Glyphosate is the main active ingredient in Round-Up. It is used to kill vegetation like weeds. It is widely used on GMO crops like sugar, corn, wheat, and soy which make up a lot of the American diet. Home and business owners use it to kill weeds and unwanted vegetation when landscaping or growing some foods.
Glyphosate is everywhere it seems. My husband and I grow grapes and one thing we have noticed is that we are in the minority because we refuse to spray it under our grapes even though it takes a lot of work to keep the vegetation down.
If you have ever been to a vineyard or winery and wondered what that yellow stripe under the vine is I hate to tell you that more than 9/10 it is glyphosate. This is done to avoid hand weeding and mowing.
I have even heard some people say “I spray glyphosate but I just spray the ground so it doesn’t get into the wine.” When other vineyard people are asked they are not always honest about their practices. This is what it takes to grow grapes with less work.
Here is something to remember about your food supply: Whatever goes into the ground gets in your food. If it didn’t then there would be no point in fertilizer. Don’t tell me that what you put into the ground doesn’t come out in your finished product in some way.
My philosophy is if you come to me and buy food or beverage that I produce then you deserve an honest answer if you ask me about how I produced it. People have the right to know what they are laying their hard earned money down for and putting in their bodies.
So who is the main producer of glyphosate?
Round Up is made by Monsanto and it is the most common name brand of glyphosate out there today. There are other manufacturers but they are the original maker and the largest producer.
Glyphosphate has been found to accumulate in the body over time. Even those that try to avoid it can be indirectly exposed. The good news is that there are a lot of ways to avoid glyphosate and many of these ways have other positive effects for your health as well. Here are a few of my tips for avoiding exposure to this toxin and how to more easily afford a diet that does not rely on corn subsidies and big agriculture.
What does Round Up Ready mean exactly?
In a previous post, it came to my attention that some people may be a bit confused about the term Round-Up ready. Some are under the impression that this means that it is sprayed less but the truth is that crops that are known as being Round-Up ready are genetically engineered to grow when Round-Up is sprayed to kill weeds and other vegetation that competes with the crop.
This does not mean they are not spraying other pesticides on the crops as well. Glyphosate is just for getting rid of weeds and vegetation that competes with the corn.
Currently, most commercial sugar, corn, wheat, and soy are genetically modified. Unless corn or soy is labeled as being GMO-free you can assume it has been sprayed heavily with glyphosate.
Diseases & Conditions From Glyphosate
A lot of research has been done that indicates glyphosate causes a variety of health conditions. I am going to list some I have found in studies and a few links where you can read more in-depth study results. Sure you can find a study for everything but the more science looks into glyphosate the harder it is to deny that it has a major effect on those that eat a Westernized diet.
Glyphosate exposure has been linked to the following diseases and conditions. There are far more than this but these are some of the major ones.
- Autism- You have to wonder what is causing the massive amount of children being born with autism. What changed?
- Allergies- Is it just me or does it seem like a large part of the population has allergies and not just the typical seasonal ones. Growing up in the 80s or 90s I never heard of a kid being allergic to peanut butter or eggs and definitely not so allergic that they need an Epi-Pen to survive an outbreak.
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Infertility- While the birthrate has gone down for a lot of reasons at least part of that is simply that people are not as fertile as they used to be.
- Depression- The number of people taking pharmaceuticals for depression is overwhelming. While this can be attributed to a lot of factors that are present in the modern lifestyle, it is no big surprise that your diet has an impact on your mental outlook.
Links To Studies and Further Information
Tips For Avoiding Glyphosate
1. Look for Non- GMO or Certified Organic on the label.
If it says non-GMO and it is corn, wheat, soy, canola, sugar then there is no glyphosate used. Anything that is labeled Certified Organic have not been sprayed with glyphosate.
Where it gets complicated is that Non GMO fruits and nuts can be grown in conditions where glyphosate is sprayed underneath to keep down vegetation. This means it is best to buy organic fruits and veggies or grow your own. Farmer’s Markets with small producers are a good way to avoid a lot of Round Up but some may still use it.
For more info on GMOs and help to avoid them in your food, check out the Non-GMO Project site.
2. Use alternative weedkillers
You can make your own version of vinegar and lemon juice weedkiller. This is sold commercially as BurnOut but it is a lot cheaper to mix your own. Just because this is natural doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a face mask and gloves to apply it and don’t use more than needed. You can acidify things too much if you take it too far.
3. Avoid corn, wheat, and soy that is not GMO-free.
Flours and foods made from GMO free grains are usually labeled since it is a point of pride and selling point for food producers. You don’t have to give up grains entirely to avoid GMOs. Organic labeling is nice but when it comes to grains GMO free means no glyphosate. That doesn’t mean the producer used organic practices though.
4. Eat meats from livestock that are largely grass fed.
The animals that eat the most grain and thus the highest levels of glyphosate include chickens, turkey, and pork. Lamb and mutton, beef, and heritage breed birds like geese are largely fed a grass-based diet. Beef cattle, even those from factory farms are only fed grain for the last 6 months before butchering. Lamb and geese are largely grass fed.
5. Avoid buying land or a home that is too close to a big Ag field. If you live close to one you might consider relocating.
I know that leaving a place is not easy or feasible for some but if you live near a lot of GMO crops then you should try to get out if you can. The health consequences could be dramatic. Even small doses of herbicides and other agricultural chemicals over time can accumulate.
There are a lot of people that raised families next to these fields that had no idea the terrible consequences they would suffer later on. To me, it is criminal that chemical companies can come in and poison the places that families have called home for so long.
6. Pack lunches for your kids and yourself.
School lunches are made from cheap ingredients. If you want to avoid GMOs and glyphosate then pack your kids lunches with healthier foods. Even if you didn’t care about glyphosate, school lunches are full of unhealthy fats and salt. Cafeterias at larger workplaces or break room snack machines are often not healthy either.
