more expensive, and the sticker shock can be painful.  Moreover, once you get used to it, (and once you know how unhealthy “conventional” food can be) it is impossible to go back.   There are lots of ways that people can eat organically, while saving a small amount of money, which can lead to significant savings over time.
  • My two favorite things to do, and to tell others to do, are to make lots of soup; and decrease portion sizes of meat, but choose the best quality – organic grass-fed or pasture-fed animal products.
  • Next, eat beans!! Filled with fiber (to satisfy hunger and keep you full for hours,) protein, and carbs for energy, these little gifts add small amounts of calcium, iron, B vitamins, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.  Dried beans should be organic, because they are one of the foods that the EPA allows to be sprayed with glyphosate, for quicker drying and ripening.  Glyphosate was recently classified as a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization.  The healthiest way to eat beans is to soak them; it removes phytic acid – an anti-nutrient. http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/living-with-phytic-acid/
  • Buy what’s in season, and locally available.  Usually less expensive, local foods are a smarter and cheaper choice because they don’t need to be transported from far away.  If this intrigues you, read the book called Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  It’s a true story about a family that lives off the land for a year.  Great read!
  • You can also join a CSA.  Here’s how to find one near you.  http://www.localharvest.org/
  • Make a rule in your house: If you want a treat, you have to make it yourself! Have all the ingredients in your house ready to make desserts.  Benefit: Your children will learn how to cook and bake.  There are so many wonderful recipes to discover. And almost any recipe can be transformed into a healthy one: by buying organic ingredients and cutting the sugar by 1/3.  If you replace the fat called for in the recipe with coconut oil, you can use ¼ less than what the original recipe calls for. (So if the recipe calls for a cup of oil, use ¾ of a cup of coconut oil.)
  • Grown herbs in pots on a windowsill or deck. Save them, dry them out in a dehydrator or convection oven and you can use them all year long.
  • Websites to discover:
  • https://www.azurestandard.com/  This delivery service brings bulk items to you once per month. It’s like a delivery from Whole Foods except at a much lower cost!
  • Find an organic farm that produces meat, dairy, and eggs the way nature intended at http://www.eatwild.com/  Expensive meat can be stretched by making a stir-fry, instead of serving a portion of meat on each plate with vegetables on the side.
  • Set a budget and plan meals each week.  You will only buy the ingredients you need and eliminate the desire to buy extras or go out to eat. (This takes so much discipline!)  Recommended book to help you do this: Wildly Affordable Organic, by Linda Watson.
  • You don’t need to be completely organic!  Know what foods are GMO, what common foods are sprayed with glyphosate, and which are heavily sprayed with pesticides and will absorb a lot of those chemicals.
Some foods allowed to be sprayed with glyphosate include: oats, wheat, dried beans, sugar cane, and tea.
See www.ewg.org for a list of the dirty dozen and the clean 15.
  • Join your favorite company’s social media pages for special coupons and deals.  Also, remember that most stores take each other’s coupons, so make sure to ask.
  • Did you know you can freeze butter?  When it is on sale, buy and freeze it until needed. Favorite: Organic Pastures Grass Fed Butter.
  • Double or triple recipes when cooking and freeze meals for the future. (Use glass, not plastic.)
  • Grind up bread ends in a blender and freeze to use for bread crumbs when called for in a recipe.
  • Be a vegetarian for breakfast and lunch, and feel entitled to spend more on the best quality animal products for dinner.
  • Use a whole chicken instead of buying parts separately. NEVER throw the carcass away. Put it in a pot or crock pot and make bone broth; a truly medicinal food. (http://bethbeisel.blogspot.com/2014/06/homemade-chicken-broth.html )
  • Pre-washed foods cost more and need to be washed anyway!
  • Be the last one to leave the farmer’s market; they often lower prices at the end, so that they don’t have to bring things back to the farm.
  • Look the farmer in the eye and ask about their spraying practices and use of GMO seeds. Some farmers don’t use pesticides or grow GMOs, but also don’t seek the USDA label because it is so expensive. The paperwork and bureaucracy required to use the label aren’t worth it to many farmers. As long as you are satisfied with the farmer’s answer, you can buy produce that is not labeled organic.
  • Grow your own food!  It doesn’t matter how little property you have. Here is a guide to help you get started:  http://www.tulanecitycenter.org/urban-farming-toolkit/
  • Bring your own food while traveling.  (You can check a cooler!)
  • Keep organic tea bags in your wallet and ask for hot water when traveling, instead of buying a cup of tea for $4-$6.
  • When you buy berries, soak them in water with a little vinegar. It removes the mold spores and the berries will last much longer.
  • Line refrigerator drawers with paper towels to absorb moisture, so produce will last longer.
  • Save the pulp from juicing to put into soups and stews.
  • Splurge on the best quality coffee and tea and make it yourself in the morning.  Sometimes you can find great options at Marshalls and TJ Maxx!
  • We own several Zero Water Filters – approximately $30 on Amazon or at Target.  This filter is an inexpensive way to get the bleach, arsenic, lawn pesticides and fluoride out of your water. (They don’t market it as an effective way to remove fluoride, but if you call the company, they will tell you that it removes 95% of it).
  • Sites that give coupons on the internet include:
Online shopping:
While many think that eating healthfully and organically is beyond their means, it is quite possible with a little extra effort.  If you follow these suggestions, and take the process slowly; eventually it will become second nature.  



