Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates
In my 24-year practice of Integrative Medicine as a Doctor of Acupuncture, Oriental and Functional Medicine I’ve worked with several thousand patients. In that time our food system has radically changed. Unless you primarily eat organic, unprocessed, non-GMO foods, your health is adversely affected by these changes.
Conventional food today is inferior to the food of 25 years ago. It is more denatured, chemically processed, flavored and preserved, increasingly genetically modified, and loaded with addictive GMO ingredients like refined sugar and high fructose-corn syrup. Produce is grown with toxic pesticides and herbicides, animals are raised on GMO feed, hormones and antibiotics, and the FDA has approved the sale of unlabeled genetically modified fish. Filling your tummy with such food won’t meet your nutritional needs. These chemical and biological additives compromise your immune and hormonal systems and your health. They are incompatible with your body’s living system.
You are a living system, like any plant or animal, like the ocean or the earth itself. You are as affected by environmental conditions as any other part of nature. And you are most affected by what you put into your body on a regular basis. Understanding our compromised and contaminated food system is imperative. It can enable and motivate you to create a healthy lifestyle and achieve optimal health in an increasingly toxic world.
We’ve seen a dramatic rise in the last two decades of compulsive eating disorders, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and other diet-related maladies. The cause-and-effect connection between these proliferating ailments and our chemically corrupted and genetically modified food system is undeniable. Yet many people are uninformed or don’t want to be informed, and suffer avoidable health consequences. Unaware of the changes in our food system, millions eat poorly while trying to eat well, and become ill without knowing why.
The introduction of nine chemically altered types of gluten into our food system over the last 20 years has created a host of new health problems. Western hospital labs testing for the gluten-related autoimmune disease, celiac disease, routinely test for an immune sensitivity to just one type of gluten – alpha-gliadin. If you’re not sensitive to that particular gluten you’ll likely be told you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But you might actually have a sensitivity of gluten, celiac disease, or some other gluten-related autoimmune disorder, due to an immune sensitivity to any of the eight other types of gluten (beta, omega, glutinin, gluteomorphin, etc) not tested for.
Alternative practitioners like myself who specialize in autoimmune disorders test patients for all nine types of gluten. We work with a clinical immunology laboratory that specializes in functional immunology and autoimmunity, Cyrex Labs in Arizona. This more comprehensive test will show if you’re sensitive to, or have developed an autoimmune response to, any type of gluten.
The new chemically altered and genetically modified glutens were designed to hold denatured processed foods together and “enhance” their flavor. During digestion some glutens, like gluteomorphin, produce opioid peptides. These peptides trigger opioid receptors in the brain, producing pleasurable morphine-like effects. The natural impulse is to re-stimulate the opioid effect by eating more gluten. This can lead to compulsive overeating, gluten addiction, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and various autoimmune diseases. Gluten-based opioid addiction can be as hard to break as heroin addiction.
Natural gluten, the sticky part of organic wheat and corn, was harmless and nutritious twenty years ago to most of the population though there were cases of celiac disease but they were not as prevalent as today. The new hybrid chemically altered and genetically modified glutens are neither harmless nor nutritious. They come from Monsanto’s patented, genetically modified Round-Up Ready seeds, also known as Franken-seeds.
Monsanto’s GMO seeds are biologically integrated with the pesticide/herbicide glyphosate to grow crops that repel weeds and insects. They produce sterile seeds that can’t be used for future harvest, so farmers must buy new seeds every year, reducing their profits and enriching Monsanto. Because glyphosate infuses every cell of every plant grown from every GMO seed, it can’t be washed off and is consumed with every bite. GMO crops are sprayed with glyphosate during harvest to make the gluten more accessible.
Our glyphosate-infused food system is creating serious environmental and health problems. Independent studies show that GMO seeds, herbicides and pesticides contaminate local water supplies and deplete and destroy the soil, while weeds and insects become glyphosate-resistant within three years. The World Health Organization, and California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment have labeled Glyphosate a “probable carcinogen”. A recent study found high levels of glyphosate in 30% of mothers’ breast milk.
There is no single cause of gluten sensitivity and autoimmune disease. But many independent scientists and doctors in the field of immunology and autoimmune disease consider biologically and chemically modified foods, and glyphosate in particular, a probable cause of many gluten sensitivities and autoimmune diseases. Let’s take a closer look to see why.
Gluten sensitivity begins when the immune system identifies and marks a gluten protein as a chronic irritant or foreign invader, and attacks it, causing inflammation. This mark-and-attack response and the resulting inflammation are how the immune system protects the body from viruses, harmful bacteria, parasites, and abnormal, inorganic chemical toxins. GMO glutens contain inorganic chemical toxins in their cellular structure, and most likely trigger this immune response.
Regular consumption of marked gluten proteins exacerbates the gluten sensitivity, producing chronic inflammation. A dangerous shift occurs when the immune system “loses self-tolerance” and begins to mark, attack and destroy healthy cellular proteins near the original marked glutens at tissue sites, organs, and systems throughout the body. Escalating free radical damage destroys healthy tissues and cellular structures. This causes serious problems like immune dysregulation, hormone disruption, neuron death and the reduction of neurotransmitters in the brain. In time it produces debilitating conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Infertility and more. This is how food sensitivities turn a healthy protective immune response into a chronic degenerative condition called autoimmunity.
Unfortunately, autoimmunity only becomes diagnosable when an organ, structure or system is seriously damaged or compromised. Western Medicine treats autoimmunity with powerful pharmaceuticals like Prednisone, which shuts down the immune system to stop its destruction of the body. This can save a life. But these drugs also have progressive and dangerous side effects, kidney failure being just one. One man I know was put on Prednisone for two years and suffered kidney failure. He spent two more years on dialysis until a kidney was found for a transplant.
In my practice I’ve seen varying degrees of food, environmental and chemical sensitivity and autoimmunity. Some people can eat gluten for several days without recognizing symptoms. Others, exposed to just a crumb, may suffer severe symptoms. Children raised on chemically contaminated, genetically modified foods can develop compromised immune systems, making them particularly vulnerable to gluten sensitivities, autoimmune diseases, obesity, and other increasingly common food-related ailments.
An integrative approach – treating inflammation with alternative and lifestyle approaches and using pharmaceuticals when necessary – is the most effective way to treat food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, and countless other medical conditions. Teaching patients to recognize and understand the causes of their symptoms, and to effectively manage them through alternative and lifestyle means, is essential. I’ve seen patients with debilitating autoimmune ailments use an integrative approach to recover their health and get off prescription pharmaceuticals.
This article would be incomplete if it didn’t address another crucial factor related to our compromised and contaminated food system and all its environmental and health problems. This other factor is a powerful global system of corporate special interests. This system funds politicians who write laws, create policies and enact legislation that benefits corporate economic interests. It co-opts and corrupts to its purposes political and regulatory agencies intended to inform and protect citizens. It owns all major media, and it intentionally crafts and controls media content to cover up, misinform, distract, confuse, and shape and manage the public’s perceptions.
Let’s look at one powerful corporation to see how this system of special interests influences and infiltrates our most powerful political organizations and regulatory agencies, and shapes our laws and public policies in ways that harm our health and our planet.
Monsanto develops a promising GMO technology whose key ingredient, glyphosate, turns out to be dangerous to humans and the earth. Instead of acknowledging and resolving the problem, Monsanto chooses denial and cover-up. It pays an army of scientists to conduct bogus research studies “proving” that GMO foods, and glyphosate, are harmless. The corporate owned media pays its army of journalists to present Monsanto’s false conclusions as facts. It floods the public with misinformation and suppresses and refutes all evidence against GMO’s to discredit GMO critics and anti-GMO activists.
Meanwhile Monsanto lobbyists pour millions of dollars into the coffers of democratic and republican politicians who pass legislation favorable to Monsanto’s interests. In 2009 President Obama appoints Michael Taylor, former Monsanto vice president and lobbyist, as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of the FDA. In 2013 Taylor becomes head the FDA. The FDA declares GMO’s safe for human consumption, approves the sale of carcinogenic GMO (glyphosate-infused) foods, and bans medicinal herbs like chickweed, comfrey, ephedra, apricot seeds and medical marijuana.
In 2015, Congress passes the Dark Act banning mandatory GMO food labeling and allowing companies to label GMO foods as “natural”. The U.S. appoints former Monsanto lobbyist Islam Siddique as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) trade agreement. Clauses are written into the TPP absolving Monsanto of all liability for any harm their product may cause, banning GMO labeling internationally, and allowing Monsanto to sue for compensation any state or country that passes any law interfering with its profits. Through a similar process, many other clauses are included benefitting other corporations at the expense of the environment and the health and economic welfare of citizens worldwide. Meanwhile the proliferation of GMO’s in our food system makes us all guinea pigs and economic fodder for profit-driven multi-national corporations.
Today, due to all the above factors, the food we eat is medicine or poison that can make us ill or help keep us well. When you understand the nature of our corrupted food system, many ailments whose causes seem mysterious become comprehensible, and treatable through natural means like healthy dietary and lifestyle habits and alternative healing modalities.
So do the research and beware of corporate corrupted scientists. Educate yourself. Notice how what you eat affects your energy, your moods and your health. Wisely select the food you buy and put into your body. Don’t support a system that profits by selling food filled with chemicals, pesticides, hormones and other toxic ingredients. Buy and eat organic non-GMO foods that support your health, and support a sane, ethical, alternative economy that is good for your health and the health of the earth.
Despite all the above-mentioned factors, it’s still possible to achieve and maintain optimal health today. Healthy dietary and lifestyle choices and habits are your best health insurance. So take responsibility for what you eat and how you live. Take back your health, and your power!
An excellent resource for further reading: Institute for Responsible Technology