How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods


There are plenty of reasons to avoid eating genetically modified (GM) foods. In fact, after reading just 10 pages or listening to an hour-long lecture about their health dangers, most people are ready to change their diet on the spot.

If genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not yet on your radar screen, go to www. for a full presentation. Here is a teaser of what you’ll find:

  • The only human feeding study on GMOs ever conducted showed that genes “jumped” from GM soy into the DNA of human intestinal bacteria and continued to function. That means that long after you stop eating GM soy, you may still have GM proteins produced continuously inside of you. (What if the pesticide-producing “Bt” gene found in GM corn chips were also to jump? It might transform our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories—possibly for the long term.)
  • Most offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks (compared to a 10 percent death rate in the non-GM soy group). Similarly, when a lab switched to rat feed with GM soy, most of the offspring at the facility died within two weeks.
  • Studies with mice also show reproductive problems. Mice fed GM soy had altered sperm cells and the DNA of their embryos acted differently.
  • Hundreds of farm workers complain of allergic reactions when touching GM cotton.
  • After sheep grazed on GM cotton plants after harvest, about one in four died; about 10,000 deaths in one region in India.
  • Farmers on three continents say their livestock became sterile, sick or died, after eating GM corn varieties.

Could such unsafe food get past our Food and Drug Administration? It probably wouldn’t have, if the decision were in the hands of the scientists. Memos made public from a lawsuit reveal that the consensus among FDA scientists in the early 1990s was that GMOs were inherently unsafe and could lead to toxins, allergens, new diseases and nutritional problems. They urged their superiors to require long-term safety studies before any GM foods were allowed on the market. But the political appointee in charge of FDA policy was the former attorney of the biotech giant Monsanto and later the company’s vice president. The scientists’ warnings were ignored and today the FDA does not require a single safety study on GM foods.

The FDA is also the agency that decides whether or not GM foods need to be labeled. But the White House told the FDA to promote the biotech industry, so they nixed labels. Thus, our government ignores the desire of nine out of ten Americans who want the labels, to support the financial interests of five biotech seed companies. We’re on our own.

How to Make Safer Non-GM Choices

There are four major GM crops: soy, corn, cotton, and canola. The majority of acreage for each of these crops is genetically engineered. Herbicide-tolerant varieties of each have their DNA inserted with bacterial genes that allow the crops to survive otherwise deadly doses of herbicides. This gives farmers more flexibility in controlling weeds and gives the GM seed company lots more profit. When farmers buy GM seeds, they sign a contract to buy only that seed producer’s brand of herbicide. Herbicide tolerant crops comprise about 80 percent of all GM plants.

The other popular trait is found in corn and cotton varieties that are engineered to produce a pesticide in every cell. Their DNA contains a gene from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, which produces a natural insect-killing poison called Bt-toxin.

In addition to these two major types of GM crops, there are also disease-resistant GM zucchini, crook neck squash and Hawaiian papaya, but these comprise well under 1 percent of GMO acreage. But if sugar beet growers have their way, they will add GM sugar to our diets starting in late 2008.

Here are four tips for avoiding GM products.

Tip One

Buy organic. Organic standards do not allow the use of GM inputs.

There are three types of organic labels:

  1. “100% organic” means all ingredients are organic
  2. “Organic” means that at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. The other 5%, however, still have to be non-GMO
  3. “Made with organic (ingredient name, such as soy)” This label means that at least 70 percent of the ingredients are organic, but the remaining 30 percent still have to be non-GMO.

If the term organic is only in the list of ingredients and not found anywhere else on the package, then there is no required overall percentage for organic ingredients in the product, and any non-organic ingredient may be GMO.

Tip Two

Look for “Non-GMO” Labels. Companies may voluntarily label products as Non-GMO. Some labels state “Non-GMO” while others spell out “Made without genetically modified ingredients.” Some products limit their claim to only one particular “at-risk” ingredient such as soy lecithin, listing it as “Non-GMO.”

Tip Three

Avoid at-risk ingredients. The seven GM crops—soy, corn, cottonseed, canola, Hawaiian papaya, and a small amount of zucchini and yellow crook neck squash—look just like their non-GMO counterparts. You can’t see a difference by looking at them. (Novel products such as seedless water-melons, pear/apple combos and tangelos are products of natural breeding and are not genetically engineered.)

