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Hybrid crops vs GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Last week when I wrote about my supersized potatoes, I was mainly interested in calories and portion control. SuzyMobile mentioned the possibility that they were genetically modified. That’s something I wanted to investigate.

According to (The Organic Gardening people)
Hybrids are formed by taking 2 parents plants of the same species and pollinating them for desirable traits like disease or drought resistance.
Crossbreeding hybrids has been going on for centuries and it has a long track record of feeding humans and mammals effectively
In genetic modification genes from different species that could never be cross pollinated in nature can be modified in a lab using a “gene gun” or bacterial infection.

The other side:
GMO advocates point to the fact that nature can make mistakes too. In June 2012 a report from Austin, Texas ( tells of 15 of 18 cattle dying from cyanide gas poisoning. The gas suddenly began being emitted by a pasture of grass grown from hybrid (not GMO) seeds that the rancher had been using for 15 years.

However, his area was experiencing severe drought. The lack of oxygen in the soil caused the excess of carbon and nitrogen and the plants vented the excess as cyanide gas. I wonder if excessive use of nitrogen based fertilizer was also a factor considering the drought conditions.

Why does that not make me feel better about GMOs? The author's premise, echoed by some of the comments, is that we shouldn’t be misled by anti-GMO hype.

Labeling our food as GMO-free seems a logical step to me. Way back in the fifties I remember companies resisting the requirement for ingredient labels on their foods. I also know the massive amount of money poured into California by agribusiness to defeat the GMO labeling initiative.

We can’t discount the profit motive.
Hybrid seeds cannot be patented, but GMO seeds can.

OK, so how do we avoid this new technology if we want to. It’s not easy

The article below lists the most GMO enhanced products in the USA
Soy, corn, cottonseed, canola oil, U.S. papaya, alfalfa, milk, sugar beets and aspartame with accompanying explanations.

No mention of potatoes which started me off on this quest for information. I’ll have to check that out further.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    GMO is rapidly becoming associated with conspiracy theory types. It's hard to take their demands seriously. I'm all for more transparency. If that quells the conspiracy theorists all the better ... but I'm skeptical of that.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/11/2013 12:14AM

    Interesting topic.

Potatoes can most definitely be modified. They are so easily modified that they were used as the example by Michael Pollan in "The Botany of Desire" as a plant that appeals to our ability to play with it and change things...


And it's not the genetically modified DNA that people object to. The DNA itself, of course, is just DNA.

It's what that DNA codes for that concerns some. Whether it's pesticides, or molecules that confer resistance to frost or herbicides, or plant diseases, etc.

The concerns include what those molecules might do to us if we eat them, and what those plants might do if they get loose in the environment and hybridize with weeds and create "superweeds" which have unusual herbicide or pest resistance.

The jury is still out on whether GMOs are bad for us and bad for the environment.

And the scientific community has responded to much of the backlash by exploring moving genes from, say, one apple species to another apple species directly using transgenic technology rather than traditional plant breeding techniques because it's faster and more accurate.

Comment edited on: 1/11/2013 12:14:40 AM

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LOLATURTLE 1/9/2013 3:35PM

    I've done a lot of reading about this, because I find the headlines and scare tactics on both sides so frustrating.

I started to write a long reply but it got VERY long so I think I'll add my own blog about it, too!

The bottom line is, I am FOR transparency in our food system. I think people should have a choice. And some GMO crops are bad for the environment. Many are bad for farmers and their independence and livelihoods.

But anatomically and physiologically, there is ZERO difference between eating a kernel of "regular" corn and GMO corn. Your digestive system does NOT know the difference between genetically modified DNA and "natural" DNA, because there is NOTHING IN GMO DNA that isn't in every piece of DNA of every organism on the face of the earth. They are digested exactly the same way, and cannot hurt you. Assuming both pieces of food are clean and free of pesticides and any infections (bacteria, viruses, fungus), your body can not tell the difference. I promise.

Comment edited on: 1/9/2013 3:35:54 PM

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MJZHERE 1/9/2013 10:38AM

    I too am for labeling (also remembered the resistance to putting ingredients on labels).
At least then we can make the choice.

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LEB0401 1/9/2013 10:02AM

    Great blog.. it was food for thought.

I'm ok with hybrid crops. One summer the bees in my parents' garden cross pollenated a jalepeno with a green pepper. We ended up with delicious mini-bell peppers that had just a hint of spice-- serendipity!

