Monthly Archives: March 2013

What You Need to Know About the “Monsanto Protection Act”

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The “Monsanto Protection Act” is what many food activists have coined Section 735 of the Farmer’s Assurance Provision, and has many organic advocates and organizations up in arms. And for good reason. This bill completely contradicts President Obama’s campaign promise to label genetically modified organisms, and gives Monsanto and the USDA power to entirely ignore judicial oversight.

 

What it Changes

 

Prior to the passage of this provision, the USDA’s testing of new GMO crops was subject to judicial oversight. The law previously required the USDA to complete environmental impact statements (EIS) before allowing for the sale and planting of GMO crops. These environmental impact statements were subject to judicial review. For example, in 2010, the Center for Food Safety initiated a lawsuit against the USDA, requesting a temporary restraining order to prevent Monsanto from planting GMO sugar beets since the USDA failed to file a proper EIS. The court ruled for the plaintiff, reversing USDA approval of GMO sugar beets.

 

The new provision, however, undermines this process, and would have allowed for the USDA to ignore the court’s ruling on GMO sugar beats. In relevant part, the Act states:

 

“In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements. . . “

 

Basically, this throws the whole process of judicial review straight down the garbage can. Instead of providing a check for the USDA’s determination, the USDA can ignore the court system and makes its own determinations on GMO crops. And although the provision would only last for 6 months, there’s no telling what legal precedent it could set.

 

Who’s Behind It

The provision was supposedly written by Senator Roy Blunt, in conjunction with Monsanto, a publicly trade agricultural corporation who leads in the production of genetically engineered crops. Talk about conflict of interest! The Center for Food Safety also reported that several democrats were completely unaware of the provision’s inclusion, as it was slipped into the bill last minute.

 

 What you Can Do  

Despite adamant public protest, Obama signed the bill, allowing the law to take effect. Despite Obama’s poor history on US food policy, I’ve always had faith that his policies would improve this term, despite the fact that he appointed Tom Vilsack, former Monsanto lawyer, as the secretary of agriculture. After all, he had healthcare and re-election to worry about first term, and he could only spread his political clout so thin. And while he still has very important civil rights issues on his plate at the moment, this is his last chance to make the more radical policies he promised—to make steps towards labeling GMOs– not to allow more of them to go unchecked. As supporters, we must demonstrate that we are no longer OK with food policy taking a back seat, and that we want him to pursue the policy of labeling GMO’s, as he said he would in 2007.

For more information, check out these links:

Obama Signs Monsanto Protection Act

Congress Teams Up with Monsanto to Shred the Constitution

‘Monsanto Protection Act': 5 Terrifying Things To Know About The HR 933 Provision

Sign this petition 

 

Final Thoughts: Surprises on the Clean Program

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If you’ve been following my most recent posts, you know that I went on the clean program, a cleanse that allows for snacking and one solid meal at lunch in addition to two smoothie meals. The first time I did the clean program, I was only able to do it for two weeks since I was going away to Puerto Rico. This time, I decided to try it for a full three weeks when I started to see some old skin conditions flare up. By the second week, I felt good. I had lost some unwanted belly fat and my skin definitely cleared up. It also wasn’t difficult for me to follow, because it was fun to experiment with new recipes and smoothies.

 

However, once the third week came, I was over it. Although I was getting more than enough calories, I was bored drinking smoothies all the time, and snacked even when I wasn’t hungry because I wanted something different. I didn’t see any further progress in my body and towards the end I actually started to feel some legit problems with my digestion. I ended up stopping after the 19th day. Yes—I lamed out! But I’m not one to kick myself about my eating choices. I will eat a certain way until it doesn’t feel good anymore. I’m not a fan of self-torture!

 

Would I do the cleanse again? Probably. I most likely wouldn’t do it for three weeks, but I would certainly stick with it until my body disagrees. My skin improved and I gained a deeper understanding of the foods to which my body is sensitive, so I definitely reaped some benefits. For example, once I began to reintroduce certain prohibited foods, I learned that my body is sensitive to oatmeal, grapes, and bananas—so now I know that I should only eat those foods in moderation.

 

However, I would change a few things. First, I would make sure I have enough time to relax. During the third week, I had a 15-page paper due, along with a tax quiz, which made it difficult to get enough sleep and let my body adjust. Second, I would use Natural Calm magnesium powder more often than Swiss Kriss herbal laxatives, as I started to become dependent on Swiss Kriss (Natural Calm, on the other hand, is non habit-forming, and you can increase the dosage as much as you need to). Finally, I would plan ahead in order to make sure I consume a greater variety of smoothies and soups—so as not to become deficient in any nutrients.

 

So there’s my update.  A bit anticlimactic I suppose, since I was hoping for some more drastic changes. But you live and you learn, and I’m more than happy with my results. Hope you can learn from my mistakes!

 

Getting Started on the Clean Program

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In my last post, I mentioned that I was starting the Clean Program, a cleanse developed by Dr. Alejandro Junger. I hope that you are thinking of trying it out, as it’s the only cleanse I have found that works and is doable! I recommend getting the book if you plan on doing it, as my explanation does not do it justice. I’m on my second week now, and I feel my body really getting rid of all the junk. I’m feeling OK though!  I’m certainly feeling some detox symptoms—whiteness on my tongue in the mornings, itchy skin, lots of sneezing—but I know this will make the 3rd and final week so much better—when the body starts repairing itself.

 

Eliminate:

Oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, bananas, strawberries, grapes, corn, creamed vegetables, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes), Dairy, Red meat (other than wild game and lamb), shellfish, and raw meat/fish, All Refined Sugar and Sweeteners (coconut nectar and stevia is OK), caffeine, alcohol, peanuts, soy, gluten, canola oil, and vegetable oil. The idea of the diet is to get rid of highly inflammatory and acidic foods, so that excess mucus in the body will be expelled and your body can heal itself.

