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The Unhealthy Truth: why we’re raising Generation Rx

May04

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the_unhealthy_truth_book.jpgI have to admit that I am so tired of all the eye rolls from friends, acquaintances and even doctors after even the slightest mention that there are certain foods I AM CONVINCED adversely affect my son’s behavior.
The typical comment (accompanied by a snicker) is These foods have been around forever, your son is not the first to eat them. These kids are fine and Chill Out.
But, now a kindred spirit in the form of mom Robyn O’Brien, founder of AllergyKids, has laid it all out for us mamas to understand in her book, The Unhealthy Truth.
I knew it! I am not crazy. The unhealthy, and unfortunate, truth is that since the late 1990s, our food supply has undergone a significant change where for example the package of boxed macaroni & cheese that you ate as a child is not that same that you are feeding your kids today. Instead our food supply is NOW laden with genetically-modified proteins, antibiotics, chemical additives and preservatives, all allergens irritating our kids’ immune systems and contributing to a skyrocketing allergy epidemic.
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92% of Soy grown worldwide is genetically modified

Robyn O’Brien leaves no stone unturned going from food group to food group and telling us what we need to know. Really! There’s drama, financial intrigue and politics behind the scenes of the FDA, CDC, and FAAN when it comes to Soy, Corn, Milk, Artificial Sweetners & Coloring. O’Brien is our generation’s Erin Brokovitch sharing with us a John Grishamesque-tale wherein you expect Julia Roberts to be starring in the book’s movie-version. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Pelican Brief, it’s a true story and our kids are the victims.
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80% of Corn grown worldwide is genetically modified

What Robyn O’Brien learned and has shared with us is that parents need to be the ones reading every label (if only that were good enough) and understanding from where their children’s food is sourced because unfortunately our government has done a piss-poor job over the last 10+ years protecting our food supply. Until things change, parents need to be more active and responsible.
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Milk allergy is now the most common food allergy in the US having risen to #1 over the past 10 years.

Now, you can read The Unhealthy Truth and get really mad. Or, you can read it and be motivated to act like Mama O’Brien. We can make our food safe for our kids and make laws to protect our children from dangerous foods just like the European, Australian, Japanese and Russian moms have already done.
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Growth hormone rBGH has dominated the milk market since 1993. Could rBGH be the cause of the rise in milk allergies?

See, our food has changed and new ingredients have been added that have NEVER been tested for safety. Don’t you think our food should be clearly labeled so that we have a clear choice about what to feed our kids? I sure do.
The European Union has a law requiring the labeling of foods containing ingredients with more than 0.9% of genetically-modified content. We Americans have nothing. Heck, I had no idea corn (found in virtually all processed foods) and soy were genetically-modified. Shame on me? Shame on our government? Or, shame on the food industry?
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In Norway, Yellow 5 (aka tartrazine) is banned.

It is possible for big companies to make and sell kid-friendly, family-friendly and healthfully-processed foods. They are doing it in many countries outside of the US.
In the UK, many US-based companies like Wal-Mart, Kraft, Coca-Cola, and the Mars Company have voluntarily removed artificial colors, the preservative sodium benzoate and aspartame from their products. Which begs the question why are these companies not doing a better job here at home?
Don’t our kids deserve better?
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92% of independent studies say that aspartame poses at least some dangers

What can you do? Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.
1) Start reading food labels much more vigilantly again; we’re very good about organic dairy, vegetables and grass-fed meats already. (The book provides you with a list of brands to trust)
2) Eliminate some of the worse offenders from my son’s diet (Yellow 5 & Sodium Benzoate) swiftly.
3) Support initiatives to have a safer food supply. I went to Change.org, typed “food” in the search button, and supported actions that made sense. I’m not done here, there’s much action to be taken.
Does this mean my family is going cold turkey and you’ll never see us chowing down on some colorfully-processed foods? No. I love me some cheeseburgers & fries (with a shake to go with it) for special times and won’t deny my son the same guilty pleasures on occasion.
But the bigger issue is getting the companies and the government to make it so that we parents don’t always feel like we’re playing bad cop but rather can walk confidently down our local grocery store aisles and shop for food without fear that it is making us sick.
If your child’s health is important to you, then yes, The Unhealthy Truth is for you. It’s intense (don’t plan to fly through it like the Twilight series), but it’s an important book, one that parents need to digest. I didn’t feel there was any fear-mongering in it, but rather well-researched and important information about the connection between our food and why it is possibly making this generation of kids sick.
Photo sources (in order): Umeboshi Panda, yomi955, trekkyandy, Scoobymoo, Dyanna, kate at yr own risk.

About the author

Isabel Kallman

http://www.alphamom.com
Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of Alphamom.com.

