Avoid Maize And Its Derivatives For Better Health
The single greatest thing you can do for your health is avoid maize. Inflammation is at the heart of almost all health problems, and nothing gets that process going as much as maize. In addition, almost all (83%) of the maize and its derivatives in this country contain the carcinogen glyphosate.
Avoiding maize is a lot harder than you imagine. I could fill many pages with the derivatives of maize, but I will limit myself to eight that you will probably recognize: liquid glucose, maize starch, sorbitol, dextrose, maltodextrin, xylitol, citric acid and MSG. As Michael Pollan, of The Omnivore’s Dilemma fame, says, if you can’t pronounce the ingredient on packaging, it’s best not to eat what is inside. He goes on to say that if your grandmother wouldn’t recognize the ingredients, it’s advisable to avoid this “food”, too.
Which of our foods contain maize?
All of the chicken and pork that you eat has eaten maize, 99% of the beef has and at least 90% of the lamb has. The hallmark of confinement farming is that the animals are in contact with their own excrement for the entire time that they are being fattened on a diet dominated by maize. Maize violates the digestive system of herbivores and so, to keep them alive in the factory, they are routinely dosed with antibiotics. Also, as the rumen gets negatively affected by acidosis, their meat and fat loses the ideal omega-3 to -6 ratio, and so the meat, and especially the organs, become an inflammatory overdose of omega-6. One vignette from The Omnivore’s Dilemma will illustrate how ubiquitous maize is. Pollan takes the standard American meal and puts it into a mass spectrometer to analyze exactly how much maize there is in each of the following ingredients: a burger, chips, a salad, ice cream and cola. Before reading further, try to guess which one has the least maize and what that percentage of maize is. The answer is at the bottom of this post.*
Not only does almost all of our food contain maize derivatives, it is also found in many products from body powder to excipients in pharmaceuticals, to shampoo, to glycerin. Not only are there all of the health problems for the human being associated with GMO maize, but there is massive environmental destruction that comes for free with your GMO maize. In the future, when we live in a world where true cost accounting is practiced, this will also be in the price of GMO maize. The two problems associated with maize is that every hour we cut down 36 football fields of the rainforest to plant maize, soya, sugar and palm oil. In addition, almost all of the large-scale maize-growing is done in a monoculture, which encourages soil erosion. And finally, very little of it is grown organically, which means a smorgasbord of toxic chemicals is used to grow the maize.
The most-used farm chemical of all time, Roundup, and its generics, is used by every non-organic farmer. Glyphosate is the active ingredient. I wrote a column on this toxic chemical last year (visit longevitylive.com if you missed this). Suffice it to say, apart from being declared a carcinogen, it also chelates micronutrients in the soil and in your body, and it destroys the Shikimate pathway in your gut bacteria.
Apart from avoiding GMO maize for health and environmental reasons, the third reason to avoid it is that the price of maize has doubled in the last four months, so you will be spending less on food.
*The mass spectrometer test showed that it was the chips that had the least maize and it was 52%.
Who Is The Writer?
Angus McIntosh is a biodynamic farmer based in Stellenbosch. Follow him on Twitter at @farmerangus, or click on this link to go to his website.
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