Juice to Boost Your Immunity This Flu Season!

A TRUE flu shot in a glass without the nasty additives, preservatives, aluminum and GMOs!

organic beets and organic carrotsWhile I believe many factors play a role in considering a time of year as “flu season” (and this is something we will discuss during our time together), I do know that regardless these aspects, a strong immunity is key to optimum health!

Here are two immune boosting juice recipes to help in this mission.  The following recipes are simple and easy to make.  The first recipe can boost your immune system’s fighting power.  The second can help you fight the flu if you already have it while giving your immune system a boost.

You can enjoy these juices as much or as little as you want. You can drink one everyday or up to three times a day determined by whether you are are sick or just improving your immune system.

*Remember, listen to your body. If you are juicing often and your body is sending you signals to slow down your intake, do it.

The Immune System Juice Booster

One serving – about 8 ounces

This juice is great for building and maintaining the immune system.

3 carrots chopped into ¼” pieces
1 stalk of celery chopped into ¼” pieces
1 apple chopped into ¼” pieces
½ cucumber chopped into ¼” pieces
½ beet with the greens, beet chopped into ¼” pieces
½ handful of wheatgrass (get it fresh at the Co-op or frozen at most Whole Foods)
½ handful of parsley

First juice a carrot and half of an apple. Follow with the wheatgrass and parsley. To juice the wheatgrass and parsley, roll each into a beat leaf and juice. Next juice the beets and the cucumber and finish with the carrots and apple.

The Flu Fighter and Immune System Booster

One serving about 8 ounces

This drink will fight the flu and boost your immune system.

6 carrots chopped into ¼” pieces
1 apple chopped into ¼” pieces
2 stalks of celery chopped into ¼” pieces
handful of parsley
2 cloves of garlic

Juice the garlic first. Next juice the celery and parsley together. To juice the parsley, tuck the stems and the leaves into the groove of the celery sticks. Finish juicing with the carrots and apples.

(**Recipes provided by Sarah Marr.)

Don’t have a juicer? I highly recommend a Vita-mix ( vitamix.com) for efficiency, versatility and easy clean-up.  Some people also like the Blendtec (http://www.blendtec.com).  You can drink the fiber straight from these blenders or you can use a nut bag (I prefer this one: http://www.purejoyplanet.com) to pure the liquid into the bag and literally “milk” or squeeze the liquid into a bowl.

You might also like a cold-press juicer from Omega.  Cold pressed juices last 72 hours making it easy to juice in advance and store in the refrigerator for juice on the go!

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Genetic Roulette–The Movie–Free only until September 22nd!

Hello All:

I know it has been a long time.  The good news is that I am gearing up to blog more consistently!

That said, I wanted to share a few things with you.

The first is time sensitive because you have an opportunity to watch what may prove to be one of the most significant and impacting documentaries you ever see for FREE and only until September 22nd, 2012.
I urge you to set aside an hour and a half to watch this very important piece.  I cannot stress enough how crucial I feel it is that we learn about GMOs so we can better direct our consumer dollars and shift the gross imbalance occurring in our food system today.
You can find the link here:  http://geneticroulettemovie.com/
Also, as many of you know, I co-founded a national non-profit, F3C (Farm Food Freedom Coalition) about 13 months ago.  We are now partnered with many wonderful organizations including Organic Consumers Association and The Institute Responsible Technology, the latter of which produced the above mentioned documentary.  I’m really proud of the work we’ve done on behalf of sustainable farmers and consumers and wanted to share the links where we are most active.
First, you can sign up for our mailing list at: farmfoodfreedom.org and like us on facebook and twitter from there.  You can also find us on facebook directly at: farmfoodfreedomcoalition and on twitter directly at: farmfoodfreedom.

(If you prefer just highlighted stories, I suggest you check in with our site periodically as we are always updating it with news of farmers on trial and other important events, initiatives and efforts.)

Finally, my practice is growing and I’ve updated my site: lcphealthworks.com so come stop by and check it out and send me an email if you’d like to be added to my monthly newsletter.

As well, if you’re in the Los Angeles area on October 9th, 2012, I’ll be speaking in the Palisades at the Palisades Woman’s Club, you can find out more here: http://www.ppjwc.com/who-we-are/

That’s it for now, though do be on the look out for my next, blog entry, coming soon as I gear up to get back on the blog saddle!:)
Until next…Be Well!

Laurie Cohen Peters CHC AADP

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Hello and Welcome new subscribers!

I am deluged with responsibility right now in response to the recent raid and shutting down of my local food club. I will be updating the blog but probably not for a few days. In the meantime, I can be heard on Coast To Coast AM (http://www.coasttocoastam.com) with Karine Bouis-Towe (grassfedonthehill.com) and Jonathan Emord,( http://www.emord.com/) this Wednesday night (Thursday morning on the East Coast) to discuss the RAWESOME raid and our right to whole, enzymatically intact foods (specific focus raw milk) and the rights of independent farmers .  The program reaches 20 million people, runs from 11PM to 1AM Pacific. If you’re up, I hope you’ll listen in and call in support of these rights. If you can’t hear it then, it will be archived.

We will also be announcing our newly formed coalition: Farm Food Freedom (farmfoodfreedom.org) that is backed by the Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), represented by Jonathan Emord, and will be working with the Real Milk Institute, Weston Price and others crucial to this movement. We will also be joined by other food clubs around the country.  The site forwards you to grassfedonthehill.com for now, stay tuned for the launch of our official site–there’s been a lot to get together in less than seven days!

