ignorance was bliss

It all started over two years ago when my sisters and i watched a little movie called Food, Inc. Well, it might have started earlier when my sister, who was a personal trainer, started sending me articles on the dangers of certain foods and drinks... Ya, it was about four years ago when I started hearing rumors. Rumors about the dangers of aspartame. Rumors about the epidemics in our society, autism, ADHD, heart disease, even certain types of cancer, possible being diet related. But... I chose not to go there. I didn't really want to know. But Food, Inc.... I mean, hello! But again, nothing really changed day to day with my eating, my family's eating...

Fast forward to April 2011...  I was 50 pounds overweight (after being done with nursing and pregnancy) and started doing some research. Not just researching how i wanted to approach weight loss... but digging deep into life long health changes that I had to take. I knew the crud I ate, the crud I justified, and I was just sick of it. My doctor told me if I ever wanted to get pregnant again, I needed to be in the best physical condition and health before getting pregnant to give my body the best chance of a full term delivery. So... I began to learn. I kept quiet about a lot of it because it was personal to me. My journey. My choices. But the more and more I changed the way I ate, the pounds just fell off (running helped, but thats for another post :), I slept better, my "times of the month" were easier, and just overall... I just felt better. I thought, well maybe other people want to know too??

I got thinking about my kids, my husband, who God gave me to nourish and provide food for, and I got nervous. Nay, overwhelmed and frightened. The research I was doing was starting to make sense. Normally, when something makes sense you rejoice! Well, this wasn't good news but I think, I was finally ready to hear it. 

Our country is broken. As if I didn't already know and see that daily: abortions on the rise, Biblical values being deemed unconstitutional, tolerance of everything BUT Christianity... I knew the country was messed up. But I just didn't know how far reaching that truly was.

Our food system... Could this be broken too? Greed, Power, Success... could these things be driving our current system into a dangerous and deadly spiral? I was scared to realize...... yes. Kinda freaks me out even typing it. 

Through my own research through books especially (The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien), documentaries (and doing follow up research and checking out facts from those docs), reading, and reading... the evidence was there... and is there... and will continue to mount...

Now, this is where some of you might check out. Hey, I would have too a year ago. Big Government Conspiracy theory. Julie, why do you care to bark down this tree? Leave me alone! And you know what, you don't have to read... That is fine. But some of you might benefit from some things I've been learning and adapting into our everyday life... so here we go in a small small small Non-GMO Nutshell...

Monsanto, a bio-technical engineering company, is the producer of the Round Up Weed Killer. So, they had a grand idea and business plan back in the mid 1990's. Hey, lets bioengineer seeds to withstand our weedkiller. They began genetically altering the DNA protein of soy, corn, and other seeds to withstand their brand of weed killer. Therefore, a farmer could spray as much Weed killer on his crops and they wouldn't die (since the genetically modified seeds had a protein shoved into them that was resistant to the Weed killer)... Sounds like an awesome idea! 
And a guaranteed stream of revenue. Now, everyone has you buy YOUR seeds and YOUR weedkiller! Cha Ching! Good one Monsanto! Well... The only kicker is... these Genetically modified crops HAVE NOT BEEN TESTED ON HUMANS!!! Hello!? As Robyn O'Brien writes "Are you willing to be part of the biggest scientific experiment of human history??" Can I opt out please?!?

And this was only the beginning, Monsanto also created the rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) that was shot up into cows to increase milk supply. Well, It kinda made the cows sicker, and more prone to infections, like mastitis. And then, excess antibiotics were needed to keep the cows well enough for milk production. Now, I'm no dummy, when I was nursing, I knew medication passed through breast milk... SO.... same thing with cows. Yuck. But who hears about it? Remember, Monsanto has a lot of moola and if you check with many of the big wigs holding positions in the FDA and USDA, you'll find former Monsanto (and other food industry head honchos) leading the legislation. 

Something seem wrong here? The companies who are producing (and making money) off of these bioengineered foods are the ones sitting on the Board of Directors for the agency that determines its safety? Hello?!

All this to say... these engineered crops and chemical additives haven't been tested on humans... but the scary part is... they are everywhere in the United States. Everywhere. High Fructose corn syrup, Aspartame, Soy lecithin, Modified Corn Starch, Soybean Oil, Red Dye #40, Enriched White Flour, and more... Everywhere... but you know what... All of these genetically modified foods/artificial sweeteners/preservatives/food dyes are illegal in Europe, Japan, Australia, and a whole host of other contries. Illegal!!! (Because their researchers took the time to test expose and found significant risks to human health both now and long term)... But, the United States... kept selling and producing the stuff...
(oh and Monsanto bought the company NutriSweet which makes aspartame which is in anything sugar free, including Diet Coke, Crystal Light, Sugar Free Gum, and Jello)

What is even more mind boggling.... Kraft, Walmart, Coca Cola, and other companies reformulated their products WITHOUT GM (Genetically modified) ingredients. So the same Kraft box of Mac and Cheese we consume is DIFFERENT from the mom in England. (And, the Kraft I was fed as a child... is NOT the same as what is on the shelves today!!!!) So all of that crud that hasn't been tested on humans (but make a quick buck in selling cheap food) is in our food. This is when I started having doubts...

