Corn is one of those grains that has blessed and cursed humanity over the course of our involvement with it. Native Americans thought it was a pretty cool little plant, and they were right. Those ancient geniuses took the best of the local grasses and bred them into a unique and nutritious grain. Those Natives figured out how to get the most out of the kernels of goodness that they grew. It was pretty simple, after harvest of the dried grain, they soaked the kernels in a basic solution before cooking or grinding to make flour. That process helped to breakdown the natural lectins within the structure of the kernels and allowed for the human digestive system to remove far more of the nutrients, proteins, minerals and vitamins than if the grain was not soaked. Might be the start of the legend of Montezuma's revenge, where the natives gave us the grain, the key to living here in this new world, but just didn't give them the key to making that grain edible.
But then again, the ever persistent and devious white man took that grain and they have bastardized it so much that it barely resembles the grain of the ancients, and could never be the life giving grain of bounty it was. Nowadays it is Genetically Modified with inserted foreign genes and the resultant grain has only recently had long term feeding studies done on it to determine if in fact it is the causative agent in so many suspected degenerative problems. For decades now the most nutritious part of the grain, the germ, has been milled off when processed into corn meal and corn flour. That germ then goes off to feed pigs and other animals. And of course the biggest travesty of the story of the gift of this grain from the ancients, is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Scientists love to come up with ways to create new and controversial products from junk waste. And that pretty much is what happens when they make HFCS, they take cobs and waste corn and ferment the stuff with specially designed bacteria to make fructose. The process is fraught with inherent problems, from the use of toxic solvents to the introduction of free mercury into the end product from the need to, well, save money. The caustic alkali they use in the processing is made with really cheap mercury processing batteries instead of more expensive equipment. (read about the mercury problem and the FDA refusal to do anything about it, HERE) HFCS, not exactly what the Incas thought we would make with the grain they gave us. But they must be rejoicing in whatever afterlife they are in about how that grain is now being used to destroy the livelihood of the their conquerors.
I started to write this blog entry because yesterday I made polenta. And I used the very last of my organic corn that I brought here to Arizona from Austin when I moved here last Labor Day. I thought it would be easy, I could just go to the store, the local Sprouts, or AJ's, and get some more organic corn. I only eat organic, because we all know that the latest findings from research doing long term feeding of GM plants has shown them to cause cancer and sterility. As well as long term degenerative problems. Sheesh, I have enough problems, I can't afford to stress my system anymore than necessary by eating foods that are now known to cause problems. So, I tried, and I hate to say it, but it is harder to find than I ever thought it would be. The local supermarkets, especially Safeway, won't carry certified non-GMO products. (yes, I really was ejected from the local Safeway last November after loudly protesting how Safeway donated three quarters of a million bucks to the defeat GMO labeling in California laws and insisted that was the reason they did not carry ANY certified non-GMO in their stores)((to their credit, I was rude, and they did not call the cops)) But never the less, NONE of the local grocery chains carry non-GMO corn. Not even Trader Joe. But I have never been a fan of TJ, not after the Pepitas y Camarones incident 10 years ago. (Long Story) And their food is for the most part, conventional, not organic. But there seems to be only one place that carries organic corn, Shar's out in Gilbert. That, is the sad part. I mean, no one even carries organic corn meal. And that is one thing I should stress here again, look at the labels on what you buy. If your corn meal states right on the package, "DEGERMED" that means that the processor took the most nutritious part and packaged the starch and leavings. Not very nutritious. And the Incas smile.
Well, this gets back to you. If there is EVER to be changes in OUR food supply, it has to start with consumers requesting good nutritious foods. Bob's Red Mill is one processor of organic corn, I'm sure there are others out there. But until the crappy stuff sits on the shelves of the stores and no one buys it thus causing the distributors to have tons of it, and then the processors to have thousands of tons of it; then there will continue to be those selling toxic processed foods and making big money selling products to you that will destroy your livelihood.
Just as a side note, I love cornbread, and I make it a lot. I just don't use corn. I use popcorn. Organic popcorn. It has a better flavor and I grind it fresh just before I make the cornbread that way I know that the nutrients are still in there and have not degraded in any way. And, since it is organic, no pesticides or other toxins. And popcorn so far is not a large enough crop for the big agribusinesses to attempt to make GMO.
So anyway, I have said it here before, I will say it again. Until each and every one of us takes the responsibility of avoiding the foods that are packed with poisons and toxins, devoid of nutrition, and are designed not to sustain YOUR life but to make profits for big businesses, then this is all the crap we are stuck with eating. Our government has the mandate given to them by their business masters to allow them to put poison into our food, but so far they CAN'T make us eat it. Let's hope they never do.