Julie Anne Rhodes
In 1990 I was a founding member of Parents for Safe Foods, a group of high profile mothers in England that were concerned about the amount of pesticides, hormones, additives, genetic engineering, irradiation, and other undesirable and inhumane food production practices. We marched on 10 Downing Street, and published a book to raise awareness. Unfortunately, twenty years later the state of the food industry has become frighteningly worse, and in many ways, much more so here in the United States.

Cynthia Occelli, Twitter friend and fellow blogger extraordinaire, miraculously coaxed me into doing a vegan, anti-inflammatory, hypo allergenic cleanse with her recently which resulted in a renewed reverence for food; for both it’s healing and potentially damaging effects. Cynthia’s cleanse wrap-up email was too important, to not share with all of you, so I asked her to do a guest post.
Cynthia Occelli

Hi! My name is Cynthia Occelli and I write the blog: LIFE: It Isn’t for the Faint of Heart, a blog about living one’s best life using common sense, spirituality and wisdom. It is an incredible honor for me to guest blog on “Jewels” from The Roving Stove today. This blog rocks and Jewels is nothing less than treasure. To top that off, I get the rare privilege of writing on something I don’t address on my blog: the hidden dangers in our food. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll have learned something new, if not leave a comment below and teach me something! Here goes:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” –Hippocrates

Unfortunately, we cannot rely on manufacturer’s or the FDA to ensure that our food is safe or good for us. There is a growing body of research indicating that what we put in our bodies, on our skin and in the air is responsible for a large portion of disease.

The Seven Deadly Food Sins

1.Partially Hydrogenated OilsThey’re killers. These can be ANY kind of oil (cottonseed, soybean, vegetable, etc.) –hydrogenatedis the word to look for. You can usually find it in margarine and shortening, fried foods, doughnuts, cookies, pastries, crackers, processed foods, salad dressings and mayonnaise. More than a decade of research showed that consumption of trans fatty acids from partially hydrogenated (a process that adds hydrogen to solidify or harden) vegetable fats and oils had many adverse effects in health areas such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, immunity, reproduction and lactation, and obesity. (via Dr. Mercola, Dr. Mary Enig Interviewed By Richard A. Passwater, Ph.D.http://bit.ly/9tadX7)

2.High Fructose Corn Syrup, Crystalline fructose, fructoseIt makes you fat, feeds cancer, is usually GMO and can harm the liver. Beverages containing high fructose corn syrup have high levels of reactive carbonyls which are linked with cell and tissue damage that leads to diabetes. The corn from which high fructose corn syrup is derived may begenetically modified. Even seemingly “health-conscious” beverages like Vitamin Water, Jamba Juice and Odwalla SuperFood contain fructose. Certain cancer cells grow on HFCS. Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same. (via How to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup – WikiHowhttp://bit.ly/bYO73Q)

3.Genetically Modified FoodsGMOThey’re covered in pesticide and associated with a ton of health problems. When a package contains “Soybean Oil” and doesn’t specifically state somewhere that it’s NON-GMO, it is overwhelmingly likely to be GMO. There is no requirement to disclose it. “Currently, up to45 percent of U.S. cornis genetically engineered as is85 percent of soybeans. It has been estimated that 70-75 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients . . . A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Human health effects can include higher risks of toxicity, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer.” (via Center for Food Safetyhttp://bit.ly/cvuwz8)

4.Conventional Produce(produce sprayed with pesticides) – Pesticideis a low dose of toxin deadly enough to kill bugs, but it does just disappear.Various studies have connected pesticides to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone system disruption and skin, eye and lung irrigation, according to the Environmental Working Group (http://www.foodnews.org/). While the group says eating vegetables and fruits treated with pesticides is better than not eating vegetables and fruits, the guide points out that consumers can lower their pesticide consumption by almost 80% by avoiding conventionally grown varieties of the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables. This info comes from a great site with a tool to determine how much pesticide is on a certain food: What’s On My Food? (http://bit.ly/deSUFh) Remember, non organic foods that contain anything that grew (Oils, Meat, Flour etc.) also contain pesticides.

