When Marcia Popp, a 50-year-old graphic artist, began a nutrition coaching program with me last year, she had numerous health problems, including multiple food and environmental allergies. She had also been diagnosed in 1990 with a systemic immune condition known as eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS), which she developed after taking tryptophan supplements that were later found to be tainted.
Marcia had already cut gluten out of her diet, so I advised some different changes to cater to her other food intolerances. I knew that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were implicated in allergies—and that the tryptophan linked to EMS had been produced using genetically modified bacteria—so I recommended that she avoid genetically modified foods to see if it made a difference.
I’m happy to report that it did. Marcia’s seasonal allergies are mostly gone, and, working with her allergist, she was able to stop taking most of her allergy medications. Her asthma has improved to the point that her lung function tests recently hit 98 percent—the highest they’ve ever been. And certain immune cell counts regularly tested to monitor her EMS condition are now in the normal ranges for the first time in almost 20 years. “The results have been amazing,” says Marcia.
The incidence of allergies and asthma has dramatically increased in the past 20 years. During that same time, novel proteins from GMOs have been introduced into our food supply. Coincidence? Not really.
During the genetic modification process, unintended consequences that increase the likelihood of allergic reactions can occur. Cooked GM soy, for example, contains about seven times more trypsin inhibitor, a known allergen, than cooked non-GM soy. For these reasons, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and the AllergyKids Foundation recommend avoiding GMOs to protect against allergies. If you eat gluten free and would like to avoid GMOs, try these tips:
Creamy Macadamia Vegetable Dip
Most party dips are made with milk-based sour cream, yogurt, or cheese; or soy- or canola-based mayonnaise, which likely contain GMOs. This gluten-free dip avoids such GMO at-risk ingredients altogether.
1 Tbs. plus ½ tsp. organic extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup macadamia nuts (raw or gluten-free, dry roasted), divided
¼ cup finely chopped fresh organic spinach leaves, stems removed
1½ tsp. minced red onion
1½ tsp. chopped fresh celery leaves
Unrefined sea salt, optional
PER SERVING: 70 CAL; 1 G PROT; 7 G TOTAL FAT (1 G SAT FAT); 1 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 1 MG SOD; 1 G FIBER; <1 G SUGARS
* Recipe reprinted from the Going Against the Grain Group, 2011.