While I am not a raw milk drinker myself, I do believe everyone has the right to drink it and to have access to intact (read non-gmo) healthy foods.  I hope you’ll join me in seeing these rights preserved.

Best, Laurie


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Update July 31st, 2011

Hello People:

First, I notice some new friends, both national and international subscribers. Welcome! so pleased you’ve joined me in this early stage of my blogging journey!

I have some exciting news brewing that I hope will help all of you and any who come across it and look forward to sharing this with you in the coming months. As well, I will be redesigning this blog and building out my community and I look forward to sharing these developments with you.

Finally, I am completing a new entry that involves all things travel and whole foods though I’ll leave you with this…I do believe thought trumps all and that we are alchemical machines (meaning we can metabolize chemicals). I always underscore the objective, not for purity but for balance, (see my “I Sing My Body Electric” blog entry for more on this). In this way, how we feel as we eat what’s on our plate is most important; you will fare much better metabolizing a plate of GMOs if you are concerned only with the joy, appreciation for or festivities surrounding the meal. Split energy (concerns about what you’re eating while you’re eating) is a sure route to dis-ease. And so, as you enjoy your summer (or winter) wherever you be, I hope you will eat in-joy!

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Got (A2, grass-fed, raw, kefir cow’s) Milk?

Breaking Down The Milk Quandary

Perhaps, one of the most controversial dietary topics amongst whole foodies today, aside from grain, is cow’s milk. On one hand, there are the die-heart supporters, the Weston Price, Sally Fallon, Tom Cowan followers who consider Raw Milk a curative for a host of ailments from allergies to heart disease. On the other, there are those that say milk, regardless of it being raw, is not meant for human consumption. These folks point out that human beings are the only mammals that still consume milk after infancy and the digestive characteristics of a calf are very different than that of a human’s, hence not an appropriate fit.

Those who advocate drinking raw milk are also in contention with supporters of pasteurization. Within pasteurized varieties one finds consumers of both commercial and commercial organic milk. And more recently, a debate is growing amongst the raw milk community over A1 and A2 cows. Then there are those that prefer to drink only kefir milk.

The following article will give a brief overview and dissemination of what these various milk identities are and some of the pros and cons attributed to them:

Commercial Milk:

Cows fed GMO grain, pumped up with antibiotics and hormones and kept in subpar, inhumane conditions produce commercial milk that is by far the easiest variety to consider unhealthful and unbeneficial for consumption. That this milk is devoid of nutrients is one factor, however many whole food activists and nutritionists consider it actually to be harmful to one’s health. What’s more it lacks any of its original, fresh creamy taste that was the stamp of cows milk when it first was discovered as a consumable and some, accustomed to fresh farmed raw milk, say they can even taste the chemicals in commercial milk. Finally, the milk is put through the controversial processes of pasteurization and often, homogenization.

With little taste, nutrient value and imbued with unhealthy additives, one might readily avoid this variety, let alone question the very point of consuming it.

Harming attributes attributed to commercial milk include:
1. Unknown but suspected and far reaching negative effects of ingesting growth hormones and antibiotics given to the cow and transferred to the milk.
1. Pesticide content
1. Changes in composition of the fats, especially the CLA (conjugated linoleic acids) content due to a grain, as opposed to the nature-intended, grass diet
1. Pasteurization * see below
1. Homogenization * see below

Organic Milk:

Organic milk may include cows fed primarily on a grass-fed diet (please see BodyEcology newsletter, “What’s really In Your Eggs” for the importance of Omega 3 found in grass fed animal products), pastured with plenty of space to exercise. However, the stamp “organic” does not insure it’s a product of sustainability or environmentally sound practices. John Robbins (The Food Revolution) was one of the first to voice concern about organic milk producers that weren’t living up to this image. He stated that Horizon Dairy keeps their cows in dry feedlots where there is little if any grass. This was supported in a sense, when a concerned consumer wrote to Horizon questioning the conditions of their farm and Horizon responded by saying that “Although we do not include ‘outside grass’ as a standard part of their diets, the cows certainly may graze on grasses while outside.” According to Robbins, this is misleading, as there is hardly grass on the feedlots from which they can graze. Much like the egg industry, while “organic” may include happy pastured cows it is not the prerequisite to obtaining “organic” status. On large farms like Horizon, the cows are separated from their calves and then milked 3-4 times daily to obtain the milk meant for their babies and thus taken to sale. In this sense, the ethics of large-scale milk production, organic or not, are questionable.

It is important to note that some organic milk producers supplement their cows’ diets with grain, hay, corn, silage and water, particularly in colder months. It is assumed the feed is organic, the hay and grass devoid of pesticides and the water from a clean source. What’s more, organic cows’ milk comes from cows not treated with hormones or antibiotics. While these aspects make commercial organic milk a more attractive option to commercial milk, there is still the issue of pasteurization.

Oh, dear Louis Pasteur, did you ever think…


While pasteurization kills harmful bacteria it also renders milk a processed food. Some will go so far as to say a “dead” food. According to one study, “Pasteurization was also found to affect the hematogenic and growth-promoting properties of the special milk (raw milk from specially fed cows, whose milk did not produce nutritional anemia–whereas commercially pasteurized milk did)…” -Krauss, W. E., Erb, J.H. and Washburn, R. G., Studies on the nutritive value of milk II. The effect of pasteurization on some of the nutritive properties of milk,” Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 518, page 11, January, 1933.