5.Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite)Processed meats encourage cancer. Sodium nitrate (sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative and a coloring and flavoring agent in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, sausages, corned beef, smoked fish, and other processed meats. These additives can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines. Studies have found a link between consuming nitrates and cancer in humans. (via CC Health Counselinghttp://bit.ly/9tGByX)

An excerpt from the Safe Food Handbook, 1990


6.Factory Farmed Meat & Poultry – We eat everything they do. As with most conventional crops, the grain fed to livestock is heavily sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals. This causes health problems for the animals that eat the grain, and also for us when we eat the meat of these animals. The grain that conventional farmers feed their livestock is often very poor in quality. In many cases, farmers save money by purchasing grain that failed inspection for human consumption, usually because of mold growth (via ShareitFitnesshttp://bit.ly/buesLA).

By eating meat from the animals that eat this grain, humans are exposed to the mold toxins. In general, the meat from purely grain fed livestock is not very nutritious, especially if the grain is of poor quality. The potential for the meat to contain toxins makes it a health risk as well. The connection between unhealthy livestock and the grain only diet should be a matter of common sense. But instead of choosing to improve livestock health through a better diet, conventional farmers compensate by feeding their livestock grain that’s laced withantibiotics. Antibiotics originate from toxins produced by fungi. Anti biotic literally means anti life. Antibiotics kill without discrimination, and as a result, good bacteria is killed along with the bad. Because antibiotics are toxins and enter your blood stream, they can also cause unwanted problems anywhere in your body. They become infected by parasites and develop cancer, glandular swelling, infectious arthritis, pneumonia, and other serious health issues. What’s most frightening is that the FDA allows the meat from these sick animals to be passed along as long as any relevant tumors or lesions are removed. With the use of grains, fillers, antibiotics, and hormones, conventional farmers are able to bring a steer to full size in less than a year and a half. Under natural conditions, it would take 4 or 5 years. Also, To further accelerate growth, they feed synthetic hormones to their livestock. Synthetic hormones are often associated with cancer. (via ShareitFitnesshttp://bit.ly/buesLA) A far better choice, unless you remain vegan is Grass-fed & Grass-finished, free range beef and organic chicken. Here’s some info on how to switch:http://huff.to/91fPSB

7.SoyIt’s likely GMO and processed. That makes it like every other processed food. The good for you soy is, NON-GMO and fermented. After a long fermentation process, the phytic acid and antinutrient levels of the soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties — such as the creation of natural probiotics — become available to your digestive system. The fermentation process also greatly reduces the levels of dangerous isoflavones, which are similar to estrogen in their chemical structure, and can interfere with the action of your own estrogen production. (via Dr Mercola.http://bit.ly/adzwZ7) AvoidSoy Protein Isolate, a common processed soy in health foods and fitness bars.If you want to eat soy that is actually good for you, try natto, tempeh, miso and soy sauce.

Goodies from my cleanse grocery shop

The simplest way to avoid the 7 Deadly Food Sins is to eat fresh organic, produce, meat, poultry and whole grains. Read labels on foods; study the ingredients. Severely limit foods that come in packages (chips, instant dinner mixes, seasoned rice/potato dishes, crackers etc). Reduce canned food intake. Don’t store, heat, refrigerate, freeze or buy food in plastic (plastics often leach xenoestrogens – chemicals that mimic estrogen – into food). If you want to learn more and prefer not to read, watch the movie Food, Inc. (http://www.foodincmovie.com/index.php)

To your long life and great health!

