2/24/2015: GE Apples, 2015 Dietary Guidelines, Labeling


In this program, Caryn gives her thoughts on GE apples, the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines.


Let’s move on. I wanted to talk about a number of different things…and, let’s see; I was just talking about genetically engineered foods, right? With the soybean oil and you can never be careful enough, if you care, and I have a feeling you care because you wouldn’t be listening if you didn’t care about food and I’m glad that you care and just like the hummus I was mentioning do you read the labels on you hummus? Soybean oils, if it’s not organic its going to be genetically modified and you don’t want that in your hummus you don’t want that in anything that you eat. But, on the subject of genetically engineered food, a couple things I wanted to mention is the newest foods that have been included in the approved foods for consumption and that is, we now have, two approved varieties of genetically engineered apples thank you USDA and what’s interesting is these apples that are genetically modified have been created by a small company this isn’t from the Monsanto or the Syngenta monsters this is from a small biotech company called Okanagan specialty fruits and actually their in British Columbia, Canada and I should’ve mentioned that to Ricky before I let her go uh thank you Canada! Now what really bugs me about this apples is that they have been designed to be non browning so you know when you bite into an apple and you leave the apple on the table or if you cut an apple into slices and you just leave it there, they brown okay so that might be a little unpleasant the point I think I think there are some easy solutions, one, if you’re eating an apple, eat the whole apple *laughs* and don’t let it brown like that. And its problematic for stores and restaurants that want to cut the apples ahead of time and have them out on display and not brown because then people wont want to eat them and I think its more about money having a food last as long as it can before you sell it, have it out on display as long as you can before its sold, and have it look fresh whether it is or not now one of the secret tricks for someone who slices apples for a party or something, who knows what the trick is? Its so simple, lemon juice! Sprinkle some lemon juice on the apple and it is not going to brown or not brown as quickly. It’s a simple solution and its also delicious it gives the apple an extra tartness and its wonderful. Do we really need genetically engineered apples? I’m pulling my hair out here. Of course, there’s never enough safety testing on the foods that are let out for public consumption to know if they are going to have any impact on our health or the health of the other living beings around us plants and animals we just don’t know. We’re one big lab experiment. So what can you do? The only thing we can do at this point is buying organic and I really want to have safe and organic foods. You cant really have 100% safe in anything these days unfortunately but this is the best way. Buy organic and don’t buy these particular apples called arctic granny and arctic golden apple. Just because I’m thinking a lot today I have to do this, I’m thinking of Joni Mitchell who was very very prescient when she wrote big yellow taxi can we do a quick verse, the one in the middle *singing* “hey farmer farmer, put away that DDT now, give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees, please, don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got till its gone, the paved paradise, put up a parking lot” *ends singing* yeah, I hear that all the time when imp reading things like genetically engineered apples. I want spots on my apples, please! Now, a little good new, quite good news is that a bill that would require label of food with genetically engineered ingredients, what a concept, it’s called the genetically engineered food right to know act, has been introduced in congress, our very heavily republican congress and surprise it was introduced by a bunch of democrats. Barbara Boxer, Richard Blumenthal, and Peter DeFazio they were the lead sponsors of the bill. It was similar to the one they produced in 2013, but wasn’t voted on by congress. I want to think this is great news, I don’t know how its going to get through congress and get approved but apparently 93% of Americans want to know if their food has been genetically modified so if our elected officials were listening to their constituencies they’d know “we want labeling! We want labeling!” and labeling as I mentioned before, isn’t even enough. If you remember a few weeks ago I interviewed Peter Laufer who wrote the book “truth behind food labeling and we learned with him, you probably knew all of this already, but we learned that even information on labels today may not be telling us the whole picture, or may not be entirely true as he found out we the food he was buying was coming from. He got some rancid walnuts from Trader Joes that said they were from Kazakhstan I think and then he went all the way to Bolivia to see if some organic beans he bought were truly from Bolivia and were truly organic. The good news is he did confirm all of that. He didn’t really confirm anything about those rancid walnuts, but there’s so many things were finding out about labeling that gives me pause gives me a little concern. Right now if you’re familiar with the recent programs were doing at responsible eating and living we’ve created a webisode called real good news and review and we have produced 2 episodes if you don’t know about them. If you haven’t watched them please head over to responsibleeatingandlivng.com and check them out they’re 3 part series. The first part is a newscast the second part is a food show and the 3rd part is a feature of a local business