How Our Food Is Making Us Sick

A busy mother of 4, on a tight food budget, never thought she had to think about what she was feeding her kids. If it’s on the grocery store shelf, it should be safe, right? With 4 picky eaters, limited time and a limited budget she didn’t want to hear from anyone what she should eat and especially what she should feed her kids.

Well, this mother learned the ugly truth about our food supply hard way. Every parents nightmare. Finding out that you can’t trust everything you buy at the store. The morning one of her kids got sick and rushed to the hospital eating a “typical breakfast” was one that changed their lives forever.

Her mission to unearth the cause revealed more about the food industry than she could stomach, and impelled her to share her findings with others.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to share information like this with whatever audience was willing to listen. I don’t focus on this information enough. I had to share this video, hoping that many of you will watch it and get behind this cause. Food safety. GMO’s.

Robyn’s personal story is compelling, it’s something I feel very passionate about.  I urge you to watch and share!


Robyn O’brien authored "The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It." A former Wall Street food industry analyst, Robyn brings insight, compassion and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on the health of our children. She founded and was named by Forbes as one of "20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter." The New York Times has passionately described her as "Food’s Erin Brockovich."

Some highlights from the video:

  • From 1997-2002 peanut allergies have doubled
  • 1 in 17 kids has a food allergy
  • There has been a 265% increase in hospitalization in kids having allergic reactions


(photo source)

What is going on with our food? When I was a kid, I think I only knew one person with a food allergy. Now, in elementary schools there are sections and tables dedicated to children with allergies so they can eat their lunch safely. Many kindergartens don’t even allow you to bring PB&J sandwiches. When I was in kindergarten I have a fond memory of making peanut butter from scratch and sampling it with my classmates.

A food allergy is when your body sees a protein in food as a foreign invader, then it launches an inflammatory response to rid your body of that invader.

Is there something foreign in our food that wasn’t there when we were kids that has caused this unbelievable increase in attacks?

  • New proteins were added in our food starting in the 1990’s to increase profitability
  • Synthetic proteins and hormones have been injected into our cows to increase milk supply and drive up sales, but making the animals sick, increasing antibiotic use in those animals
  • Milk that is treated with these synthetic protein elevates hormone levels that lead to breast, prostate and colon cancer

Instead of the American government saying “it hasn’t been proven safe” they took the stance of “it hasn’t been proven harmful.”


All 27 countries in Europe do not allow this! Yet, in America, we are eating animals and drinking milk that is making not only the animals sick; it’s making the people who eat those animals and drink their milk sick.

  • The United States has the highest rate of cancer than anywhere else in the world
  • 1 out of 2 American men, and 1 out of 3 American women are expected to get cancer in their lifetime (how scary is that!??)
  • 1 out of 8 women has breast cancer. Yet, only 1 in 10 of those breast cancers is genetic. 9 out of 10 are environmentally triggered.


It doesn’t end with meat and milk is not where it ends. This is only where it begins.

Soy & Corn 

One of the other top eight allergens is genetically modified and engineered.99.9% of nonorganic soy in the US is genetically engineered. Engineered to resist weed killer. Grow more product. Sell more product.

I have talked about soy in the past, as I have talked about milk.  I am not only talking about people who eat soybeans, and soy products. I am talking about the animals who are fattened up faster by eating soy feed. You simply can not get away from the it!

Corn is regulated by the EPA as an insecticide!

Corn and soy are in everything.

Did you know that our tax payer dollars are being used to subsidize the growth of these toxic GMO crops; while organic farmers who are growing safe wholesome food are being hit with unaffordable fees to have their food inspected and labeled organic (many local farmers still grow organic without the label. You just need to ask!)

What’s wrong with this picture? No wonder organic food is so expensive and not affordable for many American families! People WANT to eat organic, but simply is not in their means.

I don’t know about you but I’d rather my tax dollars were going to those farmers, and not the ones poisoning us! There are not many things I feel more passionately about than food. Not even more-so as a mother.

