GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that genetically engineered (GE) food (dubbed Frankenfoods by critics) pose no health danger. Currently, there are at least forty genetically engineered or transgenic foods—foods with genetic material of another species.
In 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that patenting genetically created life was legal, and since 1982 there have been 25,000 field tests of 60 crop species in 45 countries. Three million acres of genetically engineered crops were produced in 1996; 30 million in 1997; and 65 million in 1998. Between 1997 and 1998, the percentage of GE corn rose from 2 percent in the U.S. to 32 percent. Soybeans increased from 16 percent to 38 percent. Canola oil went up to 58 percent.
Other GE foods approved or nearing approval by the FDA include barley, rice, and wheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other staple crops; broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetables; apples, grapes, melons, strawberries, and other fruits; chestnuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds; canola and cottonseed oil; salmon, prawns, and other fish.
By 1998, an estimated 60-70 percent of the foods in the supermarket contained GE ingredients, including baked goods, sodas, and sweeteners. Baking powder and alcohol may also contain GE corn products. Independent tests showed that GE ingredients had already appeared in commercial soy foods, including soy burgers, soy hot dogs, and other products in the natural foods store.
The natural foods movement and community health organizations have mounted a vigorous campaign against GE products. Whole Foods Market, Inc. of Austin Texas, the nation’s largest natural foods chain with 91 supermarkets in 18 states, now requires its suppliers to guarantee that none of the products they distribute through the chain have gene-altered ingredients. Eden foods has stated that it will use no GE ingredients, as have Organic Valley, Little Bear Organics, Bearitos, and Westbrae Natural Foods.
GE foods are banned in Austria and Luxembourg and have been taken out of many schools in Britain. In the U.S., Maine became the first state to prohibit the use of a GE product—corn incorporating an herbicide-resistant gene from Bacillus thuringiesis (Bt).
Concern has centered around the following points:
• The hazardous effects of GE foods may persist for generations to come
• GE foods damage the environment, harm wildlife, and lead to artificial change in natural habitats
• GE foods could lead to increased pollution of food and water supplies
• GE foods have an unsafe track record
• GE foods cause allergic reactions
• GE foods may cause unpredictable, permanent changes in the nature of food
• The harmful effects may not be discovered for years
• GE foods can lead to new and higher levels of toxins
• New strains of resistant microbes may develop that lead to increased effectiveness of antibiotics and other drugs
• GE foods increase the sickness and and suffering of livestock
• GE foods may lead to the depletion of important food elements
• GE crops may lead to widespread crop failure as biodiversity declines and uniform plants are susceptible to blight or harm
• GE foods may lead to driving traditional seeds from the market and impoverish farmers, especially in the Third World
• Many GE foods are designed to prolong shelf life, enhance color, or emphasize some other trait or characteristic at the expense of nutrition and health
• GE foods, especially those that combine animal and vegetable genes, may impinge on the religious freedom and dietary codes of people as well as prevent informed freedom of choice in the marketplace
See AIDS, BGH, Canola Oil, Genetic Model of Health, Natural Cosmetics, Potatoes, Seeds, Soy Foods, Xenotransplants.
Sources: Michael Specter, "Bucking U.S. Trend, Europe Blocks Gene-Altered Food, New York Times, July 20, 1998; and Mothers for Natural Law Newsletter, July, August, 1998.
• GE Plant Leaves Land Infertile - In an Oregon State University study, a GE bacterium developed to aid in the production of ethanol unexpectedly produced residues which rendered the land in which it was planted infertile. New corn crops planted on this soil grew three inches tall and fell over and died.
Source: H. R. Hill, "OSU Study Finds Genetic Altering of Bacterium Upsets Natural Order," The Oregonian, August 8, 1994.
• GE Virus Causes Epidemic in Australia - A genetically engineered virus escaped from quarantined research facilities in Australia and spread like wildfire through the rabbit population with disastrous results.
Source: I. Anderson, "Australia's Rabbits Face All-Out Viral Attack," New Scientist, September 7, 1996.
• GE Plants Produce Pathogenic New Viruses - A study reviewing 125 biogenetically engineered plant strains found that 3 percent of the altered plants produced pathogenic new viruses by exchanging genes with other plants. Corn, wheat, tomatoes, and other plants manipulated by scientists commonly carry up to five different viruses that can swap genetic material.