Here are some facts about pasteurized milk:
1. Completely changes the structure of the milk proteins (denaturization) into something far less than healthy
2. Alters milk’s amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available
3. Alters milk’s mineral components such as calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur as well as many trace minerals, making them less available
4. Promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins
–Destroys part of the vitamin C found in Raw Milk, often by 50%
–Additional vitamin loss usually up to 80%
5. Alters milk’s mineral components such as calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur as well as many trace minerals, making them less available
6. Some evidence that pasteurization alters lactose, making it more readily absorbable. This, and the fact that pasteurized milk puts an unnecessary strain on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, may explain why milk consumption in civilized societies has been linked with diabetes
7. Destroys the Wulzen or anti-stiffness factor which is found to protect against
calcification of the joints–degenerative arthritis–as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland
8. Pasteurization does not guarantee cleanliness, (outbreaks of salmonella from contaminated Pasteurized Milk have been reported in recent decades)
9. Pasteurization leaves milk devoid of any protective mechanism should undesirable bacteria inadvertently contaminate the supply
10. Lacking beneficial bacteria, in time Pasteurized Milk will putrefy while Raw Milk turns sour yet some consider tasteful
11. Encourages growth of harmful bacteria,
12. Turns the sugar of milk, known as lactose, into beta-lactose. This is far more soluble and therefore more rapidly absorbed in the system, rendering the milk drinker hungry sooner
13. Renders the major part of calcium found in raw milk insoluble, frequently leading to rickets, bad teeth, and nervous troubles
(*As Tom Cowan states in his article on Pasteurized Milk versus Raw: Sufficient calcium content is vital to children; and with the loss of phosphorus also associated with calcium, bone and brain formation suffer serious setbacks.)
14. Destroys all the enzymes in milk
15. Produces nutritional anemia
16. Destroys 20% of the iodine found in raw milk
17. Chemicals may be added to suppress odor and restore taste. Synthetic vitamin D2 or D3 is added — the former is toxic and has been linked to heart disease while the latter is difficult to absorb
18. Causes constipation
19. Robs milk of its most vital qualities
20. Robs milk of its natural, rich, creamy taste
21. Robs milk of it’s nutrient dense creamy top
22. Adopts the flavor of it’s cardboard casing


Both commercial non-organic and organic milk offer a homogenized variety. Homogenization denatures the natural fat in milk. There is no nutritional value in this process and in fact it has been linked to heart disease. You might then ask, “So, why is it done?” The reason is purely for aesthetics. Naturally, fat rises to the top of fresh raw milk. Homogenization forces the milk, by extreme pressure, through tiny holes that breaks up the normally large fat molecules into tiny ones. In this denatured state the fat molecules stay suspended in the milk. Unfortunately, this unnatural fat is easily absorbed into the blood stream, carrying with it the xanthine oxidase. In un-homogenized milk the xanthine oxidase and large fat molecules are normally passed through the digestive track, unabsorbed.

Raw Milk

Perhaps nothing is more food-fashionable today than the topic of raw milk. Whether you’re discussing the many benefits of the drink or are outraged by the recent FBI raids and arrests of raw milk farmers, raw milk is the It Girl of the Foodie World right now.

So what’s the deal? Is it dangerous? Are the benefits worth the risks? What’s the fat on raw milk?

Statistically, there is no known data to support raw milk as being more dangerous to drink than pasteurized milk and in fact, some might say statistics point to raw milk as being safer than pasteurized. The crucial components that assure the safety of your milk are the condition of the animal and that of the farm. The milk should not only be safe but resistant to disease if the cow is healthy and the conditions sanitary. What’s more, those who drink raw milk consistently build up a stronger immunity to pathogens.

A study on natural antiseptics in milk cites: “Human or cow milk added to an equal volume of agar did not support the growth or allowed only slight growth of B. diphtheriae Staph. aureus, B. coli, B. prodigiosus, B. pyocyaneus, B. anthracis, streptococci, and unidentified wild yeast. The factors in human milk inhibiting bacterial growth (‘inhibins’) were inactivated by heating at 56 degrees C. (pasteurization temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees C.) for 30 minutes or by standing 12 to 24 days at 5 degrees C., but not by repeated freezing and thawing. The ‘inhibins’ in cow’s milk were not inactivated by heating at 80 degrees C. for seven minutes but were destroyed by heating at 85 degrees C. for seven minutes. Attempts have not been made to identify the natural antiseptics.”
-Dold, H., Wizaman, E., and Kleiner, C., Z. Hyt. Inf., “Antiseptic in milk,” The Drug and Cosmetic Industry, 43,1:109, July 1938.

For a more in-depth look at this topic, I suggest reading The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmidt.

Supposing you conclude it’s a safe bet to drink raw milk, what are the benefits?

According to raw milk champions, Sally Fallon and Tom Cowan, prior to heating, milk is a living food rich in colloidal minerals and enzymes. “Milk proteins…carry vitamins and minerals through the gut into the blood stream; they enhance the immune system and protect against disease.” Says Fallon. All of these qualities are destroyed during pasteurization. “Once heated, milk becomes rotten, with precipitated minerals that can’t be absorbed (hence osteoporosis), with sugars that can’t be digested (hence allergies), and with fats that are toxic. Feeding cows high protein feed made from soybeans and other inappropriate foodstuffs can also adulterate milk; rarely is anyone truly allergic to grass-fed cow’s milk.”

