Are GMOs Safe?

International activist and scientist, Dr. Vandana Shiva, explains in 2 minutes why GMOs are a threat to our health, biodiversity, farmers’ livelihoods, and our planet. 

Is Organic Better?

Conventional produce is good, but organic produce is better. Are organic foods safer, and more nutritious? Yes, and yes. Organic food is considered to be up to 40% healthier, yet up to 40% more expensive. So, from a purely nutrients per dollar standpoint, it isn’t clear that organic is any better. However, when you consider overall health, nutrition yields per acre, and environmental degradation, organic food wins, and it is not even close.  In fact, according to the UN, small scale organic farming is the only way to sustainably feed the world for future generations. 

Is Fish Oil Safe?

The World Health Organization recommends that we obtain .5% of our calories from omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil should be avoided for many reasons, including its likely contamination from PCBs and other pollutants. Omega-3s from algae provide the same level of brain preservation, without the risks (tank grown algae). Walnuts, flax & pumpkin seeds are great sources for omega-3s too. 

What is a GMO?

A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. The Non-GMO Project is a great resource for learning more about GMOs, and how to avoid them. 

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a toxic pesticide (weed killer), that is widely used on mostly GMO crops, and is found in children’s cereal, and other common food products.  The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen”.  In other words, glyphosate causes cancer, and it’s everywhere.  Click here to learn how glyphosate may also be linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

What is SAD?

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is the number one cause of death, and disability in the United States. 

63% of America’s calories come from processed foods, 25% from animal products, and only 12% from plant based foods. Unfortunately, half of the plant based calories come from french fries, which means that only 6% of America’s calories are coming from health promoting plant-based foods.

What are Saturated Fats?

Saturated Fats are mainly found in foods that come from animals (such as meat and dairy), but they can also be found in most fried foods and some prepackaged foods. Saturated fats are unhealthy because they increase LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels, and increase your risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, CVD and obesity. Many saturated fats are “solid” fats and can be seen. Other sources of saturated fats include: Cheese, Meat, Milk, Cream, Butter, Palm and Coconut Oils. 

Diet & Breast Cancer

My Mom has breast cancer, does that mean that I will get it too? According to Dr. Kristi Funk, about 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer, do not have a single relative with breast cancer. What are the biggest contributing factors? Diet and lifestyle.

Dr. Funk recommends the following protocol: 1. Choose Plant Based Foods  2. Exercise 3. Limit Alcohol Consumption 4. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Vegan Rules?

What are the rules for being a Vegan? Well, basically, there are no rules. Perhaps Colleen Patrick Goudreau said it best, when she explained that the goal is to live according to compassion and wellness. The goal is not to live according to Veganism. In other words, we shouldn’t let perfection be the enemy of good. So, let’s try to have fun, and celebrate even the smallest steps towards a plant based diet! 

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a wax-like substance produced by the liver that aids in building cell membranes and producing hormones. Our bodies produce plenty of cholesterol to meet our needs, so we don’t need to consume extra cholesterol through our diets. Plants are free of cholesterol, as dietary cholesterol can only be found in animal products. The consumption of dietary cholesterol increases blood cholesterol levels, and heart attack risk. 

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Since the 1950s, antibiotics have been used on factory farm animals for the treatment, and prevention of bacterial infections. Today, an estimated 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are given to factory farm animals. Consuming antibiotic residues from these animals, leads to antibiotic resistance,  which some experts believe will become as big a threat as Climate Change.  According to one study, antibiotic resistant infections kill 90,000 Americans every year. 

What is Protein?

Will I get enough protein if I adopt a plant based diet?  Protein is an important nutrient that helps build, maintain, and repair body tissue, and is widely available in beans, vegetables, and grains. Protein deficiency is almost unheard of in the United States. It’s easy to get all the protein you need without eating meat, dairy, or eggs. Animal protein is linked with a higher risk of death, and is significantly inferior to Plant protein. 

Arsenic in Rice

Most of the rice today, whether white, brown, wild, organic, or conventional, is tainted with arsenic, one of the world’s most toxic poisons. Which brands and sources of rice have the least arsenic? Avoid rice that is grown in the southern parts of the US. Try to buy rice that is grown in Asian countries, or in California. According to Consumer Reports, brown basmati from California, India, or Pakistan might be among the safer rice choices. 

What are the True Costs of Meat and Dairy Products?

According to the book Meatonomics, the American government spends $38 billion each year to subsidize meat and dairy, but only 0.04% of that ($17 million) to subsidize fruits and vegetables. Also, a $5 Big Mac would cost $13 if the retail price included hidden expenses that meat producers offload onto society. Animal food producers impose $414 billion in hidden costs on America in the form of healthcare, subsidies, and environmental damage.

What is IGF-1?

Consuming too much animal protein increases the production of a hormone called IGF-1.  IGF-1 is an important growth promoter when we are young, and unfortunately, a useful, yet dangerous one in our adult lives too, as it can promote the growth of cancer cells. As adults, your brain tells your liver to produce IGF-1 mostly in response to eating animal protein (meat, dairy, eggs). There is no such cancer risk with proteins derived from plants, only animals. 