that’s promoting something that we think is good to talk about. In the next episode which should be coming out in a week or so ill be talking about chocolate and I don’t want to give it all away but eve been researching a lot about chocolate and once again labeling is not enough for example the FDA just tested 100 non dairy dark chocolates and what did they find out? Many contained dairy. It’s just like whoa wow what and for some of us its not that big of a deal I know that a lot of vegan for example we understand that there are some small vegan companies they don’t have their own equipment they have to rent equipment and they wash the equipment thoroughly and they have to put on their label that there may be a little dairy on it because they’re using the equipment well this can really be devastating to people who are allergic to dairy and for those of us that really don’t want to participate in any kind of business or exploitation that has anything to do with dairy so its very disconcerting to find out that you’re not getting what you think you’re getting and we need a lot more transparency and unfortunately we need a lot more testing because we cant trust anybody. You probably heard this a few years ago and maybe you did maybe you didn’t and that’s why I bring up some of these things because often time there are food headlines people hear about them especially those of us who are passionate about food we hear about things and we get the alerts and we jump on them and we read about them and we become knowledgeable but many people miss the headlines for one reason or another maybe they didn’t watch the news or read the paper or look online or they were busy or they were involved in something else whatever but things that seem really important at the time we stop talking about them and go on to the next headline and people will miss things. An example is when it comes to fat or oil a couple of years ago there was a book that came out about olive oil talking about how it was discovered that some olive oil that say “pure olive oil” or “100% olive oil” or whatever they say olive oil contains olive oil with other cheaper oils mixed in with them and how do you find out about that? Well people do testing on them and we want to trust that the food that we buy is what it says it is and it is a challenge so I’m grateful for those people out there doing the hard work, but I think its important to bring these up again. News isn’t always new so sometimes it’s just as important to keep bringing these things up so we don’t forget about them and we do something about them, right? So olive oil isn’t always all olive oil. Rice, we’ve talked about rice, rice can have arsenic in it and there is so many different things related to that. Now chocolate, dark chocolate that should be dairy free has dairy in it. It also had cadmium and lead sometimes, its crazy. Well now lets talk a little bit about our government and dietary guidelines. Now this, I think overall is good news and I want to tell you what the new good news is but you may have heard that the 2015 dietary guidelines are now available and if you have the time and inclination go to health.gov/dietaryguidlines and you can download them and you can comment on them. Now its a mouthful, the guidelines are over 500 pages and I have not had a chance to go through them, I did read the executive summary and I’m going to point out some of the things that I’m happy about and maybe not so happy about and individuals are encouraged to submit written comments and they’ll be accepted online before April 8th so here’s an opportunity for all of us to have a say and the more of us that comment the better. The first thing I want to say about our governments dietary guidelines, I am not going to the government to find out what’s best in terms of healthy diets. It seems like our government is at least a decade or more behind the best knowledge of nutrition this is not a place to go for nutritional excellent information but unfortunately a lot of regulations are based on these dietary guidelines which affect everyone they affect schools and all kinds of government institutions and a lot of people use these guidelines to know what it is they should be eating so here’s some of the good news. First, they recognized some of the realities, which is we are sick and we’re fat. Half of all American adults, 117 million individuals have one or more preventable chronic diseases and about two thirds of the US adults nearly 155 million individuals are overweight or obese so that’s the starting point, now what do we do about that? Well there are lots of things and I’m really excited about some of the things they have mentioned. Now they noticed that there are some nutrients that are under consumed relative to the average requirement or the adequate intake level set by the institute of medicine and these are Vitamin A, C, D, and E,  folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium and right away when I see these nutrients I think plant foods eat plant foods you’re going to get your vitamin A, C, D, and E,  folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium which you’re not going to get unless you supplement and unless you are getting a lot of sun which we are not getting here on the east coast right now in this miserable freezing weather is vitamin d. So I’m reading through the lines here seeing the nutrients that are lacking are the ones that are found in plants. Now the good news is these people figured this out all by themselves. The dietary guidelines committee is huge they have lots of people working on this, analyzing data, lots of nutritionists, lots of specialists, and its kind of exciting what they’ve discovered. They say that the majority of the US population has low intakes of key food groups that are important sources of the