GMOs on the other hand... scare me. I've read that they have infused the genes of some arctic fish scales into a tomato to make it frost-resistant. Freaky.

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DIANE7786 1/9/2013 9:46AM

    I don't eat foods I know are GMO's--Frankenfood!

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SUZYMOBILE 1/9/2013 9:39AM

    Good for you! Had I the time, I'd research it myself.

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All living things can thrive given the right environment

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Even in winter I still want to have fresh herbs. Here’s my happy little basil plants. There’s oregano and parsley too on another shelf. After much trial and error and experimentation, I finally found the right location as well as amount and frequency of water needed.

There’s a parallel here for me as well. After much trial and error I’ve settled into an eating plan that works for me. I love the SP environment and, as I’ve been writing lately, I’ve discovered a location where I can enjoy distance running again.

My plants naturally bend toward the sun. Similarly, it’s up to me to take maximum advantage of my environment.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MERRYMARY42 1/8/2013 7:56PM

    way to go, I have never been able to keep basil alive, me thinks I over water it

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SWEDE_SU 1/8/2013 9:41AM

    what a great idea!

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KANDOLAKER 1/8/2013 9:00AM

    Would love to have fresh herbs available anytime - and I'll put that on my to-do list for this year. Way to find your own balance too - and thanks for being an inspiration!

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WILSONWR 1/8/2013 8:54AM

    That's great.

I had some jalapeno and habenero plants (and some basil) that were still around after the rest of the garden was gone. After ignoring them all winter (and after 3 freezes), they are still producing!!! Who would have thought??!!

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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/8/2013 8:36AM

    I love my indoor herbs too! 6 different ones grow in mine, given natural sunlight and a little extra help from a lamp.

I'm glad you found what works for you!

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JASI27 1/8/2013 8:18AM

    That is awesome! I have thought endlessly about a way to make and indoor garden for the winter and haven't come up with a plan that would work well. This looks great and has to be so rewarding!! Just awesome.

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COCK-ROBIN 1/8/2013 7:43AM

    Good for you!

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The power of community and resources to increase motivation

Monday, January 07, 2013

I’ve written once that change has to come from within and that’s still true. However, a community of like-minded people provided with resources can fuel that change and keep it recharged.

Since retirement 5 years ago I’ve lived in a rural area with a large retired population. I had become somewhat of a hermit. I do have church activities (25 miles away) and a small gym (10 miles away) and a few neighbors on my country road, but so many of the area activities are aimed at people with different needs and interests than me.

Fortunately, I found SP and my “imaginary” friends to keep me on-track for a healthy lifestyle. The online information, advice and support are wonderful.

Still I’ve noticed that my distance activities (running/walking/biking/swimming) have been reduced since retirement. My aerobic/weights class twice a week is very good, but my max time on a treadmill or stationary bike is less than an hour.

The roads are dangerous, - curvy, narrow, no shoulders. You really can’t run or bike on them. I stay close to home where neighbors are used to “the lady who runs” and repeat ½ mile loops like a caged hamster.

The only indoor pool is 25 miles away and lap lanes are limited by numerous water aerobics and arthritis classes – very valuable for those who need them, but sharing a lane with a flip turning guy in a speedo or an oblivious backstroker can be dangerous in itself.

It’s been years since I’ve run a race longer than a 5K.

Yesterday, almost on a whim, I drove 25 miles in a different direction and joined a community event kicking off their “100 mile in 100 days challenge.” Of course, we are encouraged to do more than that according to ability and the levels of fitness of the participants at the event varied greatly.

My first surprise was the location. It was a lovely, wide, paved trail at least 25 miles long judging from the mile markers – flat, scenic and safe. I walked 5 miles so I could interact with people and it was great. Real people with similar goals and interests! OK, it’s still a drive, but no further than I drive to church, to swim or even to WalMart.

When I came home from the event, I joined a new SP team (The Virtual Walk/Run Challenge) where we log our distance traveling across America. Thanks SuzyMobile for telling me about this. I’ve also resolved to use the new trail to increase my mileage.

We’ll see how it goes. I know well how illness, injury or a stretch of bad weather can dampen enthusiasm and motivation, but as for now I’m ready for a new challenge. 300 miles in 100 days is my goal, but even more important, at the end of that time I want to have increased my “long” runs from 5 miles to 10.

Wish me luck!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEDE_SU 1/8/2013 9:40AM

    sounds like a great idea!