7. Avoid eating fast food and at major chain restaurants or reduce how often you do.
Fast food and chain restaurants offer foods that are mass produced and full of fillers and preservatives. Remember when they found out that the beef at Taco Bell was only partially beef? Even the more upscale chains use foods filled with GMOs.
Not eating out also will save you a lot of money that you can use to eat better at home.
8. Graze rather than spray if you have land to do it on
If you have a place that is weedy you can stake a sheep or goat out and let them eat it down if you don’t have a good fence. Chickens can be kept in a movable bottomless pen and used to keep areas eaten down plus you get eggs! Chicken tractors can be used in between rows in gardens too!
Your Tax Dollars Subsidize The Problem & Keep Prices Lower On Foods Grown With Glyphosate
The corn subsidies in the USA keep prices low on food at the grocery store. Farmers that use feed corn for their livestock enjoy cheap prices. So when someone argues that organic costs too much it is important to look at the whole picture and realize that you are paying more for that gallon of milk than the price tag at the grocery store since you are contributing to the corn subsidy.
Dairy farmers also get additional subsidies.
Dealing With The Costs Of A Non-GMO Diet
I won’t even try to tell you that ditching the heavily subsidized food products are going to be cheap. At the same time, there are a lot of health benefits and quality of life that you can gain. I used to be able to eat everything but over the years I have been forced to eliminate uncultured dairy products and most recently wheat products. I get horrible stomach burns and pain even if I consume small amounts. I feel better than I have in awhile after making the changes. Here are my tips for making it a more affordable option.
Buy Organic Milk and Make Your Own Organic Yogurt
You can enjoy 4 quarts of yogurt for under $6 instead of paying $16 for the same volume of a brand like Stonyfield. Sure you will have to add your own jelly or sweetener but that makes it easier to control the sugar level you are getting. Check out my post on making your own yogurt. It is really easy when you get started and can save a lot on your grocery bill. Plus you get valuable probiotics that can help your digestion and overall levels of good bacteria throughout your body.
Consider Some Backyard Chickens
A lot of wheat free cooking requires a lot of eggs. Also, have you noticed the price of good quality eggs at the store. I can say that you can expect to pay $3-$5 per dozen. A lot of towns allow for at least a few laying hens per house but no roosters. Even little feed stores in rural areas have organic laying pellets. If you have some room to move them around and they have forage you can get by with less feed and get amazing eggs.
Breads and rolls, as well as crusts, don’t have to be complicated or take too long to create and dough keeps in the fridge. You can keep 2 weeks worth of dough in your fridge and add to the recipe depending on what you want to do. I highly recommend the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day. No kneading or bread machine required and you can go organic for very little.
Crackers are a big expense. You are basically paying $10-$16 a lb for flour and a little spice and oil. You can get organic flour for $1.20 a lb. I experimented with cracker making in a previous post. It is really easy and tasty.
Buy meat in bulk from nearby or raise your own.
You can often get grass fed beef for a bargain if you get it locally. If you can’t get 30 lbs or more yourself you can go in together with friends on beef orders. Your best deal is often buying 100 lbs or more or getting a whole cow and then paying the processing fee.
A few families going into together can eat grass fed for less than conventional by cutting out the middleman. This is a situation where investing in a small or mid-sized chest freezer will pay off by allowing you to buy in bulk and catch sales so you can eat well for less.
Monsanto & The Agent Orange Connection
Glyphosate is not the first time Monsanto has been linked to disease-causing chemicals.
Recently I read that Monsanto also the maker of Agent Orange used so widely in the Vietnam War, was being allowed to return after 55 years. This really bothered me. Some readers may remember that I was raised by a single father who is a veteran of the Vietnam War. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs is more open to admitting that Agent Orange exposure causes a lot of problems. Some studies are even finding that the genetic effects can go on for several generations.
My father was in Vietnam in 1967-68 and they sprayed the areas heavily with Agent Orange. He was in heavy jungle combat and Agent Orange was in everything. The water was contaminated.
Well, my father got diabetes that led to his foot being amputated. His eyes are bad from glaucoma to the point he is legally blind in one eye and has partial vision in another.
When my parents were trying to have children there were multiple miscarriages which is why there are 8 years between my brother and I. For some reason I made it and here we are today.
The other day I found an Agent Orange Newsletter from 1980 that my dad had saved after getting it in the mail while living in Forks, Washington and working in the sawmills. It made me cry and I burned it. Even then they knew that everyone exposed was in trouble.
I try to keep going and not think about what all the findings mean for me. At 35 years old I am thinking that like so many daughters of Vietnam vets heavily exposed to Agent Orange, I might never be able to have a child. I also have to consider that health effects can be passed on for another generation. That is some scary stuff.
So no I will not be spraying anything toxic in our vineyard. It would be an insult to the pain and suffering my father has been going through since he was 19 years old. Now you know why I am so negative when it comes to chemicals and GMOs.
You Are Paying The Health Costs Of Those Affected By Glyphosate and Agent Orange
Think for a minute all the health care services that are provided through programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Health Care Act. If someone is unhealthy as a result of the commercial food system then we all have to pay in some way. All the veterans affected by Agent Orange have a lot of medical bills and many are on total disability benefits. The true numbers are staggering and hard to even add up correctly.
Then you have to consider the loss of productivity over the years. It is impossible to be as productive when you are sick or suffering. These folks also need care and that means people focusing on care rather than other things.
I wish there was an easy answer to what has been done to the food system but at this point we are in the position where people are used to cheap food and there is more of us.
Have you been personally affected by glyphosate? What steps are you taking to avoid it in your daily life?