Cynthia Occelli


Thank you so much Cynthia! I asked her to share some of her expertise with all of us here in the hopes that you will start seeing the truth about what we are complacently allowing to happen to our food supply, and the importance of how your consumer dollar is spent. Yes, the groceries and convenience of eating right may be more costly than buying all the processed crap, but it is much less painful and expensive than the medical care it could eventually lead you to need.
If you are interested in priceless pearls of wisdom – check out Cynthia’s blog. Every post I read resinates so deeply within, I guarantee it is worth your time!
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  • September 10, 2010
    3:12 am

    Cynthia, I always love your thought provoking blog. Great post.Thanks for telling us about and encouraging us in this cleanse, Jewels…I've become more aware of how food affects my body since becoming "mostly vegan" over the last 3 months, and doing the cleanse with you ladies over the last month. I've lost much weight, feel better, and dropped my cholesterol and blood pressure. It was hard these past two weeks after badly spraining my knee (that I had surgery on last spring) and my ankle, and having people bring me meals full of the crappola I was avoiding for so long…You quickly realize just how bad the standard American diet is for you when you haven't eaten that way in a while, then get some processed stuff into your system. Yuck.

  • September 10, 2010
    3:18 am

    Hi Jewels, thank you so very much for this information from Cynthia Occeli. Good stuff…..:-) BTW, I am about to do a cleanse myself–I'll keep you posted! Big hugs xoxoxBj Nelson

  • September 10, 2010
    3:27 am

    I'm finding the same thing Mari – I'm so in tune with how food effects my body now, that I don't like eating the way I used to anymore (especially after Cynthia's brilliant post). Sure that ice cream cone sounds great, may even taste fantastic, but I feel sluggish and my blood sugar level is all over the place making me feel hungry more often afterwards. So excited for you to do the cleanse Beej – you won't believe how much better you will feel for it! I know you will enjoy Cynthia's blog as much as I do too – she's the bomb.

  • September 10, 2010
    3:32 am

    That was brilliant! Thanks for sharing.Mark Downie

  • September 10, 2010
    11:26 am

    Wow!……thanks Cynthia and thank you Jewels. Reading this blog certainly makes you think twice about what you may be eating or buying. Jewels, although I had a bad experience with a cleanse I did a while ago, I will be doing it again. You have certainly given me the motivation to get back into it with a different mind and focus. Congratulations on the cleanse.Aussie Mum

  • September 10, 2010
    2:57 pm

    Hi Jewels, great blog about the realities of the food we eat. I was especially interested in Cynthia's comment about not storing food in plastic. I do try to avoid reheating foods in plastic containers, but what about freezer storage? Would you have any recommendations on better ways to store food for the long-term?Thanks for all your work on the blog… it's a pleasure to read!

  • September 10, 2010
    3:24 pm

    To everyone thinking about starting the cleanse – it is always a good idea to check with your doctor before making big dietary changes. Having said that, Aussie Mum you will like this cleanse – you EAT on it!Lisa, I have to admit I am still storing in plastic. Leaching happens when the plastic heats up, but it makes sense to avoid. You can always use covered pyrex or another brand of glass containers.For me, the most important of the 7 deadly food sins are hydrogenated fats, high frutcose corn syrup, and pesticides in meat and on vegetables and fruits. I also want to avoid buying foods with so much sugar in them already. I want to control how much sugar I use, not have it hidden in everything I eat!

  • September 10, 2010
    3:40 pm

    strange what's doe to the food chain and the poor creatures in it.relieved, of course, that dark chocolate is good for you.

  • September 10, 2010
    3:46 pm

    Dark chocolate is like water – we NEED it to survive!

  • September 10, 2010
    5:31 pm

    I just love that smile!Nordine Kadri

  • September 10, 2010
    10:36 pm

    soooooo prettyShannon Marie Moyer

  • September 11, 2010
    3:00 am

    Loved this so much Julie Anne, I'm an Aussie Chef & this is one of my passions & reasons for starting my own blog, to encourage *good clean food* & move away from all these ridiculously highly processed & oobba dangerous foods that are being force fed to the unwary. Great information & look forward to more interesting articles.Cheers Anna

  • September 11, 2010
    12:40 pm

    Ran across this article today, thought you might find it interesting.http://wholefoodusa.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/junk-food-causing-birth-defects/

  • September 11, 2010
    3:40 pm

    thank you for sharing; i need to revamp my eating habits; got sooo bad over the last cpll yearsShannon Marie Moyer

  • September 11, 2010
    3:44 pm

    Wow Savannah – that is really scary! Thanks for sharing it with us. There was a documentary I watched about the Aborignes (sp?) eating a western diet for 6 months, and the obesity and diabetes rate doubled or tripled, then when they went back to eating their normal plant rich diet – everything sorted itself out again.So happy to have you here Anna! Please put your two cents in regularly.