Most GM ingredients eaten by US consumers are in the form of products made from corn and soybeans, used in processed foods. Perhaps 90 percent of all non-organic processed foods contain at least some small contribution from soy or corn, or perhaps some cooking oil from cottonseed or canola. Go to for a long list of derivatives. Shopping with that in your hand will help you navigate around the genetically modified organisms (GMOs). See the sidebar on page 72 for a small list.

Tip Four

Use Non-GMO Shopping Guides. The True Food Guide offers non-GMO brand choices at The guide has also been reproduced as an insert in the back of the book, Your Right to Know by Andrew Kimbrell. The book is available at

Our Campaign for Healthier Eating in America will put out a more up-to-date series of free guides, beginning in the summer of 2008. Check

Other GMOs to Look Out For

  • GMO sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is created in part by GM microorganisms. It is also referred to as NutraSweet and Equal and is found in over 6000 products, including soft drinks, gum, candy, desserts and mixes, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and some pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and sugar-free cough drops.
  • Animal products: Meat, dairy products, farmed fish and eggs are usually from animals fed GM feed. To avoid them, buy “organic,” wild caught, or from “100 percent grass-fed” animals. Avoid dairy products from cows injected with GM bovine growth hormone (called rbGH, or rbST). See www. for brand listings.
  • Honey and bee pollen may have been gathered from GM plants. In fact, a small percentage of the alfalfa in the US is GM, but plantings were stopped by a court order in 2007.
  • There are many additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents that are used in food and which are produced by GM bacteria, yeast or fungi. To avoid them, either buy organic or stick to non-processed foods.

Avoiding GMOs in Restuarants

Go to restaurants that cook meals from scratch and don’t use packaged processed mixes and sauces that likely have GM ingredients. For those that cook from scratch, most at-risk ingredients are visible like corn chips and tortillas, tofu, soy sauce, and sweet corn.

The big exception is vegetable oil, which is probably from soy, corn, cottonseed or canola. If the restaurant uses one of these, ask whether they can cook your meal in some other oil like olive oil, or in butter, or without oil at all. And let them know why, so they can learn about GMOs too.

*This article was written by Jeffrey Smith, and was published on the Weston A. Price Foundation website. To view the original article and sources, please visit.

The leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices, Jeffrey Smith’s meticulous research documents how biotech companies continue to mislead legislators and safety officials to put the health of society at risk and the environment in peril. His work expertly summarizes why the safety assessments conducted by the FDA and regulators worldwide teeter on a foundation of outdated science and false assumptions, and why genetically engineered foods must urgently become our nation’s top food safety priority.

Preventing and Treating the Flu


Question: There is so much pressure on us to get a flu vaccination. Is this wise, or are there better ways of preventing and treating the flu?

Answer: True influenza is an infectious disease, transmitted through the air in infected secretions (i.e., mucus), caused by an RNA virus in the Orthomyxovirus class of viruses. There are three subtypes of viruses in this class, called A, B and C with the subtype A associated with the most severe symptoms in humans. The global influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed millions of people all over the world, but especially in Europe, was supposedly a type A influenza virus. There have been lesser outbreaks of other type A viruses occurring from time to time since then.

It is important to note that not all cases of sickness in the winter are the “flu” type, and it is virtually impossible for a doctor to tell an individual patient whether he is suffering from illness caused by the true influenza virus or some other variation of the common cold. Typically the distinguishing features of true influenza versus the usual cold are higher fever, body aches, sore throat and the tendency to get pneumonia. While these may occur in the common cold they are more severe in classic influenza.

It is important in understanding influenza to go over some basic principles of infectious disease and how our immune system functions. We have two immune systems, the cell-mediated or Th1 (thymus derived) immune system is responsible for eliminating intracellular (meaning inside the cell) organisms. It primarily works through the production of white blood cells that essentially digest and then excrete cells (for example, in our throat or bronchial tubes) that have been infected with a virus or bacteria. The consequences of a cell mediated response, that is, the digestion and excretion of dead and infected cells, are what we call sickness. In other words, fever, rash, cough, mucus and so forth are not caused by the virus but by the body’s response to the virus.

In contrast, the humoral or Th2 immune system targets extracellular (i.e., outside the cell) infecting agents (such as worms) or foreign proteins and produces antibodies that call for a killing response before the offending agent gets into our cells and makes us sick.

There are several important points to note here. First, with every naturally occurring infection both immune systems respond, first the cellmediated to clear the virus, then the antibody or humoral system to make antibodies to remember what happened so our cells don’t get infected with the same pathogen more than once. Second, the severity of any particular illness is a function of how many cells are infected and the strength of our cell-mediated response. Finally, whether we get repeated sickness is related to whether we can make an effective antibody response.