Source: A. E. Greene and R. F. Allison, "Recombination Between Viral RNA and Transgenic Plant Transcripts," Science 263:1423-25, 1994.
• Microbes Superior to Humans in Swapping Genes - In The Coming Plague, science writer Laurie Garrett warns against the hubris of scientists and medical doctors who think they can outwit nature: “The mutability of bacteria, coupled with their ability to pass around and share genetic trumps in a microscopic game of cards, seemed to increasingly leave Homo sapiens holding losing hands.” “Microbes are masters at genetic engineering,” she quotes Canadian microbio-logist Julian Davies as concurring.
Source: Laurie Garrett, The Coming Plague: Newely Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994).
• GE Plants Cause Allergic Reactions - In 1996, researchers at the University of Nebraska reported that soybeans modified with genes from Brazil nuts produced proteins that resulted in extreme, potentially deadly allergic reactions in people sensitive to the nuts. “Since genetic engineers mix genes from a wide variety of species,” noted Dr. Rebecca J. Goldburg of the Environmental Defense Fund, “other genetically engineered foods may cause similar health problems. People who are allergic to one type of food may suddenly find they are allergic to many more.” Studies indicate that 2 percent of adults and 8 percent of children have food allergies.
Source: J. Nordlee et al., "Identification of a Brazil-Nut Allergen in Transgenic Soybeans," New England Journal of Medicine 334:688-92, 1996
• GE Plants Spread to the Wild - Danish scientists reported that a gene inserted in a domesticated crop plant could spread to the wild. In the test, oilseed rape, a common commercial source of canola oil, was genetically altered to make the plant more tolerant of the herbicide glufosinate. When planted with closely related weeds, hybrids were produced that carried the new characteristic. Altogether, 42 percent of the second generation plants carried the new traits. Dr. Gus A. de Zoeten, an expert on genetic crops, commented, “I don’t think this means creating an uncontrollable, ‘Frankenstein plant’ is more likely, but it shows that genes released into the environment eventually will escape, in essence creating a form of contamination.”
Source: T. Mikkkelsen et al., "The Risk of Crop Transgene Spread," Nature 380:31, 1996.
• Dangers of Herbicide Resistant Plants and Sustainable Alternatives - In a review of the environmental effects of GE foods, Miguel A. Altieri, a professor in the department of environmental science, policy and management at the University of California, summarized the most serious ecological risks posed by the introduction of transgenic crops:
• The spread of transgenic crops threatens crop genetic diversity by simplifying cropping systems and promoting genetic erosion
• The potential transfer of genes from herbicide resistant crops (HRCs) to wild or semidomesticated relatives thus creating superweeds
• HRC plants becoming weeds in subsequent crops
• Transfer and recombination of genetic material leading to the creation of new pathogenic bacteria
• Generation of new strains of virus, especially in transgenic plants engineered for viral resistance with viral genes
• Insects will quickly develop resistance to crops with Bt toxin
• Massive use of Bt toxin in crops can unleash potential negative interactions affecting ecological processes and nontarget organisms
According to Altieri, several Lepidoptera species have already been reported to have developed resistance to Bt toxin in both field and laboratory tests. For example, in Scotland aphids were capable of sequestering the toxin from Bt crops and transferring it to its lady beetle predators, in turn affecting reproduction and longevity of the beneficial beetles. “The potential of Bt toxins moving through food chains poses serious implications for natural biocontrol in agroecosystems,” he observed.
To protect the environment, he recommended:
• Public funding of research on transgenic crops that enhance agrochemical use and that pose environmental risks be ended
• HRCs and other transgenic crops should be regulated as pesticides
• All transgenic food crops should be labeled as such
• Funding for alternative agricultural technologies should be increased
• Ecological sustainability, alternative low-input technologies, the needs of small farmers and human health and nutrition should be pursued with greater vigor than biotechnology
• Measures should be taken to encourage sustainable and multiple use of biodiversity at the community level, with emphasis on technologies that promote self-reliance and local control of economic resources as a means to foster a more equitable distribution of benefits
Source: Miguel A. Altieri, “The Environmental Risks of Transgnic Crops: An Agroecological Assessment,” Pesticides and You, Spring/Sunner 1998.
• GE Tryptophan Causes Death and Disease - In 1989, a genetically engineered form of tryptophan, a food supplement used as a sedative, produced toxic contaminants. Thirty-seven people died, 1500 others were permanently disabled, and 5000 became very ill.