Here are some of the benefits attributed to raw milk:

–Stronger immune systems in children who drink raw milk with stronger immunity to asthma and eczema compared to those who are fed ordinary milk
–Phosphatase that allows the body to absorb the calcium from the milk
–Lactase that allows for the digestion of lactose
— Lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens
–Raw butterfat (raw milk left to sour) has a cortisone-like factor that is heat sensitive (destroyed by heat) that prevents stiffness in the joints. These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilding factors, including calcium. (That is why those who drink pasteurized milk may suffer, nevertheless, from osteoporosis.)
–Lipase in raw milk helps the body digest and utilize butterfat
–Contains beneficial bacteria as well as lactic acids that allow these beneficial bacteria to implant in the intestines.
–A study found resistance to tuberculosis increased in children fed raw milk instead of pasteurized
–Used as a therapy in folk medicine (and in the Mayo Clinic) for centuries
–Used in the pre-insulin days to treat diabetes, eczema, intestinal worms, allergies, and arthritis (contains cortisone-like factor for allergies and eczema)

Keifer Milk

Some people chose to keifer their milk, and BodyEcology Keifer grains are a good option for this. While the benefits of kiefer milk are many, primarily the grains eat up the milk sugars (lactose) and make it easier to digest. What’s more, the bacteria in the kefir raw milk is very good for rehabbing the gut lining and restoring digestion. For those who fear they are lactose intolerant, kefir should not be a problem as the lactose is consumed. This also lessens the sugar content for those who feel non-keifer milk contributes to weight gain.

A1 versus A2

Okay, so you’re pretty sure you want to drink raw milk, not commercial or commercial organic milk. But wait, there’s more!

Welcome to the A1 versus A2 cow debate. In brief, Dr. Tom Cowan, the “go-to” authority on raw milk and co-founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation backs Sally Fallon’s (Nourishing Traditions) statement that, quite frankly, “American’s are breeding the wrong kind of cow for milk consumption.”

Cowan states: “The black and white cows — Holsteins and Friesians — generally give milk that contains a small but significant amount of beta-casein type A1, which behaves like an opiate and which epidemiological studies have implicated in heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, autism and schizophrenia.” He goes onto explain that there is an amino acid called BCM 7 causing the opiate effect to both cows and humans. BCM7 is released in the GI tract of animals and humans who drink A1 cow milk, and it is found in the blood and urine of these animals. In short, people who drink milk from A1 cows can be exposed to BCM7. Please note, a respondent to Dr. Cowan’s intro, identifying himself as the editor for Woodford’s book added that A1 milk can be procured from any herd though less common in non-Holstein or Friesian herds. Another respondent suggested that while Jerseys produce more A2 than Holsteins, they might also produce A1 milk. Ultimately, the milk would need to be tested to determine its variety. This is a problem not only for raw milk but pasteurized as well. (*Ultra-pasteurization or any heat process increases the release of BCM7 from A1 milk. – Linda DeFever, Know Your Milk)

BCM 7 has been shown in research outlined in Cowan’s intro to Dr. Keith Woodford’s book, The Devil In The Milk, to cause neurological impairment in animals and people exposed to it, especially autistic and schizophrenic changes. BCM 7 interferes with the immune response. As well, Dr. Cowan states, “BCM 7 selectively binds to the epithelial cells in the mucus membranes (i.e. the nose) and stimulates mucus secretion.” He goes on to state; “…basically all American dairy cows have this mutated beta-casein and are predominantly A1 cows.” And that, “When you take A1 cow milk away, and stimulate one’s own endorphins instead of the toxic opiate of BCM 7, some amazing health benefits ensue.”

The good news is that the absorption of BCM 7 is much less in people with a healthy GI tract. Keep in mind, some people obviously tolerate it and feel they benefit from drinking raw milk. What’s more, BCM 7 is not found in goat’s or sheep’s milk.

A2 cows are found in Africa, Asia and Europe, and what is playfully being attributed to culinary snobbery, you should be safe eating raw cheese and dairy in France. Long ago, the French complained that A1 milk “tasted lousy” and have remained exclusively loyal to an A2 cow population!

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People What Are We Eating

My article on GMOs for BodyEcology:

I recently had the pleasure of conducting a talk at a local LAUSD charter school on Genetically Engineered Organisms (GMOs). My first question was, “How many people know what a GMO is?” One or two people shyly raised their hands. One man attempted to answer but I cut him short after a moment’s struggle to explain, not knowing is the norm.

Just this spring, my husband’s uncle, a very respected professor of environmental studies at a prestigious private college, ushered in Marion Nestle, Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan, three rockstars in the food politics circle, to speak about all things food in America. Yes, he had heard about GMOs, but still did not realize, as we sat to dinner at a cafeteria-style restaurant, that he was before a plate piled high with GMO fare; he really didn’t know much about GMOs at all. And this is exactly what Big Biotech is counting on.

