Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Made of Corn by Joe Nash

This essay was written by my brother Joe Nash.  It sums up the state of our food system, and our health situation that is caused by our farming system.  It will open your eyes.  All you primal/paleo lifestyle advocates must READ this essay.  Repost it  with credit to it's author.  It is a game changer.  He sums the entire situation up for all those we are trying to educate.  I am proud to pass on his work.  Read this!

His blog can be found at http://joegoesbacktoschool.blogspot.com/

Made of Corn
            Corn is a grass plant.  A very large version of the grass plant that grows in the front yard of the average American.  The primary species of corn grown throughout the Midwest is called Yellow Dent.  If you were to go into a field of this corn, and pull a cob off the stalk, take it home and try to eat it, you would be sorely disappointed.  The majority of the corn in the United States cannot be eaten without being processed.  If the average American went to a scientist to have their hair tested (as a record of the makeup of the human body), they would find that the carbon in their bodies comes primarily from corn.  Not from sweet corn grown, cooked, and eaten at home, but from all of the byproducts of the Yellow Dent corn that is grown primarily across America today.  From sweeteners, to the meat we buy from the grocery store, to the oils used to cook in or with, it is mostly derived from corn.  It makes no sense to produce such a large crop of an inedible substance that has not been proven safe, while overusing our most valuable natural resource, farmland.  The food we grow, how we grow it, and how it gets into our bodies has had, and continues to have, a massively negative effect on our health system, and the nutrition intake of an entire generation.
            Crop prices once stayed high by limiting the amount of grain that went to market.  In 1973 the limits were taken away, and instead the farmer was paid with government subsidies, and the price of corn was allowed to go down.  The government pays farmers to grow more and more corn, soybeans, and wheat, all genetically modified, otherwise any farmer would lose money by growing their crops.  On an average acre of land, a farmer can grow four times the amount of corn that they could eighty years ago.  Over the years the corn has been genetically modified to grow closer to the plants around them, so that more plants could be planted per acre.  Additionally all but very few of plants are genetically modified to withstand one specific type of pesticide that would kill any normal plant not genetically modified to withstand it.  In this way, the food source is genetically linked to the pesticide used to kill everything but the food plant.  The result of modern technology is five tons of food from one acre of land.  As technology increased over time, a single farmer could work more and more land, and smaller farms were swallowed up.  Now a single farmer can farm 1,000 acres.
            Tons upon tons of corn sit harvested, but unused over the winter after harvest due to overproduction each year.  If the corn grown was immediately edible, the state of Iowa could produce enough food to feed the entire United States, with two trillion corn plants grown each year.  As it stands now, if an Iowa farmer had to rely on their own crop to feed their family, it could not be done because it is inedible, and if they produced their own crop without government subsidies, they would lose money.  None of this is productive or intuitive, yet it happens year after year.  In this way, genetically modified corn is not only bad for the health of the average American, but bad for the soil, the farmers, and the economy.
            If we used corn just for directly edible food purposes, then we would not need to produce so much corn, and we would not have soil that is so distressed from constant farming.  I learned from the film King Corn: "Of the 10,000 pounds of corn per acre grown, roughly 32% is exported or turned into ethanol. 490 pounds will become sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, and more than half the crop, a full 5,500 pounds is fed to animals to become meat." 
            Cattle by nature graze, and are fed grass primarily in nature.  As the principle feed for cattle in feed lots, the mass production of corn becomes the mass production of animal protein.  Wet corn gluten feed comes as a by-product of the ethanol industry, and silage is derived from the entire corn plant.  Sixty percent of the feed ration for an average farm animal is made from corn, and these corn by-products.  If feed cattle in a confinement feed lot were not harvested for meat, they would die within months from the feed given to them.  Most cattle being harvested are already suffering from acidosis.  They are given antibiotics to combat illness caused by acidosis.  150 days of feeding of a calf results in a cow ready to be harvested for meat.  We harvest meat from an obese animal who's muscle tissue looks like fat tissue.  According to the film King Corn: "If you harvested meat from grass fed cattle who graze and move on an open range, it would have 1.3 grams of saturated fat in an average t-bone steak, the same steak from cattle in a feed lot would have 9 grams saturated of fat."
            High fructose corn syrup is made with water, sulfuric acid, boiled off starch from corn after the fiber has been separated, enzymes that digest the corn, and involves a massive amount of heat.  It is the dominant sugar in almost every kind of food, even foods you wouldn't think would need any sugar at all.  It is used because it reduces acidity of some foods, adds browning properties to breads, and enhances flavors of spices and fruits.  It has no nutritional value, and is used because it is less expensive than sugar.  HFCS is known to have adverse metabolic effects on the human body and is empty calories contributing to obesity and health issues in the United States.  Look at the ingredients of the products you buy, and there is a good chance that it contains corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.  Drinking one soda per day doubles your chances of getting Type Two Diabetes. 
