Glyphosate: What you don’t know can harm you.

Food is a sensitive issue… it is highly personal. I am not a scientist, nor am I a farmer… I am not a bioengineer or a food journalist… I am not a nutritionist or a dietician, and I am not a doctor.

So, do I feel qualified to dish out food advice? Absolutely I do. I am an eater. I find great joy in shopping for amazing ingredients from markets and stores wherever I am. I take pleasure in preparing food and even more pleasure in nourishing my family and friends. And when I know better, I put all of my efforts and energy towards doing better. I don’t believe there is one right way of doing anything, but I do know there is a lot wrong in our food chains. What is my advice then? Know that with every single choice you make, you are making a difference. Understand that your money is your power… your vote. With each bite of food you consume, you are not only affecting your own health and well being, but others’ lives, and you are actively creating our shared future.

All food is not created equal… a local organic heirloom tomato from the market cannot be compared to a large-scale grown tomato from a faraway place, oatmeal is not necessarily as simple as it seems, and tea can be super healthful or terribly toxic. If there is any one bit of advice I can share that will make a difference, it is to get connected to where your food comes from, and what it is doing for you when you eat it. Who does it support and what does it do to our shared air, water and soil? This is dire. Be empathetic about your food choices. It matters. Every bite.

Have you heard about Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide on earth.

With the amounts sprayed each year, we shouldn’t be surprised that this weed-killer residue is found on everything from Oreos to Cheerios, bagels to mac and cheese… even in diapers… it’s in our oatmeal and in our hummus, too.

Exposure to Glyphosate has been linked to cancer in many studies and we don’t know the long term effects yet, but they look pretty grim based on what we already know. Do we need science or is common sense enough here?

Health Canada’s most recent study of glyphosate, in 2017, found that the herbicide in low levels was “unlikely to pose a human cancer risk” and allowed it to be used for another 15 years. (This outrages me… for one, it’s more than very likely harmful, and 15 years?!)

The challenge with regulating herbicides or pesticides in the public interest is this: the winners… the large chemical and agri-business conglomerates, win huge when they sell weed killers – they are winning every day. They  have the means to shape the public argument and can afford to fund influencers to spread their message. The losers here are the farm workers, and us as individuals – the ones eating and living on this planet. We don’t have a political voice and don’t necessarily realize how the impact of our activities today can take decades to manifest – there is a direct cause-effect relationship and we know this based on history…. we are still living with pollutants that have been banned for decades!

“A Who’s Who of pesticides is therefore of concern to us all. If we are going to live so intimately with these chemicals eating and drinking them, taking them into the very marrow of our bones – we had better know something about their nature and their power.” ― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

If we work and shop and eat together, consciously and with connection to our food chains, we can change everything from our health to the health of our world – we can support those doing good and fighting for better for us all. Why wouldn’t you? I assure you, eating well does not need to be complex – come up with your own food rules (these are mine), and do better as you learn. The sin is really in “unknowing” – please, I beg you, don’t unknow!

As for Glyphosate, I just returned from Expo West 2019 in Anaheim where there were many brands talking about being Glyphosate-Free – this is significant. If you are curious, which, part of my food advice is to be curious, then please click as many of the following links as you can. Then share this post, or any of the links… we do better, together!

1/ ZEGO This powerhouse brand was surprised to find glyphosate in their organic cinnamon, and immediately took steps to test their ingredients and ensure their customers weren’t ingesting this chemical from their foods. ZEGO not only tests for glyphosate, they also test for over 400 additional agricultural chemicals and heavy metals like lead (in crops with historic problems with metal contamination) and post the results for consumers to see through the QR code on each package.

2/ Check out The Detox Project for insight and resources to help detoxify from harmful chemicals. Although the use of Glyphosate is persistant and alarming, they are all about solutions…we love solutions.

3/ The debate over whether glyphosate causes cancer | The Weekly with Wendy Mesley. Just this week on CBC – do you want to get caught in this debate? What do you believe after watching the video within this article?

4/ Common weed killer glyphosate increases cancer risk by 41%, study says, CNN and also Weedkiller products more toxic than their active ingredient, tests show, The Guardian. How many studies does one need before taking something seriously?

5/ Read this compelling article, Conscious Nourishment Matters, by David Newton, our good friend and colleague. After walking the Expo West show floor together, he concludes, “Responsible eating and holding food producers accountable to supply us with clean products is an absolute must … but we must start by noting how much our own choices matter.”

With Glyphosate already receiving its 15 minutes of fame, what will be next? Rather than waiting for things to be proven without a doubt to be harmful for us, let’s pay attention and respond to these glaring red flags and practice the precautionary principle.

Like with all decisions we make, they should be conscious… ones we understand, are connected to and feel good about.