short full nutrients including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and *mumbles dairy* and I’m mumbling the one word that I don’t like dairy but okay furthermore population intake is too high for refined grains and sugar right? Okay we know this and how refreshing it is to see a government publication acknowledging these things and they’re trying to figure out what to do about it and they want a better understanding and they say here “analysis of data on food categories such as burgers, sandwiches, mixed dishes, desserts, beverages, show that the composition of many of these items could be improved so as to increase population intake of vegetables, whole grains, and other under consumed food groups. How nice is that? Now, its not like they’re telling people to eliminate the foods that I don’t like entirely but they do talk about reducing meat consumption hallelujah and I highlighted this one in extra colors because I thought it was so exciting on page 4 of the executive summary listen to this one “vegetables and fruits are the only characteristics of the diet that were consistently identified in every conclusion statement across the health outcomes” they’re saying that they examined all kinds of studies and it said that the overall body of evidence said that a healthy dietary pattern is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low or non fat dairy,  seafood, legumes, nuts, moderate in alcohol, low in red and processed meat, low in sugar sweetened food and drinks, low in refined grains, but vegetables and fruits are the only characteristics of the diet that were consistently identified in every conclusion statement, every conclusion statement vegetables and fruits and whole grains are good but slightly less consistently compared to vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits in this report are the king and queen, the winners, the most health promoting foods and I’m so excited about that. Just finishing up here on this 2015 dietary guideline again the major findings regarding sustainable diets now this is exciting now they’re making the impact of the environment sustainability and a lot of people are annoyed about this, conservatives are trying to tell us there’s no link between nutrition and the environment and we shouldn’t be talking about it but I don’t know where they get their food but most of mine, all of mine, comes from the ground which is the environment. The major findings, the report says, regarding sustainable diets were that a diet higher in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nut and seeds, and lower in calories from animal foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current US diet. Do you believe this? I’m reading a US document and I cant believe that this information which is not new but is something that is finally acknowledged, finally! We’re making a difference were making headway its slow but its right here in the dietary guidelines and the next sentence I cant believe “this pattern of eating can be achieved through a variety of dietary patterns including the healthy US-style pattern, the healthy Mediterranean style pattern, and the healthy vegetarian pattern” vegetarian that word is sitting in a government document about how to eat healthfully wow that’s the US government guidelines I just want to end this executive summary because I think its nice what they say. “It will take concerted bold action on the part of individuals, families, communities, industries, and government to achieve and maintain the healthy diet patterns and the level of physical activity needed to promote health of the US population. These actions will require a paradigm shift to an environment where the population health is a national priority and where individuals, organizations, private businesses, and communities work together to achieve a population wide culture of health in which healthy lifestyle choices are easy, accessible, affordable and normative both at home and away from home.” Gosh that’s what we do at responsible eating and living right? Yeah and now it’s very (19:47) to see that. Now of course to have our government put a lot of that into action is something else but stay tuned we will see where that goes. Very exciting so if you can get over to that website and maybe make some comments I think the government would appreciate that, I would, let me know if you do that you could send me an email at info@realmeals.org I always loved hearing from you. Okay so we talked about genetically modified apples, dietary guidelines, a little bit about oil and chocolate, I love food. Oh, speaking of food, I have a new blog and it’s 2 weeks old today. It’s called “what vegans eat” and I blog everyday about what I’ve eaten the day before. Many of the foods that I list I have recipes for and I’m quite surprised because people are liking it and you know we always look for a way to share our information and never know what’s going to appeal to people well people are liking it and I’m very happy about that so I’m going to continue and you can find out more about it at responsiblelivingandeating.com we’re also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, pinterest, anywhere where you like to live you can find great suggestions about healthy food and know what I’m eating because people always say “but what do you eat” and now you’ll know right? Well I think were done is that it am I out of time, here we are it’s the end of the program and I really enjoyed it I had time to talk about some of the things that have been pressing to me about food. Thank you so much for listening and visit responsiblelivingandeating.com please talk to me at info@realmeals.org and remember to have a very delicious week, bye bye.

Transcribed by Chloe Watson, 12/13/2015

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