Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Unhealthy Truth

Yesterday I was the fortunate guest of my friend Heather Donatini, of the BumbleBee Childhood Cancer Foundation, to go to a talk by author and activist Robyn O'Brian. She is a mom of four and is feared by companies such as Craft and Burger King for her stance against GMOs.

I personally don't know if GMOs cause cancer, allergies, Autism or ADHD. I'm not a scientist. But I do know that GMO crops are designed to withstand high amounts of pesticides. That's what GMO's primary benefit is. The bugs and the weeds all die but the GMO crop survives and is then harvested, rinsed off, and sold directly to moms like me. These GMO crops are relatively new, relatively untested, and are absolutely unlimited in our grocery stores.

I don't believe that Ventura County has one of the highest rate of childhood cancer just because of GMOs and pesticides. I'm also unsettled that there have been radioactive meltdowns in our area that have been covered up. Less than ten miles from our house "...the (Santa Susana) site suffered a partial nuclear meltdown that has been named 'the worst in U.S. history,' releasing an undisclosed amount of radioactivity."

I'm concerned with the letter we got from DWP Los Angeles a few years ago admitting to high levels of dangerous chemicals in our drinking water. The day we moved to LA we noticed that we got headaches if we drank the tap water.

And how about the obscene amounts of sugar smuggled into things like peanut butter, pasta sauce, yogurt and whole grain breads? And it's sold to us as "part of a complete diet" even when a single yogurt has nearly seven teaspoons of sugar. That's three teaspoons more than what is recommended for a child's entire day consumption. In one serving of "healthy" yogurt.

All of it is unsettling. Deeply unsettling.

The truth is that we live in a toxic world. And that is a frightening truth. It's not just hype, its based on facts and science. But the scariest part is that not many people seem to care enough to do anything about it.

I know that before Grace was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia a few weeks after her fourth birthday, I didn't care. I was all-too-busy just changing diapers, playing toys, and cooking meals for my two babies. And that's all a mom should have to deal with. No mom should ever lose a night's sleep wondering if the veggies from dinner or the park's soccer field is giving her children cancer.

Now it's often all I think about. But how to make a change...that's the real challenge.

The thing I really liked about Robyn is that she's a numbers lady. She's a former financial analyst. Because she's not a conspiracy-theory-hippie, I feel I can trust her. She's willing to fight big companies but she's one of the most approachable, genuine people I've ever met. And I was so inspired that she went from being a mom to being a major world changer by just taking one step at a time to bring change for her kids' sake. She said some things that really impacted me yesterday.

(These are my paraphrases)

"You can't make a lasting change being angry. You can only be angry for so long. But you can love for a lifetime. Make changes motivated by love."

"Don't preach, don't polarize people. We have to work together and find common ground to make real change."

"I tell people, 'start with what you can. If you feel drinking organic milk will help, then do that. Then do whatever comes next.'"

"We can all make change. We can all use whatever sphere of influence we have."

I don't know what caused Grace's cancer. I don't know how I can change our toxic world. I don't know that I have the sphere of influence, or the capacity, or even if it's a part of what God has planned for my life. But I also know I just did.

I took one step by helping you be more aware. And if you help others to all be aware, we've all just taken one step together. Then we can look for the next step and then do that. I know if we continue to keep taking one step at a time together we will soon have the world safe again.

A world where children cancer really is rare.

Robyn O'Brian is the author of "Unhealthy Truth." She also started or is heavily involved with Healthy Child, Healthy World and Allergy Kids. There are a lot of great facts and stats on these pages, as well as what we can do as parents to protect our kids. 

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