Posts tagged ‘allergies’

June 7, 2013

GMO Facts

Source: The Non-GMO Project

Frequently Asked Questions

Boy eating corn XSmallWhat are GMOs?
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.

Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

Are GMOs safe?
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.

Are GMOs labeled?
Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.

Where does the Non-GMO Project come in?
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization with a mission of protecting the non-GMO food supply and giving consumers an informed choice. We offer North America’s ONLY third party verification for products produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance (for more info, click here). Our strategy is to empower consumers to make change through the marketplace. If people stop buying GMOs, companies will stop using them and farmers will stop growing them.

Do Americans want non-GMO foods and supplements?
Polls consistently show that a significant majority of North Americans would like to be able to tell if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs (a 2012 Mellman Group poll found that 91% of American consumers wanted GMOs labeled). And, according to a recent CBS/New York Times poll, 53% of consumers said they would not buy food that has been genetically modified. The Non-GMO Project’s seal for verified products will, for the first time, give the public an opportunity to make an informed choice when it comes to GMOs.

How common are GMOs?
In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. Click here for a current list of GMO risk crops.

Why does the Non-GMO Project verify products that have a low risk of containing GMOs?
Some ingredients that seem low-risk may have less-visible high-risk ingredients.  Take, for example, dried fruit.  Raisins and similar fruit are sometimes packed with a small quantity of oil to keep them moist.  This oil, when used, is sometimes high-GMO-risk.  As such, it is critical that we do take the time to look carefully at ingredient spec sheets during the verification process, to ensure that risks like this are effectively mitigated, even in apparently low-risk products.

Contamination incidents have occurred with seemingly “low-risk” products (rice, starling corn, flax). Non-GMO Project Verification supports manufacturers in being able to quickly and proactively respond to unexpected contamination issues.

Verifying only high-risk products puts a heavy burden on consumers to know what products are at risk of containing GMOs.  Many people, even in the world of Natural Foods, don’t know what a GMO is, let alone which crops and processed ingredients are high-risk.  As such, labeling only products that contain high-risk ingredients could give an unfair competitive advantage to products that contain ingredients containing corn, soy, etc.  Taking the cereal aisle for our example, if we verified only high-risk products, a shopper might see the seal on a box of verified corn flakes, but not on the wheat-based cereal box next to them, produced with the same high standards by the same company. This could leave them thinking the corn flakes were non-GMO, but that they should avoid the wheat product, even though there’s no GMO wheat on the market.  Given the lack of understanding of the issue, this presents some serious issues.

Through verifying low-risk products, the Non-GMO Project’s work builds consumer interest and industry investment in Non-GMO, even for crops that aren’t genetically engineered yet.  Biotech is constantly working to patent and commercialize new organisms (salmon, apples, etc.), and the more companies that have committed to Non-GMO production, the more resistance these new developments will see prior to release.

What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment?
Over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops are also responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs:’ which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture, and are developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

How do GMOs affect farmers?
Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMOs therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States.

How can I avoid GMOs?
Choose food and products that are Non-GMO Project Verified! Click here to see a complete list.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

May 30, 2012

Is An Imbalance Of Omega 3 to Omega 6 Fats Cause For Concern?

YES!  If unchecked, the imbalance between the two omega fats can wreak havoc on our health and pave the way for life-destroying illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other inflammatory diseases.

Why is it so important to strike a balance between the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fats in our body? Studies showed that an out-of-balance diet that’s high in omega-6 fatty acids disrupts the balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory agents in the body, promoting chronic inflammation and elevating the risk of chronic health problem such as asthma, allergies, diabetes and arthritis.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids both utilize the same enzymes and transport systems in your body. When there are more omega-6 fats, greater amounts of inflammatory compounds will be created, and less enzymes will be available for omega-3 fats to create chemicals that are anti-inflammatory. What’s even more shocking is that high levels of omega-6 fatty acids can actually replace and reduce omega-3 fats.

In other words, omega-3 and omega-6 fats compete with one another in our body, and the presence of one greatly affects the behavior of the other. Although omega-6 fatty acids are essential for good health, researchers believe that when they cross a certain level,  they start to edge out omega-3 fats and diminish their benefits.

What does this mean to you? If your diet is low in omega-3 fats to begin with, and most of your foods are predominantly prepared with soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn or cottonseed oil, then you’re essentially fueling an inflammatory factory even though you may be eating so-called ‘healthy’ foods!

What are Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fats?

Ask just about anyone what Omega 3’s are and they will tell you “fish oil.” But omega-3 fats aren’t only found in fish, and they don’t consist of just one type of fatty acid. Omega-3 is actually a term referring to a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids. In this family, you will find a number of members but the most nutritionally notable ones are: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Omega 3 Fatty acids are known to support and protect:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Joint health
  • Improve circulation
  • Fat loss
  • Memory and learning
  • Cognitive decline
  • Optimal brain function
  • Age related eye damage
  • Positive mood /behavior
  • Healthy pregnancy
  • Developing fetuses & infants

Likewise, omega-6 fatty acids also consist of a group of polyunsaturated fats. The ones of concern are: linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA).

