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Why Avoid Genetically Modified Foods?

In the past, humans have improved crops by selecting pollen of plants with a desired trait and helping it to fertilize other plants. Now geneticists introduce bits of foreign DNA into the DNA of a developing plant or seed. This may even be from a different life form, like a fish–something that could never happen in natural evolution. Big companies claim this is safe as well as profitable. Consumers want food from GMO (genetically modified organisms) to be labeled.
The Green Revolution in the latter part of the 20th century was supposed to eliminate hunger in the Third World. However those genetically superior seeds required more water, plus chemical fertilizers and insecticides to get bigger crops. Poor farmers couldn’t afford this plus having to buy new seeds every year.
In the United States the family farm was replaced by large scale agriculture that needed extra insecticides to control pests on the huge acreage of a single crop. There was no room for the fence rows of native plants and birds that kept insects under control. The small farmer used to lose over ten percent of his crops to insects. Now with the use of insecticides crop losses are still over ten per cent, even with ever stronger chemicals, as the insects mutate.
Big agriculture also used chemical control of weeds, starting with 2-4-D. This killed most weeds but didn’t harm grasses, so it was used on corn, wheat and other grains that are all in the grass family. Products with 2-4-D were also used by golf courses. In the Viet Nam War as the major ingredient in Agent Orange, its wide application on tropical forests had long term effects on both civilians and soldiers. It was linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease and reproductive problems.
Glyphosate (Roundup) is an even more dangerous herbicide. It kills any type of plant by inhibiting a plant enzyme. Since humans don’t have that enzyme, it was considered harmless. Geneticists created “Roundup Ready” soy, corn, canola and sugar beets which resist Roundup. Therefore Roundup could be applied to the surrounding soil to kill the weeds. However, glyphosate like 2-4-D is a chlorinated hydrocarbon soluble in fat as are many insecticides. It could be in the edible seed of the crop. If these crops are fed to animals the glyphosate gets in their fat and is passed on to us. Contaminated soy and canola oils get to us directly in manufactured food products. This kills the good bacteria in our intestines. They no longer make B vitamins or tryptophan. Our bodies react with inflammation, gut disorders, depression and possible increased susceptibility to diabetes, obesity, infertility and cancer. These and other dangers to humans are described in the journal Entropy, 2013 15(4) 1416-1463.
Be safe. Eat whole natural foods from small organic farms.

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Let Your Home Help Your Health

Your yard and the products you use in your home can affect your health. Also how your furniture is arranged can promote exercise. A large green lawn that has to be sprayed with herbicides and cut with a polluting power mower adds to the chemicals in your environment that can undermine your health. A ground cover of native plants would be better.
Hundreds of new organic compounds are being invented. Many can get into the air you breathe in your home. If your house has been fumigated to kill insects, air it out well before sleeping there. Stay with friends or sleep in the back yard. New carpeting may also require airing since it can give off formaldehyde. Take extra multivitamins and antioxidants to help your liver cope with the chemicals in the air you can’t avoid.
Don’t be fooled by artificial scents. Just because a household product has the smell of lemon or pine doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Try to get unscented cleaning supplies. Use a gel that absorbs unwanted odors instead of spraying an air freshener into a room. It just covers them up. Many sprays contain para-di-chlor-benzene, the same chemical used in moth balls. Better to grow indoor plants. They absorb pollutants as well as carbon di-oxide and release pure oxygen into the air. Even in the bathroom a hanging plant can keep the air fresh.
You’re lucky if you have stairs to climb. The exercise against gravity tones your muscles and burns calories. You can get automatic exercise by discarding the remote control for your television. Then rise from your chair using only your leg muscles.
As a way to improve my posture, I hung wind chimes in the hall. I activate them with the top of my head by straightening my back to counteract the bending over caused by gravity and getting old. My living room has enough space to do yoga and other exercises.
Whatever makes you move more instead of less leads to a more youthful body.

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Don’t Fear Cataract Surgery

After a routine eye exam I was told I had cataracts, probably from normal aging not because I hadn’t worn sunglasses for many years while climbing mountains. Last winter I was scared driving in the rain at twilight. I had to drive slowly and trust instinct to make the correct turns to get home. I tested my eyes by winking each in turn. While looking with my left eye, on-coming headlights were a blurred glare. With my right eye the lights were distinct.
Several friends had told me that the operation was no big deal. However, my older sister who lived many more years than I did in Colorado said the surgery on the first eye went okay but the old lens was hard to remove from the second eye. She still doesn’t drive at night.
It took months to schedule cataract surgery for the left eye. First I needed another test from my optometrist. This time he did extreme dilation that caused only a thin rim of my blue iris around the large black pupil. The piece of dark plastic I was to wear behind my glasses made it hard to drive home even in early afternoon. Days later I had to go to another clinic where a technologist made accurate measurements that would help the surgeon. Weeks later I met the surgeon who again had to dilate my eye to see the lens more clearly. He said I needed to use a series of eye-drops before surgery and others for a month afterward. I would have to pick them up later.
For three days before surgery four times a day, I used two types of drops: an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory drug. The day of surgery I had to wake up at 4 a.m. take these two drops 5 minutes apart then take two other drops: a dilator and an anesthetic. After thirty minutes, before leaving for surgery, a good friend put the second two types of drops in my eye then again after we arrived at the medical facility.
After a short wait, I was placed in an operating chair and an I.V. tube was put in my left arm. I was awake during surgery. At first I noticed two aqua-blue bars of light. Later I saw orange and red flashes and soon the operation was over. I was given orange juice and coffee in the recovery area by a friendly staff. My eye had been covered with an aluminum protector with small holes in it. This was taped to my head. I could see out of the pinholes as my friend drove me home. She drove me next day to see the doctor again. All was well but I still had to take the antibiotic drops, the anti-inflammation drops and a cortisone-like drop for a week. I would use the last two for three more weeks.
I now saw bright colors and clear printing on my computer screen. When I drove the next Sunday to a strange neighborhood, I saw street signs more clearly WAfter a routine eye exam I was told I had cataracts, probably from normal aging not because I hadn’t worn sunglasses for many years while climbing mountains. Last winter I was scared driving in the rain at twilight. I had to drive slowly and trust instinct to make the correct turns to get home. I tested my eyes by winking each in turn. While looking with my left eye, on-coming headlights were a blurred glare. With my right eye the lights were distinct.
Several friends had told me that the operation was no big deal. However, my older sister who lived many more years than I did in Colorado said the surgery on the first eye went okay but the old lens was hard to remove from the second eye. She still doesn’t drive at night.
It took months to schedule cataract surgery for the left eye. First I needed another test from my optometrist. This time he did extreme dilation that caused only a thin rim of my blue iris around the large black pupil. The piece of dark plastic I was to wear behind my glasses made it hard to drive home even in early afternoon. Days later I had to go to another clinic where a technologist made accurate measurements that would help the surgeon. Weeks later I met the surgeon who again had to dilate my eye to see the lens more clearly. He said I needed to use a series of eye-drops before surgery and others for a month afterward. I would have to pick them up later.
For three days before surgery four times a day, I used two types of drops: an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory drug. The day of surgery I had to wake up at 4 a.m. take these two drops 5 minutes apart then take two other drops: a dilator and an anesthetic. After thirty minutes, before leaving for surgery, a good friend put the second two types of drops in my eye then again after we arrived at the medical facility.
After a short wait, I was placed in an operating chair and an I.V. tube was put in my left arm. I was awake during surgery. At first I noticed two aqua-blue bars of light. Later I saw orange and red flashes and soon the operation was over. I was given orange juice and coffee in the recovery area by a friendly staff. My eye had been covered with an aluminum protector with small holes in it. This was taped to my head. I could see out of the pinholes as my friend drove me home. She drove me next day to see the doctor again. All was well but I still had to take the antibiotic drops, the anti-inflammation drops and a cortisone-like drop for a week. I would use the last two for three more weeks.
I now saw bright colors and clear printing on my computer screen. When I drove the next Sunday to a strange neighborhood, I saw street signs more clearly WITHOUT glasses. Later the optometrist confirmed the left eye had 20/20 vision. Surgery had been great but all those clinic visits and eye drops are a chore I don’t look forward to if I have to go in for my right eye.

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