Fierce Fridays: You Are What You Eat

feminist writers, learn about feminism, teaching girls feminism, Fierce, Generation of female empowerment  Welcome to week ten of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for any age female who needs a reminder of how fierce they can be. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. Share these posts with all the girls and women in your life. Let them know the book can be read for free online or that a soft cover book is available for sale at Bookemon.com. Enjoy!

You Are What You Eat

  The fuel that keeps your body going is very important. Unfortunately a lot of food that is available is full of chemical preservatives, sugars and toxins. Yes it is great that technology has increased the shelf life of food so that it can go farther, but all the extra stuff we put into our food so it can stay good longer isn’t great for our health.

We put additives, preservatives, flavors, and colorings in all our processed food, produce and meat so it is more appetizing, but many of us are allergic to these ingredients. Some studies show all these fillers contribute to very serious problems like asthma, birth defects, and cancer. *(8)

The high amounts of sugar and starch in our diets contributes to obesity and diabetes. Sodas, coffees and energy drinks give us limited energy and too much causes our bodies to crash.  Look for whole and unprocessed foods that are grown closer to home. The shorter trip from the farm to your plate means less preservatives and additives to keep the food palatable. It’s not just the fillers that can cause health problems. There has been an ongoing debate for decades between organic versus conventional food and more recently GMO crops.

Organic food is grown without the use of any synthetic or chemical pesticides and fertilizers which means there are no added toxins. Organic pesticides come from naturally occurring plants and fungi. To encourage strong healthy plants fertilizers such as manure and compost are used. The naturally occurring treatments target specific plants or insects so there is no unintended damage to the actual crops.

Conventional food is sprayed with synthetic chemicals which destroys insects, rodents, invasive weeds, and fungi, but also contaminates the food crops, surrounding wildlife and the people who work on the farms. While it may not be extremely toxic to eat food grown conventionally, it is definitely toxic to the farm workers who work in the fields, to the wildlife, and to our environment.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods are plants that had genes from another source implanted to improve their performance and be resistant to insects, disease or pesticides. Relatively new, there has been a limited amount of testing with varying results about the safety, or usefulness of introducing these plants into our food system.

We know that chemical pesticides are harmful to humans and our ecosystem. However giant corporations with all their profits at stake in the chemical industry have plenty of money to lobby in politics to create and change laws so their products can be sold. This affects whether or not the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) can deny toxins being allowed in our food. Two great example of corporate greed with little regard for human life are Monsanto and Dow Chemical Company. They are two of the largest profiteers of chemical pesticides so of course they will say it is safe to spray food with their products or distribute GMO food. They do this with scientific tests to back up their claim. The problem is these tests are done by scientists on their payroll who have an interest in protecting their jobs.

Monsanto and Dow along with six other companies are famous for distributing Agent Orange, a chemical used in the Vietnam war in the 1960’s. Agent Orange was used to destroy a jungle of vegetation so that soldiers from the US could fight easier in a terrain where the opposing local army had an edge. The effect of this chemical are still seen in Vietnam as even today children are born with birth defects from residue that still exists. There is a lot of profit in the pesticide industry because farmers can spend less to spray larger areas of crops and make more money. *(9)

Organic farms require more work which causes the price of food to go up. Price may be a determining factor in how much you can spend on food, but the costs of pollution and health problems are much higher. Birke Baehr is only 12 years old and he understands the importance of organic and sustainable farming.*(10) He is an internationally celebrated speaker, author and future farmer. He published a book called “Birke on the Farm” about the industrialized food system and offers solutions based on using and supporting local, organic and sustainable food. You can get involved with encouraging alternatives to toxic pesticides with information from BirkeOnTheFarm.com, and BeyondPesticides.org which has a resource page for activists. OrganicConsumers.org also has great information and a page for taking action on encouraging organic sustainable, non-toxic farming. Look online for a local organic community garden or organic garden co-op to get involved.

  • How do you feel about eating food that is sprayed with chemicals?
  • How do you feel knowing that food you buy may have been harvested by people exposed to toxins that cause them health problems?
  • Is it important to eat food that is not sprayed with chemicals?
  • If these toxins cause health issues, create damage to the environment, and kill wildlife why are they still legal?

Some people put toxic chemicals directly into their own bodies on purpose. Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are pervasive in our culture. Many of us are introduced to these activities about Jr. High or Middle school and we continue to see the message in movies, music, and literature. If experimenting with drugs interests you then conduct some research and find out what the drugs are made from, what the biological effects are, and what risks are involved.

