In my Chicago area office, I often discuss nutrition, recipes and the need to avoid GMO and pesticides as part of a smart disease prevention program.
The past year, I had the honor to be intricately involved with creating and shooting a film (Bought) to be released this summer, which highlights the conflicts of interest in our food and health policies. During my research and interviews with experts and activists, I realized avoiding GMO and the few fruits and veggies which retain pesticide residue, is not enough to avoid harmful chemicals.
Neonicatinoids are a category of pesticides which are used to soak seeds in. Once the seed is planted, the chemical is incorporated in every aspect and cell of the plant. While GMO seeds are typically soaked in this chemical to impart some added pesticide resistance (the inherent GMO pesticide resistance is not working), many large-scale farmed conventional (non GMO) vegetable seeds are also soaked in this chemical.
Farmers buy seeds and if they are not organic, it is likely they have been soaked in neonicatinoids. Typically, farmers are unaware of the practice or don't understand the implications.
Neonics affect the autonomic nervous system of all living beings. Insects, animals and humans have nicatinoid receptors in their nervous systems. While all pesticides are damaging bees and are contributing to their decline, Colony Collapse Disorder has been shown to be severely increased due to the use of neonicatinoids.
Perdue University Entymology department has published crop yield analysis which show neonics do not increase crop yield, so we are poisoning the bees and ourselves with nothing to show for it.
While becoming more aware of the issues, I have decided it is not enough to avoid GMO foods, it is not enough to avoid the top 20 fruits and veggies which test high in pesticide residue even after washing, it is necessary to avoid produce from seeds which have been soaked in neonics.
While industry friendly news outlets like to imply only anti-science folks think GMO and neonics are problematic, this is far from the truth. A Forbes writer recently wrote about how bees die off periodically and that man is not contributing to colony collapse disorder. Sound familiar? Don't get me wrong, I doubt neonics are the sole contributor. We know bees used for commercial pollenization are fed a diet of GMO corn syrup, a diet sorely lacking in nutrients and ripe with glyphosate.
I hope to educate my readers on the intricacy of the food chain and how the foods we choose to ingest along with the products we choose to put on our bodies and in our homes affect our health along with the heath of the other living creatures around us.
To end this blog entry, I want to include a recipe for a creamy Bengal Dal (lentil) cauliflower soup which is easy to make and was created with organic ingredients found at a local ethnic market. It is encouraging to see ethnic markets, and in this case, a Greek owned market catering to south East Asians, carrying organic pulses, beans and spices grown in India.
Creamy Bengal Dal and Cauliflower Soup:
(vegan, low glycemic, high protein, high fiber, grain and gluten free)
one large cauliflower, 2 cups of dried split Bengal Dal, two Tblspn coconut or African red palm oi,l two inch cubed fresh ginger, one Tblspn curry powder, 1 tsp tumeric, 6Tblspn coconut aminos (can use soy aminos), one cube organic vegetable bouillon, a handful of dried curry leaf, a half tspn of chilli pepper (optional), a tspn of ground black pepper and a bunch of cilantro.
Place Bengal dal in rice cooker with 2 parts water (2cups bengal dal 4 cups water) along with a Tblspn of oil and allow to cook.
In a large soup pot, place everything else, including the other Tblsp of oil, set on low to medium heat and allow to cook (with lid to keep all nutrients), once dal is cooked, add and puree with hand held mixer or carefully pour into blender or processor and blend until creamy.
I served this with homemade croutons using stale organic ancient grain bread, basted with avocado and olive oil mixed with curry powder and then toasted.
This soup is very high in protein and fiber while having little carbohydrates and an adequate amount of healthy fats, including Medium Chained Triglycerides(MCT). Bengal dal has an extremely high protein and fiber content, once fiber has been subtracted from the total carbohydrate, there is almost a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein. In addition, Bengal Dal is one of the tastiest species in the pulse-legume family. It is akin to a young chikpea but more like a large lentil and finding it grown organically in India with a European certification for organic, is exciting as India has begun to increase it's pesticide (another blog entry) use along with other developing nations and many of the spices and specific lentils (dal) are only grown in these nations. Therefore, finding organically grown products from India is another promising sign that people around the world are waking up and are not taking their poison without a fight.