The Omega-6 Fat Family

Linoleic acid (LA)–  LA is the parent in the omega-6 family. It is considered an essential fatty acid for the body which must be obtained through one’s diet. However, it’s more likely that you’ve an oversupply rather than a lack of linoleic acid due to the high levels of this fatty acid in vegetable oils.

Arachidonic acid (AA)– Arachidonic acid comes mainly from animal sources such as meat, egg and dairy products. It can also be derived from the linoleic acids in vegetable oils. In the body, this long-chain omega-6 fatty acid is found in abundance in the muscles and brain. It has a close structure to DHA so it will “plug in” to receptors and keep the DHA out.  As arachidonic acid is more readily converted to inflammatory compounds, excess levels of AA has been associated with increased inflammation & reduced anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids.

More Omega 6= more pro-inflammatory compounds, More Omega 3= more ANTI-inflammatory compounds
The trick is to achieve a balance of the two for optimal inflammatory response.

Ideally, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should fall between 1:1 and 3:1, but currently, the ratio in a typical Western diet is at least 20:1. If you are currently at a 20:1 ratio of omega 6 to 3, please make a serious effort to increase your Omega 3 intake.

The imbalance of these “good” fats has occurred concurrent with technological advances that have made it possible to extract soybean oil, corn oil and sunflower oil inexpensively.  Most food manufacturers’ choice of fat is soybean oil as it is plentiful and inexpensive. It can be found in most prepackaged foods, margarine, baked goods, condiments and fast foods, and composes a substantial percentage of the calories consumed in this country. Herein lies the factor that causes the imbalance.

Scientists, researchers, and health professionals are concerned with this trend. Dr. Michael A. Schmidt, author of Brain-Building Nutrition, explains that the brain is composed of more than 60 percent fat. A balanced consumption of omega-6 and omega-3 fats is critical for proper brain function. These fats aid the nerve cells located in the brain in making connections (synapses) with other nerve cells that send information throughout the body to control important functions. Fatty acids are required in the formation of membranes that cover the nerves. He stresses, “A balance of essential fatty acids is critical. We don’t want to go overboard on any particular fatty acid.”

Through reviewing research of past studies, Schmidt concludes that 50 conditions of the brain show links to inadequate levels of fatty acids. Low levels of omega-3 fats have been associated with depression, aggression, hyperactivity, attention deficit, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and many other health issues. Studies are showing that Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the omega-3 superstar for the brain, may have positive results in treating patients with these conditions.

BUY THE RIGHT FISH OIL!  If the thought of smelly fish or fishy burps makes you squirm, try Nordic Naturals Brand!  “Omega-3” will help you balance your Omega 3 to 6 ratios in no time, WITH NO NASTY AFTER  TASTE!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

May 17, 2012

Digestive Enzymes and Benefits

Enzymes are energized protein molecules essential for the digestion of food, brain stimulation, tissue, cell and organ repairing and generating cellular energy. Even though they are a catalyst for many biochemical reactions they do not change or get consumed in the process. There are three types: metabolic, digestive and food.

Digestive

Digestive enzymes are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract and break down the food in the body so that the nutrients can be absorbed. Enzymes are present in the food you eat which is why there is great importance placed upon having plenty of raw foods in the diet. The enzymes in raw food help start the process of digestion which reduces the body’s need to secret digestive enzymes.

Food enzymes are destroyed when cooking at moderate or high temperatures. They are “turned off” at a dry-heat temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit and a wet-heat temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your body has to rely too much on its own digestive enzymes the result is more stress is placed on your system and organs leaving less time and energy for other jobs such as rebuilding and replacing damaged cells and tissue and keeping your immune system strong.
A diet that consists mainly of cooked food requires the pancreas to “work overtime” and the extra effort leaves it exhausted. If the pancreas is always having to produce enzymes that could come from food it will eventually cease to function properly. The late Dr. Edward Howell suggested that when a person eats an enzyme-poor diet consisting of lots of cooked food, the result is illness, lowered resistance to stress and a shortened life span.
Eating lots of raw foods and taking a high-quality enzyme supplement can help avoid depletion of the body’s own enzymes thereby reducing stress.

In the book, The Healing Power of Enzymes, Dr. DicQie Fuller talks about the importance of enzymes and says:
“Eighty percent of our body’s energy is expended by the digestive process. If you are run down, under stress, living in a very hot or very cold climate, pregnant or a frequent traveler, then enormous quantities of extra enzymes are required by your body. Because our entire system functions through enzymatic action, we must supplement our enzymes. Aging deprives us of our ability to produce necessary enzymes. The medical profession tells us that all disease is due to a lack or imbalance of enzymes. Our very lives are dependent upon them!”