Even a recent “Dirty Dozen” shopping guide for 2011 put out by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) listed corn, a major GMO product, as #2 on the list of foods safe to eat non-organic. When I inquired about this the EWG stated that yes, to avoid GMO corn, it’s best to eat organic. But with 90-95% of all corn grown in America as GMO, this makes  finding non-organic, non-GMO corn difficult (and recently organic corn in Mexico was found to be contaminated with GMOs).  According to the Institute of Responsibly Technology, the EWG was most likely speaking specifically of sweet corn, the kind you eat “wet” meaning on the cob. This differs from the corn most large industrial farmers grow to be used “dry” in chips, High Fructose Corn Syrup, etc. Sweet corn is predominantly GMO-free and once the husks are removed, leave little pesticide residue. However some sweet corn grown by major producers may be GMO and GMO corn means pesticides are sprayed on corn with pesticides inside every cell of that corn.  Confused yet?

With massive confusion and under-information out there on the topic of GMOs, the truth is, we all, even those of us “in the know”, have consumed GMOs in our lifetime; they are virtually unavoidable. What’s more, the US government, in compliance with Big Agro, Big Biotech and their minion of lobbyists refuse labeling even though there has been great public outcry for mandatory labeling and even though many countries, including Europe, insist on labeling.  This make the avoidance of GMOs for the average American, and even the more savvy eater, quite the challenge.

So What Is A GMO? As Stated On The Institute Of Responsible Technology Website:

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.

It should be noted that the gene inserted into soy, corn, cotton, canola and sugar beets was a bacteria found by Monsanto in a chemical waste dump that was strong enough to survive Round Up, the pesticide used in growing plants and also produced by Monsanto. This results in Round Up effectively killing all other plant biodiversity in the field but not the Round Up Ready crops. According to Jeffery Smith (Seeds of Deception, Genetic Roulette) in his 2007 talk, this gene then accounted for 80% of GMO crops. The other 20% of the crops produced their own pesticide, BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis), 8% had both. GMO Papaya, zucchini and crooked neck squash have a virus resistant protein. Over 100 studies show these proteins suppress the defense mechanism against viral infection and may be toxic, interfering with the cell cycle that might be cancerous. Thus, theoretically at least, these proteins can cause humans to become more vulnerable to viral infections and cancers.

GMO (or GE, technically standing for “Genetically Engineered” but meaning the same thing) can be found, though less so today than in previous years, in the form of rBHT, a growth hormone in milk. And as mentioned above, BT, a biopesticide designed to blow open the stomachs of insects and rendering corn an insecticide by EPA standards. BT has a documented history of creating numerous illnesses and deaths in lab rats and animals that grazed on these food products. These seeds are supposedly resistant to Round Up, a sprayed pesticide still required for the growing of GMO foods. However, some weeds and bugs referred to as “super weeds” and “super bugs” influence the amount of Round Up sprayed on these products. This means, the corn you ate only five years ago may not be the same corn you eat today and certainly was not the corn your grandmother ate.

Prior claims from Monsanto (the leader in GMOs) stating that the toxins inherent in these organisms, while demonstrating harsh repercussions on the health of lab rats, would not enter the human blood stream, have recently been proven false. New research from Canada found that Bt was present in 93% of the pregnant mothers and in 80% of the umbilical cords and 69% of non-pregnant women sampled. (Aziz A. and Leblanc S., 2010, Reproductive Toxicology, accepted 13 February 2011.)

Scientists and researchers are coming out of the closet revealing great pressure to remain silent by Big-Biotech, namely Monsanto, yet wanting to express their concern regarding GMO consumption. These scientists suggest the cumulative consumption of GMOs can cause many illnesses we are already seeing trend in our country in correlation with the introduction of these pathogens. These health issues include: allergies (sometimes deadly, often extremely debilitating), diabetes, cancer, infertility, asthma, early puberty, Parkinson’s, Crohn’s and Colitis disease (to name a few potential hazards of eating GMO food). There is also concern for pesticide replication in the gut bacteria or even our own DNA rendering the human body a virtual pesticide factory and one that is not known to be reversible. Only one study has been done to-date in 2004 and indeed the pesticide (and the gene Monsanto has put into the food supply) did survive into the DNA of the gut bacteria of those tested; they had Round Up Ready gut bacteria that can’t be killed by Round Up pesticides. Add to this, the idea that there may be hundreds of different compounds that change levels of expression that are new at the DNA level yet have never been tested and we have a large and potentially, (and proven to be so on lab rats and other livestock) grave problem for humans who consume GMOs.

Are we altering our very own precious gut bacteria throughout North America by eating GMO soy and corn (the two GMO products that have a specific DNA resultant)? Might these genes transfer to our own DNA reeking havoc on our own DNA, in our own cells? These are questions Jeffery Smith of the Institute of Responsible Technology poses in his talk on GMOs that can be found at http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/Everything-You-Have-To-Know-about-Dangerous-Genetically-Modified-Foods-September-2009.

Because there is no proper labeling of GMOs and the effects are not always immediate, as was the case in one instance with GMO L-tryptophan, it’s hard to trace the correlation between GMO consumption and these illnesses. While not ruling out other contributing factors, it’s fair to say we should know for sure that GMOs are safe to eat before introducing them to the food supply but we don’t. Which begs the question: What’s the rush?

That’s exactly what Dr. Don Huber, a scientist studying plant diseases in the U.S. and around the world and one who spent 35 years at Purdue University as Professor Emeritus of plant pathology asked. He did this via snail mail in a letter to the USDA and Tom Vilsack calling an impending approval of GMO corn a potential 911 situation. Dr. Huber warned of the discovery of a new pathogen and a possible link between Roundup Ready (GMO) corn and soybeans and severe reproductive problems in livestock as well as widespread crop failure. Less than 3 weeks later, the Obama administration approved 2 new Roundup Ready GMO crops (set to be planted this spring), the first plantings of which, alfalfa, has already begun.