I was just really touched my this story and presentation. GMO’s is something I have been passionate about for a long time now. I just thought I’d check in and share a few thoughts and this video for anyone that was not aware of this.

I’m on Robyn’s team! Let’s fight to clean up the food supply! Label our food!

I could go on and on about this, but for the sake of making this a somewhat quick post, I will just stop here and say “watch the video.” I know many of you probably have your own thoughts and things to add, so I would love to hear them and get a discussion going in the comments! My intention was to quickly post this and go to bed, but I got caught up and this turned into a lengthy post. Oops!


On a lighter note, I spent the day recovering from our amazing weekend in Baltimore. I will share some highlights and pictures from our trip sometime tomorrow!

Other reads:

A Genetically Modified World by Monsanto (one of my really early posts)

Do One Thing (A simple approach to getting started and clean up your diet)

Petition to Bring Down Monsanto

Cease FDA ties to Monsanto

Talk soon!


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  • Reply blackhuff

    I also feel that we should know what it in our food. We should have a choice to choose what we put in our bodies. It’s our bodies, our health. Why do they get to choose what they feed us?

    August 6, 2012 at 3:07 am
    • Reply laury

      Yes! Just label it already!

      August 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm
  • Reply Susan

    Great post Laury, it’s so scary how food has changed in the past few years. I went to a great talk on naturopathy at the weekend and how the body can heal itself with good wholesome foods. Scary about GM foods, luckily they are banned here in Ireland at present but some in the food industry want to change this. Also I think people put too much reliance on pills and medication to make themselves get better from illness. Hoping to read more and learn more.

    August 6, 2012 at 3:50 am
    • Reply laury

      Ella and I have been enjoying Irish butter and cheese lately. I’ve introduced it into her diet recently (still no cows milk though). You are lucky your country has no tolerance for it. It’s so scary how our government here is poisoning us and there is not much we can do about it!

      Off topic…a friend of mine is looking to do the type of comp you did. Who’s training program did you use? I can’t remember the name for the life of me!

      August 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm
      • Reply Susan

        I used Cathy Savage fitness, your friend can email me if she likes and I’ll give her some advice and tips.

        August 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm
        • Reply laury

          thank you, I will pass that info along 🙂

          August 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm
  • Reply danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness

    What a fantastic post! Thank you for this! I wish there was more posts like this around! It is so scary how much are food has changed and how much sicker we are getting as a result but at the same time, not much is being done about it in the food industry! I think the best thing we can do is spread awareness on this topic so thank you for this post!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:27 am
    • Reply laury

      Yes, we really need to keep spreading the word. No one knows just how scary GMO’s are!??

      August 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm
  • Reply Danica @ It's Progression

    This is such a great post…I’m very passionate about this subject too, and it’s so frustrating that so much of our grocery store “food” is hardly food at all. So many people are uneducated about this subject and we really can’t trust those labels on our food!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:47 am
    • Reply laury

      No we can’t. I get so upset and anxious about our food supply. It makes me want to move to Europe

      August 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm
  • Reply Keri

    Craziness! I was just talking to my mom about some of this stuff the other day. I think I actually scared her a bit- a lot really. She had no idea about a lot of this!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:37 am
  • Reply The Delicate Place (@misathemeb)

    preach! i am terrified of GMOs. i have done a complete ‘throwback’ to my grandparents cooking style in the last 2yrs. last night i made ‘hrudka’ which is basically eggs, whole milk and some salt/cinnamon for an olympic themed potluck at work. it takes 15 hours to make (obviously mostly inactive time) but i had such joy watching curd separating from whey and that i bought my milk and eggs from a local farmer. what i was making was ‘real’ and void of some genetically varied clusterfood. i really believe that my allergy to wheat was present most of my life as i was constantly ill from my mother’s quick cooking fixes.

    i wish our meat market were regulated like the EU! you can literally taste the difference i swear! i feel so much more confident eating it there and is largely why i gorge myself on beef tartare when abroad haha.

    oh god. don’t even get me started about corn. Big agra is the worst!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:54 am
    • Reply laury

      That dish sounds amazing. I am all about getting back to eating like our great-grandparent.s If only more of the food they ate was available. It’s so hard to know what to trust. Luckily I do have a few farms around here, but am not too sure about pesticide use. I never got a straight answer!