Importance of Digestive Enzymes

There are approximately 45 essential nutrients that the body needs to carry out normal bodily functions. Essential means that the body cannot manufacture them and they must come from outside sources.
There are at least 13 kinds of vitamins and 20 kinds of minerals, in addition to fats, carbohydrates and water that are required for proper metabolic function. When food is consumed it gets broken down for absorption and transported by the blood stream.

Nutrients, including enzymes, work synergistically which means they cooperate with each other acting as catalysts. This promotes absorption and assimilation. The importance of digestive enzymes resides in the fact that the human body cannot absorb nutrients in food unless digestive enzymes break them down.

The body progressively loses its ability to produce enzymes with major drops occurring roughly every ten years of life. At the beginning it may not be that noticeable, however, later on you will discover that you cannot tolerate or enjoy certain foods like you did before. This may also be accompanied by a feeling of reduced stamina. Yes, you’re running low of enzymes.

How Do You Know if You Are Lacking Enzymes?

Heartburn, gas, constipation, bloating, allergies, ulcers, lack of energy and reduced functioning of the immune system may occur when there are not enough enzymes.

Digestive Enzymes Benefits

Digestive Enzymes can be beneficial for more things than most people think. They have been shown to benefit people with:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • GERD, Indigestion
  • Candidiasis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Food allergies
  • Low Back Pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • and more…

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

December 8, 2011

Could Gluten Be Ruining Your Day?

Ever imagined that a quick bite of bread you had for lunch could actually give you a major headache? Probably not, but this could be the honest truth for almost 1 of every 130 people. Wheat Intolerance is one of a handful of common food intolerances. It’s not because of something you caught or something you did, it’s in your genes.

Wheat and gluten sensitivity is a major cause of headaches, especially migraines. Ten percent of the population is sensitive to wheat & gluten and this problem may result in a wide variety of symptoms, not just digestive ones that would come to mind first.

Gluten is the elastic, rubbery protein present in wheat, rye, barley and to a lesser degree in oats. It binds the dough in foods such as bread and other baked goods. It contributes to the spongy consistency. Rice and corn do not contain gluten, however, gluten is only one protein found in wheat, rye and barley. These foods, like all other foods, contain a number of different proteins that can result in  reactions, like:

  • fatigue
  • anemia
  • nerve pain
  • memory loss
  • osteoporosis
  • infertility
  • flatulence
  • diarrhea
  • digestive tract distress

Gluten refers to a group of proteins that are difficult for humans to digest. One group of proteins called gliadin is thought to do most of the damage to the intestinal lining. Glutenins are another group of proteins found in gluten and thought to be associated with autoimmune skin diseases and asthma. Gluten proteins are extremely resistant to intestinal digestion, despite grinding, cooking, processing and digestive juices.

It should be remembered that wheat or gluten intolerance is different from wheat allergy. Wheat allergy refers specifically to adverse reactions involving immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to one or more protein fractions of wheat Since, gluten is the more commonly known wheat protein, wheat allergy is often wrongly known as gluten allergy. The majority of allergic reactions to wheat involve the albumin and globulin fractions. Allergic reactions to wheat can adversely impact a person’s health.

Allergic reactions may be caused by ingestion of wheat-containing foods or by inhalation of flour containing wheat (also called Baker’s asthma). True food allergies, such as wheat allergy, often produce quite violent reactions, from swelling of the lips and tongue, a red rash to, in extreme cases, fatal anaphylaxis.  Additional wheat allergy symptoms can include asthma and hives.

On the other hand, food intolerances will not trigger a life-threatening immune response, but may trigger symptoms such as migraines, bloating or skin rashes, and in some cases can worsen the effects of conditions such as asthma, eczema or migraines.
A recent study showed that many patients who reported to be having frequent attacks of migraine headache had sensitivity to gluten. By switching to a gluten-free diet

Do Not Despair!

It’s easier than you think to eat a gluten-free diet!  Any of the following everyday foods are gluten-free:

  • Fresh meat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese (not cheese spreads)
  • Milk
  • Rice
  •  Corn

Baum’s carries an entire section of wheat-free/gluten-free foods to make it even easier!  We have gluten-free breads that actually taste… like bread!  We carry cookies, pasta, crackers, cereal, chips, and different flours for baking.

There are some great books available about gluten-free cooking & what to order when eating out. Get involved with “GIG” (Gluten Intolerance Group) online for tons of information.
Baum’s carries a great new product called Gluten-Ade specially formulated to break down wheat proteins that may be ingested accidentally (like when eating away from home).

If you are having trouble with any of the symptoms listed, try eliminating wheat and gluten containing foods from your diet and give Gluten-Ade a try to deal with any missed gluten sources.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.