The influenza virus, being an RNA virus, can only replicate inside other mammalian cells; this is why it causes illness. If we haven’t encountered a particular strain before it gets into our cells and replicates, the cell-mediated response comes into play and leads to sickness.

The cell-mediated response usually lasts a week to ten days; then the virus is cleared, we make antibodies and are immune for life. This is what happens in the vast majority of cases. In the process of the cell-mediated response, a kind of cellular house-cleaning takes place, in which a lot of weakened and otherwise diseased cells are cleared from our tissue. This is why we say after the flu that “we are better.” In fact, the cell-mediated exercise is largely responsible for immunity to cancer, auto-immune disease and other chronic conditions. In other words, the dictum “give me a fever [that is, the cell-mediated response] and I can cure any disease” speaks to the power and efficacy of the cell-mediated immune system.

In contrast, when we give a vaccine, any vaccine, we are deliberately trying to bypass the cell-mediated immune system and only provoke a humoral response. (If a vaccine provoked the cell-mediated immune system, it would just make us sick and no one would agree to them.) Although in theory this process might work, the problem is that this shifts the vaccine recipient into what is called a Th2 dominant mode, an imbalance in which the humoral immune system is too strong and the cell-mediated immunity is suppressed.

This leaves us with no avenue to clear the poisons that we have just been injected with from our tissues; it leaves us with chronic inflammation as our bodies struggle to clear these inflammatory toxins, such as mercury, formaldehyde, and dead viruses, and an increased susceptibility to chronic disease. An overactive humoral immune system often leads to auto-immune disease, where the humoral immune system attacks our own tissues.

In all, flu vaccines have too many problems to recommend them against an illness that should be fairly straightforward to overcome.

As far as flu prevention, the best approach is, of course, a nourishing traditional diet with an emphasis on good fats, lacto-fermented foods and gelatin-rich bone broth. Sugar and refined carbohydrates both blunt the immune response and should be avoided as much as possible. Highvitamin cod liver oil, rich in fat-soluble vitamins, helps the immune response, the dose is one-half to one teaspoon per day. The other proven preventative is some elderberry extract, my favorite being elderberry/thyme syrup from True Botanica, one teaspoon twice per day.

If you should get the flu, increase the cod liver oil to one teaspoon three times per day while you are sick, and give the elderberry extract one tablespoon four times per day until better.

I recommend two homeopathic remedies for the first three days or as long as you have a fever. The first is Oscillococcinum from Boiron, given one tube of little pills twice per day; the second is meteoric iron/prunus from Uriel pharmacy, five pills four times per day. The meteoric iron should be continued at this dose until all symptoms are gone. Of course, you should take plenty of bone broths and nourishing soups as appetite permits.

The important point to remember about the flu is that this is a annoying but self-limiting disease which, through its activation of our cellmediated immune system, strengthens us and prevents us from going down the road of chronic disease. Vaccines do just the opposite and should be avoided. When it comes to the flu, we need to keep our eyes on the big picture and the true road to good health.

*This article is written by Dr. Tom Cowan, and is published in the Weston A. Price Foundation journals.
For more information and sources, please visit the original article.

Top 3 Benefits of Becoming a Personal Trainer


I started out as a personal trainer at the age of 17. I’m 32 now and I’m still just as passionate about this career as I’ve ever been. I tell people all the time how much I love it; If you’re doing it right it’s the best career in the world.

Here are the things I love the most:

1. Your Job Actually Matters

Definitely my favourite part about being a personal trainer is having a purpose. There’s nothing worse than being in a job where your work doesn’t really matter. As a personal trainer you feel like a superhero. You get to save people every day. There’s nothing more fulfilling to me than helping someone change their life for the better.

2. It’s a Motivating Environment to be In

I can’t tell you how many times I hear people complaining about how bored they are at work. As a personal trainer you’re never bored. You’re surrounded by people who are striving to get better. If you’re not helping someone succeed, your on the floor working out yourself. The point is you’re in a positive environment filled with motivated people. There’s something about that energy that makes you feel good.

3. The People You Meet Are Awesome

Personal training has changed me in that I never judge anyone no matter how different they may be from me. I’ve trained all types of people and I’ve adapted to them by listening and caring about them. As a personal trainer you get to meet new people every week. I’ve had the privilege of training fascinating characters from entrepreneurs to artists to hollywood actors. I don’t train as many people as I used to anymore because of all my other business commitments but it’s the part I definitely miss the most.

