Tuesday TED Talks – Robyn O’Brien- What is in our food?

I read Robyn O’Brien’s book The Unhealthy Truth years ago after I heard her speak on NPR.

It is an amazing book about a mother’s journey and quest to understand why her child has developed an allergic reaction to basic foods. Why, when she grew up, she didn’t know anyone with allergies. She wondered what has changed in our food supply since she was a kid. What she has found out may surprise you and it may not; the book was published initially in 2009. Watch her inspiring and intelligent TED Talk about how the United States allowed special proteins to be injected into our cows, animals and our seeds to make them produce more, be more resilient to disease and pesticides. Europe, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and many others refused to allow these synthetically engineered chemicals into their food supply because there was no proof (or studies done on humans) that convinced them that these chemicals weren’t dangerous. The US felt that since there was no proof of harm, then it was OK. This is the same perspective we see with the beauty industry and it has to stop. Robyn learned that the large food manufacturers such as Kraft and Kellogg made different formulas for Europe than for the United States. For example, Kraft’s famous Mac and Cheese for Europe did not have chemical dyes but the one for the US did. Just this year, thanks to a mom and a petition, Kraft has finally changed its formula for America and Kraft will now be made without all the yellow dyes. It’s amazing that it took this long.

On Mother’s Day in 2010, Robyn found Allergy Kids Foundation in order to focus on the huge increases of food allergies, ADHD, Autism and Asthma in kids in the US. Below are some of the frightening statistics she has learned.  In the last 20 years, the United States has seen:

  • 400% increase in allergies
  • 300% increase in asthma
  • 400% increase in ADHD
  • and an increase of between 1,500 and 6,000% in the number of children with autism-spectrum disorders.

We have the highest cancer rate than any other country. Watch her talk, she mentions that if you move from Japan, for instance, to America, your likelihood of contracting cancer increases 4 times. We must keep the chemicals, dyes, hormones, and genes out of our food and beauty products!

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