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Arsenic is a substance known to cause all sorts of health problems in people and animals the world over. It has certain healing properties, but like many other organic substances, it can have detrimental health effects in large enough doses. Like cyanide, with regular and long enough exposure, it can cause similar health effects over time. Unfortunately, the dangers of arsenic in food supply stores are quite real, and one of the leading culprits is rice.
Just How Bad is the Problem?
The arsenic is measured in micrograms, and it has been shown that approximately 50 micrograms per liter in water is enough to start causing cancer concerns over time. Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to eliminate it from the diet altogether. Not only is it a natural substance in the earth, but the concentration levels increase in areas with a lot of vehicle traffic or where unclean energy sources like coal is burned.
Basmati and other aromatic types often have far less per cup than other types. Interestingly enough, the types imported from places like Thailand and India often contains less than the same types produced in the United States. Some White Basmati from India contains so little per serving that it is barely traceable. The same grown in California contains around 2.3 mcg per serving. Non-basmati types can contain as much as 11 mcg per serving. That whole grain brown may not actually be that great after all.
Alleviating the Dangers of Arsenic in Food Supply
Rice is one of the few grains that work well with a GFCF diet. It is easy to substitute it for pasta as a side dish or main ingredient in many recipes, and the milk is a great substitute in recipes. If arsenic is a concern, consider eliminating milk made from it and opting for almond or coconut milk instead. To further lower the potential risks, rinse the grains before cooking until the water runs clear. The mere act of rinsing can reduce the levels by about 25 percent. Using triple the water during cooking can further drop levels by another 50 to 60 percent. Simply drain off the excess water when cooking is complete as you would do with pasta.
However, make sure the levels in your water source are not very high, because that can negate or worsen any effects rinsing may have. You can also reduce the amount eaten each week. Have it once or twice a week instead of three or five times. Finally, switching to other acceptable grains like quinoa may help too. It is not necessary to completely remove it, but reducing the whole grains and eliminating processed rice products will go a long way in reducing the risks.
Science does many good things for humanity. Computers exist which allow instant communication over great distances, enhanced learning and greater precision in almost every aspect of daily life. Cars are safer, and medicines can now do amazing things with safety. However, when science goes wrong, it really goes wrong. Genetically modified foods are a prime example of this.
What is a Genetically Modified Organism?
Genetically modified organisms are often referred to as GMOs. To genetically modify food, scientists learned how to alter the structure of a plant to give it certain properties. Some were made resistant to drought. Others were given the ability to stand up better to certain pests. Others yet require the use of specific pesticides during the growing season because, though the same pesticides act as a herbicide on other plants, they will not kill the crops modified to work with them.
The Problem with Genetic Modification
Pest-resistant crops and drought-resistant crops sound like they could actually be good things, right? It sounds fantastic as a theory, but in practice, it seems to be a different story. Not only is there some question as to what trace amounts of pesticides do to the human body, but it seems that genetically modified foods can cause some serious problems. In addition, the scientists have never been required to ever research what potential harm these new crops could do to humans.
Some physicians are going so far as to treat illnesses with a GMO-free diet, because they have found that these genetically-modified organisms tend to come along with higher rates of allergy and toxicity. A French study also found that GMOs are responsible for some huge tumors in rats. The scientists were not sure if the tumors were a result of the genetic modifications to the foods or the special pesticides needed to grow them. It seems that the problem is a combination of the genetic modifications and the specially formulated pesticides.
How to Avoid Genetically Modified Food
Unfortunately, it is not possible to simply read a food label in the United States and know whether the item contains genetically modified organisms. Some companies have volunteered that information on their packaging, but those are rare. There are calls for the FDA to require GMO information on food packaging, but as of yet, nothing is in the works.
So how can a person tell which foods are genetically modified and which are not? Thankfully, there is an effort underway to help people with that very thing. It is called the “Non-GMO Project,” and it is a database of foods that are GMO-free. Because evidence is mounting against the safety of foods with genetic modification and their associated pesticides, eliminating genetically modified organisms from an autistic child’s diet seems prudent. Doing so should help immensely, especially in terms of allergens and digestive issues.
And, if you live in a state that has a ballot item that is focused on creating labeling for all foods, please remember to vote! As consumers, we should have the right to know what we are consuming so that we can choose what foods we decide to eat.
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