Opinion Poll – GMOs

I am incredibly busy – we have a great deal going on at work, I’m finally homing in on the end of this cookbook and I’m making tacos for about a dozen teenagers this evening.  Life keeps getting in the way of this little obsession I call a blog, but I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it?

At any rate, I haven’t had time to finish a post Beloved and I have been working on the last couple of days, but I’ll give you a little background information about it.

Earlier this week, I shared this photo on the blog’s Facebook page:

David Suzuki

(click to enlarge)

My addition to this was, “I’m putting my money on ‘LYING.'”

One of the commenters on this particular thread dismissed Dr. Suzuki as “an eco-terrorist” with his own agenda, and challenged me to give him “one example of GMO products have caused any harm!”

My response to this person is the subject of the post I haven’t had time to finish this week, but I’d like to post it next week.  We’ve got a good start on this, but I was thinking that you know, my readers are pretty diverse and really darn smart – I wonder what they think about this?

So tell me – what do you think of GMOs?  Are the harmful, both to our health, our environment and our economy?  Or are they the answer to the problem of feeding our growing numbers worldwide?

Let me know what you think in the comments section; if you can back your assertions up with hard facts, that would be great.  All I ask is that you keep it respectful of those with opposing views.

The Only Hope For Mankind

No, this isn’t hyperbole, and I’ll tell – or rather, show – you why in just a moment.  But first:

It’s no secret that I eat meat; some might suggest I eat far too much of it.  It’s no secret that I’ve bettered and even eliminated a great many health problems by eating meat that has been raised in keeping with its biology and by curtailing or eliminating my consumption of certain non-animal foods.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I believe monocrop agriculture has done far more to harm our environment than the proper raising of food animals.

I don’t get much argument on that last point here; I don’t know if it’s because the vast majority of the people who come here are just looking for a good recipe and don’t want to get caught up in a debate about how the food they’ll be cooking came to be, or if it’s because most of my regular readers agree with me, or if it’s because those who don’t necessarily agree are being respectful of my opinion.  It’s likely all three.

My Facebook page is a different matter, probably because I actively promote it and there are a LOT of people on Facebook.  But whatever the reason, I get a fair amount of nasty comments on my recipe posts – particularly those that feature meat (with a nice, big, color photograph).  A couple have been about the quality of my photography (I’ll be the first to admit I am no professional), but most have been about, well, the meat.  For some reason, vegans have this driving need to tell me that my recipes, especially the photos, gross them out.

(My favorite comment so far was on yesterday’s venison post – which has gotten more likes, and more derogatory comments, than any to date – “I just threw up in my mouth.”  Since I try very hard not to feed the trolls, I refrained from suggesting that some nice, rare venison might solve that digestive issue.  But I digress.)

Vegans have many reasons for being vegan, and one that is almost universal among them is that livestock A) is one of the major causes of “climate change” and 2) will never be able to feed our rapidly growing numbers worldwide.

The video below is a TED lecture given by Allan Savory, a biologist and environmentalist who used to agree.  He has since come to believe – no, prove – that this is absolutely incorrect.  His lecture runs 22 minutes, but it is so fascinating you’ll never be aware of the time that’s gone by.  I won’t go over everything he says, but the title of this post is a direct quote from the lecture:  the holistic management of large numbers of livestock is the only hope for mankind.  It’s the only way we’ll reverse global warming and the only way we’ll be able to feed the 10 billion people that will populate this earth in just a few short years.

Plant-based diets aren’t the answer.  You can not deny the science.

Fight Back Friday

Posted in participation of Fight Back Friday

Don’t Celebrate Just Yet

Today should be a national holiday. Why?

BECAUSE AFTER TODAY I WON’T HAVE TO LOOK AT ANOTHER POLITICAL AD.  At least until the next circus starts for 2016.

The prospect is enough to make me want to cry.  Or throw a party.

Granted, I live in Ohio, upon which the entire election hinges, or so they say.  It looks like it’s going to be a squeaker, too – most polls show Obama and Romney tied in a virtual dead-heat at 49% each.  (What about that other 2%?  Well, that would be me, since I voted early and for, well, someone else.)   I read somewhere that Ohioans have seen enough political ads over the last 18 months to run for 89 days straight, and I believe it.

I’ve also read that because of some whonky Ohio laws governing provisional voting we may not know who wins for over a week.  Essentially the law states that if a voter requests an early ballot but decides to vote on Election Day, they must cast a provisional ballot – which can’t be counted until November 17.   So if it really does come down to Ohio, and it’s as close as they say it’s going to be, it could be another 11 days before we know who will be sworn in next January.

I apologize in advance for my state of residence, and remind you I’m from Texas.