There are drugs considered “healthy’ because they plant based which is not the most solid reasoning since being natural or a plant does not make something safe for consumption. Other drugs are cooked up in kitchens and bathtubs with seriously toxic ingredients. Meth is famous for the happy feeling users get, but it is made with highly dangerous chemicals such as drain cleaner or battery acid. That’s really gross!  Don’t forget the increased chance of being suspended from school, losing privileges at home, death, brain damage, and jail.

Alcohol isn’t better, you get that buzz from the alcohol attacking your cells and too much can actually slow your respiratory system enough so that you stop breathing. Excess drinking is bad for your liver which can only filter out so many toxins. Liver failure/Cirrhosis is NOT fun. Look online for patients who need dialysis machines to get a better idea of how bad it really is.

Cigarettes may be legal and seem harmless, but have you seen the way it destroys skin and causes wrinkles? Plus there are the nasty effects it has on your lungs and anyone around you who is breathing in your smoke. Access to clean air is something we expect for ourselves, family and friends, but when we smoke we are part of polluting that air. Cigarettes are made with hundreds of ingredients in that tiny little roll of paper. You may not feel the negative effects of smoking for years, but you can bet that the environment does.

There are trillions of cigarette butts littering our land and water, leaching toxic chemicals that kill wildlife and cause lasting damage for everyone. It takes years for cigarette butts to degrade. Have you ever walked down the street and seen piles of cigarettes at an intersection or near a bar? We don’t need countless studies to show the negative effect of cigarettes when all we have to do is look at the ground. *(11)

Our actions have consequences. Driving while drunk or high is dangerous because even though it is easy to drive while tipsy, operating a ton of steel while you are incapacitated means that your reaction time is delayed.

If you are pregnant and consume alcohol you are putting your baby at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome causing mental and physical deformities. The opinion you create about recreational drugs and drinking depends on your culture, family, friends, and personal or religious beliefs. Go online to DrugFreeWorld.org and AddictScience.com or research the most common recreational drugs in books and with other online sources. If you want to stop using drugs or alcohol find a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, QuitSmokingSupport.com, or call the Alcohol and Drug Hotline  1-800-527-5344. The decision is up to you.

  • Why do you want to try drugs or drink?
  • Is it simple curiosity?
  • Are you emulating someone you admire?
  • Do you feel pressured to use drugs or drink to excess?
  • Is it expected so you will fit in?
  • Is this pressure from your friends?
  • Why would a real friend insist that you use drugs or drink?
  • Is it expected that “people like you” use drugs and alcohol?
  • Are you rebelling against authority?
  • Alcohol and drugs both impair our ability to react and function. So why is alcohol legal while drugs are illegal?
  • …. Continue reading at Bookemon.com

 

5 Comments

  1. Children are STILL being born with defects from Agent Orange? Surely to God they could sue America. Yes, but how hard to manage that, being born in a village. Agent Orange was OUTRAGEOUS.

    Great post.

    Like

    1. Disgusting isn’t it. It happens with our own Veterans children as well. http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/birth_defects.asp

      Women still worry about birth defects in Hanoi. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/apr/11/agent-orange-vietnam-pregnant-women?CMP=twt_gu

      The Aspen Institute has info on Agent Orange. http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/agent-orange/program-home/what-can-be-done-help-people-vietnam

      This is the New York Times article I read about Vietnam and how the US government polluted their environment. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/world/asia/us-moves-to-address-agent-orange-contamination-in-vietnam.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like

  2. I love how informative and modern the post is. I feel embarrassed to even say it but I started smoking a year ago (I left after I got sick of it) because I had no one and was living in isolation. I know it sounds like a lame excuse but I just didn’t know what to do at that time. Thankfully, my friends got me out of it.

    Like

    1. Your honesty is refreshing and the fact that you listened to your friends is really inspiring. Thanks Sanah. I have a young cousin who smokes and I wish she would stop.

      I have some regrets too. Sometimes I still choose convenience over what is good for my body. I also used to drink a LOT! I am proud that I grew past that need to be drunk as much as possible and that I searched out and learned about healthier options for myself. My body is healthy again and that has made a big difference in keeping me from falling back into depression, which I suffered through for 17 years.

      Like

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