Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Conventional Farming Concerns

In the April 2016 issue of the Natural Medicine Journal, author Harry Hong PhD discusses concerns with our modern food supply in his article "Modern Industrial Foods and Their Effects on the Human Body".  
Some of the concerns with modern/conventional agriculture that he raises include how widespread the farming of genetically modified (GM) crops has become. The top GM crops in the US include soybean, corn, sugar beet, canola (and cotton).  Not surprisingly, GM crops are more contaminated with herbicide (specifically glyphosate) residues than certified organically grown crops.  Interestingly people who eat a conventionally grown diet were found to have higher levels of glyphosate in their urine than people who ate a certified organically grown diet. Glyphosate has been linked to a number of concerns including ADHD, autism, gut flora imbalance, liver damage, MS.
In addition, a number of the substances added to our foods (like nitrates/nitrites and food colourings) have been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer and behaviour concerns.  
The article also mentions that certified organically grown foods have a richer nutrient base than conventionally grown foods and offer higher vitamin and mineral levels. 
The info in this article can feel very overwhelming!  Let's shift perspective and look at some positive help a cleanse can offer!   Because a cleanse focuses on whole and home made foods, we greatly reduce our intake of many of the concerning compounds discussed in the article while doing the cleanse. As well, one of the benefits of doing a cleanse is our liver gets a bit of a break and has a chance to  process breakdown products/toxins more efficiently which can make it easier for us to clear some of these concerning compounds from our system. 

For the long term/post cleanse, while we don't have to focus exclusively on certified organic foods in our diet, when we can, it is a good idea to do so.  It is especially important to aim to eat certified organic soy, corn, sugar, and canola to reduce our intake of GM foods. The Environmental Working Group also provides an invaluable resource in their Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists which can make it easier for us to choose which foods are more important for us to buy as certified organically grown.  The sweet bell peppers pictured above are on the Dirty Dozen list and so are one of the top 12 pesticide residue contaminated foods, so it is best to buy certified organic when possible.  Check out to see the full Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. And remember that any change we make in our diet - whether it is eating even a bit less processed foods or focusing on eating only certified organic soy when possible - will make a difference to our overall health! 

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