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Just because you have been told your blood pressure is high, doesn't mean you must go on medication.  Here are some suggestions that will help to lower blood pressure naturally and holistically:

Hibiscus Tea     

Studies show that consuming the leaves and flowers of the hibiscus plant can lower blood pressure as well as some medications.  Compounds in the plant may act similarly to anti hypertension medications called ACE inhibitors.There are a variety of reasons why this tea may lower blood pressure. It can open the arteries, it acts as a diuretic, and may slow the release of hormones that make blood vessels constrict. 

 I recommend 1-3 cups of "Hibiscus sabdariffa" per day to control blood pressure (Most studies used three cups.)  Source    Also, please use ORGANIC tea of any kind, since most conventional tea is sprayed with glyphosate, to dry it out. (Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, as classified by the World Health Organization in April, 2015). Let it steep for 5 -10 minutes.  When the weather is warm, try making iced hibiscus tea, and add grated fresh ginger and honey.


Co Q 10 Supplementation  

     Co Q 10 increases energy to the heart muscle. Source  Levels decrease as we age and are depleted by cholesterol lowering drugs including statins and red rice yeast.  60-100 mg per day may improve diastolic function and support blood pressure.  If you are on a statin drug, (or red rice yeast) you may want to take a higher dose of Co Q 10, but it is a good idea to consult a naturopathic physician who is familiar with this supplement.

     Foods that contain Co Q 10 include beef, fish, poultry, peanuts, and sesame.  I recommend grass fed beef and pasture raised poultry, wild caught fish (preferably not from the Pacific, since the Fukishima radiation leak) and ORGANIC peanuts.

Fish Oil Supplementation

     Fish oil  is high in omega 3 fatty acids, and may help to   decrease  blood pressure. It can also help to reduce blood fats called triglycerides, which may curtail the development of plaque in the artery walls. 
Other benefits of fish oil supplementation include a lower chance of developing an abnormal heart rhythm, decreased likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack, and less chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease  Source

     I recommend 1/2 teaspoon -1 teaspoon of liquid fish oil, flavored with lemon, daily. (Most research indicates 3 grams/day is an adequate dosage. There are 5 grams in a teaspoon.) Make sure it is extremely clean – from a reputable company that tests for mercury and other toxic metals and doesn't add any genetically engineered oils.  It should also be sourced from wild caught cold water fish.

Magnesium Supplementation

      Magnesium levels have been found to be consistently low in individuals with hypertension. Source  Foods high in magnesium include: coffee, fish sauce, leafy greens, cocoa, nuts and seeds, avocado, dark chocolate, dairy products. (Except for avocado, with its thick skin, organic sources are recommended.) 

Potassium
      
     Best sources include bananas, oranges, tomatoes, and potatoes. (Organic sources are recommended.)

Calcium

     Best sources include dairy products, sardines, and dark green leafies. (Organic sources are recommended.)
      
     Note: Himalayan pink salt contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and iodine, as well as sodium, and is a much healthier alternative than common table salt to enhance food’s flavors. Remember that most processed foods are very high in cheap quality salt that has been stripped of most trace minerals and bleached.