 

Rules:

Liquid meals (homemade smoothies/juices/soups of your choice from the list of approved foods) will be for breakfast and dinner, so that your body has the time from your dinner to your lunch of the next day to cleanse.

Allow for twelve hours between your first and last meal. So if you have dinner at 7PM, your breakfast is at 7AM.

Make sure you are POOPING. Otherwise you will poison yourself with your own toxins. Put flax in your smoothies if you are having problems. If you are really having issues, try Natural Calm–a magnesium supplement that aids muscle movement and is non habit-forming.

Drink lots of water. You should have to pee every hour.

 

 

Supplement:

antibacterial: garlic, olive leaf, or oil of oregano to kill the bad stuff

probiotics to rebuild gut flora (I like metagenics or Udos 8)

liver support, such as NAC or milk thistle

 

 

Other:

SLEEP. The cleanse does not work properly if you are not getting enough sleep. Junger recommends to try and get 7 hours a night.

Light exercise is important. If you are going to do heavy exercise, you can have a third smoothie.

 

Tips for Success:

enroll a friend! It keeps you accountable and provides a recipe-sharing buddy. I’ve already gotten two on board. :)

Do a “pre-cleanse” where you eat three meals, but none on the list above.

Get lots of sleep! If it’s late and you’re hungry, just go to sleep. It will help the process and shut down your temptation to eat.

 

Good luck and stay tuned for updates! :)

 

Cleanse Reviews

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I’ve tried a number of cleanses—juice cleanse, fruit fast, and I think I may have once fooled around with one of those cayenne pepper cleanses—and let me tell you, not all are created equal! While the right cleanse may give your body a true break from digestion, allowing it to heal itself, a bad cleanse can poison your body from the inside out. Fortunately for you, I’ve tested a bunch of these out on my own body to give you the real scoop on how these programs affect our health. Hopefully you can learn from my experiences—and mistakes…

 

Juice Fasting (Blueprint, Organic Ave., homemade, etc.)

I know there are some people who swear by juice cleanses, but I am not one of them. While the idea of having vitamins and nutrients go straight into your bloodstream is nice, that also means there’s a ton of fruit sugar going straight to your blood stream, giving you a sugar high followed by a crash. In addition, there is little to no fiber in a juice fast. So even if you’re waking up toxins in your system, there’s no way to “cleanse” them out. Supposedly, these toxins instead resurface, making you feel even sicker than you were to begin with unless you take laxatives or colonics to force them out. When I went on a juice fast, I felt horrible after 3 days. I constantly felt nauseous and dizzy. Even once I decided to stop fasting, it took awhile for the nausea to go away. I don’t see how anyone could benefit from this fast, unless they want to spend a ton of money on colonics or OD on laxatives. No thanks.

 

Fruit Fasting

I recently tried the 80-10-10 method, where 80% of your calories comes from fruits, 10% from leafy greens, and 10% from nuts and seeds. I learned about this diet off of a website called fullyraw, whose founder has been able to reverse her hypoglycemia by following the method. Clearly, the 80-10-10 method works for her, so I thought I should try it. While it was GREAT for cleansing (be ready to go to the bathroom frequently!) I was worried when I saw an old white vitiligo spot resurface on my hand—something that I haven’t seen since going wheat-free. I did some research and found some sources saying that the absorbic acid in certain fruits (oranges, pears, grapefruits, grapes, and even lemons) have been linked to decreased melanin production, so perhaps that could have been the cause–I was eating a ton of pears.  But who knows, maybe other factors could have affected the depigmentation–stress, lack of sleep, etc. I might try it again another time, taking out pears and citrus fruits.

The Clean Program

This one is the winner. I am currently doing it for a second time since I love it so much—stay tuned for details! It’s a program developed by physician Alejandro Junger that progresses in three stages. The first stage, called the elimination diet, removes wheat, dairy, added sugar, red meat (which I believe is beneficial to do anyway) certain fruits such as bananas, grapes, grapefruits, oranges, and nightshade vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. The healthier eaters stay on the elimination diet for a couple of days, whereas others may need to stay on it for a week or more. The second stage is the actual cleanse, where breakfast and dinner is a liquid meal (either a smoothie or a soup) and lunch is a meal from the elimination diet. The official program comes with an expensive kit and packets, but the book says that you can benefit from the cleanse without the kit, which I am doing.  This diet allows just enough fiber to keep things moving while also allowing your digestive system an ample break for detoxification. In addition, it is the only cleanse that I have found that advocates for a significant consumption of healthful fats, which I need not only to support my skin, but also for the omegas that keep me focused since I am sitting through lectures all day. The diet focuses on eliminating inflammatory foods so that the body can focus its energy on healing itself for three weeks.

 

I was amazed with my results the first time I finished the cleanse. Most surprising was its effect on my joints. A couple of years ago, I had a minor injury where I fell down a full flight of subway stairs, face first, on my elbows. (Yes, I know I’m a huge klutz!) My elbow was sprained, and ever since I’ve always needed to twist/crack it in the mornings so that it doesn’t feel sore. It’s nothing huge, but a bit annoying. By my final week of the cleanse, I noticed that I stopped needing to crack my elbow into place. Many claim that the program helps those who suffer from arthritis by reducing inflammation—it must have had the same affect on my elbow. In addition, I had more energy, slept better, and felt more focused.

 

I hope to experience even greater healing this time around—my goal this time around is to further heal the few vitiligo patches that I have left—and maybe even recruit some more cleanse buddies? Who’s with me?!?