Sure the money is good and the flexibility in your schedule is nice but I wanted to talk about the least tangible stuff. Obviously these benefits can differ based on the gym or studio you choose to work at. Or if you choose to work on your own. But overall these are what matter most to me in the end.

The joy of training introverts

123RF/Bjorn Alberts


Introverts tend to have a bad reputation.  They are often seen as shy, reserved, uncommunicative and sometimes, arrogant.  This reputation is undeserved.  Training introverts can be a source of joy and discovery, if you know how to interact with them and learn to appreciate the unique qualities of their personality traits.

Susan Cain wrote in 2012 a New York Times Best Seller titled Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.  In this book, the author first charts the rise of an extrovert culture in the twentieth century to explain how we have come to undervalue introverts.  She outlines the main differences between extroverts and introverts and in doing so, breaks the preconceptions we may have about quiet people.  Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not anti-social.  Instead, they recharge their batteries by being alone, in opposition to extroverts, who need to recharge them when they have not socialized enough.  It is a matter of how you replenish your energy supply, not about how you interact with people.

We have come to associate extroverts with success and energy.  We perceive big talkers as leaders.  In opposition, introverts are seen as less intelligent and socially handicapped.  Cain is able to demonstrate how these perceptions are false and how heritable traits play an important role in how we develop as introverts or extroverts.  So it may be, as the author suggests, that cool is overrated….

But how is this information helping you as a trainer? Let’s examine some key personality traits of introverts and propose ways to deal with them.

Forget social talk after your training session…

It is not that your introvert client does not like you.  In fact, introverts are as likely as extroverts to engage with you, be likable and provide you with good feedback about the work you are doing with them. But don’t expect them to linger in the gym after their training session to talk with other people. It is simply that introverts tend to expand energy in social settings, which requires quiet time by themselves to replenish their energy supply.

Get comfortable with silence…

Introverts prefer to work independently. They concentrate on the tasks at hand and are likely to negatively react if you are constantly cheering their every move during their training session.  Instead, provide them with clear and concise instructions about the exercise they need to perform and just let them go.  You don’t have to talk to them.  The added bonus is that introverts pay more attention to the progress they are making then to the end goal.  They will create a great partnership with you if you can engage on the process of their training, instead of talking about the ultimate results that their training may achieve.  Use a language that is process-oriented instead of goal-oriented. But more importantly, use less words than more.

Don’t push…

Introverts tend to be very disciplined.  They have well developed abilities to make plans, and to stick to them.  They are also more sensitive to their environment and more attuned to others’ feelings and behaviours.  In your interactions with introverts, you will likely find it easy to build an exercise program with them.  Once done, introvert clients will find inner motivation to engage in their program.  However, introverts also tend to be more sensitive to other’s feelings and behaviours. It means that they will monitor how you react to their progress.  The strategy that works best is therefore gentle encouragement.  Don’t get the brass band out when they have reached an important milestone in their program; instead, just low key, quiet praise will support them tremendously.


And what if you are an introvert trainer?  Well, you know what to do.  Just go home and relax after you day’s work.

Articles of the Week

8433d1_0987768c95714fe9b09dcf25fdd9e0c4.jpg_1024Every Sunday Free Form Academy posts a list of the best articles that will help make you a better trainer. The articles are grouped into 4 categories: Exercise, Business, Motivational Psychology, and Nutrition. The links will be opened in a new window.


3 Reasons Why the Half-kneeling Position Will Improve Your Training by Dr. Quinn Henoch

Beyond Butt Wink: Hip Shape, Injuries, and Individual Ability Part 1 by Dean Somerset

6 Steps to Building the Perfect Workout by Dan Blewett


How Eating Better Can Make You Happier by Kamel Patel

It Won’t Kill You to Grill by Brian St. Pierre

Is Metabolic Damage a Real Thing? by Dr. Brooke Kalanick Larson


5 Steps to Lasting Life Changes and Personal Growth by Shelly Drymon

Behavioral Economics and Health Part 1 by Tayla Miron-Shatz, Ph.D

Master the Habits of Your Life by John Jantsch


Overcoming Perfectionism: How to Take Action, Execute a Plan, and Move Forward In Your Coaching Business by John Spencer Ellis

Personal Trainer Business Plan by Adam Bornstein

Are You Being Strategic? by Rachael Cosgrove