Source: A. N., Mayeno and G. J. Gleich, "Eosinophilia-myalgia Syndrome and Tryptophan Production: A Cautionary Tale," Tibtech 12:346-52, 1994.
• GE Foods Increase - Use of Herbicides Approximately 57 percent of the research of biotechnology companies focuses on the development of plants that can tolerate larger amounts of herbicides. Environmentalists estimate that this will triple the amount of herbicides used on crops in the future, resulting in even more chemicals contaminating the food and water system.
Source: "Environmental Concerns with Herbicide-Tolerant Plants," Weed Technology 6, 1994.
• Monsanto Leads Biotech Industry - “What we do is the same as Mother Nature,” explained Cindy Clasen, a Monsanto Co. research technician. She is one of 1900 scientists working at Monsanto’s Life Sciences Research Center outside of St. Louis. The Center reports that it is doubling its ability to decode and identify genetic information every 12 to 24 months. The Life Sciences complex includes 26 greenhouses and 176 laboratories. “When the desired gene is identified, it is placed in a solution and muzzle-loaded into a .22-caliber shell,” according to a published account of the company’s procedures. “The shell is fired into a screen covering the plant tissue in a petri dish, dispersing DNA.” The engineered plant is then grown in the conventional way.
Monanto’s earlier products included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and Agent Orange.
In 1996, the company paid an estimated $5 million in damages to farmers in the Mississippi Delta when some genetically engineered Roundup Ready cotton failed and produced deformities.
Source: Stan Grossfeld, “Genetic Engineering Debate Shifting to America,” Boston Globe, September 23, 1998.
• Africans Challenge Monsanto and Terminator Seeds - In a conference on genetic engineering sponsored by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1998 in Rome, the African delegates issued a statement:
"During the past few weeks European citizens have been exposed to an aggressive publicity campaign in major European newspapers trying to convince the reader that the world needs genetic engineering to feed the hungry. Organized and financed by Monsanto, one of the world's biggest chemical companies, and titled "Let the Harvest Begin," this campaign gives a totally distorted and misleading picture of the potential of genetic engineering to feed developing countries.
"We the undersigned delegates of African countries participating in the 5th Extraordinary Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources, 8-12 June 1998, Rome, strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly, nor economically beneficial to us.
". . . Rather than developing technology that feeds the world, Monsanto uses genetic engineering to stop farmers from replanting seed and further develop their agricultural systems. It has spent US 18,000 million to buy a company owning a patent on what has become known as Terminator Technology: seed that can be planted only once and dies in the second generation. The only aim of this technology is to force farmers back to the Monsanto shop every year, and to destroy an age-old practice of local seed saving that forms the basis of food security in our countries.
"In ‘Let the Harvest Begin’ the Europeans are asked to give an unconditional green light to gene technology so that chemical corporations such as Monsanto can start harvesting their profits from it. We do not believe that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce the food that is needed in the 21st century. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.
"In particular, we will not accept the use of Terminator or other gene technologies that kill the capacity of our farmers to grow the food we need. We invite European citizens to stand in solidarity with Africa in resisting these gene technologies so that our diverse and natural harvests can continue and grow."
Source: Mothers for Natural Law Newsletter, August 1998.
• British Schools Reject GE Food - More than 1,300 schools in Britain have taken GE foods off their menus. The action, which originated at Kent County Council, stems from concern of caterers that food provided to the schools meet "the highest standards of safety." In addition to bread and biscuits, school authorities stated that they would take off menus soybeans grown in the United States, as they are mixed with genetically modified strains.
Source: The Independent, June 27, 1998.
• Humanity at the Crossroads - In an impassioned critique of cloning and genetically-engineered food, two macrobiotic educators offer dietary and lifestyle guidelines to pass safely through the biotech era. They explain the weakening energetic effects of genetically engineered foods and the need to return to traditional seeds and crops to restore personal and planetary health.
Source: Michio Kushi and Alex Jack, Humanity at the Crossroads (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1997).
• Green Revolution Imperils Biodiversity - Traditional seeds and wild plants are disappearing around the world as farmers turn to new high-yield varieties and urban developments destroys local environments. In 1991, scientists at an international symposium in Washington, D.C. warned that the genetic diversity of the world’s crops are imperiled by the Green Revolution.
