A 4: Where to start? We'll tell you our stories, then we'll tell you our credentials on assessing the health risks which are the same as yours- critical thinking and fact-checking. It's our hope that having this example will help you if you need to know more about our faith in sources used in this site, and also if you want to read about people having to defend how they know what they know like you do! We'll also tell you that all the usual supposed experts have let us down and that we're not going to go along with their GMO-baloney. All that in one FAQ makes for a long page. I put in red subject headers so you can read what matters to you.
Ernie lost his allergies he was plagued with all his life the second month of last Spring 2009- exactly when he cut out a majority the GMO's in his diet. It was amazing. He used to be so frustrated. How many of you have sneezed in the middle of some inconvenient time uncontrollably like during a funeral or at a quiet restaurant or during a dramatic part of a movie in the theater? What about when you can't breathe or your nose won't stop running and you can't even stop it to fall asleep? Allergies can be crippling- and people don't understand what you're going through if they or their family members don't have them. Now imagine that in the middle of allergy season after your lifetime of misery during this time of year they just stopped. He had more bad days in 2010 than 2009 than last year, but it was still one of the best seasons he's ever had since childhood. A handful of days compared to relentless bouts for months. Tell people you know with allergies about this, and give it a try if that somebody you know is you. If you are suffering and there is any chance at all you can have it END, you owe it to yourself to try this and we'll help you one-on-one if you need us.
I began to believe that poor immunity and allergies are something not eating GMO's might reduce or reverse after noticing I was feeling better and seeing Ernie have relief from his allergies coinciding with a major change in diet. Allergic reactions as an immune system response, and the multiple intersections between food allergies and hay fever, are not things I understand. However, WebMD talks about histamines, antihistamines, Imunoglobulin E, and a lot of what I only understood were defense and/or overreaction by cells in response. But could I just use WebMD? No one here believes everything they read online- and this is our health!
We no-GMOs have to research and trust people including ourselves when we are in the minority among 'experts.' So many experts are failing us when it comes to GMOs. We are the first to see the warning signs of a health epidemic all around us, and as more follow, our numbers will grow. Remember- GMOs haven't been tracked and the makers fight against labeling for that very reason- to keep GMO health-risks a secret. They have only been in our food supply for part of our generation and that of our kids, escalating dramatically in the last decade to this current contamination estimate of 80% of prepared foods. I for one would like to see people catch up to the reality of the situation before more damage is done that can't be undone. For that, we have to not just avoid GMOs, but some of us are going to have to get the majority to act. There are many ways to do this, participating in this project is one example. If we merely keep trying not to eat them but don't demand change, the GMO industry will grow and continue to infect our world until there are no practical options beyond GMOs. So we will be up against the majority at first and the only way to help sway the public to look at the evidence is to show how the majority can be wrong and the minority can be right. Every new idea begins with the minority- so every right idea was at one time in opposition to everyone! Person by person, our numbers will grow. When we have a few more doctors prescribing GMO-free diets, and a few more brands that advertise non-GMO, and stores and restaurants with our window cling or a sign they create themselves, the tables will start to permanently turn. Until that time, all of us have no resources but this minority of folks speaking out that we are a part of -and good information will be separated from the bad we consumers that make it our business to know. It has been difficult. Ernie and I have had to dig and dig when every simple question we had seemed to have countless layers. Now we are passing along what we know to others so that they may do less research. But you will notice that we give all the tools we can but leave the responsibility to make yourself assured with you, as it should be. And so you will have to know who and what to trust for information. I hope this helps with that by giving you a start on your research. We can be completely confident in the information we provide because everything has a source that can be checked by anyone.