      I think it’s so important to educate mother’s today especially. In regard to your experience. Moms do the best they can with what they have. If they are not educate don the subject, and don’t know what resources to use, then kids are going to keep consuming this stuff that is not safe.

      Big agra IS the worst!

      August 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm
  • Reply Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life)

    Great post, Laury! I am becoming increasingly aware of GMOs and it’s scary stuff. The worst part is that we can’t even make up our own minds whether to eat it or not because they don’t label it. Argh! #justlabelit

    August 6, 2012 at 9:59 am
    • Reply laury

      I agree! They really need to label the stuff! I will vote anyone into office that takes a strong stance on this! What do we need to do!???

      August 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm
  • Reply Kimmie

    This all makes me so sad. It causes me to feel very anxious. It’s overwhelming and I feel like I can’t get ahead of it. There is so much to know and to look for and I feel like there’s no time to fully grasp it all. Why have we as Amercians come to this. I live in the heart of farming country! (however, my husband and I do not farm) Literally, I am surrounded by corn and soy bean fields. Through a good chunk of my summer on calm, non-windy days, I can hear planes flying low to spray/dust crops with chemical. I promptly close my windows. Where do we even begin to control this??? We are basic eaters at my home, but we are eating chicken and beef and I know where it comes from. We eat potatoes from treated ground. We make salad or have a different veggie side with our meal. It’s healthy, right? Probably not so much! Even the 100% whole wheat bread that we eat is not good for us. In mid-May, I brought 2 slices of the bread to work. I have it in a sandwich bag. On purpose, I have left these two slices of bread in the bag. There is not a spec of mold on them. It’s been better than two months!!! That can’t be OK!

    I am sorry for carrying on, but every time I read about what is happening to our food, I feel helpless and small and, honestly, more sad.

    Laury, you work really hard on this for your family. I really admire that.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:41 am
    • Reply laury


      I got anxious and angry just reading your comment. Not at you, but at your situation. I can not imagine having to live near all of those commercial farms, with pesticides and GMO seeds flying around. Helpless is a good word for it. I don’t see why we have to be though. Something really needs to change! You choose healthy foods for your family, yet you have to worry about those foods being tainted. It’s incredibly unnerving.

      And that experiment with the bread!? Wow. I can’t believe it. Well, I CAN believe it….but it just makes me cringe even more.

      I try my best to feed my family well, but it’s not always easy.; It’s a lot of work and I feel fortunate to live where I do, and have a schedule that allows me some flexibility in the kitchen. Not everyone has this. I work with many people who simply don’t have time and we have to come up with creative ways to make it work. It would be so much easier if “just eating healthy food” was the way. Now, we have to get people eating more fresh healthy foods, but also worry about what that “healthy food” is doing to our bodies if we aren’t educated on GMO’s and pesticides. It’s an uphill battle and I have confidence that some day our tax dollars will go to cleaning up the food supply. Not further contaminating it!

      August 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm
  • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    My mom wasn’t born in the US, and I was born only a short time after she arrived. So perhaps I didn’t have a lot of pre-exposure to processed food as much. I only have slight allergies to honeydew, cantaloupe, and pineapple but I just am careful with those. I couldn’t imagine having a peanut allergy or something. As for my potential kids, I would mostly worry about the lactose intolerance I have always had. Other things I am less worried about since I have otherwise been eating pretty healthy and avoid eating too much of anything for at least 10 years now. Plus, the fiance seems to be able to eat and use anything, so I hope that gets passed down.

    August 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm
    • Reply laury

      The sad thing is, many of the food allergies today are not “genetic.” It’s mostly environmental, from those statistics in that video. Just since the 1990’s when they started using GMO’s and now, it’s increased 265%! Staying away from GMO corn, soy and milk treated with hormones for sure gives your future children more of a chance though!

