Walking into the Santa Monica Co-op this afternoon I passed a table with a petition— not uncommon around health food stores in California, one of our United States with an initiative process. An initiative essentially petitions lawmakers with the unified voices of hundreds of thousands of citizens who seek their elected officials’ attention, but don’t have their ear the way corporate lobbyists do. It’s an iteration of our democratic process, the will of the people!
Normally, I continue on past these tables as few issues have seemed clear and significant enough for me to investigate further. To be sure, there are lots of causes, all probably worthwhile and of grave concern, and as a human being I am sympathetic to those organizations safeguarding wayward youth, battered women, and mistreated pets, and more. However, my personal imperative is best directed and dedicated to something I’m familiar with and consider of universal effect and interest. As a US citizen I believe our government has a responsibility to ensure, among other things, the integrity of our food supply is maintained. As a fitness coach, and hypnotherapist I am committed to showing others how they can better take responsibility for their own physical and mental well-being. As a writer I am moved to broadcast some tangible ideas and opinions well beyond the water cooler talk at the office.
So, when I realized the petition of concern was to prod our elected officials to require food labels to clearly disclose whether or not transgenic, or genetically modified organisms (GMO) were used in said foods, I expressed support. While I speak to this obliquely in Fitness, Straight-Up, recommending organic foods, which of course precludes all genetic engineering, I don’t address it head on. Rather, I address food quality, in general, and the competing priorities of health and production expedients.
• For instance, Roman military commander, author, and student of nature, Pliny the Elder sets out in his compendium, Natural History, “For the purpose of coloring wine we also as certain substances as a sort of pigment, and these have a tendency to give it body as well. By such poisonous sophistications is this beverage compelled to suit out tastes, and then we are surprised that it is injurious in its effects!”
• Something not in my book, but interesting nonetheless, is that shortly before the turn of the previous century, Kentucky distiller Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr. (Old Taylor Bourbon) championing the quality control of the Bottled-In-Bond Act stated, “it is an admitted axiom that quality recedes as cheapness advances…”
• And, perhaps as prophetic as it is playful, the commercial tagline from the 1970s advertisement for Chiffon margarine chides waggishly, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” And it’s true, the transfats would become a causative agent of modern heart disease and other maladies. Oops.
The sad state of American health, and the concomitant pandemic of obesity, especially in school-age kids clearly demonstrates something is askew. A walk through the grocery store aisles stacked high with packaged and processed foods is the 800 pound gorilla in the living room. It’s the smoking gun. Yet, en masse we seem content to ignore the obvious. As Mark Twain said, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
All this is to say, simply, that if we believe we still live in a land of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” then it is our duty to our country and to ourselves to direct our leaders to make decisions in our interests instead of in favor of the corporations that view you, me, and most everyone else not as human beings, but as “consumers.” Mindless cattle (awaiting slaughter).
This is troubling to me. Should you find it troubling, too, we can effect change by taking action. You might choose to do these three things:
1. Make yourself aware—
• For starters, check out the films,
• Forks Over Knives (Note: I choose to eat meat, but I think F.O.K. perspective is valid.)
• Also, visit food industry websites— those entities under public scrutiny, say Monsanto— to hear what they have to say.
• Then, considering each side, ask yourself this: Who is saying what, and why are they saying it?
2. Read food labels so you can make informed decisions about what you allow yourself to eat and drink.
• If that’s too much bother then you could be hopelessly lost, and not undeserving of whatever ill fate awaits.
• Of course, if you’re willing to stand up for yourself, the American Way, and freedom of choice then it may still be possible to reclaim the quality of life for ourselves and for our children that’s already begun slipping away.
3. So, encourage the powers that be to tend to your needs by speaking to them in the only language they will understand— profit.
• Reject the nefarious nutrition of processed and engineered foods, now.
• Buy only those foods that support your good health and well-being!
• Should you feel compelled to make your preference known and to exercise your birthright as an American citizen, or rights granted to you as a naturalized citizen, you can enthusiastically sign an initiative petition!
I signed the petition, and a copy of my book (bought by Rick and Lori who were overseeing the initiative booth outside the Co-op)— “Knock out GMO!”