Episode 10

Episode 10_This Is Modified Show Notes

Guest: Caitlin Shetterly

Instagram: @caitlinshetterly

Website: http://www.caitlinshetterly.com/

Book: Modified: GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future


Recommended Further Reading:

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

More on EPA’s reversal of ban on strawberry pesticide

The original Elle article

A recent article by Caitlin


Habit Change:

Eat organic and local whenever possible.

Make your own ice cream with a Cuisinart ice cream!


Episode Summary by the Minute:

Minute 0:30 Recap of Season 1 and our decision to start a podcast!

Minute 5:49: Introduction to Caitlin and her book Modified: GMOs and the Threat to our Food, Our Land, Our Future.

Minute 9:00: Bill Nye endorses GMOs, confusing everyone.  Caitlin explains why she wrote the book: driven by her own illness, treatment for countless ailments that didnt work, she ultimately got a diagnosis from a doctor that she had a GMO allergy.

Minute 14:00: Could food be triggering allergies for her family?  Caitlin wrote an article for Elle Magazine about this issue, and the article went viral. Despite attacks on her credibility from industry, Elle Magazine stood up for her.

Minute 14:30: She ultimately got an offer to write a book from an editor who agreed to let her write about the questions, rather than go on attack and assume that GMOs were acutally the culprit.

Minute 17:00: Caitlin’s son also had eczema, and when they did the elimination diet (taking corn out of his diet), he got much better.  She figured this all out on her own, and realized how many products have corn in them, and how many different names they use to mask the use of corn.

Minute 18:50: They can use corn-derived wax on organic produce. Corn (or other GMOs) is used for baking powder, table salt, table sugar (GMO sugar beets), Coke and Coke bottles, sneakers, honey, etc. Other names can include dextrose, free flowing agent, maltodextrin, vegetable starch, xantham gum.

Minutes 21:20: Caitlin describes what her family decided to do in light of this new discovery: changed their diet to mostly local, organic, and homemade diet. She describes how the journey to eat differently actually became a really positive experience spiritually.

Minute 23:30: Food can be a source of joy and romance if you eat slow, make your own food, and know where your food comes from.

Minute 24:00: One common GMO, Bt corn, is designed to fend off the corn borer moth and farmers claim it allows them to use less pesticides. Instead, farmers are actually using more pesticides on average across the country (20-40% increase since the advent of the GMO). Two pesticides, 2-4D and 2-4-5T, were the components used to make Agent Orange, and can be used independently in the US.  Alot of the GMO seeds only work in combination with their pesticides or herbicides. Neonicotinoids are another example, one that is credited with the demise of the bees, is legal to spray in the US, even though it has been linked to causing cancer. It’s as bad as DDT for birds, pollinators, and plants.  Dicamba is also commonly used, although it has alot of potentially negative side effects.

Minute 29:20: Three big lies about GMOs: i) that we would have higher yields, ii) that we were going to feed the planet, iii) that we would use less pesticides.

All of these turned out to be false. More people are malnourished since the rise of the GMO, and we actually aren’t using these to feed alot of people (we’re using them for biodiesel, to feed livestock, to make toothpaste and tennis shoes).

Minute 32:27: Caitlin interviewed real farmers for this book, including Zach from Iowa, who she met on Twitter. Zach is a dad and husband, working on the land his dad farmed, and he grows GMO soy and popcorn and uses pesticides and herbicides. He shared with Caitlin all the chemicals he used on his crops and his own concerns about their potential effects. She sent him a book, but she learned that he had made changes.

Minute 36:00: Caitlin saw an allergist during her journey, and then she learned so much about allergens and the allergen database maintained by the University of Nebraska. No GMO proteins are tracked in the allergen database.  The allergen database is funded by the big chemical companies, as are many agriculture programs at major universities across the country.

Minute 39:00 EPA recently reversed a ban on chlorpyrifos after meeting with Dow Chemical. If you aren’t eating organic, but you’re eating non-GMO, you’re still getting pesticides.  Purafloss was recently discovered to cause damage to fetal brain development, the health of farmworkers, etc. Mothers everywhere are feeding their kids strawberries and broccoli and thinking that they are doing the right thing for their kids--not knowing they can be causing brain damage.

Minute 43:00: We discuss how this is really a social issue.  If people who have time or the money to buy organic can’t find organic options, what chance do middle or low income mothers have who are working two jobs? It shouldn’t be this difficult to feed your kids healthy food.

Minute 45:00: Has anything changed since Rachel Carson wrote Silver Spring? This paternalistic culture of companies or politicians telling us we should just trust them still persists in the food, agricultural, and science worlds.

Minute 48:30: Chemical use has actually increased, and hardly any of them have been tested by the FDA or the EPA.

Minute 49:30: The Lorax speaks for the trees; Caitlin feels like she is trying to speak for the plants, animals, the mothers, and the children-- those that don’t have a voice.  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it’s not going to get better. It’s not.”

Minute 50:50: Paralells in the Handmaiden’s Tale? Kind of interesting discussion of this type of society.

Minute 51:40: We can still drive change even without the federal government--with consumer demand, with awareness, with corporations, etc. McDonald’s are the perfect example -- they rejected a GMO potato, and as a result, they killed that GMO product. Noone else bought it either after McDonald’s rejected it.

Minute 53:00: Caitlin tells us about what she cooks for her family-- bread, omelets, muffins, bolognese sauce, etc.

Minute 58:30:  How we can follow along and support Caitlin’s work -buy the book, check out her website

Minute 59:00: Caitlin’s book recommendations.

Minute 1:01:47: Caitlin’s easy habit changes- eat organic and local whenever possible.  If you’re going to start making your own food--start with ice cream!


Erin Delawalla