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SATCHMO99 1/7/2013 3:53PM


Have you read LDRichel's blog "The high cost of NOT running"? It is a wonderful article, and may help you justify gas costs to get to a safe place to run. Varying your route is always worthwhile anyway, as it brings so many benefits in terms of scenery and terrain.

I am blessed to live in a city with hundreds of miles of "red routes" which are paths wide enough for four people abreast. The routes aren't tagged onto traffic routes, they are round lakes and villages and there are well lit underpasses to avoid road intersections.

You are worth the benefits you get from being fit.

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CELLISTA1 1/7/2013 12:33PM

    Good for you!

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SUZYMOBILE 1/7/2013 12:28PM

    I'm so happy that you found this new place! I hope the weather treats you kindly, so that you can get there every day.

And you sure are right about a community of like-minded people with resources. My life is changing because of just such a thing, right now.

Your Little Imaginary emoticon

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SOUTH_FORK 1/7/2013 10:56AM

    I grew up in a rural area, where the local roads were very similar to what you are describing. While we had acreage, there were few opportunities to go beyond your own property safely... How fun to have a new venue for walking/running. What more could you ask for???? Flat, scenic, safe- I hope there are some nice folks out there on your next visit!

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DAISYBELL6 1/7/2013 9:25AM

    The new venue sounds fantastic. I hope it works out for you. I also love the 100 mile challenge. I'm going to look for something similar in my area.

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COCK-ROBIN 1/7/2013 9:03AM

    May you have all the luck you need. You're doing great!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/7/2013 9:03AM

    May you have all the luck you need. You're doing great!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/7/2013 9:03AM

    May you have all the luck you need. You're doing great!

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ONMYMEDS 1/7/2013 8:50AM

    300 miles in 100 days should be very doable. Driving 25 miles sounds like a great incentive to log as much distance as possible simply to justify the long drive.

Best of luck.

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BOILHAM 1/7/2013 8:41AM

    Too bad about the local road conditions that prevent you from getting out there for the long runs. That is so cool that you found a nice place to run not too far away. Good luck with your new goal!!

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SYNCHRODAD 1/7/2013 8:41AM

    Rural area, rural roads, rural life, sort of. Get a mountain bike, go looking and get off road. The hamster in you will be released and become the cheetah (cheetah on a bike, a stretch, gimme' a break here) that is on the inside. There must be trails around there somewhere? Some of funnest times I've had are trail running. Just have to watch what you are doing a bit. Go cheetah!

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WILSONWR 1/7/2013 8:13AM

    Sounds great! You've found something local that gives you a nice change of scenery (and a challenge!).

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HPSANDDOLLAR 1/7/2013 8:11AM

  Great plan.

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A 100 mile challenge?

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Yesterday when I visited my local running store, I saw a notice for a “100 Miler.” At first I dismissed it as another of those “ultra” events for elite endurance athletes. Then I saw that the store has a “team.” Huh? There aren’t enough endurance athletes around here for teams.

No, it’s just a challenge the City Parks & Recreation Dept is holding for ordinary people to get/stay active during the winter months. The goal is to “walk, run, hike, pedal or paddle 100 miles (or more) in 100 days.” My running store is one of the sponsors.

I can do that. I should be able to run/walk more than twice that distance barring injury, illness or bad weather conditions. So, do I need an official “challenge?” Actually, yes I do, especially in the winter months when motivation decreases and excuses increase.

I’m also well aware of the benefits of connecting with like-minded people. Thank you SP! So I signed up, joined the team and this afternoon I’m going to attend the “kick-off event” as we begin our mileage journey as a group. It’s a self reporting activity after that.

Plus, I get a T-shirt with that “100 Miler” logo that caught my eye initially. The text underneath explains “100 miles in 100 days” so the world will know that I’m not an elite athlete (if anyone gets close enough to read my chest).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STRIVER57 1/7/2013 3:10AM

    sounds great! wish they'd do that here!

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PHEBESS 1/7/2013 12:48AM

    YAY for you for signing up! And yes, challenges help with the motivation!

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BOILHAM 1/6/2013 6:15PM

    100 miles in 100 days. I used my computer calculator, and it says that is approximately 1 mile per day average. I think you can do that.

You could do 2 miles one day, and skip a day to rest up. Or you could do 1 mile one day, 3 miles the next day and rest two days. The possibilities are endless!!
Good luck to you.

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KANDOLAKER 1/6/2013 4:51PM

    Go get em! Have fun with your 100-mile challenge, or more! Best wishes!!

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JOPAPGH 1/6/2013 2:32PM

    Sounds like a great way to stay focused!