Why? Why was the government I had faith in tricking us? Not taking the time to test these additives... Not giving us the same products as the rest of the world? Could they really be doing this on purpose? Knowingly hiding facts about the food they were shoving down our throats?! I didn't want to believe it. I still don't want to believe it. But again, they proof was in the refined sugar laden pudding. It just made sense. Money. Really. When the Bible says "money is the root of all sorts of evil"(1 Timothy 6:10)... could this all be a result of big time greed? It sounds so simple, but could it really be that? 

Unfortunately, in all my research, I can't find another motive. And so, I was left with a choice... which, praise God, I have a choice. I am not forced to eat what my government puts in front of me: a freedom I readily take for granted. Do I subject myself and my family to these chemicals that some, like aspartame, are considered carcinogenic (cancer causing)?

I already distrusted the government on social issues. When they claim a life inside a mother's womb is not a life, I already knew they were capable of a massive cover up of truth and safety... so why was I so unwilling to admit they could be committing the same massive coverup when it came to our food and the dangerous chemicals they were pumping into the system?

I didn't want to overhaul my world. I didn't/don't want to go through the battles with my kids. I didn't want people to label me a wacko. I didn't want to stop eating what I had always loved.... But now that I had been given this information, I knew I just couldn't turn back. I couldn't "un-know" what I had discovered. Sometimes change can be really hard, but if that change leads to a healthier life and training for my family, couldn't I see that it would be worth it...

So, in Robyn O'Brien's book she encouraged a balance of 80-20. 80% clean and healthy and 20% freebie. (Because you still live in a world of kids birthday parties, church potlucks and work functions!) Slowly, working towards that goal... because obviously, we have a budget, and I'm going to have to learn so many more cooking techniques, which takes time... and change just isn't easy and isn't fun sometimes... but for the sake of the health of my family long term, I am committing to it... 

In the end... I want to use this blog to chronicle our journey. To try and work that balance into our lives... And what is so cool is, my wonderful husband has been right there with me... learning, doubting, questioning, and still left with more questions. We both are, but we want to do what we can do to protect our family... And blog about it... both of us! :)

And again, this is what I am learning. MY journey. I don't want this to come across as a mandate for you! This is just my way to document my life and journey in health for my little family. If you want to talk about it, awesome! But I don't want to come across as pushy or agenda-driven, so, I'm obviously going to keep posting here about kids stuff, party and hosting stuff, but also about our food journey.
Here goes nothin!


  1. this is great Julie. We really had to look into this stuff after we got married. I had so many health problems. we found a wonderful christian natural doctor who taught us so much and helped me feel better than I had in years. ( we miss her SO much) it's scary what's out there. And I'm with you, we have such a responsiblity as moms to feed our families well. I'm excited to learn anything I can from your journey.

  2. right there with you sister! At first I thought, there's no way the government would let this happen right?? it's so wrong .... but you hit the nail on the head. THey are unbelievers who are greedy and want power and money.

  3. Thanks for sharing the wisdom!

    In a future post, if possible, can you explain how to find out whether foods have non-genetically modified ingredients? I just got back from Whole Foods, I tried looking at cereal labels to figure it out, and I eventually found one, but I didn't know if there is an easier way to figure it out :)

  4. elyse! yes! I will! I'm learning too!! :)

    I do know that if it is certified Organic... it has no genetically modified ingredients... so thats a safe bet!

    currently, genetically modified food is not required by law to be labeled... so that is the hard part. there is a lot of legislation trying to get up to congress to force manufacturers to disclose that information, but for now, we don't know. in other countries, its all labeled, but the US... its hidden... sad but true...

    but if you stick with whole wheat and organic, you should be good :)

  5. also, anything under the TRADER JOES name brand is free from GM ingredients. They state that on their website as a policy, so that is helpful too! :)

  6. Great! I didn't know that the "Organic" covered genetically modified product too! Without looking into it, I assumed it just meant no chemical fertilizers and such...if I'd thought about what the word itself meant, I'd have had a clue! Great insights, thanks Jules!!! :)

  7. I've been stalking your blog for awhile now and love what you write. Thank you so much for this post!! It has been something that I have been looking into not only for myself but for my family that God has given me to take care of :)

  8. Have you read Michael Pollan's books? 'In Defense of Food' and 'The Omnnivore's Dilemma' started the journey for me a few years back and also (thankfully!) answered a lot of questions. Although they're (obviously) from a US perspective, it's prompted an interesting investigation into how things are done here in Australia... some things are better, some worse.

  9. Have you read Michael Pollan's books? 'In Defense of Food' and 'The Omnnivore's Dilemma' started the journey for me a few years back and also (thankfully!) answered a lot of questions. Although they're (obviously) from a US perspective, it's prompted an interesting investigation into how things are done here in Australia... some things are better, some worse.

  10. Michele!
    Thanks for your kind words and thankful that you read my little blog! :)

    This whole subject can be so overwhelming, but worth the effort!!
    But thankfully God gives us grace and wisdom to honor Him even in simple ways, like what we eat! :)


  11. Jenny!
    Thanks for your comment! I have been looking into that book and its been in my Amazon cart :) but I finally pulled the trigger and ordered it tonight :) I've read a lot of his stuff online, but I'm excited to jump into the book! I've been reading a lot of Dr. Esselstyn's work and that has been helpful too!

    Neat to hear your perspective from all the way around the world!! :)

    Still fondly remember our pizza date that quiet hospital 4th of July Labor & Delivery stay :)

    Julie :)

  12. Happy Mother's Day, Jules! Thanks for your great article and for taking the time to share your love and insight with your readers. ~Robyn O'Brien