  • September 11, 2010
    4:19 pm

    wonderful …Madeleine Gallay

  • September 11, 2010
    4:44 pm

    Julie Anne,When my daughter first exhibited signs of ADD/ADHD behaviours, I immediately went to foods as a possible source. Since then, I have come to know the horrors of additives and preservatives and what they can do to a young life. I ACTIVELY promote healthy, pesticide free foods in my community and in my home as much as possible; but find it an increasingly difficult challenge as corporate food companies and drug companies are so closely linked in their quest for the almighty buck.Fortunately our schools and more of our community is seeing a growing trend to demanding locally grown produce that is certified organic, etc.I join you in this battle, willingly!Tin

  • September 11, 2010
    4:49 pm

    Our consumer dollars speaks for us. It is all about supply and demand, and it starts in our own kitchens.

  • September 11, 2010
    4:50 pm

    Joining you WILLINGLY and LOUDLY in the battle!!Justine Owls

  • September 11, 2010
    5:29 pm

    Very interesting, learned things I didn't know before. I didn't see chicken or turkey listed, that is what I eat the most of. I also love my veggiesDorah Caulfield

  • September 11, 2010
    5:30 pm

    When purchasing chicken , eggs, and turkey you want organically fed (we eat what they eat when we eat their meat and eggs), free-range (not cooped up in disgusting factories) only.

  • September 11, 2010
    10:07 pm

    good stuff!Cat Lincoln

  • September 11, 2010
    10:10 pm

    Farm subsidies and sheer volume and control of marketsare why so many foods that are non-organic are actually more costly tomake in use of pesticides, & hormones, etc., cost consumers less (hencethey are more popular). This is unfortunate. Thus, it is just going to takeenough of us supporting organics, (& hopefully with no Monsanto Codexand GMO interference) to get things to change to a world of real organicsustainable farming, & non-cruel methods to raise animals used for food.Mark Downie

  • September 11, 2010
    10:11 pm

    From your mouth to EVERYONE'S ears Mark!

  • September 11, 2010
    10:13 pm

    What's changed? Sadly…not much, and surely not enough.Jean Taska Leatherman

  • September 11, 2010
    10:17 pm

    It IS scary, JulieAnn. It's terribly frightening that what we're consuming IS NOT food anymore. Food is defined as something you eat that serves your body and the all this processed junk doesn't do that. It has virtually no nutritional value. That's not food.Have you read the book "The China Study"? That's scary.But the really scary part is that the more you dig into being careful about what goes into your body, the more you begin to question everything, your food, the personal hygiene products you use, the cat litter you buy — all of it.Personal hygiene products are really scary. The EU has outlawed over 400 chemicals that the US has not — so basically if you buy your make-up from a European country you're getting a safer product than if you buy it in the US.There's a website: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/You can look up the cosmetics and personal products you use and find out their safety rating. That's eye-opening and really terrifying. I started using natural products about a year ago — I use vegan shampoo, conditioner and soap (the only thing I can't find a good vegan product for is deodorant — there just isn't a good natural anti-perspirant). Check it out, it will absolutely change your life.

  • September 12, 2010
    2:37 am

    I was use to eatting fresh foods living on a farm and buying them in the store is something we rarely did. When we bought our fruits, they were always washed in warm soapy water and peeled. It's unbelievable that what we eat can be dangerous to our health because of what is on them.Dorah Caulfield

  • September 12, 2010
    2:46 am

    OMG, Savannah – You've opened up a whole new kettle of fish with me! Dorah, you can't wash all of the pesticides off of fruit and vegetables. For example, it permeates through to the flesh of an apple. Farm fresh is great, but if the chickens are fed grain with pesticides or other residues on them – then you are eating them too – even on your own farm. Anti-biotic and hormone use are equally ominous practices, and most "chicken farmers" today are a cover for hideous factories where the chickens are so crowded they can't move, living in their own feces. Seriously, you want the chicken and eggs you buy to be labled organic and free range.

