Little Changes Somewhere in There…

This is a re-post of our blog on GMO from 3 years ago. We’re making it available now because of what we perceive as sustained lack of awareness on the part of many consumers who we talk with about their food purchase decisions. 

Our position on food is simple–as much as possible, acquire your foods from your own gardens and/or local farmers whose operations you can observe. This puts you, the consumer, in control, not the large conglomerates whose interest is primarily monetary and whose technological resources are virtually endless. To be in control, though, requires that you know as much as you can so you can make the best decisions about the food you eat. Imagine if we ALL simply said “No” to GMO!

Here’s our 2013 blog for your consideration:


What are we to say to those who ask whether GMO food is the saviour or nemesis of human-kind (or owls)?  Is the issue even as bi-polar as that, or is there some middle ground?

Let’s start with an accepted definition: Genetically Modified Organisms include foods that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. That is, GMO foods have had one or more of their identifying genes altered, deleted, or added to through a human-directed engineering process.

The bottom line: Humans have intentionally modified “natural” foods to meet their changing needs using means other than traditional breeding.

For example, tomatoes have been engineered to be more flavourful (the famous Flavr-Savr that got the marketing of GMO foods started back in 1994); apples have been engineered to not turn brown for weeks after being sliced open (an application for a GMO orchard in the Shuswap in on the books); corn has been modified to be resistant to pests and weeds; soy has been engineered for huge increases in yield. And so on. There really is no known limit to what GMO science can do.

Is GMO safe? Will the world’s food supply be enhanced and improved? Or will we be put at high risk if we continue to employ GMO processes to change our food sources?

We can tell you that many people (cultures, societies, scientists, citizens) fear possible toxic effects from plants made resistant to pesticides like Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or glyphosate (a herbicide used to kill weeds). As well, they fear they might experience an allergic reaction that might occur if they eat a GMO food engineered with a foreign nut gene.

But the proponents of GMO manipulation of our food crops say that GM crops, among other things:

  • Are an extension of natural breeding and do NOT pose different risks from naturally bred crops
  • Are safe to eat and can be more nutritious than naturally bred crops
  • Are strictly regulated for safety
  • Increase crop yields, and
  • Reduce pesticide use

Nevertheless, the opponents counter with their claim that none of this is true, and that strong evidence exists that GM crops:

  • Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GMO crops
  • Can be toxic, allergenic, or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • Are NOT adequately regulated to ensure safety
  • Do NOT increase yield potential
  • Do NOT reduce pesticide use, but increase it

The list for what GMO can and can not do goes on for both proponents and opponents alike (see (http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/58 for more).

Many of the proponents and opponents alike appear to have the credentials and resources to understand and respond to GMO food processes, so what are we to make of their conflicting views?

But a short article like this one can not tell you all you need to determine whether GMO food is right for you and yours.

Many people think that GMO = Monsanto. I’m afraid there’s more to it than that, and it is not simple to understand. GMO is a science, not a company; a process, not a food.

So I recommend, with enthusiasm, that you download the following three sources (a YouTube video and two pdf documents) of extended discussion and information.

These are a good start because they come from credible sources and reflect varied approaches for your consideration. The first is a local, B.C., perspective (Dr. Thierry Vrain who worked as a GMO/ROUNDUP scientist until recently) and two international sides of the argument, each well-written and resourced:

1. GENE REVOLUTION, a video presentation by Dr. Thierry Vrain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXLCJLrZv8w) who spoke in Salmon Arm in late 2013 to a full house.


Dr. Vrain is a controversial whistleblower on the GMO/RoundUp industry with the experience and education to warrant viewer’s trust in his credibility. He presently lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, and invites people to visit him on his model farm that employs neither GMO or Round Up.