So, how do I know if WebMD is a trustworthy source in this instance? I didn't realize doctors use WebMD as much as they do, but I have heard from some I know that it has replaced other forms of diagnostic and informational catalogs that were commonly subscribed to. However, like any information that is interpreted for us, we still have to be critical and to do that, we have to have a knowledge base. Otherwise, we are just taking someone else's word for it. The problem is, WebMD is not your trusted physician. It is a collaborative effort to sum up what is generally understood in the health-care field for laypeople, including what needs more study, and what is not to be concluded because its outside the scope of the research that has been done. There is a value in knowing a person and coming to trust him or her- a real doctor, not a virtual one- because you have evaluated and are satisfied that they are qualified. We are not supposed to trust WebMD or any information service implicitly. Instead we see if they give us answers that are consistently proven out with other sources and experience and in some circumstances if the information helps to predict. So in my opinion, although WebMD is good, it takes some qualification on the reader's part- and that is certainly met by having a degree in medicine, although some people can read the articles and judge them intelligently without a degree because they do have a foundation, such as those who have been active in their own treatment choices. These articles are written so that we can all understand them if we spend some time looking up the pieces of information we need, as we go. But understanding what it says and being able to judge its accuracy are worlds apart. Regardless, it can always offer you awareness, because your doctor needs your participation.
You might have to defend your chosen experts as your sources of information. How many of you have found yourself having to defend your reasons for not eating GMOs? You start with your evidence from sources. Then you have to defend those sources. And if the person argues that they don't know if those sources are good enough, ultimately you have to defend your ability to analyze the information for yourself- to people that absorb everything on the television that is presented as a majority belief as fact. I'm sorry. But this is why I'm going over how I know what I know- because maybe you're in that boat with me. This is the example of me trusting Dr. Pizzorno on WebMD as he gives a thumbs-up to Jeffrey Smith's review of the GMO health-risk science.
I trust Jeffrey M. Smith / the Institute for Responsible Technology because I was able to verify what he said. The fact that he goes so far out of his way to help his readers verify his information was a clue in it of itself that he was reputable. I had access to his sources, and I looked up a lot of things that I read in his book. Another person that says he spot-checked his facts, who represented the naturopathic field on WebMD until recently, is Joe Pizzorno, Jr., N.D. in this blog article on WebMD. The merit of showing an article that only sources Mr. Smith's book Genetic Roulette (which GMO-Free Portland! uses as one of our foundation bodies of work, including Smith's/IRT's two pamphlets) is augmented beyond most singularly-sourced articles because
1. The N.D. said he spot-checked and did a PubMed search (so he ran it through his own search engine of medical journal articles which give the authors' summaries of their own work, and verified enough sources or facts that he was satisfied) 2. His blog is a summary of a thorough book, yes, but it is also his editorial on what the significance is now that he has been personally convinced Mr. Smith was correct in all he said.
I am satisfied that the doctors I know that vouch for WebMD as a source are qualified to do so- and therefore would have well-placed trust in an N.D. who proves in his article that he has thoroughly checked Mr. Smith's book for accuracy ... but I have the redundant QC because Smith's book has more than sufficient evidence for his claims, in the peer-reviewed literature he cites. I can't, as I said, only go by the fact that WebMD posted Mr. Pizzorno's blogs for years. I am judging only this article with some degree of faith in his credibility. What I didn't take on faith, I had already researched and continue to research. I read some of the main studies Mr. Smith uses, so I know he didn't take an idea out of context from the researchers' papers. In the last two years I have also done searches similar to what Dr. Pizzorno says he did, looking for any information that supports, augments, or contradicts the conclusions Smith reaches. When a previous version of the GMO Health Risks brochure that I had was updated and now includes exactly what I had been adding to my discussion of the subject with others, my trust in Jeffrey Smith's material was raised to that of utter confidence in him as a source I can quote. I know now that what I think is the most important information is being looked at by him.
There is a process in which we must evaluate who is qualified to give us information we don't have so that beyond a point we can just take the advice of our expert. Mr. Smith could be replaced by an alien for a week and say false things and I would know he was not himself- because his work has a particular professional quality I depend on and because I'm familiar with the subjects he talks about. Besides facts, he lays down arguments for what those facts mean- why some studies are better than others and how consensus does not always protect us from misinformation. I am qualified to judge whether he has 'proven' his point to the extent that I am convinced. All of us are qualified to judge whether we have been convinced or not! We cannot put blind faith in anyone, and no one worth their salt wants us to. I am certain Mr. Smith wants us to turn to him as an expert because we can put his words to our own mental test. That said, today, I have complete confidence in what he has to say in his brochure GMO Health Risks, his books, and the interviews and lectures I've heard or seen. I'm sorry the world is going to put us in a position to defend our right to safe food and to insist good science is carried out and not accept the majority consensus if its based on information that comes from a farcical imitation of research. But you have to hold your head up as an expert if you get to the point of knowing GMOs are dangerous, whether others around you understand or not. Find us on Facebook ("GMO-Free Portland") if you need some folks around you that belong to this community -because you aren't alone.
