GMOs, Allergies, and Your Child’s Career.
This is my sweet 5 month old baby Codan aka Code.
When I was pregnant I took an expensive brand of prenatal and DHA vitamins. I drank green shakes every morning. I did yoga. I birthed him naturally without Pitocin or an Epidural in my master bedroom. I opted out of vitamin K, hep B, and eye ointment. He hasn’t gotten any shots yet because we’re waiting for his own immune system to develop first.
About 3 weeks ago we went to a friend’s house and brought Code along with us. People passed him around and his cute chubbiness was the center of attention. About an hour later, he had a sudden allergic reaction all over his body. He had hives all over. We left immediately and I tried to remain calm hoping the hives would go away after a quick wipe down. Thankfully they did. But this is his stomach a few days later.
My husband and I have no known food allergies. We eat anything and everything without an issue. My sister and her husband are the same. However, my sister’s first daughter has a peanut allergy, eczema, and asthma. Her 2nd daughter has the same plus a dairy allergy. Her 3rd child has all of the above but has it the worst. He’ll have a huge allergic reaction by simply sitting in a booster that has had cheese in it before. After eliminating foods from my diet, I realized Codan flared up all over his body whenever I ate eggs and he drank my breastmilk.
If you don’t know already, the rate of allergies skyrocketed in the last decade. Remember when you could take a PB&J to school? Nowadays many schools prohibit peanuts in any form. In just 10 years, 1997-2007, the Centers for Disease Control reported a whopping 18% increase in reported food allergies. They state that 27% of children with a food allergy have 2-4 times more likelihood of having asthma. It’s the common trio: allergies, eczema, and asthma.
So what is an allergy and why do more children have them? Well, an allergy is an immune system response to foreign substances (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, or bacteria. There are two basic reasons why our children are having allergic reactions:
1. There are substances entering our children’s bodies that are being flagged as harmful.
2. Their immune systems are attacking these substances
This opinion piece in the NY times introduces an intriguing idea about how our modern paranoia of bacteria may be at fault. It studies a small Amish community and its small percentage of members with allergies. However the sample size is small and the need for developing stronger immune systems through good bacteria may be only part of the answer. This compelling TEDX talk by Robyn O’Brien, a former food industry analyst and mother of four, talks about why GMOs are causing our bodies to react with immune system responses such as allergic reactions. If you care about your health, you have to watch this video:
I find her case extremely compelling. She outlines in detail the connection between the use of GMOs in the US in the 1990s and their direct correlation with allergies, illnesses, and cancer. There’s no doubt in my mind that the overuse of all these chemicals, GMO’s, and obsession with bacteria killing has got us into this mess. However, what concerns me the most, is not only the health of our children, but the future of our political and economic landscape. The American Cancer Society reports that the probability of getting cancer is 44% in men. That makes us a potential emotional and financial burden on our children. The centers for medicaid and medicare reported that we spent 17.9% of our GDP on healthcare in 2011. As O’Brien states in her video, that’s terrible for our economy and our ability to compete globally. That’s terrible for our children and their future careers.
In conclusion, the genetically modified foods we have on our store shelves is a key factor in all the autoimmune illnesses we have today. As much as the idea of Extreme Couponing is exciting for discounts on processed hotdogs and cans of GMO corn, you have to sit back and wonder if the thrill of cheap shopping is worth being stuck to an IV of chemo 2 times a week at 40 years old. Organic, non-gmo isn’t just for the yuppies or the rich. It’s for those who want to invest in good health. I may not be able to do anything about my son’s allergies or eczema. However, I can stop the introduction of hazardous proteins from GMOs that cause even cows to develop ovarian cysts. I’m making a strict change in our lives and I hope you’ll join me. If we make better food choices and demand better options, there is bound to be a change in the supply.
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