Another issue that’s been closely followed by the Real Food crowd is Proposition 37 in California, the initiative to have genetically modified foods labeled, since where California leads, the rest of the country often follows.  Things aren’t looking good for poor old Prop 37, for many reasons.  The biggest concern for most is that, if passed, the law will have no teeth – there are just too many exceptions.  For example: meat, dairy and eggs produced from animals fed GMOs won’t have to be labeled as such.  Food consumed at restaurants won’t have to be labeled.  You get the idea.

It’s going to be industrially processed “food” – sodas, chips, cookies, crackers, bottled sauces and dressings, boxed dinners, etc. – that are going to bear the brunt of the labeling law.  And since the vast majority of junk and pre-packaged foodstuffs contain corn and soy, the two most heavily genetically modified crops (more than 80% of corn and almost all soy produced in this country is GMO),  those are the things that will have to be labeled.

These products are the big money-makers for companies like Pepsico, Nestle and Cargill (and, by proxy, companies like Monsanto), and these are the companies most opposed to Prop 37.  They’ve pumped close to a billion dollars into the campaign to keep the law from being passed, citing it as confusing, unnecessary and expensive.  And it’s the “expensive” part of the argument – that it will cost the average family an additional $400 more per year – that is the most compelling; so much so that the NAACP has come out against the initiative, citing that if Prop 37 is passed, it will cause undue economic stress for low-income minorities.

You know, if someone had told me 20 years ago that my grocery bill would increase by $400 a year because of a silly little label, I’d have voted against it, too.  But it’s not the label that will cost the money.  The label is already there, telling us how many servings per package, how many calories, how much fat (including trans fats, which is a recent addition), how many grams of carbohydrates and protein, how much sugar, and all of the ingredients.  It’s not going to cost any more to add “genetically modified” in front of the corn and soy-based ingredients.  No, the real cost will be because the companies will have to reformulate their products using non-GMO ingredients.

Why would they do this, especially when they are so insistent that GMO foods are harmless?  Well, it might be because they know this not to be true, but it’s mostly because their marketing shows them a GMO label will be the kiss of death to their products.  No one will buy them.  And if the big food companies don’t use GMO ingredients, biotech companies like Monsanto will take a hit.  If you don’t buy processed foods containing GMO ingredients, the companies that manufacture them won’t buy the GMO crops.

I, personally, am watching the results of this particular issue with interest but no real hope, I’m sorry to say.  I don’t eat processed crap and make an effort to know exactly where my food comes from, so it wouldn’t affect me personally, anyway.  But I’d love love LOVE to see the mighty Monsanto brought to it’s knees, and the labeling of GMO ingredients in industrially processed foods would be a step towards accomplishing that. Too bad Prop 37 most likely won’t pass.

Scooter’s Raw Food Diet

I was going to put off this post until next week and instead do a huge political rant, but this isn’t a political blog, as Beloved has repeatedly pointed out.  So let’s just suffice to say that yes, I’ve read the entire thing, I understand the context perfectly well, thank you very much, and it’s still insulting as shit.  There must be something very comforting in the idea that if you’re not responsible for your successes, you must not be responsible for your failures, and that someone will come along and bail you out – but everyone will get a trophy anyway.  Just remember that when someone comes along and takes away everything you thought was yours because “you didn’t build that,” you gave them permission to do so.

I’m sure the Chinese – who are funding the massive, crushing debt we’re passing on to future generations and expecting someone else to take care of (basically anyone with more money than us) – will appreciate it.**

Moving forward.

About a year ago, I wrote about Scooter – our little beagle/dachshund mix – and the autoimmune disease centered in his anal glands that he developed after years of eating commercial dog food (Kibble and Bits Beefy Bits, to be exact).  The ingredients are horrible:

Corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat flour, animal fat (bha used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, beef, water sufficient for processing, animal digest, propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, caramel color, potassium chloride, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, titanium dioxide, calcium sulfate, red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, BHA (used as a preservative), potassium sorbate, dl methionine.

You have no idea the guilt I feel because I let my sweet little dog eat that garbage for so many years.

When Scooter began having his problems, they were accompanied by terrible inflammation and infections.  I was pretty sure that much of this could be mitigated by diet, but when I spoke to the vet about it, he said I should keep him on commercial dog food, because if I fed him anything else he would run the risk of nutritional deficiencies.  In fact, his only solution to the problem was to put Scooter on steroids for the inflammation and give him antibiotics for the infections.  So we did, and the minute his course of steroids ended the inflammation returned, and eventually the infection did as well.  This happened three time before the vet decided that he was just going to have to be on steroids permanently – he could even end up on low levels of the antibiotic for the rest of his life, as well.

In the meantime, Scooter was miserable.  The inflammation was somewhat better, but he was still constantly licking his backside and dragging it across the carpet.  Because of the steroids, he was constantly, ravenously hungry and even though I wasn’t feeding him any more than usual, he was still gaining weight – at his heaviest, he was 24 pounds.  That may not seem like a lot, but for a dog that’s only supposed to weigh 16 or 17 pounds, that’s a lot of weight gain, especially in a very short period of time.  He also lost all of his spunk; he’s always been a happy, active dog – even at 10 years old, he’s more than happy to play fetch, or zoom around the house if he can get you to chase him, or run around the yard or take a walk.  But no longer; all he wanted to do was eat and lay on the sofa.  It was breaking my heart.