      August 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm
  • Reply Jennie

    Great post! I have a question for you as a fellow mommy, once Ella is done breastfeeding have you decided what kind of “milk” you will give her? I have started to read up on hemp milk, coconut milk etc. I personally drink almond milk and was wondering if that is ok for my daughter. My pediatrician seems to be pretty…basic so I’m not sure how much I can ask her on the topic!

    August 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hey Jennie!

      I have been supplementing with Hemp milk since after Ella’s 1st birthday. I no longer pump, it got to be too much, plus my supply had dipped a little because of not pumping. She gets it in her sippy cup. She still nurses 4x a day, then drinks 3-5 ounces of hemp milk depending on the day. I love it because it has as much fat as whole milk (8 grams, more than coconut or almond) and loaded with essential fatty acids and protein. Almond and coconut milk are also wonderful choices nutritionally (coconut has 4.5 grams of fat, so I would use that over almond but almond is still okay), as long as there’s not allergy to nuts of course, but I prefer hemp for the reasons I stated! Plus, I think hemp tastes the best 🙂

      I would still talk to your pediatrician, but those are my thoughts and why I choose hemp! Hope this helps!

      August 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm
  • Reply Alisa

    Robyn is so great! I’m excited to see you highlight this issue here Laury.

    I wrote an article recently about the new GMO corn they’ve produced and are now marketing for consumption – regular corn on the cob. Apparently Walmart is already signed on to carry it. Previously the GMO corn was used mostly in processed foods, but not it’s hitting the produce aisle. Scary.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm
  • Reply Taking a Step Back

    […] this article from Laury at The Fitness Dish about how our food is making us sick. […]

    August 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm
  • Reply purelymichelle

    OMG Lori and I could talk for hours about this topic. It makes me so disgusted how the food industry is now. Very scary, and I feel like all the big companies with the money are controlling everything, and all they care about is the money not people’s health!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm
  • Reply Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner

    This is such an amazing post, Laury. Thank you so much for sharing that video. 🙂

    August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm
  • Reply Brenda Bradfield

    I totally loved that you wrote this. I am an oncology nurse and people always ask me if I get sad. I do get sad but latley I have a fear. In the back of my mind I am always asking why? I am seeing more and more young adults coming in with cancer. Cancers that I once knew to be in an older population now in thier 20’s or even teens. It’s scary. I wish with all of my heart that our world could change how we eat, how our children eat. We need to take better care of ourselves and take control of our bodies.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:35 am
    • Reply laury

      Brenda, thank you so much for your comment. It makes me so sad to hear from you though. I admire what you do. I am on the outside, not up close and personal with the reality of how sick people are getting. I really hope a solution is close. People just nee to open their minds and eyes and make changes. Fight for the things we can’t control (GMO labeling) and if we all keep voting with out dollars, then hopefully, the risk factors go down. I wish with all of my heart too. I am so scared for our children.

      August 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm
  • Reply GMOs, food dyes, etc. | lovehealcook

    […] How our food is making us sick […]

    August 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm
  • Reply Kimmie

    …I know I already replied, but wanted to add a little more. Talking about the chemical corn and soy beans again…living in prime farm country, we spend time chatting with the local farmers who plant in the fields adjacent to our home property. When my son was little, he was fascinated with the big farm machinery (frankly, so am I). So, one evening we walked over to talk to our neighbor farmer friend as he was filling his planter with bags of corn seed. Some was on the ground and it had a different look to it. My son began to pick it up and play with it. The farmer promptly told him to put it down and get his hands washed because of the chemical on it. Anyway, just thought I would share. We have wonderful neighbors and I can’t begin to talk to them about their farm business as this is their livelihood, but it really is so very frustrating.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    • Reply laury

      That is so scary, Kimmie. I can’t imagine. I wonder if the farmers are getting sick? It is their livelihood, and many of them can’t even control how they farm from what I understand! Very frustrating!