  • September 12, 2010
    3:36 am

    I don't want to sound like I'm on a constant soap box, but let's get real people. I've had so many people complain about how expensive organic , hormone and anti-biotic free meat, poultry, and vegetables are. I can't sit here and deny the fact that organic is more expensive than conventionally grown. But unless your household income is truly below the poverty line, and you are living on food stamps – it is a personal choice – one you are choosing to make, so stop making excuses. We all have priorities. If health is a priority it can be done! In most instances, you just may have to sacrifice a few conveniences and toys to do it. Do you really need that Starbucks coffee every morning, internet on your cell phone, 250 cable channels, or another flat screen tv?Keep in mind that just as eating well keeps us healthy, eating all these "foods" that are adulterated beyond anything truly resembling real food, is hazardous to your health. In the long run it could cause you much more money in medical care, suffering, and even cost your life – so it is false economics to ignore the facts.The bottom line is always about profit. If the public refuses to eat GMO, processed foods full of residues, the food industry will adapt to producing what the consumer wants. Ask your grocery stores to stock more organic produce, grass fed beef, free-range organic chickens, line-caught fish etc., if they do not already. It is all about supply and demand. Make your consumer dollar count, and change will happen.

  • September 12, 2010
    5:20 am

    Yeah, it does open a whole new avenue of exploration. I only use natural, organic, usually vegan and totally non-toxic make-up. Most of my make-up is actually minerals — my concealer, foundation, blush and eye shadow is mica powder. My mascara and lipstick are plant based. I also bought natural sunscreen this year. They all have the added benefit of also being cruelty free. I feel good knowing my sunscreen wasn't squirted in some poor bunny's eyes.Once you've eliminated all the toxic products from your bathroom, the next step is the cleaning products you use. There are recipes online for natural cleaning products (for instance vinegar is the best disinfectant on the planet).If you think about it, people 100 years ago lived without all of these synthetic chemicals, didn't have anywhere near the rates of cancer that we have, and got along just fine. Somehow they managed — without modern refrigeration — to live, clean and eat without poisoning themselves every second of the day.And P.S. I DO live on food stamps and I STILL eat organic — living vegetarian is CHEAPER than EVER buying meat. I'm not opposed to meat & and I do like it — I'm just very picky about it. I believe you should only eat grass fed meat. Cows aren't meant to eat corn. Do you KNOW how much corn we eat? It's in EVERYTHING. They make a zillion and one ingredients from corn. For example a chicken mcnugget — it's from corn fed chickens, it's mixed with a corn filler, it's breaded with a corn and it's fried in corn oil. It's nothing but CORN! Corn is fattening — they feed it to cows to fatten them up — and then we consume it in a thousand different ways and can't figure out why WE'RE so fat!So, the meat you eat should ideally be grass fed (which is hard to come by here in Ohio) so I usually avoid meat. And besides eating a vegetarian diet IS cheaper. Meat — even factory meat — is expensive. I can buy tons of beans and tons of rice and tons of fresh, organic veg for the price of a steak.It's about choices. It's about recognizing that putting in the effort to make a good vegan/vegetarian recipe is gonna be worth it EVERY SINGLE TIME. It's can be about the whole evangelical living in harmony with your environment and the other animals on this planet — but for me, it's more about being healthy and natural and avoiding the toxic chemicals that are literally KILLING US.

  • September 24, 2010
    2:34 am

    Hi Jewels! I tried to send a message to Cynthia's blog/contact but kept getting a error message. Can you pass on to her, that I was wondering if the cleanse directions are posted anywhere? I want to do it.Thanks, Penelope!