New hybrid strains of wheat, rice, and other crops have resulted in double and triple harvests. However, they require large amounts of synthetic fertilizer and chemicals and they are much more vulnerable as genetically uniform varieties lack natural immunity to insects, fungi, bacteria, and viruses that can rapidly spread around the world. Typically, a hybrid or genetically engineered strain is cultivated for only about five years before it becomes susceptible to pests or disease or a new, improved variety comes along. Scientists at the symposium, sponsored by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, called for more gene banks to preserve traditional varieties of crops.
Source: “Loss of Genetic Diversity Imperils Crop Advances,” New York Times, June 25, 1991.
• Natural Foods Contain Genetically Modified Ingredients - In a test of several natural foods to see whether they contained genetically engineered ingredients, 10 of 11 products randomly selected by the New York Times tested positive, including two soy-based infant formulas and three corn chips.
Source: "Revising a Bioengineering Test," New York Times, March 25, 1998.
GENETIC MODEL OF HEALTH and DISEASE
The new emerging genetic model which holds that our genes largely predetermine or predispose our character, tendency to health and sickness, and other traits, underlies modern technological approaches to medicine, agriculture, and food development, including genetically altered seeds and foods, the cloning of animals, and the quest to identify specific genes as causing specific diseases and disorders. This model has been challenged by several leading geneticists and scientists, as well as holistic researchers.
• Genetic Model Challenged - The new genetic model of health and sickness has been challenged by a small, articulate group of scientists, researchers, and writers. Science writer Arthur Allen contends that “the more we learn about genes, in fact, the more uncertain and ambiguous the whole business gets.” He cites the following:
• During the last 12 years, 16 different research groups have announced the discovery of genes for manic depression in 15 different locations on 11 different chromosomes. None of the findings, trumpeted in the scientific and popular press, could be reproduced.
• Recently researchers found several people with mutated genes on chromosome 4 linked to Huntington’s disease who didn’t suffer from the disease.
• The much touted BRCA1 and 2 genes linked to breast cancer have grown to hundreds of different variations with little predicative value. Moreover, experts reported to the genome panel last year that neither mammography, chemotherapy, nor radical mastectomy was clearly effective in response to a positive BRCA test. “The great race to unpack the breast cancer gene had led to a virtual crapshoot,” Allen observes.
• The gene for hemochromatosis—an inherited disorder in which the body absorbs too much iron—was isolated last July, but 13 percent of people with this disorder don’t have this gene.
Source: Arthur Allen, “Policing the Gene Machine,” Linga Franca, March 1997.
• Geneticist Speaks Out - A Harvard geneticist disputes the view that genes determine human behavior and questions the value of mapping the human genome. Richard C. Lewontin, a prominent geneticist at Harvard University, says that the gene model is reductionist and cannot account for the full range of biological changes in organisms. Rather, he proposes, a holistic model based on environmental and nutritional influences.
In Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA, he rejects the new genetic model of disease, asserting that there is no standard for the human genome, since everyone’s DNA is different. “The final catalogue of ‘the’ human DNA sequence will be a mosaic of some hypothetical average person corresponding to no one.”
Professor Lewontin concludes that genes influence human development, but do not determine it. Human growth and behavior depends primarily, he says, on environment and nutrition. “The rage for genes reminds us of Tulipomania and the South Sea Bubble in McKay’s Great Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. . . . It has been clear since the first discoveries in molecular biology that ‘genetic engineering,’ the creation to order of genetically altered organisms, has an immense possibility for producing private profit.”
Source: R. C. Lewontin, Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA (New York: Harper Collins, 1991).
• Biologist Speaks Out A Harvard biologist and her associate explore how genetic information is produced and manipulated by scientists, physicians, employers, insurance companies, educational institutions, and law enforcement agencies. “By focusing our attention on microorganisms or genes, scientists succeed in drawing attention away from societal influences. They also ensure their own monopoly, by keeping disease prevention in scientific institutes and laboratories.”
Source: by Ruth Hubbard and Elijah Wald, Exploding the Gene Myth (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993).
Genistein, an isoflavone, is found naturally in miso, tofu, tempeh, and other soy foods, as well as other legumes, vegetables, and plant quality foods. Like other phytoestrogens, genistein helps modify estrogen metabolism and has potent antioxidant properties that help prevent free radical formation, DNA damage, and tumor formation. It is associated with protecting against breast cancer, endometrial cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, and menopausal symptoms. See Isoflavones, Phytoestrogens, Soy Foods.
