No crunches necessary

I had heard of models having shadows and highlights strategically applied to their torsos to create more defined abs for photoshoots, but now you can order a kit for $69 to do it yourself at home.
I also ran across a few reviews that mentioned the Dancing with the Stars contestants use it to appear in better shape than they actually are.
Not fair. I feel betrayed.

On a related note, I heard a while ago that France is moving forward with plans to require a disclaimer on all images that have been digitally manipulated. I think this is a great idea although I can see it becoming problematic with minor retouches. I’m assuming there will be some guidelines.


Protecting our seeds

Plants are a crucial part of the environment, but in many ways they’re frustratingly delicate. In the event of a major environmental or political crisis, they can’t exactly hop on a plane to get away from the trouble, so we’ve got to take care of them. Governments around the world have started to realize that there could be a potentially devastating loss of biodiversity (not to mention nourishing crops) if certain species of plants fell victim to some sort of extinction event.

This excerpt is from a Mental Floss article regarding the storage of plant seeds in enormous vaults. While the article is interesting, it neglects to mention the main reason we even need to take this precaution. That reason is us. Our destruction of natural land, forcing cultivation and growth of species that were never meant to thrive in certain areas, and one of the most subtle yet destructive processes of creating GMO foods.

If this topic interests you, please watch the documentary The Future of Food. Here is a 10 minute overview on Youtube. The film goes into great detail about how factory farming works, and the control that major corporations like Monsanto have over the way we eat. It also discusses genetically engineered foods and how they are invading native crops and decreasing biodiversity. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the less biodiversity we have, the more potential there is for, say, a particular fungus wiping out an entire variety of corn. If all corn was the same variety (which 70% of it is now) that would be a devastating loss.

I do think that a storage vault of native seeds is a great idea, but it doesn’t excuse mankind from destroying the plants we have now just because we have a backup. Since starting my education in holistic nutrition I am a firm supporter of farming smarter, not bigger.

The complete Future of Food documentary is available on Netflix.

Modern Agriculture…Be Afraid

I’m getting no love in the comments for these kinds of posts, but whatever, it’s my duty to inform you all whether you like it or not.

Last night we watched a documentary on the current trends in world agriculture and how our food supply is being threatened by genetic engineering. Here are some summaries.

Monsanto is a supercorporation that provides the majority of seed for corn crops. More than 70% of all corn is now genetically modified. Monsanto holds the patents for more than 15,000 types of seeds.

Monsanto has sued thousands of farmers for patent infringement. Why? Because Monsanto GMO seed made it’s way into their fields by chance (carried by wind or critters, etc) and began to grow. The farmers neither wanted nor even knew they were growing Monsanto corn but were found liable anyway. The farmers were forced to pay the fines and destroy all the seed from current crops unless they wanted a lengthy and expensive court battle.

GMO crops are usually made so there can be a reduction in pesticides, however, the crops are becoming resistant to these pesticides so even more is needed than in non-gmo crops.

GMO plants cannot be controlled outside a laboratory environment. Cross-contamination has occurred from the farm next door to remote agricultural farms in Mexico. Genetic diversity is extremely important to flourishing crops as each type of corn, for example, will flourish in different environments giving that plant it’s unique color, flavor and nutrients. GMO is threatening to wipe out the genetic diversity which means if that crop became suseptible to disease we would be left with few alternatives to staple foods.

GMO advocates claim that modification is necessary to help feed all the starving people in poor countries, however, we actually have a large overabundance of crops as it is. Production is not the issue, distribution is.

75% of people want to require the labeling of GMO and irradiated foods. The USDA won’t comply. If people had the conscious choice, most likely, the big corporations like Monsanto would lose billions.

Many important positions within our government are held by people who previously worked for Monsanto or a subsidiary. Positions of authority that would allow, say, people to choose whether they want to put genetically engineered substances in their bodies.

Only 1% of cattle are tested for mad cow disease by the USDA. Other countries, like Japan, refuse to import beef from us because they don’t feel the standards are high enough. A small meat packing company decided they would test ALL of their cattle and promote their high quality standards on their packaging. Their business began to boom. The USDA took them to court because they didn’t think that was fair. Testing is expensive, after all. And guess what? The USDA won! The USDA essentially squashed the right to competition and higher standards.

So this is just a bit of what I can remember. It’s plenty to think about and has me determined to buy from local farms as much as possible. Check out, if you can afford it, I recommend trying it! That is all…class dismissed!