Erectile Dysfunction & Meat

What causes Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?  ED is not caused by too many drinks, stress, or performance anxiety. According to Dr. Neal Barnard, ED is caused by narrowed arteries (bacon, burgers, chicken, etc.). Roughly, 40% of men are affected by ED at age 40, and nearly 70% of men by age 70. ED is also the canary in the coal mine when it comes to heart disease. The treatment of ED is big business, as sales of ED drugs alone neared $5 billion in 2017. What to do? Simple. Stop eating meat.

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is not made by plants or animals but by microbes that blanket the earth. In today’s sanitized, modern world, the water supply is commonly chlorinated to kill off any bacteria, and as a result, we don’t get much B12 in our diets any longer.  Dr. Michael Greger recommends supplementation of at least one dose of 2,000 mcg each week, or a daily dose of 50 mcg (in the form of cyanocobalamin). Symptoms of B12 deficiency include memory loss, muscle weakness, and anemia. 

Does How We Cook Meat Increase Cancer Risk?

Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs), are cancer-causing compounds that form on the surface of well-done, grilled, smoked, roasted, pan-fried, and barbecued meats. HCAs form within minutes at high temperatures, but even baking chicken at lower temps for fifteen minutes leads to HCAs. Fried and grilled veggie burgers, on the other hand, don’t have any measurable HCAs.

Are Eggs Healthy?

Eating One Egg Per Day is Just as Bad as Smoking 5 Cigarettes Per Day for Life Expectancy! If you sell eggs in the United States, you are not allowed, legally, to call them nutritious, safe or healthy. Why? They are loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol (not to mention antibiotic residue, possible salmonella contamination, animal protein, and estrogen hormones). One egg has the same amount of cholesterol as a Big Mac. 

Diet & Autoimmune Diseases

Nutrition trumps genetics. In fact, a whole food plant based diet is the most powerful weapon we have to prevent, treat and sometimes reverse not just chronic illnesses, but autoimmune diseases as well. According to Dr. Brooke Goldner, who was diagnosed with Lupus when she was 16 years old, “The literature is clear, when you eliminate meat, dairy, and eggs, peoples’ health gets better.”

What is Calorie Density?

Calorie density is simply a measure of how many calories are in a given weight of food. My two favorite acronyms are SAD (Standard American Diet) and CRAP (Calorie Rich And Processed). Today, 71 percent of American adults are overweight and 40 percent of men and women appear to have so much body fat that they can be classified as obese.  According to Dr. Michael Greger, rather than some sort of disorder, weight gain may be largely a normal response, by normal people, to an abnormal situation.

Are Humans Designed to Eat Meat?

Humans are not designed to eat animals, and nobody can explain the science better than Dr. Milton Mills. This is an outstanding presentation from Dr. Mills that essentially squashes any lingering doubts that some people may have on the subject.

What About Acid Reflux?

One out of every four people in the US suffers from Acid Reflux Heartburn (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) on a weekly basis. What are the causes? Studies show that dietary fat increase is associated with an increased risk for acid reflux heartburn, whereas high fiber intake reduces the risk. Dr. Angie Sadeghi explains that the 3 biggest causes of acid reflux heartburn are the following:

1. Fat from meat, dairy, eggs, and processed foods.  
2. Alcohol
3. Obesity

Dr. Sadeghi recommends eating a whole food plant based diet, lessening or eliminating alcohol consumption, losing weight, and drinking aloe vera juice (preferably unsweetened, and homemade).

Does Meditation Work?

Researchers at Harvard University found that meditation alone can change the expression of genes (including those that regulate inflammation and others that eliminate unwanted cells). The more the participants meditated, the more their genes changed in a health promoting way.

What About Low Carb, High Fat Diets like Keto, Paleo, Atkins and Carnivore?

For long term health, nothing beats a whole food plant based diet. Low carb, high fat diets can help you lose weight in the short term, but so can chemotherapy and cocaine addiction. The downside to low carb, high fat diets is that the side effects will catch up with you eventually, and greatly reduce life expectancy (when Robert Atkins died, he weighed 258 pounds, yet was only 6 feet tall. According to the medical examiner’s report, he had a history of heart attacks, congestive heart failure (CAD), and hypertension.). Dr. Pam Popper reminds us to not confuse stories with science. 

What About Cheese?

How many times have you heard someone say, “I could never stop eating cheese”? Too many to count, right? I should know, I was one of them only 8 years ago. It turns out, cheese is one of the hardest foods to give up for many people moving to a healthier plant based diet. It is a bit surprising when you consider that most of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, and that there is now a mountain of evidence implicating dairy products as amongst the least healthy, and most dangerous food options on the market. In addition, the dairy industry arguably causes more animal suffering than any other, and the environmental damage is monumental as well. What do you expect from an industry that routinely and forcibly impregnates its millions of cows on what it calls “rape racks”? Thankfully, there are now many terrific vegan cheeses on the market, so you don’t have to harm animals, the planet, or your health to acquire the cheese fix that you are craving. Yes! (Click here for my blog post on cheese).

What About Inflammation?

We are what we eat, and our food choices directly impact inflammation levels in our bodies. Inflammation is a part of our body’s normal response to infection or injury. However, chronic inflammation can spread throughout the body and cause damage in our arteries via plaque buildup, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of cancer, diabetes and other chronic conditions as well. According to Dr. Brooke Goldner, animal products, including beef, pork, lamb, fish, chicken eggs and dairy,  should be avoided at all cost because they cause massive amounts of inflammation. Whole plant foods on the other hand, have the anti-inflammatory nutrients that your body needs. (Click here for the article).