If health is the measure by which we humans are equipped to survive in our current environment, then our children are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. One in 13 American children has a serious food allergy. Nearly one in 10 has asthma. One in five is obese. And one in 68 has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. The rate at which these and other chronic conditions have become commonplace (read: epidemic) over the past few decades is equally stunning: childhood food allergies have increased 50 percent since 1997; celiac disease has more than quadrupled over the past half-century, with rates increasing particularly among children; and serious mental disorders, once rare, are now expected to afflict 20 percent of children over the course of their lifetime. So what the hell is going on?
My guests today, Dr. Michelle Perro and Vincanne Adams, offer some stunning answers in their must-read new book What’s Making Our Children Sick? How Industrial Food Is Causing an Epidemic of Chronic Illness, and What Parents (and Doctors) Can Do About It. In it, they explore the connection between genetically modified foods, glyphosate (the world’s most widely used pesticide), and gut health, and make a damning case for the related rise in chronic childhood disorders since GM foods were introduced to the American public.
GMOs have sparked endless controversy in the US, which is why it’s notable that Adams and Perro are far from the conspiracy-theory crowd: Vincanne is a professor and vice-chair of medical anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco, and Michelle is a pediatrician with over 35 years of experience in acute and integrative medicine (including as a former director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at New York’s Metropolitan Hospital). Here, they trace their own journeys from skeptics to activists and make a powerful case for why it's critical we move beyond the "GMOs aren't natural" argument. We also delve into Michelle's method for successfully treating children with chronic hard-to-diagnose health problems. So if you have a child with a chronic health issue (or if you yourself have a chronic health issue) and have been struggling to find answers, don't miss this episode!
Here’s the breakdown of the show:
- Medical anthropology, and Western medicine’s lack of focus on the health of our food
- From skeptics to activists: The journeys that led Michelle and Vincanne to write this book
- Tracing the path of microbiome impairment in the typical modern American child
- What is making our children sick?
- Moving beyond the “genetically modified food isn’t natural” argument
- The shift to GMOs in the post-DDT era
- Glyphosate, the shikimate pathway, and the human microbiome
- The chronically ill patients Michelle sees, and her treatment protocol
- How simple dietary changes can put the entire family on the path back to wellness
- Why local food/“real” food and organic food are not one and the same
- Spurring change in the mainstream medical community
- What you can do to reduce your child’s toxicant load and reclaim your family’s gut health
Learn more about What's Making Our Children Sick? on the Chelsea Green website and Michelle's clinical practice on the Gordon Medical Practice website. Michelle also runs the website GMOscience.org. Michelle and Vincanne are on Facebook here and here. And check out the link to buy their book, below!
If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!