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As a mother and a farmer, I think Canada’s new food guide goes too far

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One of the most important relationships in our lives is the one we have with food. It influences our health, how we see ourselves and the way we interact with others. 

I wish I could say that my relationship with — and understanding of — food has always been healthy, but I can’t. I struggled with it as a teenager and young adult. It greatly affected my self-confidence. 

Now that I am the mother of two little girls I constantly worry about the struggles that they will go through as they grow up. I know that at some point their relationship with food will be challenged. 

When I think about what I want for my girls in this regard so many points jump out right away. First and foremost I want them to have a healthy understanding of what their bodies need. I want them to grow up without an eating disorder because they understand food and how to fuel their bodies and they don’t use food as a control item. 

Megz Reynolds says she wants her daughters to know how to grow — and use — food from their own garden. (Submitted by Megz Reynolds)

I want them to understand where their food comes from, how it’s grown and how it’s raised. I want them to know how to garden and cook and preserve what they’ve grown. I hope I can raise them to believe in science and to use it in their decision making process. 

Lastly, I do not want them to ever experience guilt or shame over how they choose to eat, what they can afford to eat and what brands, labels or trends they choose to support.

Some good changes, but an overstep

Health Canada has just released the new Food Guide. There is a lot in there that I am happy about:

  • We are finally having a conversation about portion control, cooking and cutting down on the amount of preservatives we consume. 
  • It talks about increasing our water intake and being mindful of balance and eating with others, not just eating to eat.
  • There are helpful tips on how to incorporate new ideas and foods into our daily lives and there is more of an emphasis on what our bodies need, like protein, iron and calcium. 
For the first time in 12 years a new Canada Food Guide is being served. Its goal, get Canadians to eat well. And this time around, Health Canada says the food industry was not involved. Experts say the recommendations made in the food guide are rooted in science with evidence to back them up. But how do these suggestions fit with real life, and real Canadians? 2:35

All that said, as a mother and a farmer I believe Health Canada strayed by taking it one step further. Instead of saying your body needs protein and listing ways to get that protein, Health Canada said “choose protein foods that come from plants more often.” 

Even though this saying is a positive for my business —I grow lentils, a great source of plant-based protein — I still take offence to it. Why not let the individual figure out what works best for them based on their dietary goals, demands and restrictions? 

Canada’s new food guide makes a point of emphasizing non-meat sources of protein. (Health Canada)

I also feel that some adjustments made to the food guide come from the emphasis on reducing our country’s carbon footprint. Canadian agriculture is sustainable and becoming more so ever year. It is part of the solution not the problem.

Tell us what we need, not how to get it

We are all different. That diversity is something to celebrate, but also means that what I need to fuel my body and to make myself feel good and healthy is going to be different than what someone else needs. 

What my body needs is also going to change. What I need now training for a marathon is not the same as what my body needed when I was pregnant or breastfeeding. It is important to recognize that all of these differences exist and to not direct someone as to what will work best for them at all times.

Megz Reynolds’s daughters help out shucking some peas. (Submitted by Megz Reynolds)

When my youngest, who is three, is sick she will refuse to eat for days on end but she will drink milk continuously and that doesn’t worry me. I know that her body is getting what it needs from that milk to not only sustain itself but also fight what ever bug has its hold.

It is my choice as an individual what I put on my plate, just like it is ultimately my four-year-old’s choice what she eats, regardless of what I put on her plate! 

I would like to have seen Health Canada tells us the building blocks our bodies need, list options and then stop right there. The best diet is a varied diet. We know this. So don’t take it further and tell us what type of protein to eat or how and where to get our calcium. 


This column is part of CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor’s blog and our FAQ

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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