• Genistein-Rich Diet Inhibits Cancer In a study of the effects of isoflavones on the growth of cancer cells, researchers at the Children’s University Hospital in Heidelberg reported that genistein was the most potent antitumor agent and inhibited cell proliferation of various cancer cells. The scientists noted that genistein intake was 30 times higher in subjects consuming a plant-based diet than in those consuming a modern way of eating. “The high concentrations of genistein in urine of vegetarians and our present results suggest that genistein may contribute to the preventive effect of plant-based diet on chronic diseases, including solid tumors, by inhibiting neovascularization and tumor cell proliferation,” the researchers concluded.
Source: T. Fotsis et al., “Genistein, a Dietary Ingested Isoflavonoid, Inhibits Cell Proliferation and In Vitro Angiogenesis,” Journal of Nutriton 125(3 Suppl):790S-97S, 1995.
• Genistein’s Dynamic Protective Effects Asian women have about one-fifth the incidence of breast cancer as women in Europe or America. Many epidemiologic and experimental studies support the view that soy foods prevent cancer and other diseases associated with estrogen deficiency. In a study of the effects of genistein, cancer researchers in California reported that genistein had a broad range of dynamic effects. On the one hand, especially in postmenopausal women, it could serve to promote estrogen development to prevent symptoms and diseases associated with estrogen deficiency. On the other, especially in premenopausal women, it could serve as a growth regulator, to prevent and inhibit the growth of estrogen-sensitive and estrogen-independent cancers, including breast cancer.
Source: D. T. Zava and G. Duwe, “Estrogenic and Antiproliferative Properties of Genistein and Other Flavonoids in Human Breast Cancer Cells In Vitro,” Nutrition and Cancer 27(1):31-40, 1997.
In traditional societies, the natural aging process rarely led to disease or disability. In modern society, as a result of dietary excess, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, and other factors, many physical and psychiatric disorders are prevalent.
• Macrobiotic Diet Benefits Long-Time Psychiatric Patients - Dr. Jonathan Lieff, Chief of Psychiatry and Geriatric Services at the Shattuck Hospital in Boston and doctors at Tufts University School of Nutrition, designed an experiment in 1982 to test the effect of macrobiotic food on long-term psychiatric and geriatric patients.
Some of these people had been confined in the hospital for 30 years or more. In a double-blind study in which neither the ordinary hospital staff or patients knew they were participating, macrobiotic meals avoiding meat, sugar, processed foods, and synthetic food additives and including whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables and fruits designed to look and taste like regular foods were introduced to a ward of 16 patients over an eight-week period and 18 controls.
Altogether 187 food items on the macrobiotic menu were prepared, as well as chicken, coffee, and butter which were difficult to simulate. During the test, the researchers noted medically significant reductions in psychosis and agitation among the patients. The scientists found significant improvement in experimental group cooperativeness when compared to the control group, as well as less irritability and improvement upon manifest psychosis. “These data show that the described change in total diet does have a significantly favorable effect on the health and behavior of geropsychiatric patients,” the observers concluded.
Source: Jonathan Lieff et al., “Study Results of Dietary Change in Shattuck Hospital Geropsychiatric Wards, 5 North and 6 North,” in Michio Kushi et al., Crime and Diet (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1987), pp. 229-34.
In the Far East, ginger root has traditionally been used in regular and medicinal cooking as an aid to digestion, to warm the body, and to promote circulation of body fluids. It is also used externally in the form of a compress to relieve stagnation and promote energy flow. See Multiple Sclerosis, Pregnancy.
• Traditional Remedies - The ginger compress and other uses of ginger for healing are presented by educator Michio Kushi in his book on home remedies.
Source: Michio Kushi, Basic Home Remedies (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1994).
• Ginger Slows Blood Clotting and Relieves Motion Sickness - Ginger root can benefit the heart and circulatory system by slowing blood clotting. In studies at Mount Pleasant Hospital Addiction Studies Foundation in Lynn, Mass., ginger has been shown to inhibit thromboxane synthetase, a primary factor in platelet aggregation. Researchers noted that in contrast to drugs, ginger had minimal side-effects. “The indications for ginger as a therapeutic agent may be far reaching in psychiatry and medicine,” the scientists concluded.