2. A DECADE OF EU-FUNDED GMO RESEARCH (PDF: A decade of EU-funded GMO research).


“This is the second volume of results (from a European organization) studying different aspects of genetically modified organisms. It is part of an initiative of research programmes and activities commenced 25 years ago in response to policymakers’ and public concerns regarding the safety of the technology.” (p. 10)

“The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies. Another very important conclusion is that today’s biotechnological research and applications are much more diverse than they were 25 years ago, which is also reflected by the current 7th EU Framework Programme.” (p. 18)

3. GMO MYTHS AND TRUTHS (http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/58).


“Based on the evidence presented in this report, there is no need to take risks with GM crops when effective, readily available, and sustainable solutions to the problems that GM technology is claimed to address already exist. Conventional plant breeding, in some cases helped by safe modern technologies like gene mapping and marker assisted selection, continues to outperform GM in producing high-yield, drought-tolerant, and pest- and disease-resistant crops that can meet our present and future food needs.” (p. 8)

And here’s another way of joining the conversation: I will be hosting some local farmers/distributors on my radio food show WHAT?/SO WHAT? in the next few months. Listen in at CKVS 93.7 FM, or listen on your computer at voiceoftheshuswap.ca (just click on LISTEN LIVE). The show is on Mondays at 4:00 p.m. and repeated on Thursdays at 8:00 a.m. and again on Sundays at 8:00 p.m.

There are a lot of “positions” on the topic of GMOs, and that is because the truth, if it is available at all right now, is difficult to get at. The emotions are charged, lines have been drawn, resources have been allocated, and there is virtually no place in the world where GMO crops are not in the market place, as whole or prepared foods, in spite of bans and partial bans. I hope the sources I’ve provided here help give you a voice in the matter, and I welcome hearing what you have to say.


Cancer: Seven Ways to Oxygenate Your Cells

Because April was Cancer Awareness Month in several countries, we devoted a series of blogs  month to cancer and are continuing them into May—and especially to the work of one pioneering MD (now retired) who pushed the envelope of cancer treatment for four decades with astonishing success.

Using techniques to support the amazing healing power of the human body, his treatment centered on an integrative approach that included some standard cancer treatments, but emphasized four key components from the world of complementary medicine: Detoxification, Oxygenation, Alkalinity (low pH), and Enzymes.

Last week’s blog looked at Detoxification.  This week, we will look at Oxygenation.

So what is oxygenation? Well, in the medical context, oxygenation happens when oxygen molecules enter the tissues of the body.  The human body uses oxygen in a complex process that we can’t describe in a short blog, but suffice to say that oxygen is needed for all the chemical reactions in your body that keep you alive—and research has shown that cancer cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment.

This is why our medical maverick insisted that his cancer patients do all they can to oxygenate their bodies. Essentially, he was trying to create an environment where cancer cannot thrive.

To do that, he recommended:

  1. Eat fresh, certified organic plants. They are rich in the antioxidants that fight the harmful effects of free radicals and thereby protect blood cells that carry oxygen. For maximum benefit, he recommended eating about 75% or 80% of your fruits and vegetables raw, including several different colors of vegetables with every meal, and making sure they are fresh as possible (not something that has been stored for weeks and therefore depleted of nutrients). When fresh produce is not available, he advised that frozen certified organic fruits and vegetables offer better nutrition than canned.

Of course, all his patients were advised to take a daily multi-vitamin-mineral-phytonutrient supplement made from certified organic plants.

Garlic is another antioxidant that is well known to effectively scavenge dangerous free radicals from the blood. Use it liberally, either raw or cooked, and take supplements made from certified organic garlic.

  1. Supplement with antioxidants. Vitamin A, Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, and complete Vitamin E all are powerful antioxidants. Our medical maverick put his patients on high doses of:
  • Vitamin A from plant sources (except no Vitamin A for brain cancer patients because it increases cranial pressure). See our blog last week for a discussion of Vitamin A. Jerre: link to last week’s blog, please. While many medical professionals are reluctant to put patients on high doses of Vitamin A for fear of toxicity, our medical maverick argued that toxicity does not occur from plant-based Vitamin A. Discuss this issue with your healthcare provider.
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (in a time-released formula). Our medical maverick found that high doses of Vitamin C from certified organic plant sources can help to alleviate cancer pain, and that cancer patients’ survival rates increase in direct proportion to the amount of Vitamin C ingested.

He warned, however, that the Vitamin C must be broad spectrum; that is, from certified organic plants, so bioflavonoids and other important plant nutrients are ingested along with the ascorbic acid that many of us know as Vitamin C.

