Continuing our theme of making small changes to create big impact on our lives, and on removing artificial foods from our diets, I would like to address Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs). Genetic modification is a process whereby the genes of one species of plant or animal are inserted into the genes of another in order to give that plant or animal certain positive traits. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) can be created with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or humans.
The problem with genetic modification is that it cuts across species lines and, therefore, can have many unintended consequences on organisms. This is because no one knows what reaction the insertion of a foreign gene into an organism will cause. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that genetically modified foods can cause severe illnesses, allergies, asthma, and cancer. In a well-publicized case, in 1994, Calgene came out with a tomato called the FlavrSavr Tomato, which was meant to look fresh long after being picked. The tomato was eventually recalled because it did not taste good. However, in studies, it had been shown that the FlavrSavr Tomato caused stomach lesions in rats.
To avoid GMOs, buy organic. Products which are certified organic are not allowed to contain GMOs. Also look for products which state “Non-GMO” on the label. Finally, avoid products which typically contain GMOs, such as:
- Sugar beets
- Dairy products with rBGH or rBST, which are genetically engineered hormones designed to increase milk production.
For more information on GMOs, check out:
- Andrew Kimbrell, Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food
- Robyn O’Brien with Rachel Kranz, The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick—and What We Can Do About It
- Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Modified Foods You’re Eating
- Center for Food Safety—www.centerforfoodsafety.org.
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There are phytonutrients in plants called flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties. Cocoa is full of flavonoids called flavonols. Research has shown that the flavonols in cocoa help prevent heart disease and stroke because they prevent fatlike substances from clogging the arteries. Cocoa is also rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps preserve normal muscle and nerve function, and keeps heart beating normally. The key thing is making sure you consume small quantities of high quality dark chocolate—70% cocoa or higher (the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar).
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