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


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15 Responses to “The Unhealthy Truth: why we’re raising Generation Rx”

  1. Fairly Odd Mother May 04 at 12:33 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you for this review—I will definitely check out this book. I developed asthma as an adult and now my oldest child has a milk allergy. Her allergy has actually made me SO careful about what we eat that I think it’s made us much better eaters than we would have defaulted to without an allergy. I absolutely think there is a connection between our food supply and the health of our kids.

  2. mandy May 04 at 12:46 pm Reply Reply

    I completely agree that there are lots of unhealthy items out there, especially in prepackaged foods. I do my best to avoid them, but I also have the luxury of being in a two parent, middle class home.
    However, fruits and vegetables have been genetically modified since humans started agriculture however many thousands of years ago. That being said, I think you are better off buying organic/pesticide free as often as possible, as that poses a much greater risk to our collective health than genetic modification.

  3. Mother 2 Mother May 04 at 12:48 pm Reply Reply

    Wow…what an eye opening review! I struggle with severe asthma and allergies that I developed in 1994 at age 18 (perhaps when some food changes were being made) and my son also suffers from both. I cannot wait to pick up the book. Thank you!

  4. Meghan May 04 at 6:01 pm Reply Reply

    I also believe that the artificials in the “American Diet” have an effect on everyone to some degree. For certain members of my family their allergies to items deemed “safe” by the FDA are life-threatening. Our family is a member of the Feingold Association of the United States (FAUS) which was founded by Dr. Feingold in the 1970’s as an elimination diet to help kids who were dealing with behavior issues and being labeled ADHD. The volunteers at FAUS research products and let you know what items are safe and which ones have hidden ingredients, dyes or preservatives that aren’t listed on the labels.
    (Example: You buy strawberry yogurt from the grocery store. The ingredients are “whole milk, yogurt cultures, strawberries” or something similar. But someone in my family could eatt it and have an anaphylactic reaction to the fake red dye in the strawberries. The ingredients list doesn’t list red dye, but the FDA says they don’t have to because the dye was added to the strawberries by the company that sold it to the yogurt manufacturer; they only have to list the items they add, not what might already be in them. Like buying a cookie at the bakery that has M&Ms in it, they wouldn’t have to list chocolate as an ingredient because they said “M&M”, which ingredients include chocolate, food color, candy shell, etc.)
    The Feingold Diet is often called the “ADHD Diet” because that’s how it started out, it has greatly reduced behavior/attention/learning difficulties for children and families around the world, but it’s not just for ADHD. I’ve been following it for 2 years now and I can tell when I’ve had something artificial because my knees swell up. As a kid I wore leg braces and had surgeries in college because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my joints, and now after changing my diet I’ve not had any of the problems that plagued me for decades, and kept me on Celebrex (an anti-inflammatory) from the age of 14 until my 20’s!
    Check out http://www.feingold.org/ for more information.
    ___________________________
    Isabel: Yes, the book speaks highly of the Feingold diet. Thank you for this.

  5. Simone May 04 at 8:13 pm Reply Reply

    Take milk for example, back in the day a person would have had fresh milk straight from the cow after the cow spent a good bit of the day grazing on pesticide-free grass. If you were lucky, the cow would graze near the snow line where the grass was high in nutrients from the melting snow. The milk would have been unpasteurized, no antibiotics added, and high in vitamins minerals and enzymes. Today, you buy your milk from a grocery store in a plastic jug that might possibly leach chemicals from the plastic, the milk was ultra-pasteurized at 280 degrees – killing all the bacteria and all the other good stuff too like Vitamin C and D and enzymes. The cows are fed grain and given antibiotics and growth hormones to increase their milk production, the grain was problably raised on a mass farm that was sprayed with pesticides and fungicides, in poor soil with no nutrients to begin with. The corn seed was problably genetically modified. The water to irrigate the crop would be full of the run-off from the pesticides and fungicides. And you wonder why so many people develop milk allergies?

  6. Robyn May 04 at 8:41 pm Reply Reply

    What a remarkable group of women you are. You are so totally inspiring, and I am so honored to have your feedback and this amazing write up from Isabel.
    It truly is up to us to affect change for our children. And we are so fortunate to be a smart, savvy generation of moms whose hearts can do remarkable things! With inspired hope for our children. xo

  7. lynda Fassa May 04 at 9:37 pm Reply Reply

    To Mandy:
    I used to think as you do, that GM (genetically modified) or GMO (genetically modified organisims) were just like the days of old..splicing wheat together on the banks of the Nile to make a hardier crop, but that is absolutley NOT what GM and GMO means today. Today, a gene gun shoots the dna of a to-become GMO seed and actually changes it’s DNA, sometimes to contain a pesticide in it’s very genetic make-up. This is not the way it’s ever been before. “Round-up Ready” crops have a genetic component that makes them resistant to a powerful hebacide that kills all other surrounding plants. This is what ends up in our children’s stomaches and later cells. There just simply are no long term studies on what this means for human (or animal) health. Many states have actually been sued by chemical giants to not be allowed to label GM crops. We need to wake up and take back our power, our health and our lives. This book is a must have bible for health wellness and perhaps even survival.