      August 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    Sigh. Big big sigh. This just makes my skin crawl. And I feel such an overwhelming frustration inside of me. And anxiety for my children. Yes, I am health concious. Very much so. Yes, I am far from perfect, and despite my efforts, am sure my children are getting GMO’s here and there, and other crap. It is enough to keep me up at night. Literally. I feel like no matter how hard I try, and no matter how much I read, I can’t fully grasp everything, and make everything I want to for my family a reality in the world we live in. I feel so lucky to live right next to a Farmers Market with pretty much enitrely organic fruits and veg. But no matter what direction you get pulled in, there are all the pros and cons you read. “this is good, this is bad…NO, this is good, this is bad…etc.” overwhelming to say the least. But we know one thing for sure, hormones and GMO’s are a NO. They are campaigning pretty hard in sothern california right now for a bill that would force them by law to label anything that is a GMO. I have already signed it, and I PRAY that it passes. It would make my life al ittle easier. Because even though I cook most things from scratch, like you said, now its hitting the produce isles quick. All I can say is I hope I can turn these thoughts off for the night and sleep, because knowing me, after reading this and reminding myself how scary food is now a days, I will lay awake all nigh trying to figure out a solution for my family! And thanks so much for all the amazing posting you do. It keeps me and everyone else reading on their toes and thinking and examining, which is exactly what we all should be doing. XO

    August 8, 2012 at 1:22 am
    • Reply laury

      Ug, I know. I get so anxious and upset. I try my hardest, but it’s just not easy! I ‘m sure my family gets GMO’s here and there too Sometimes it’s touch to avoid them! You are lucky that Cali is fighting for the labels. I really with the rest of the US would! Sometimes I wish I lived in Cali for all the farm markets and how health conscious of a state. Other times, I say I just wish I lived in Euprope where they don’t tolerate this

      August 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm
  • Reply Inner Harbor Vacation

    […] of passionate discussion we had going on in my last two posts! I really love hearing everyone’s experiences and views on GMO’s as well as your thoughts on giving up grains to kick the sugar habit (as well as thoughts on why […]

    August 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply Heidi

    Thanks so much for posting this, Laury! There is so much good information here. I try to get mu husband to understand this, but he just doesn’t get it. Maybe he will after I show him some of this!

    Heidi 🙂

    August 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply Emily

    I read in the last month that the European Union is seeking to relax rules around GM foods and the ‘frankenmeat’. I worry that the current economic issues are going to fast track this. Food costs in the UK have gone up 30.5% in the last 5 years and people, especially families, are having trouble keeping up. It really is such a worry.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:30 am
  • Reply glidingcalm

    awesome! thank you

    August 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm
  • Reply Tracy Whittle

    Hello Laury: I’ve been an advocate for safer food for a long time now but I truly admire how far you are going with this. With that said, I wanted to add to your list. The chemicals in our cosmetic and hygiene industry is also unsafe and banned in the EU and most all other countries. Parabens cause cancer and are in almost all our products here in the US. We are being poisoned in more ways than our foods and it makes me very, very angry. My husband is English so I believe we will retire to England where we will be safe. When his family visits they can’t believe our foods. His Uncle recently said, “your carrots don’t taste like carrots, your eggs don’t taste like eggs” etc. I would also like to mention that I have Lupus which is caused by food but I have no choices when it comes to the food in our country. Even organic makes me sick. Thank you for what you do and I do apologize for the ramble. Tracy

    March 25, 2014 at 10:35 am
    • Reply laury

      Hi Tracy! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!!! I truly appreciate it. And thank you for the information. Our skin is the largest organ on our body, so it only makes sense to pay attention to what goes on it. I get more and more frustrated with our food. Nothing is safe anymore, like you said. Even organic at times. It’s sad. My goal is to grow my own food, I already started making plans for some square foot gardening. The challenge is the animals, so many deer, rabbit, squirrel, etc. They chew through fences and eat all the food, but I will still try! I can’t grow everything but every little bit counts. I would LOVE some backyard chickens but not sure my husband would go for that just yet. Maybe next year!

      April 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm

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