I have seen that the non-GMO guide is accurate to a high degree, however, occasionally we find a product listed as GMO-free that we do not yet trust. We don't use the list of green-lighted brands except to identify candidates, which we verify online or on packages. Ernie found as he was researching more foods, brands, and ingredients we can and cannot have to include smaller local brands. The sure way to use this booklet, besides verifying the green-lighted foods, is to also verify the bad ingredients list. However, if you run across something you don't see on the list and do not know what it is, you cannot rule it as okay because its not listed. Check the corn allergen list on Jenny Connors' Corn Allergens website and if it is not there, do a search to find out what it is made from. Keep in mind that this may come up with only some of the source foods. The moment you find that it is sometimes made with corn or another approved GMO food (including test fields in the US because of contamination being widespread and untested) unless it is marked Organic, can add the ingredient to the booklet yourself. Remember, when we're dealing with new information, we can only prove something false, we cannot prove it to be true. And they make more and more and more things out of corn every day. Why eat things with all that crazy stuff anyway?
Here's a new deception we face: Paul Newman's Organics and Organic Bistro are not USDA organic products if they don't have that seal, so if they use some or all organic ingredients, they are NOT non-GMO. The Cornucopia Institute has filed legal complaints against these folks in fact. I knew that USDA has made it illegal to write "Organic" in reference to anything but specific ingredients anywhere on the label of food if they weren't certified USDA "Made with Organic Ingredients", "70% organic," "100% organic, "etc. So I was shocked to find out they could put it in the product line or brand name as a loophole! I'd been eating GMO-filled Newman-o's and enjoyed some GMO-fed chicken in my Organic Bistro chicken pot pie. Well, I don't need that junk food anyway- but thanks for nothing.
So you get it, already ! I know. We are all making experts of ourselves. But doesn't it make you mad that we are having to form a peer group of people qualified to judge information because none exist? Experts the world is offering us are: heads of a government food regulation agency that call something that is unnatural, novel, unpredictable and unstable, for all intents and purposes, the same thing as a natural lifeform, or heads of a powerful seed distributor that buys up all the small seed companies to create a monopoly while being taken to court around the world and having to settle bribery and bullying suits, or university Deans with funding sources to consider who do not allow research that might reveal some bio-engineering to be unsafe, or all those scientists that aren't doing clinical studies on people that need to be done, or who cannot release their concerning results due to patent loopholes meaning the pro-GMO findings are completely loaded, and the media we've watched botch the alfalfa Supreme Court ruling or pull stories like Fox did on rBST. Well, we know they are NOT experts as long as the word "expert" means someone we can turn to for the truth. Welcome to globalism.
Eventually, we will be a network of peers that is able to bring this tipping point of public opinion. And something else- these people that most of the US is counting on to behave like experts will have some explaining to do soon! When GMOs are not "Generally Regarded as Safe" (the made-up, self-referential, meaningless and scary term used by our government you can find on food regulatory agency websites) but rather, "Generally Regarded as a Monumental Tragedy," all these people will lose their jobs. So what? By then I'll hardly care- I'll just want my Earth back and human health back to something I at least had hope for. I'd much rather have GMOs historically remembered as "Generally Regarded as a Close Call" we learned a lasting lesson from including that we can never stop watching the watchers.
