You Are What You Eat

Food makes body-mass:

Scientists today are able to take a sample from your hair and tell you precisely what form of carbonaceous material you eat the most of, and often even where this was grown. Because of our food manufacturing practices a lot of people in North America will have a high amount of grain carbons in their hair, particularly from corn or wheat. Corn, soy, and wheat are essential manufacturing goods and present in everything from a hamburger to a Twinkie.

Non-local food production has been utilized greatly in an effort to economically satisfy the growing demand for foods in industrial nations, and the environmental limitations of each region. This is something we will probably never avoid in full since a lot of our base stocks for foods, such as wheat and corn, are really only viably produced in certain regions and there is not economical to convert these open-field crops into indoor production. What we can do however, is try to reduce what long-distance food imports which can be produced indoors locally or at home. Many vegetables such as tomatoes or cucumber can be grown very successfully indoors, and most home produced vegetables will be able to ripen properly giving a significant nutritional value to you and your family.

Think of it this way: as you and your family live and grow, the molecules absorbed from the food you eat become skin, hair, blood, and assist biological functions. As children grow their bodies use molecules from their food to build bone and muscle, the quality of the foods and nutrient quantity will ultimately affect the health of you and your family for years to come. The advantage of indoor gardening to produce foods you know are healthy, free of pesticides, and properly matured is an advantage that will directly affect you, your family, and possibly further down your genetic lineage.

There have not been any studies which conclusively address the degrading of food as a result of modern practices that can adequately compare our current ‘supermarket’ models with the old way of produce stores and seasonal availability. What has been studied diligently are many isolated instances of vitamin deficiency from non-matured harvesting and the degrading of particular beneficial elements in produce as a result of long-distance transport. It is highly complex because food crops are not limited to vitamins and minerals as beneficial elements, but also acids, sugars, enzymes, and other biologically active organic compounds. Because of the complexity of the “whole picture” of food production, harvesting, transport, and storage, it may not even be possible for one study to address with certainty any benefit to home production, and the costs of a study to this degree would not be volunteered by any Corporation involved in modern food production as it could threaten their bottom line.

To give a good example of the funding for such research, there is an article on Google in which a company requested data to substantiate their argument to buy products from them because their locally produced food is healthier. The company offered $50 to have the researcher supply scientific data to invariably support their argument, and then enticed the researcher with “a good tip” if data to their advantage was provided. Upon completion the researcher could provide several case studies to support the companies marketing argument, and was given no more than $10 tip for hours of effort. In short the value of solid data to support than local production of food is beneficial over long-distance transported produce was worth a boggling $60.00 to the company.

Sometimes understanding an isolated notion requires looking at it from several angles. Environmentalists such as David Suzuki have spoken at length regarding the molecules which form the body and how they originate as our food, water, and air. As a simplified over-view it is comprehensible to a degree, but most food modern production is anything but simplified, and the average person would have to brush up significantly on their chemistry to realize exactly what is put into and onto our food in the process of production.

Pesticides and toxicity:

Toxicity of chemical residues on produce is an issue many people have concerns with today. When you buy produce at a supermarket there is no indication what chemicals were used to treat pest problems such as mold, noxious weed growth, or insects. We are reliant upon standardizations of production, acceptable chemical residues, and a great deal of laboratory tests the average person could hardly decipher let alone access in whole. Toxicity testing is isolated, and modern science is well aware that any test performed isolated in a laboratory is in no wise reproductive of reality. Furthermore what is questionable to many people in our current long-distance imported produce markets is whether or not the same standards applies for production in a foreign country as it does our own, and to what degree the produce is screened prior to sale.

Even in the case that a produce can be assured to be grown with the standards of Canada or America, and residues are within the legal range for human consumption, laboratory testing will never account for other compounds found in the aggregate of foods we consume, air we breathe, and water we drink. If one ingested compound is tested it may meet current standards, but what about the combination of compounds, the intermixing of reactive or reducing chemicals with compounds, or the resulting compounds after various stages of decay.

The US-FDA experienced shortages of staff which resulted in 95% of food manufacturing facilities not being inspected during the Bush Admin., and Canada’s listeria outbreak in 2008 has shattered some confidence in Canadian food inspection agencies as well. Chronic toxicity from a life-time of pesticide exposure and low-quantity consumption is bereft of data in most cases; and even “likely carcinogens” such as Imazalil are used on citrus fruits post-harvest regardless.

The bottom line for most people is health, and the only way to guarantee what you are consuming meets your own standards is to produce it yourself. I personally believe the US-FDA and Canadian FIA are working to ensure public health safety without jeopardizing the economy of food production entirely – yet as long as capital interests lobby for lower restrictions, manufacturers are responsible for supplying toxicological data, and acceptable limits of chemicals and toxic minerals keep raising, a person can not be entirely confident that there isn’t times or instances where questionable policies are adopted, inspections are missed, or toxicological data isn’t collected until there is a slice of results found to support the safety of a pesticide.

Genetically-Modified Food:

Capitalism and pharmaceuticals have conjured up a grotesque profiteering program called “genetically modified food” which has become the standard for many crops in North America and the UK.

The most popular modifications being Roundup-Ready (glyphosate resistant) and insect resistance (bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis gene added) have been concocted for several plant specie which contain one or the other gene modification. They are corn, soybean, and canola for the most part; yet future inclusions are sugar beet, sugar cane, sweet rice, and sweet corn.

Aside from issues such as lower yields and increases in herbicide applications, and the “farm mafia” Monsanto which has sequestered farmland in Canada due to Intellectual Property Rights from wind-driven pollinating of non-GMO canola crops (see Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser); there are some concerns around the globe regarding human health and genetic engineered products for human consumption. An incident in the 80’s where a Showa Denko genetically engineered product killed 100 people, permanently disabled 1500 people, and caused between 5000-10000 people to become sick was an early sign of transgene complications, and opened our eyes to the potential conflicts with GMOs. Even lesser side-effects such as allergies from insect-resistant cotton in India should be significant enough to realize that we might just be complicating our food and opening the doors to adverse health reactions with really no benefit to the production of food in some cases – and of minimal benefit to the consumer in most cases.

If all GMOs were bad for us, or dangerous at all to human health, certainly we would know by now – or so we hope. Fact is we have not consumed enough various GMO products, or consumed them long enough, to know exactly what the repercussions of some transgenes are. Nor for that matter can the assumption be made that if one GMO is safe all will be – there are many plausible options for GMO production and we have likely barely scratched the surface.

Regarding seeds purchasable through a retail garden centre; there are pretty good odds they are not GMOs. The intellectual property rights issue usually includes registration in order to track the use – and particularly restrict the seed collection – of GMO seed.

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