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WATERMELLEN 1/6/2013 2:17PM

    Very cool! I'm looking for motivation wherever also: and this sounds like fun!

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WINDSURFNERD 1/6/2013 12:15PM

    Sounds like a fun challenge...I also joined a "Rock your Resolution" challenge on mapmyrun; 10 workouts in 30 days seems pretty do-able given my training plan. I'll be looking for you to post a picture of your T-shirt!

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ONMYMEDS 1/6/2013 11:56AM

    I like it!!

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DETERMINED_ME 1/6/2013 11:56AM

    emoticon for accepting the challenge!

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DAWN14163 1/6/2013 11:38AM

    Great idea - well done for signing up. Your right - you know that you are perfectly capable to do it but being part of an official challenge makes you accountable so you *will* do it. The Tshirt sounds cool......

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WILSONWR 1/6/2013 10:19AM

    Sounds like a lot of fun! I need to find a similar challenge to keep me motivated!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/6/2013 9:32AM

    Go for it! I'm glad to know a 100 miler.

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FITFOODIE806 1/6/2013 8:08AM

    Sounds super fun! And like a cool shirt.

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MAGGIE101857 1/6/2013 7:52AM

    Good for you!! Sounds like a great motivator and you get to meet some new folks!!! Have fun!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KKKAREN 1/6/2013 7:51AM

    sounds like a fun thing to do - go for it!

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ANGHARAD3 1/6/2013 7:49AM

  Great motivational tool. After all, it is all about consistency.

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A visual reminder of miles traveled

Saturday, January 05, 2013

My local running store collects our old shoes to donate to the city’s rescue mission. Yesterday while tripping over stuff in my closet, I realized that I had forgotten about this for quite awhile. I replace my running shoes every 500 miles (about 6 months) after which I use them for another 6 months just for everyday stuff. The walking shoes (top row) are heavier and last somewhat longer.

So, from my logs and estimating my extra steps in daily activities, these shoes have seen about 3000 miles in 2.5 years.

These shoes have taken me on various routes in my area as well as on trips to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, Czech Republic and Slovakia and up and down the east coast and the midwest here in the USA.

These shoes have seen most of my 3 years of maintenance. In fact, they are partly responsible for my staying in goal weight range all this time.

So, goodbye old friends, you’ve been replaced. You’ve still got a lot of wear left and I hope you serve someone else well on her journey to a new life.

Edit: Just for the record, the insoles are all brand new when I donate the shoes, thanks to my custom orthotics which replace them for my use.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAWN14163 1/6/2013 9:54AM

    Lovely idea! Here's to making lots more memories with your new shoes!

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WOLFKITTY 1/5/2013 12:29PM

    Yay! Cool. :)

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MJZHERE 1/5/2013 11:58AM

    I'm so glad you did this - what a great idea. We get shoes from a used clothing store that donates those that don't sell to give to the homeless - they are always so appreciated. However there aren't many sneakers which are always in demand. Hmmm, maybe I can get something going here.....

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SUZYMOBILE 1/5/2013 11:09AM

    If you'd been doing the virtual walk across America, you'd be nearly finished!

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WATERMELLEN 1/5/2013 9:32AM

    Terrific. I wonder if the recipient would appreciate knowing where they've been!!

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-AMANDA79- 1/5/2013 9:32AM

    Great blog! emoticon

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LOLATURTLE 1/5/2013 9:26AM

    Wow! That's such a cool picture and fact! If I just saw the picture, well... it's just some shoes. But knowing they represent 3000 miles, well that's something else!!

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MIRAGE727 1/5/2013 9:03AM

    Sweet! My running store, of which I'm a part of their run team, does the same thing with old shoe collecting. It makes total sense. Stay strong!

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WILSONWR 1/5/2013 8:58AM

    Great idea!

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SATCHMO99 1/5/2013 7:48AM

    What a great idea, I wish more sports shops took it up!

I made the mistake of buying a pair of running shoes in a non-specialist shop last year, and paid dearly with an Achilles tendon tear. Those shoes are in our charity shop bag, which is due to be taken soon with the clothes that are now TOO BIG.

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TORTISE110 1/5/2013 7:17AM

    What a great pic of what fitness-and a good life-reveal!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/5/2013 7:12AM

    It's wonderful. Wear out the shoes, means you're in top shape!

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MAGGIE101857 1/5/2013 7:09AM

    Goodbye loved shoes! They are going to a great new home and will continue to be loved there!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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