Many countries in Europe have started the process of banning GMOs. Early on, because “It hasn’t been proven safe”, Europe banned rBHT. Unfortunately, America’s stance on this is “It hasn’t been proven dangerous.” and so continues to allow it. In fact, regarding GMOs in general, the FDA has basically said, if the Biotech companies say its safe we will allow it into the food supply without notification. This statement was made while FDA scientists themselves expressed an overwhelming consensus that GMOs might create allergens, toxins, nutritional problems and new diseases. They urged their superiors to require long-term studies. But in 1992, Michael Taylor, then in charge of policy at the FDA and former Monsanto lawyer, systematically removed these scientist’s concerns from the documents concerning the efficacy of releasing GMOs into the food supply. The end result of this debate concluded with America’s current assessment system of GMOs as outlined by the FDA and it goes something like this: It’s the Biotech company’s responsibility to evaluate their foods and if they believe these foods are safe than the FDA understands they’ve evaluated them as safe, no further questions. The fact that the FDA is never implicated in saying directly that they as an agency understand them as safe should be noted. Later Mr. Taylor became vice president for Monsanto. He got his reward and we got a further polluted food system.

More and more, the public who investigate, learn that there has yet to be any proper testing done on humans for the safety of consuming these manipulated foods; the little data known suggesting they do not pose a health threat stems from scientists working for biotech firms; conflict of interest in the world of GMO safety runs deep.

Consider this: In the past, when a farmer planted a seed and it cropped, he took the seed from the best of his harvest and replanted it. GMO seeds, however, do not rebloom and a new seed must be planted every time. So a farmer planting with GMO seeds needs to purchase a new seed every time. Each time a farmer purchases a new seed he pays a royalty for that seed. Who gets paid that royalty along with Monsanto? Why the USDA, the very organization that is responsible for deeming the safety and effectiveness of GMO seeds in our food supply. Uh, Watson, I think we have a problem…

Please Note:

President Obama made three key appointments: Head of Agriculture, Islam A. Siddiqui to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Siddiqui is a pesticide lobbyist and Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, an agribusiness-lobbying group that represents Monsanto; Head of the USDA, Tom Vilsack, former lawyer for Monsanto; Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan, also with known ties to Monsanto. Subsequently Kagan went to bat for Monsanto regarding GMO alfalfa, one of the most controversial GMO products to-date.

It should be noted, that much movement for Monsanto and GMO happened under the Bush administration too. During that time, via WikiLeaks, (the controversial non-profit that publishes leaked private, secret and classified information) there was reported pressure from the US on the French Government when France wanted to ban GMOs. Though Ireland, Brussels and Germany along with Peru (10 year ban) have all recently said “No” to GMOs, pressure from Big Biotech on the United Nations to thwart the efforts of countries from going GMO-free is fierce. Even Indian farmers with little rights or means have become activists in the face of the large, monopolizing company, Monsanto. They too do not want GMOs yet their country continues to allow it.

So What Are A People To Do?

The current GMO foods on the market today are seemingly easy to identify until you take into account the many ways they are proliferated into foods via derivations. For instance, soy, a common GMO food with 85-90% of all soy grown in America as GMO, can be found in the form of soy lethicin, soybean oil, soy protein, not to mention the obvious soy variations: milk, sauce, meat, etc…This can be said for many of the current GMO fare today and so ingredient’s checking is very important on one’s GMO-free pursuit. And please remember all non-organic meat and dairy is derived from livestock feeding on GMO supplements that transports to the products derived from these animals. It doesn’t matter how “cage free”, “range free” “sustainable” the packaging reads, if they say “natural” and don’t say “organic” they are most likely feeding from GMO corn and soy.

According to the Organic Consumer’s Association, “2/3rds of Whole Foods Market’s $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called “natural” processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs”. Many, if not most, of Whole Foods Market’s prepared foods contain GMO ingredients. And these days, when I see the word “Natural”, I pretty much understand its code for GMO.

That Said, Here Are The Following Key GMO Foods To Avoid:

Cotton (used in vegetable cooking oils)
*Avoid all non-organic vegetable oils and verify sources for organic vegetable oil
Hawaiian Papaya (and now, even most papaya from Hawaii should be avoided)
Sugar Beets (sugar from sugar beets used in many products since 2008 in America)
Crooked Neck Squash
Some variations of zucchini

The list is always growing and changing. I encourage you to stay up-to-date.

Currently, as mentioned above, the first field of GMO alfalfa has been planted even though 93% of all alfalfa grown in America requires no pesticides and even though 23 million pounds of toxic herbicides will be sprayed in communities across the country, for the first time ever, and annually thereafter. Watson, I think we’ve lost it!

The issue with alfalfa is far more sinister with its vulnerability to wind transportation and cross-pollination. Hence it’s fair to consider GMO alfalfa count contaminate all alfalfa rendering organic alfalfa a thing of the past and causing huge issues with organically raised livestock.

It All Comes Down To Money, My Dear….