Now, as soon as he became ill and the vet told us to keep him on commercial food (and tried to sell us a brand that cost almost as much per week as we spent on groceries for the three of us), I began  to make Scooter’s food myself.  After doing a little research on what was in most home-prepared pet foods, he went on a mixture of cooked beef, rice and vegetables, mostly peas, carrots and green beans.  He loved it at first – he’d always preferred “people food” over kibble – but when those initial courses of steroids were over, he began to lose his appetite and often refused it, which worried me a great deal – Scooter NEVER left food in his bowl.  By the time the vet said he needed to be on steroids permanently, I decided it was time to get drastic – so I put him on a raw food diet.

When I told the vet this, he said that was unsafe; it was simply not a “balanced diet” for a dog.  But the more I thought about it, the sillier that statement seemed and when I began researching raw food diets for dogs, it became even sillier.  So Scooter began eating raw meat – mostly beef and pork, with some chicken thrown in every now and then and liver or other organ meats about once a week.  (We do give him bones from time to time, but even before he became ill bones messed with his digestive system – when we give him one, we have to confine him to areas of the house that are tiled because there will be a mess.)

Scooter loved the raw food diet – he ate it enthusiastically, and it wasn’t long until we began to see some improvements.  He continued to gain weight, because that’s just the nature of the Prednisone beast, but he regained some of his spunk and began acting more like the dog we all love so much.  And after much deliberation, we decided that when it was time to get the steroid prescription refilled, we’d wait a bit and see what happened.

What happened was astounding…or maybe not.  The inflammation not only didn’t return, it became better.  Not entirely better – it may never go fully into remission – but remarkably better.  The lingering infection, which the vet said might not ever entirely go away, even with long term antibiotic use, cleared up almost immediately.  He immediately began to lose weight and is now back down to 17 pounds.  More importantly, he is his old self again – active and happy and feeling pretty good for a 10-year-old dog with what amounts to nagging case of hemorrhoids.

Now, we’re not going to fire the vet – we’ll continue to take Scooter for his immunizations and we’ll take him in case of another serious illness or accident.  But if you think I’m going to listen to another blessed thing that man says about diet for my dog…well, you’re as crazy as you’d be if you think I’d listen to my doctor about my diet.

**I have a lot more to say about the subject, and will be glad to take the discussion respectfully into the comments section if you want.  However, I may not be able to get back to you immediately; we have a busy day in front of us – it’s Jolly’s birthday and we’re spending much of the afternoon/evening with her, and I will be busy at work this morning so I can do that.  But before you begin making any assumptions about why I feel the way I do, let me say right now that I am NOT a Republican and can’t stand Mitt Romney.  And I don’t particularly care that Ayn Rand collected Social Security; I’m not an Objectivist either.

Roger Ebert Is So Takei

When I read Roger Ebert’s review of that piece of vegan propaganda Forks Over Knives, I immediately began frothing at the mouth.  I also immediately began writing a long, angry diatribe – I was gonna show him just how wrong he is.  But, over the last couple of days my anger sort of melted away and I became more amused than anything.

Well, amused and disgusted.

Honestly, how can you take anyone seriously who spouts nonsense like this?

What every human being should do is eat a vegetarian diet based on whole foods. Period. That’s it.”

“Animal protein is bad for you.”

“Dairy is bad for you.”

“Forget the ads: Milk and eggs are bad for you.”

“What you’re trying to avoid is dietary cholesterol.”

“Animal protein is not necessary…”

“These facts have long been established…”

He says these things, all based on a film he saw??  Way to use your cholesterol deficient brain, Roger.*

Actually, I don’t completely disagree with him: high fructose corn syrup should be avoided like the plague; industrial farming practices, particularly the feeding of grain to animals not adapted to eating grain, are abhorrent; and government subsidies for commodity foods such as corn, soy and wheat need to stop.

Period. That’s it.

But let’s forget this silliness and talk about something that is truly important.  Tennessee lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prohibit teachers of elementary and middle school children from providing “any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.”  Not prohibit teaching about sex all together, just about homosexuality.  I find this extremely disturbing.

And apparently so does George Takei.

All I can say is I completely agree with this YouTube comment:  “Where does he keep his internal organs? Surely, there can’t be enough room for them, being so chock full of win.”

And yes, I purchased both a coffee mug AND a mouse pad.

Because Tennessee legislators?  You’re even more Takei than Roger Ebert.

*Cholesterol is vital for the development and function of the nervous system and brain; even though the brain only makes up 2% of the body’s weight, it contains 25% of its cholesterol.