FOOD – IT COULD BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH BY THE MAYHEM CRUE Have you ever stopped to wonder why so many people endure chronic illness? This question becomes disturbingly more puzzling when one takes into consideration the fact that many of the millions of men and women tormented by chronicle illness lead completely healthy lifestyles. This is a common pattern of men and women struggling to improve their health – they begin some type of exercise regimen, eat a healthy diet and begin supplementation programs, yet they are still chronically ill. This behavior has plagued doctors and health specialists for years, as the causes of chronic illness rarely show up during a routine doctor's visit. And, unless there is a hint as to the cause of poor health, it is difficult to find the source of the illness in the blood stream. Sometimes when looking at the dinner plate, I often think of the adage "you are what you eat". However, this phrase enters my mind not so much in terms of fats, proteins or carbohydrates, but more in the sense of the overall makeup of the food (vitamins, minerals, man made organic fillers, artificial flavorings, color dyes and pesticides – yes pesticides). As I mentioned earlier, I was fascinated by a study I read in one of Dr. Robert Gallo's monthly newsletters. One of his colleagues, a naturopathic physician, had been treating a patient with a long list of typical chronic illness symptoms, however, when blood tests were administered only small irregularities were detected, but nothing blaringly abnormal. From that point, the patient answered an in depth questionnaire focusing primarily on diet habits and lifestyle. When the results of the questionnaire showed a high amount of fresh fruit, vegetables and lean meats in the diet, a new direction was followed for blood testing. Most of the foods this patient ingested were non-organic, which meant the patient, like most of us, ingested commercially farmed foods. The new blood screen searched primarily for pesticides and the results from this screening were shocking, to say the least. The new blood assessment, searched for eighteen of the more common pesticides used in farming. The tests revealed that the patient had nine of the eighteen pesticides flowing through his blood stream . The frightening factor in this equation is that there are approximately 70,000 known chemical used daily in the commercial food/farming industry, however, only about 250 of these have a screen. How sad and frustrating this is for all of us. The above patient only tried to improve his health by implementing a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low fat foods. His end result – poisoning from pesticides. With this in mind, questions like "what foods should I eat?" and "how do I know what foods are safe?" enter our minds. As I asked myself these questions, I began to look further into the matter. I have come to the conclusion that it is just as important to eliminate the amount of pesticides in a diet as it is to eliminate fats and cholesterol. Some ways to help eliminate the levels of pesticides in your diet are to purchase organically grown fruits and vegetables and an increasingly popular twist – grow fruits and vegetables in your own personal garden. But what about beef and poultry? It is true that our beef and poultry pool is at risk of being contaminated from pesticides on the grass and grains from which they graze, as well as the feed they eat. Added to this is the problem of DDT. Although DDT is banned for use in the United States, it is still manufactured here and shipped to other countries for use in agricultural and mosquito control. This means that some of the meats imported to the United States are contaminated with DDT. Making sure to purchase meat sources raised in the United States will cut down the risk of DDT contamination. As well, many farms today are using grazing pastures and feeds free of pesticides in raising their cattle and poultry. Various websites such as www.foodnews.org have many e-mail links where individuals can voice their opinions and receive information and answers to questions concerning pesticides and health issues. Writing to food companies, grocery stores and even Washington can also lend a hand. The Food and Drug Administration has implemented testing on 42 of the most popular fruits and vegetables, consumed by individuals residing in the United States. More than half of the total dietary risk of chronic illness due to pesticides was concentrated in the following list of crops[ii]: Most Contaminated Foods 1. Strawberries 2. Bell Peppers (Green & Red) 3. Spinach 4. Peaches 5. Cantaloupe (Mexican) 6. Celery 7. Apples 8. Apricots The pesticides that were found in these foods are classified by as probable human carcinogens, nervous system poisons and endocrine system disrupters [iii]. Until we live in a perfect world, free of pesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to our health, we have to police foods ourselves. There is a very informative feature at www.foodnews.org that can help you determine how much and what pesticides you are ingesting. I entered in three meal plans; breakfast, lunch and dinner and wasn't too shocked, after all this research, to find that the daily menu of healthy foods I had planned out contained 20 known pesticides. As well, this feature contains a color coded chart listing the chemically induced health effects caused by various pesticide infested foods. It is very interesting, but also startling. Educating yourself and learning how to use your resources can not only keep you informed as to what you are actually putting into your body, but it can also keep you from potential chronic illness. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Are Organic Foods Healthier For You? Walter J. Crinnion N.D. – ia. Robert Gallo's Health Solutions [ii] Environmental Working Group/www.ewg.org "A Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce" [iii] Environmental Working Group/www.ewg.org "A Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce"