Sunday, May 31, 2009

Book Review: The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien

If you or a loved one has or suspects they have food allergies or sensitivities, you owe it to yourself and them to pick up a copy of The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien.

Written in much the same mindset as Seeds of Deception, Omnivore's Dilemma, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, O'Brien takes the topic of food even further with even more studies and helpful information for the allergy sufferer. She also makes it personal, as the information she found and shares in this book pertains to her own children's health and the health of the coming generations.

The fact that carries through the entire book is that food in other countries is far better than is our food in the United States, but it doesn't have to be that way. Our American food contains additives that are banned in other countries(even Russia!) due to the studies that have shown links to disease and the response of citizens saying they don't want this "junk" in their food. McDonald's and Walmart have taken the "junk" out for other countries, but continue to add them to food for people in the United States. In addition, much(can I say Most?) of our food is Genetically Modified/Genetically Engineered and we have no idea, since it does not have to be labeled as such in the United States! There have been studies with links to diseases such as cancer, allergies(could the increase in allergies be due to the GMO's in our foods?), and even obesity linked to GMO's. Yet our government continues to use them and not label them. O'Brien suggests the reason other countries mandate GMO's to be labeled while the United States government does not label GMO's has to do with the differing health care systems. Ours tends to be money-driven, and the more sick people there are, the more money the pharmaceutical companies will get to treat the sick people, so there is no incentive to label GMO's even though they have been proven to cause health problems.

Would we like to make an informed decision when we shop? Then we need the foods containing GMO's to be labeled, so we can decide whether to subject our bodies(or those of our children) to them.

In addition to the GMO issue, O'Brien also tells of her frustration with Monsanto and the Food Allergy and Anaphlaxis Network(FAAN), issues with soy(whether GMO or not), rBGH hormones added to milk, as well as the other colorings and artificial flavors and such added to our foods. She gives helpful advice on how a family can "wean" themselves (or their kids) from the unhealthy foods to healthy foods and healthier bodies.

I admit to feeling ever more jaded now after reading The Unhealthy Truth, but I'd rather have the facts and operate on those than to shop with ignorance and pay with the health problems in myself and my family. We cannot depend on the government to watch out for us. The government seems to have "make money" as its' top priority, rather than having healthy citizens. We need to watch out for ourselves, and we need to arm ourselves with the information to do so.

One sentence really stood out to me as I finished this book: "Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good." It is better to do something and take a step away from all of the meddling that has been done to our foods, than it is to freeze and do nothing. Good advice. A little change is better than no change at all.

Having read The Unhealthy Truth, I have found ever more reason to take another step away from the conventional American diet. I hope my health, and the health of my family, will be the better for it in the long run!

No comments: