Dear Straight Talk: I am 21, my little brother is 15. We are very close. The problem is he lives with our dad and my dad and his wife aren't food conscious like my mom, who shops organic. They let him eat candy, fast food, and drink Cokes on a daily basis. He has developed psoriasis, intestinal problems, food allergies and is becoming overweight, all within a couple of years. I am polite when I visit, but I try not to eat there because the food is honestly disgusting, and mostly genetically modified. How can I get through to them, or at least him, not to eat this kind of food? It hurts me to see his health going downhill. — "Foodie for Life", Sacramento
Editor's Note: Whaddayaknow, Hostess Brands is out of business — right on cue with this week's column. No more Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Ho Ho's. The Mayans were right, it's the end of the world as we know it.
I maintain that 95 percent of health problems are diet related. Even stress-related problems. If breakfast consists of a bowl of sugary cereal, a candy bar, (or delicious Ho Ho) — or a Starbucks or Go Girl — (all of the above being alarming morning fare for an alarming number of teens), of course your endocrine system will red line when you bomb a test or don't hear from that guy you met last weekend.
I'm continually heartened by the droves of young people insisting on organic, natural and slow food. Many are entering farming and culinary fields. The discovered ideal traditional diets found in living action by Weston Price are bubbling to awareness in a world of food fads.
Regarding genetically-modified foods, the obscene levels of pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics these crops require (and encourage) makes them the anti-health-food mutant arm of agriculture. And the Law of Unintended Consequences has never given a free lunch. Slicing foreign genetic material into plants is very different than breeding and hybridizing among existing genetic material, like the "father of genetics," Gregor Mendel, did. By the way, Mendel was a monk. No one will ever say that about Monsanto.
Sadly food is big business. What we eat, or refuse to eat, controls the market. It has also become politicized. When 'breaking bread' together, let's proceed with love. In human relations, sunshine always wins over stormy weather in inspiring change. Plus the earth is already dishing up those storms. To our health, both personal and planetary. —Lauren
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