One may understand, from a business perspective, the effective moneymaking strategy involved when you are a company that owns a seed, the patent and makes money off the pesticides required to grow the seed. However, one also quickly realizes, if one hasn’t suspected this already, that America is driven by Big Business and Big Business is less concerned with the health and welfare of Americans themselves and all about the bottom line.

Initially, a key selling point for GMO crops seemed altruistic enough but is quickly losing steam, as its promise proves hollow. This would be the argument that GMOs are the answer to global food shortage. In fact, from the start, the opposition to GMOs argued for the effectiveness and efficacy of sustainable, local organic farming as a far better option and this is in fact gaining recognition as a viable answer.

Because there is no labeling one has to familiarize oneself with GMO products and derivations to identify which items include them. A good rule of thumb is to avoid all processed foods and anything that is not 100% organic. The USDA supposedly allows 0.05% of GMO contamination in organic foods but recently I read it was 0.09% and again, 0.5%. Point being, try to find farmers at local markets who are not surrounded by large GMO fields and scrutinize labels on packaged foods.

I have found some foods with “organic” on the box may still contain GMO ingredients. I have also found by calling a producer, that while they list a non-organic highly GMO ingredient, they source from GMO producers and have sent me their contact info for my own investigating. Large corporations sometimes buy smaller, organic companies so it’s a good idea to consistently check ingredient lists. Get proactive; this is definitely the age of self-advocacy when it comes to the food we eat.

Finally, there is a PLU system printed on those little stickers stuck to fruits and vegetables. It reads like this:

Conventional 4011
Organic 94011
GMO 84011

This article does not discuss the impact of GMOs on the environment, our bee population in particular nor the animal population in general. If you are inspired to learn more about GMOs and/or voice your desire for GMO-free food, please see the following wonderful organizations (to name just a few):

The Center For Food Safety’s True Food Network:

Institute for Responsible Technology
http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/Everything-You-Have-To-Know-about-Dangerous-Genetically-Modified-Foods-September-2009 ( a video education on GMOs by Jeffery Smith)
*They also recommend checking statistics at http://www.usda.gov.

Organic Consumers Association

Non-GMO Project

The non-GMO shopping guide. Click and download.

Label GMOs: It’s Our Right To Know- An Initiative For The 2012 CA Ballot

And GMO Free Southern California on Facebook

Mercola on GMOs

*Most of these sites have active Facebook presence too.

*Developments and changes are constant in the GMO/GMO-free world. Just yesterday, the Organic Consumers Association announced Cypress, Greece just passed legislation insisting that GMO food be placed on separate shelves from non-GMOs…Way to go, Cypress!



Did you know that 93% of all the alfalfa planted by farmers in the U.S. is grown without the use of any herbicides?


Why? Because alfalfa hay grows in dense stands that crowd out weeds, and regular mowing effectively controls them and the need for herbicides. This little-cited fact remains buried deep within the 2,400 pages of USDA’s GM alfalfa Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was released in December 2010.


While many strong arguments exist to counter USDA’s GM alfalfa safety claims, the single, most important counter-claim is that planting GM alfalfa will result in millions of pounds of toxic herbicides being sprayed in communities where farmers currently use no herbicides at all.


Excerpted from The Center for Food Safety

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Shopping Organic 101

The Importance Of Becoming Your Own Food Advocate

In 2001, the USDA food pyramid was cited for portraying an imbalanced food plan grossly influenced by the dairy and meat lobbyists. This pyramid instructed decades of nutritionists, medical professionals and school food plans.  As a result it wreaked havoc on the average American body.  The new pyramid, while slightly improved, sadly still reveals an unclear and unhealthy approach to diet and lifestyle and is still influenced by Big Agro.

It’s no secret that food is big business but the far-reaching effects on our health as a populace is just now becoming clear as we witness increased illness and obesity within our nation.  Recently I read a comment on facebook stating that the baby boomer generation is not aging well.   I agree with his statement and feel we’ve come to expect rapid deterioration and disease as the given way “out” of life.  But this need never be.  Baring unforeseen incident, we can truly live “Happy, Healthy, Dead” (my favorite mantra), determining a time to lay ourselves down to final rest.  This requires reverence and respect for our bodies and that means getting proactive rather than deferring to politicians and marketers to feed us the healthy food that I believe is our birthright.

Often on the go, with easy access to seemingly infinite food choices, we sometimes lose track of how these foods came to be available to us 24/7, year round.  But if we take time to get informed, we may find our food choices and lifestyle changes as a result.  We may find what we thought was abundance of healthy options packaged with labels reading “whole” and “natural” are really masked empty calories, chemicals and nutrient-raided fair similar to fast foods.  By taking the reins out of the hands of others, we become our own best food advocates.

Least Footprint Eating.

I’m a big fan of “least footprint eating”.  This means growing and buying as much local, seasonal, non-packaged, non-processed foods as feasible.  It means the closer the food is to its original form and natural casing, the better.  Shop farmer’s markets when possible and find the best food co-ops or organic markets in your area, preferably those that support local food procurers and farmers. You’ll generally find that employees working in these markets actually know about whole and healthy foods and can do more than point you down the donut aisle.  This is a sign that management educates its employees, taking seriously the business of healthy eating and not just the business of food.  Remember, bigger is not always better.  Unless a food store shows true response to product inquiry and concern and implements programs that illustrate the use of third party checks and balances to verify the quality of their foods, steer clear of its aisles.