     Other supplements that may improve blood pressure include D- ribose and L-carnitine, grape seed extract, hawthorn berry, and resveratrol,  according to Dr. Steven Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist.Source

A Low Carbohydrate, Anti-inflammatory Diet

     Avoid sugar, and limit foods that convert to sugar, like flour (even whole grain!) pasta, potatoes, and rice.  100% fruit juice should be watered down. (i.e. 1 -2 tablespoons of juice to 1 cup purified seltzer water.)

     I recommend a diet that includes lots of healthy fats to keep you satisfied and control blood sugar. Healthy fats include avocados, avocado oil,  olives, olive oil, nuts, coconut, coconut oil, pasture-raised, organic butter, and full fat organic, grass-fed dairy and meat.  Also, include LOTS of vegetables and fruits. Any whole grains should be eaten in VERY small quantities, as they cause an increase in insulin production which causes weight gain, inflammation, and insulin resistance.

Exercise

     Helps the blood vessels to dilate/relax, which decreases blood pressure.

Meditation

     Emotional stress causes oxidative damage and increases blood pressure. It is very important to learn how to give the mind a rest! Concentrated breathing and yoga  can decrease blood pressure considerably.

Walking Barefoot on Grass, Sand, and Concrete

     This is called grounding or earthing. Electrons enter the body through the feet and can decrease oxidative stress, limiting inflammation.  This can help to thin the blood and balance cortisol which is too high during times of stress. Source
 It is important that the grass is not sprayed with pesticides!

Detoxification

     Eat a diet high in fiber that is free of pesticides! Foods like cilantro and organic strawberries help to remove toxic metals from the body.  Sweating, from exercise or time spent in a sauna, helps to remove impurities from the body. Source

Medical Disclaimer: Information provided in this email is for informational purposes only. The information is a result of years of practice and experience by Beth Beisel, R.D.LLC. However, this information is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product.

Do not use the information provided in this email for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this email.

Information provided in this email and the use of any products or services related to this email by you does not create a dietitian-patient relationship between you and Beth Beisel, R.D., LLC. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act

Today, in support of Senator Richard Blumenthal’s federal bill to label genetically engineered organisms, we attended his press conference.  Senator Blumenthal has introduced a fair federal GMO labeling bill that would require mandatory labeling and would counter the "DARK Act" which would NOT require mandatory labeling and would pre-empt the states rights to require mandatory labeling.


90% of Americans want the right that 64 other countries give their citizens, TRANSPARENCY.  The opposition to GMO labeling is counting on congress to do its dirty work.  What has become known as the “DARK Act” (Deny Americans Right to Know), looks like an industry wish list: pre-emption of current and future state GMO labeling laws and codifying the failed voluntary labeling system that has been in existence since 2001. It also gives more power to the FDA (aka Michael Taylor from Monsanto) to insure the “safety” of our food…  If the "DARK Act" passes, the CT GMO labeling law will become obsolete.  Also, foods that are genetically engineered will be legally allowed to be labeled as “natural.”

Senator Blumenthal’s bill, The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to label GE food and foods containing GE ingredients. This bill is modeled after CT’s law. Senator Blumenthal is fighting for our right to know at the federal level, but if the opposition succeeds in passing the "DARK Act", it will shut down his efforts.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cilantro Pesto!!!



Last week, we had a family party and served “make your own soft tacos,” (or “taco salad” for those who avoid wheat/carbs.)  It was a big hit for everyone, from Nanny (grandma) to baby cousin, Tommy.

But, we forgot to serve the cilantro L Luckily, I discovered it before it went bad, and decided to make some pesto with it.  It is so delicious; I am eating it by the spoonful, but will be serving it this weekend over fish or on black bean pasta. It will be a good spread on bread, instead of mayonnaise, in a turkey sandwich too.

My favorite thing about cilantro is that it is a chelator. It binds with metals and escorts them out of the body.  So it is a great thing to have with large fish, like tuna, sword fish, or sea bass, because it will chelate with the mercury from the fish and remove it from you!

Ingredients:

Big bunch of cilantro, leaves and stems

¼ cup olive oil (make sure it is REAL 100% olive oil. I get non gmo project verified or organic to be safe.)

½ tsp Himalayan pink salt

1 cup toasted pine nuts

You can include cheese, like parmesan; I didn’t because I thought I would freeze the pesto…. but there is no way it will last long enough to bother freezing!


Whirl it in a blender or food processor, until it is a smooth paste.