I read about how GMO's are causing allergies where there were none before. There are two general connections I can draw personally:
1. A growing number of medical professionals strongly believe that altering the balance of the bacteria in the gut will have an effect on immunity for better or worse. We have 'friendly' and 'unfriendly' bacteria and this balancing is dynamic. A healthy gastrointestinal system is paramount to good overall health- but if you have bacteria that code for Bt toxin (an insecticide) like I talk about in Q 2, who knows how your body is handling it? If we ourselves are being altered, how our bodies function may change- allergies may indicate this is happening by chemical changes on a cellular level. And,
2. Could GMO's be triggering allergies because the body should defend us from them? The general defense mechanism comes from the interpretation that something is foreign / new / does not belong. GMO's have been very allergenic and people have developed allergies to strictly GMO soy, and some who have never been allergic to normal soy become so some time after they have become allergic to the GMO soy that was new to their diet. It isn't surprising- GMO genes are called 'novel.' GMO's are, by definition, foreign - and allergies are the irritation felt when the body is fighting something it perceives as foreign.
We believe GMO's are poison- and possibly long-lasting bacterial manufacturers of poison living in us as well. There is a study at I link to- a red update message at the bottom of the updates tab that shows that GMO genes went from digested food to the previously normal bacteria in the digestive tract. This isn't unexpected- it is the nature of how GMOs are created, which is also the essence of what they are. And incidentally, the study was aiming to see if gene transfers would happen from eating GMO soy, but they concluded that the 3 of 7 cases they observed of this happened before the study. You know- the GMO bacteria were just living in nearly half of a small sampling of people already. Which half are you? ~shudder~ Anyway, this is the inherent risk- the very nature by design of GMOs to infect any living thing potentially- and predictably. There will be more attention paid to this phenomenon soon, I'm sure. Watch the five minute segment in the Future of Food 25 minutes into the movie (find the link to view it free of charge on the resources page). You will find it was foreseeable as a scenario. More evidence is archived in the Updates tab in links 7-9 here.
We feel better since we've stopped eating them. I initially lost weight but I gained it back after discovering non-GMO convenience food that have a ton of ingredients. There is such thing as organic junk food- a lot of it in fact. I lost my way and I didn't see it coming. Before I was naturally losing weight because I wasn't eating junk anymore. Now I've realized what happened as we found these new products and didn't think about how junky they were even because all we saw is that they were organic. So I changed my diet back to the good things- getting rid of organic convenience food. Not eating GMOs is one path to having a healthier diet that if you latch on to it completely including avoiding the convenience foods out there that are non-GMO, you will be forced to eat healthily. It began a chain of events that are leading to better health and I assume will be weight loss soon. I lead a healthier life- and if you are struggling with weight you don't crave an easy fix like some think people do. You crave a change inside that will take the disheartening internal dialog cease- where everything you 'should' do feels like this big oppressive mass dragging you down. I started being more active - and that came naturally when I began caring what I ate and was buying fresh, whole foods. I hang out in fresh, bright, quality stores (or store sections) instead of dingy big-brand chains in the unpronounceable ingredient aisles in the center of the store. I plan meals to include.... vegetables!
I've gotten more fit in some ways but I haven't lost weight like Ernie did...yet. I have to be patient even now that I'm getting 30-90 minutes of exercise a day because I have a very long plateau when gaining or losing weight. By the way, when I say exercise and use the word 'active,' don't laugh, but I mean playing Frisbee. We play catch and now I chase and hop and throw pretty far- but it was easy to begin just passing it back and forth in an easy motion. It got me outside. We intend to play ultimate Frisbee on a team in a year. I am oddly serious about it. I have become slightly addicted. And that, to someone wishing for willpower to exercise and be more active, is the Golden Goose! So if I do lose weight it will have begun with not eating GMO's but was furthered by several lifestyle changes that followed naturally from the changing diet including the sudden idea 'I'll play Frisbee!' I did stop gaining weight. But weight isn't everything. I can tell my body is more fit. I feel sick less often. I have more energy. I get outside a lot. I crave vegetables. Ernie's gotten compliments on looking more vibrant lately. Who wouldn't like that?
I hope you'll share your experiences with us, and maybe give us permission to share some of your writing with others anonymously, or tell everyone on Facebook at the page for "GMO-Free Portland." Thanks for reading.