Do your best to avoid large food chains that offer little organic fare and avoid organic brands that produce solely for large scale commercial chains.  These brands have a history of recall for items that do not meet USDA Organic standards.

While “least footprint eating” is a good guideline I understand some packaged and prepared foods are hard to avoid.  That said, always choose organic when available, though keep in mind the term “organic” has become grossly compromised over the years.   Today, for example, under the label “organic” certain levels of arsenic in organic chicken meat are permissible according to the FDA.  Non-organic casing for use with organic sausage was recently approved; you will not see this on the label.  The list of infractions goes on and on.  A modicum of familiarity with the product lines from which you buy and the quality of their ingredients is advised.

If You’re Unsure About Something, Don’t Be Afraid To Ask.

If you question the use of an ingredient or food preparation method, don’t be afraid to call or email the company directly to investigate.  I’ve had great success with this kind of outreach and have even managed to persuade one bread maker to switch to organic ingredients and another dessert company to investigate the source of its chocolate chips.

Responsible food producers will respond with honesty; Chino Valley Ranchers recently confirmed to me by email that yes, their eggs were washed with bleach before making it into the marketplace.  But don’t fault Chino Valley Ranchers, this is an FDA mandated measure for all pasteurized eggs sold in markets.  Learn about egg purity and benefits and see if you can locate a local farmer that has pastured, unpasturized chicken eggs from chickens who are non-grain fed.

Some years ago, Ben and Jerry’s was faulted for stating their ice cream contained dioxin. Unfortunately, dioxins (toxic or carcinogenic hydrocarbons that occur as impurities in herbicides) have proliferated our lands and migrate in the fatty parts of animals.  They are in every animal product, organic or not, so I applaud Ben and Jerry’s for disclosing this fact, though the general public misunderstood their good intention and some boycotted their product in reaction.  What I would like to know is whether Ben and Jerry’s will use the supposed latest in technology: “edible antifreeze” designed to thwart ice crystals that form on ice cream that sits in the freezer and not requiring labeling.  Personally, I’d want to know if I was consuming this protein, called gelatin hydrolysate.  But the FDA does not mandate labeling of genetically modified foods.  Again, going back to the “least foot print eating” approach, I would suggest making your own ice cream.  A delicious recipe combines raw milk from grass fed cows, seasonal berries and BE stevia.  And a dairy-free option can be made with coconut milk.  It’s simple and fun to make and the best part about it is that you can remain confident of the ingredients you’re ingesting.

Beware also that many brands may read organic but this does not bar the foods from being produced or packaged in other countries.  Recently I noted that Alaskan Wild Salmon sold at Vons was packaged and sauced in China.  Consider this: the shipping time, the many hands on the foods, the varying temperatures…In the end ask yourself: What value am I really getting from eating a food that’s been through this kind of handling?   And it’s not just with commercial companies if you consider Whole Foods an alternative market.  In 2008, Whole Foods was exposed for producing their  “California Vegetable Blend” frozen vegetables in China.  Whole Foods Organic Certification Manager, Joe Dickson, assures that China adheres to strict organic standards commensurate with America.  Having had a lavender sachet company that made items in Shanghaii, I can say I’m dubious of this claim.  Aside from fumigation or other food safety shipping regulations effecting foods shipped across borders, there’s the simple concern for food that travels this distance; I just don’t think this is what nature intended and it certainly steers far from my “least footprint eating” methodology.  Always check packaging for the “Made in America” label.

Large non-organic food producers now own many smaller organic food-producing companies.  This new merging may affect the quality and types of ingredients in products you’ve used in the past so never stop reading labels; you could find a favorite marinara sauce once sugar-free is no longer.

By following the “least footprint eating” approach you might choose to make a healthy tomato sauce at home and forgo the burden of keeping up with potentially changing labels or compromised quality.   Even your organic pre-cut oats, having been cut four months prior, present rancid PUFAS.  This could prompt you to find organic whole, uncut, raw oat groats that arrive in burlap and have not undergone complex packaging and processing procedures before reaching your table.  By using the “least footprint eating” method as your compass to a healthy diet, you may eventually discover a minimized dependence on pre-packaged and processed foods overall.

Being Your Own Food Advocate Goes Beyond Super Market Doors.

A recent alarm spread through local farmer’s markets in Los Angeles when several farmers whom advertised their fare as being organic were spotted purchasing and reselling commercial produce. I recommend getting to know the farmers you procure from, ask them what methods of pest diversion they use and how they treat their soil.  If they choose biodynamic farming over organic farming, find out why.  Most farmers who truly practice organic or biodynamic farming are eager to share their methods and knowledge and are usually proud of their farms.  If your farmer claims he doesn’t know or is reticent to speak about his practices, keep walking.  And if a farm is close enough for a visit, ask to come by sometime and see where the food you are eating is being grown.  Again, a farmer with nothing to hide should welcome the request.

If you procure from farmers who are not certified for growing organics ask them why.  They may not be large enough to carry the expense of a certificate or they may have valid alternative growing methods that do not fall within the organic guidelines and can share their practices and beliefs.  Unfortunately, due to wind transported pesticides and genetically engineered seed cross pollination from surrounding commercial farms, some farmers find their produce compromised and can no longer qualify for Organic certification.  Ask questions, investigate; know your local growers.

Being your own food advocate is the gateway to an abundance of health and well-being.  Whole, enzymatically intact, real and delicious foods are thankfully available to us if we only know how to identify them.

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