All his patients were given enough broad-spectrum, time-released Vitamin C with bioflavonoids to cause mild diarrhea. Once the telltale diarrhea indicated the adequate dose had been slightly exceeded, he cut the dose back a little until the diarrhea resolved and then maintained that dose. Some patients needed as much as 15,000 mg. (yes, that’s 15 thousand mg.) of time-released Vitamin C with bioflavonoids every day.

  • Complete, natural Vitamin E with Selenium. Our medical maverick insisted on Vitamin E supplements containing four forms of tocopherols and four forms of tocotrienols (the entire natural complex) and natural selenium.

He argued that selenium is very important for cancer patients, but warned that many products sold in drug stores and, even, health food stores are too low in this important trace mineral. He also warned that the body does not have receptors for synthetic selenium (Na Selenate) or synthetic Vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol), and that these forms are not good for cancer patients or anyone else.

Therefore, people have to be wary of what they buy.

See our book Eat to Save Your Life for more information on Vitamins A, C, and E plus our Ten Totally Terrific Questions that explain how to choose effective, non-toxic supplements. Of course, you must always discuss supplementation with your healthcare provider.

  1. Supplement with B-Vitamins. To aid with proper synthesis of a protein that carries oxygen in the blood, our medical maverick used Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), the active form of vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate), and the active from of vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) for his patients. For best results with the B12, he preferred sublingual (under the tongue) drops or tablets rather than B12 shots.

As with any isolated B vitamin, he insisted that patients take the isolated B5, B6, and B12 with a good B-vitamin complex. Our book Eat to Save Your Life explains why.

  1. Supplement with Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 aids in oxygen uptake in the blood. Our book Eat to Save Your Life and several of our blogs all deal with the many benefits of Vitamin D3. To read previous blogs, go to www.eattosaveyourlife.com and search Vitamin D3 in the Blogs section.
  2. Drink adequate amounts of filtered water. Water that has been filtered through an effective filtration system helps the body to use oxygen effectively. See last week’s blog for more information on proper water filtration. Jerre: link to last week’s blog, please.
  3. Do Breathing Exercises. Many internet sites offer information on breathing exercises to help oxygenate the body. Proper breathing from the abdomen, in appropriate rhythms, while sitting up, and inhaling and exhaling correctly through the nostrils and mouth can help to calm the nervous system, overcome insomnia, aerate the lungs, purify and enrich the blood stream, develop the chest and diaphragm, strengthen the lungs, stimulate the liver, and improve digestion—all of which is beneficial to cancer patients.

In addition to focused breathing exercises extending for about 10 minutes a few times each day, our medical maverick recommended that his patients who watched television also get into the habit of completing a few rounds of breathing exercises during every commercial. Annoying as television commercials can be, they actually can be helpful to someone who is watching television while convalescing. Because commercials are broadcast for two to four minutes at frequent, regular intervals, they actually create an excellent schedule that patients can adopt for mini sessions of breathing exercises.

And while you’re breathing, consider the quality of the air you breathe. Research shows that levels of pollutants inside the home can be higher than outside. The air inside your home can contain dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, dust mites, bacteria, viruses, mold, formaldehyde (a carcinogen), dioxins (a group of highly toxic environmental chemicals described in scary detail on the World Health Organization website, Factsheet 225), and radon (a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that seeps from the ground into homes through cracks, small pores, sumps, and drains). In its Factsheet 291, the World Health Organization warns that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in many countries. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs291/en/).

To remove particles and contaminants from the air, we like a three-filter system that removes 99.99% of airborne pollutants that pass through the system. The system removes impurities as small as .01 microns by means of three replaceable filters: a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter (HEPA filter), an activated carbon filter, and a cleanable pre-filter. We’re a little skeptical of ionizer air cleaners because they can be ineffective at removing particles in the air such as dust, pollen, and smoke.

  1. Exercise. Before becoming an MD, our medical maverick was a professional engineer. It’s probably not surprising, then, that he tended to see the human body as a series of pumps, valves, and tubes that are best lubricated through motion. As he often explained, activity improves blood and lymphatic circulation, manufacture of oxygen-grabbing red blood cells, and the ability of the lungs to use oxygen.