Medical researchers also report that ginger root, especially in powdered form, is beneficial for treating motion sickness.
Source: J. Backon, “Inhibition of Thromboxane Synthetase and Stimulation of Prostacylin: Relevance for Medicine and Psychiatry,” Medical Hypotheses 20:271, 1986.
• Ginger Protects Against Skin Tumors - In a laboratory study, researchers at the dermatology department of University Hospitals of Cleveland reported that an external application of ginger extract had antioxidative, antiinflammatory, and antitumor properties that offered significant protection against skin tumor incidence and its subsequent spread. It inhibited induced skin edema and hyperplasia by 56 percent and 44 percent respectively.
Source: S. K. Katiyar et al., “Inhibitioin of Tumor Promotion in SENCAR Mouse Skin by Ethanol Extract of Zingiber Officinate Rhizome,” Cancer Research 56(5):1023-30, 1996.
Carbon dioxide and the build up of other greenhouse gases is a principal cause of global warming. The role of food and agriculture in global warming is now being studied by environmental groups. See Environment, Malaria.
• Beef and the Greenhouse Effect -
Beef-rich diets contribute to global warming, according to a Dutch study investigating the greenhouse effect. The scientists estimated that 5 percent of the heating up is due to meat and dairy production, especially the spread of cattle pasture and feedlots into carbon-dioxide absorbing forests. Beef intake is six times higher in industrial nations than in nonindustrial nations and is growing 1 percent annually.
Plant sources of protein were recommended as an alternative, and a shift to pork was recommended as a transitional measure. Pork takes from 10 to 30 percent as much feed per protein calorie to produce as beef and produces less methane. Raising chickens was found to add as much to warming as beef and was not advised.
Source: Science News, December 9, 1989.
• Beef and Methane Production - “Switching from a steak to a vegetable burger” may be one of the most effective way to reduce the Greenhouse Effect, according to a study by the International Project for Sustainable Energy Paths.
“Eating less beef has a double advantage for the climate,” reported Florentin Krause, a researcher with the organization which analyzes public policy on energy and the environment. Livestock production takes forest land that contributes to reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and also causes people in Third World countries to use marginal land for producing food.
Livestock production also produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 to 30 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. According to Krause, cows release about 5 to 9 percent of their food as methane, and animal food production is the single greatest human source of this gas. Altogether, he calculated that beef consumption accounts for 5 to 10 percent of the Greenhouse Effect.
Krause and his co-workers proposed a “climate tax” on beef to encourage people to avoid it and promote a whole foods diet.
Source: F. Krause et al. “Energy Policy in the Greenhouse,” Volume One, in Vegetarian Times, April 1990.
• America After the Warming - On the way to JFK Airport, Noah Wilson unknowingly fast-forwards into the early 21st century while crossing the Triborough Bridge. Stopping at a McDonald’s for a hamburger and Coke, the New York advertising executive is presented a staggering bill. His refusal to pay, arrest for high cholesterol, and possession of a controlled substance (plastic credit cards) set the stage for a landmark trial on the true health care, social, and environmental costs of the modern diet.
In a satire featuring witnesses from the rain forests, deserts, urban slums, and other bioregions affected by the modern cattle culture and a jury representing endangered plants and animals, Noah learns the real impact of his way of life on a globally warmed planet and the redeeming power of love.
Source: Alex Jack, Out of Thin Air (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1992).
Green tea, processed from the leaves of the tea bush, gives a relaxing effect and is associated with reduced risk for chronic diseases including lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, inhibiting the formation of blood clots, and protection against free radicals. It is healthier than black tea, but still contains caffeine. See Bancha Twig Tea, Caffeine.
• Green Tea Reduces Risk of Esophageal Cancer - Green tea, consumed primarily in Asia, may reduce the risk of cancer of the esophagus. In a survey of nearly one thousand people who died from esophageal cancer in China and 1500 healthy controls, researchers found that drinking green tea reduced the risk for this disease by 57 percent in men and 60 percent in women Meanwhile, researchers at the Medical College of Ohio and the University of Toledo, reported that green tea contains EGCG (epigallocathechin-3 gallate), an ingredient that may shrink tumors.
Source: "Green Tea for Thee: An Old Cure Affirmed," Boston Globe, June 5, 1997.