            If American's demand something, they will have it.  We are a consumer driven society.  American's however, want cheap food.  There was a time when 30%  to 35% of the income from an average family went to feed them.  Now the average family spends 16% to 17% of their income on food.  If American's demanded better quality food instead of cheaper food, then the farmers would respond by producing what is being demanded.  This requires a person to think about what they are putting into their bodies to process.
            The agriculture of the past is now involved in growing fast, cheap food that lacks the nutrition required for the body to thrive.  The drive for plenty of food in the past 30 years as a result of government involvement  has resulted in a drastic increase in production.  We may be the first generation in history where the abundance in production brings too much.  The price of the decrease in health is too high a price to pay for cheap and easy food.  Realistic expectations are that the lifespan of the average American will decrease in the next few generations due to obesity, and the health problems caused by the poor quality of the food that we consume. 
            There are several nutrients that were in the soil of the past that are not added into the soil now, and the soil is overused.  Potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous are the nutrients put into an otherwise dead soil through fertilizer, and that combination has been used for over a century.  The other nutrients that the soil would have naturally have, has already been leached out.  Natural soil that has not been overused contains fully 52 different minerals.  We are borrowing our future to pay for today by creating deficient, toxic food.  Many farm families are being eliminated as the commodity of corn, and the business of farming becomes part of multinational corporations. 
            We have reached a turning point in our society.  From watching Foodmatters, we learn that every year, approximately 652,486 people die of Heart Disease, 553,888 people die of cancer, and 225,000 people die of adverse reactions from medication and infections they got while in a medical setting.  These deaths, and the effects on our health system have put our society in a burgeoning crisis.  Dr. Linus Pauling who won two unshared Nobel Prizes, and holds forty-eight PhD's was quoted as saying: "Optimum Nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow."
            The food you buy that is considered fresh, produce, meat, etc. is on average one week old.   You lose up to 60% of the nutrition originally in the food by the time you get it home.  Additionally when you cook the food, you lose even more nutrition and many important enzymes in the cooking process.  The food structure is so blasted by what it has been through to get to your table, that it can cause Leukocytosis, basically causing your immune system to produce white blood cells that treat part of what you have eaten as a dangerous foreign body.  50% of protein is also destroyed and damaged by heat in the cooking process.
            All of this information begs the question: What can I eat if I cannot eat what is offered most often?  Super foods, would be one answer.
            Spirulina is the highest protein content vegetable in the world, yet it is not widely available.  Cacao Beans is the highest source of magnesium, chromium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, and vitamin C.  It can protect us from viruses, DNA damage, and cancer due to its high antioxidant content.  Commercially produced chocolate however has been exposed to heat, and the vitamin C is usually destroyed in the heating process.  Even so, it is considered a super food.  Eating raw foods is another great alternative.  If you eat half of your food raw, there will be a very significant noticeable difference in your personal health.
            Large doses of vitamins, especially in whole food, or natural forms, can cure and correct many ills that we have by helping the body to use the considerable power it has to heal itself.  Myths persist that large quantities of vitamins can be harmful, but there are no studies or examples to support that assumption.  Until very recently, people who are becoming Doctors, and getting their PhD. in Medicine were never trained in nutrition.  Diet and nutrition are usually set aside in favor of pharmaceuticals.  According to Foodmatters: "Less than 6% of graduating physicians in the USA receive any formal training in nutrition."  Giving white bread and popsicles to a patient with cancer is doing a disservice to the patient when nutritional alternatives exist. There are studies that show high doses of Vitamin C, even from the 1940's, used as a treatment for the common cold, and other more serious ailments.  The reason one vitamin can work for many different ailments is that there are only so many vitamins out there, but the human body has thousands of processes.  There are plenty of studies available on high dose vitamin therapy, but they are not recognized by mainstream medicine.
Orthomolecular medicine, the medicine of nutrition, warrants research and study by mainstream medicine.  High dose nutrient therapy, and organic nutrition is still not mainstream, but it could be exactly the divergent brand of medicine called for to change the course of future healthy living.
            If there is a reason not to try alternative therapies for existing ills, then the evidence is hidden away.  In the future we may be using 3000mg of Niacin to treat depression, or 100,000 grams of intravenous Vitamin C every 24 hours to treat cancer.  If these things can work, then there should be research.  The side effects are nothing compared to the suicides from Prozac usage, or the hair loss and compromising the immune system with Chemotherapy. Hippocrates is quoted by every physician who graduates, it was he who said: "Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine, And Thy Medicine Be Thy Food."
            Most important, we need to let the soil heal itself in the bread basket of our nation, and farm less land.  We need to produce less, and pay more for our food.  We need to make sure that the food we grow is edible raw, and that the animals we rely on for food are eating what nature intended.  Americans should not be looking forward to genetically modified cattle that are immune to acidosis, and can digest corn.   U.S. citizens have a chance for healthy nutritional organic alternatives.  Demand it now, and we can save the next generation from an early death.  As it stands now, we are malnourished, our immune systems are weaker than they are supposed to be, and we are basically made of corn.