  8. Heather May 06 at 11:07 am Reply Reply

    My sister is allergic to corn. When we were kids that wouldn’t have mattered because things were sweetened with sugar, from sugar cane. Now it is 90% from corn. She has to home cook almost everything. She can eat 1 brand of icecream. Even broth has corn in it. Why are we adding all this garbage to food. There has to be another way to preserve it.
    She had a landlord freak out once because her counters and fridge were covered with containers. She has jars and jars of real food. jars of oatmeal, and other grains, Pickled food, jams ect.
    She had broth in a pot in the fridge cooling ( to get the fat layer to the top to remove ) > He said she was going to attract bugs with all the food laying around. He didn’t recognize most of it. The tomatoes were on the counter nad not in the fridge. He didn’t recognize she was canning things.
    It is sad when someone is so use to packaged food they doesn’t recognize real food.
    My son’s daycare talks about the balanced nutritnal diet they offer. It is packed frozen chicken nuggets, tater tots ect. I think part of the reason my son is such a picky eater is the garbage they serve at daycare. I can’t get him to eat real food. I do what I can but it is such a fight.

  9. Sabrina K. May 06 at 11:43 am Reply Reply

    Between the 4 of us (my husband, myself, and my 2 kids) we have 15 food allergies! We’re very careful about what we can eat, but are severely limited. Honestly since we started avoiding all this stuff (the kids were diagnosed about 2 years ago) I’ve dropped nearly 80lbs. And I *thought* we were eating fairly healthy before!!!
    I cannot understand the need to add corn to things that don’t need corn. It’s not cheaper, it’s not healthier and it’s not better for the environment. It’s just plain lazy.
    If they could at least prove it was cheaper to the consumer I might buy into it, but in the last 2 years the prices of food has gone up so high that what used to cost $45 a week is now $70 just to buy the same things.

  10. lawgirlmama May 06 at 6:12 pm Reply Reply

    This looks like an amazing book. I am just beginning to pay attention to these things now that I am pregnant and I can not believe what is put in our food these days. Makes me sad I never took my grandma up on the canning and preserving lessons…

  11. kgirl May 08 at 4:15 pm Reply Reply

    People think I’m a lunatic because of the healthy choices we make for our family, including, but not limited to, reducing or eliminating all additives, preservatives, non-organic meat & dairy, pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
    (knocks wood) My kids, age 4 & 18 mos have NEVER needed antibiotics or any other medications. And I have asthma, allergies, excema and tons of other ‘environmental’ ailments that have been greatly improved by our choices.

  12. laurie May 16 at 4:22 pm Reply Reply

    i had heard about the issue with soy and estrogen from my ob as it relates to ovarian and breast cancer … going to run out and get the book but a great synopsis, tx

  13. Blend May 19 at 1:15 pm Reply Reply

    Excellent blog! really, made me concerned…

  14. Judy Jun 09 at 10:05 pm Reply Reply

    I live on a dairy farm and would never use bgh. I don’t believe in putting extra stuff in a cow to make her produce more. I would love to go all organic but not my husband. So I do what I can. Our youngest son (now 27) has an allergy to preservitives! He actually breaks out from them. Grow your own food, drink non processed milk, eliminate the middle man and we will all be better off. A doctor once told my father-in-law not to drink tomato juice.. he said” what am I going to do with all that I canned” the doctor said it was “OK” to have his own just not the baughten stuff and watch out for preservatives. Another thing I found out is that salt is good for you if you have orgainc sea salt!!! It’s the others that is not so good for you. Everything in moderation.

  15. axel Aug 03 at 3:41 am Reply Reply

    did u know ur eating processed food everyday.the food u eat is run threw a lab and injected with poision not to make u die just to get u sick so u buy medicine and keep making that process over and over again the food company and the medicine company r joined together to make money. the food u eat is processed food and gets you sick and thenyou pay even more money for the medicine its a process that will never stop unless,u go to a place called whole foods located in long beach (seal beach) and trader joes located in the same area if u want to get healthy fasr and luse weight look for foods that say usda organic it doesnt go through a lab and get u sick. (for more info just pm or comment me) just trying to make ppl healthier and the evil moneymakers to get in dept)

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