When it comes to exercise, he had two preferred forms: walking and rebounding. Both offer gentle aerobic exercise that help a patient’s body use oxygen and also eliminate wastes through the lymphatic system (which links back to last week’s topic: Detoxification). Jerre: link to last week’s blog, please.

In this world where pushing hard, doing more, and digging deeper is widely encouraged, patients sometimes try to exercise too vigorously. He therefore warned that walking should be undertaken in a few short sessions every day (maybe 10 to 15 minutes a few times per day rather than an hour all at once).

Similarly, many proponents of rebounding recommend that cancer patients undertake about two minutes of gentle bouncing every hour—a regimen that is certainly a good goal, but may be too hard on the very ill. Our medical maverick preferred that patients set their own pace and increase as they are able. Even 10 seconds of rebounding once per day is better than none at all, 10 seconds twice per day is even better, and so on.

Patients new to rebounding should purchase a large rebounder because it will be more stable than a small one, start gently, and bounce with the feet never leaving the rebounder. The duration of the session and the height of the bounces can be increased as the person is able. Patients who are too ill to bounce themselves can sit on the rebounder and have someone stand behind them on the rebounder, and gently bounce. The motion can be deceptively simple, but effective.

Whether walking or rebounding, patients should exert themselves as they are able, but avoid over-exertion or exhaustion. Neither helps the body to heal. “Start low; go slow” is a good motto for a cancer patient commencing an exercise program.

Of course, it’s always very important to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen. Your doctor will be able to advise about exercise and may be able to connect you with appropriate exercise professionals specializing in cancer recovery. Make sure to ask.

As you can see, each of these recommendations links back to the subject of Detoxification discussed last week. Yes, while taking steps to oxygenate the body, patients also support the detoxification process—thus delivering a one-two punch to the illness through Oxygenation and Detoxification.

Here’s to your best one-two punch,


Gloria and Jerre



ME/CFS, Part 3

cfsWe have fallen behind in developing and posting our blogs as we entered a new phase of video projects and radio broadcasts (which we will be posting as they are completed).

So, finally, this is our posting of the third and last of the three-part video interview with Dr. Eleanor Stein of Calgary, Canada concerning ME/CFS, FM, and MCS.  Click here to view the third part:   http://youtu.be/iruLzTM6brc .

If you missed the first or second part and want to see it now, click here http://youtu.be/b4YrpXvavWc or here http://youtu.be/0U4CBNwbW4s .

We wish everyone the best in dealing with these diseases,

Jerre Paquette, PhD

Gloria Askew, Retired Registered Nurse


ME/CFS, Part 2

ME AWARENESS DAY 2This is our posting of the second of the three-part video interview with Dr. Eleanor Stein of Calgary, Canada concerning ME/CFS, FM, and MCS.  Click here to view the second part:  http://youtu.be/0U4CBNwbW4s

If you missed the first part and want to see it now, click here: http://youtu.be/b4YrpXvavWc

We wish everyone the best in dealing with these diseases,

Jerre Paquette, PhD

Gloria Askew, Retired Registered Nurse


ME/CFS National Awareness Day

ME AWARNESS DAYFor ME/CFS Awareness Day, we have posted the first of a three-part video interview with Dr. Eleanor Stein of Calgary, Canada. Dr. Stein has been a positive and powerful force in the struggle for greater understanding of this biological illness, improved education of healthcare professionals, and support for patients and their familes.

She is the founder of the ETeam, the only multidisciplinary team in Canada offering objective assessment of cognitive and sensory function in people with ME/CFS, FM, MCS or a history of toxic exposure.  Dr. Stein has been involved in a number of research projects on the autonomic nervous system, exercise capacity, and infection in ME/CFS.

To acknowledge ME Awareness Month (as promoted in some countries), we will post the remaining two parts of this video over the next couple of weeks.

Here is Part 1, approximately 15 minutes in length: http://youtu.be/b4YrpXvavWc

Jerre Paquette, PhD and Gloria Askew, Retired Registered Nurse

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