This is another part of Love Fat that got edited out of the book before publishing. Basically, I decided that in slagging off just about every type of diet or eating system I’d already pissed off enough people and that tackling GMOs too would be a bit too much for one book.
The truth is that I started off very anti anything genetically modified. I joined advocacy groups lobbying for bans on GMOs, wrote blogs on the subject and attended rallys as a protester—I wince as I write that. Then, I was introduced to the difference between good, clinically sound scientific research and woo. With a great deal of resistance, internal mud-slinging, and frustration, I changed my stance on GMOs completely.
Nowadays, I throughly stand by my decision to do so. We can have strong beliefs and I celebrate anyone who has the gumption to stand up for what they believe in. . . But:
But, we must be able to change those opinions and beliefs accordingly with new information. I think that most of the time, the bigger problem is that one can become blindsided and blinkered when it comes to such topics. I certainly can be guilty of this. Due to wanting to avoid the potential embarrassment associated with being seen to be wrong, I can process information that should make me consider a different point of view and disregard it rather than embrace it.
When I changed my stance on GMOs I had some pretty grotty ego tantrums to deal with. That—shutting down my ego—was by far the hardest part, but it served me in that it taught me how to do it and it also taught me that being able to say “Hold on a second Folks … I’ve changed my mind, I was wrong!” is not actually that scary after all. It can be quite liberating.
So, here is a part I took out:
I had enjoyed calling Mother on Skype and gloating about the AquaBounty salmon thing. I was still cross with her about the day she had tried to make me buy smoked salmon in Waitrose years earlier.
“Darling! How are you? How is Colorado? How is Matt? Are you still riding the rescue horses?” Mother had a habit of asking multiple questions in the same breath.
“I’m fine … It’s good … he’s great and … yes I am. But, Mum, I just wanted to tell you not to eat salmon anymore. You remember that time in Waitrose when you tried to put the smoked salmon in my shopping basket and I got all cross at you, and then you told me that I needed fish fat for Omega-3 … ”
“Sweetie, why would I have tried to sneak fish into your basket?” She did not remember. Typical, a prominent and stark stress-forming memory for me—one which had been festering at the back of my mind for over two years—had been completely forgotten by my mother. This was annoying, my big told-you-so effort would have little effect now.
“You tried to convince me to buy it!” I reminded her, and then, between my teeth “ … probably because you were trying to force me to eat something with fat in as usual …”
“You do need to eat more fat! you are still far too skinny!”
It fascinates me how my mother’s hearing never misses my under-the-breath utterances but can leave bold statements completely undetected.
“Mum I’m fine.”
“No you are not, don’t think that I don’t know what you look like my girl. I see the pictures of you on that … PhoneBook thing … on the computer!”
“FACEbook, Mum. You mean Facebook.”
“Whatever,” she brushed off my critical correction, “… and if you ask me, you still need more weight on you. I thought that America would be a good influence, obviously its not! What about the other girls that ride horses at the rescue with you, do they think that you are too skinny?”
“Bloody Hell Mother give me a break! Why the hell would I be asking them that?” I yelled. “Why does every conversation that we have need to come down to my weight?”
“Well it wouldn’t if you would just gain some!”
I had nothing much to say to that. Yes; I knew I was too skinny still. But on a day-to-day basis I was able to block that out, and because in Boulder I was surrounded by fit and skinny people, I was sometimes able to forget that I was still unhappily thin. Mother never forgot through. She could be counted on to remind me how thin I was. What upset me was that I knew she was right: I was still too thin; but there was nothing I could do about it.
“Well, lets not talk about it for now, I don’t mean to upset you Sweetie, I just worry about you … that’s all, it’s my job to worry Darling, that’s what we mums do. Now, what were you telling me about the salmon for?”
I bucked up, “oh, yes, don’t eat the salmon! The seas are full of toxic waste and the biotech companies are making frankenfish!”
“Don’t be silly Tabby, why would they do such a thing?”
At the time I was under the influence of bad science and woo-esque hype that told me anything GMO was be avoided. I was more than happy to go along with that, and anorexia very much enjoyed being about to tout a superior stance on avoiding GMOs as an excuse not to eat. Just think, GMO avoidance means that one can refuse to eat so many foods!
Now, on learning about the AquaBounty GM salmon I had an excuse not to eat fish! How perfect.
It wasn’t my eating disorder stopping me from eating foods. No: it was Monsanto.
Well, those were the convenient lies that I told myself at the time. Nowadays I am more open minded. I eat GMOs because there is not much of a scientific reason not to, and also because I cannot be fagged to avoid them. It would be hypocritical for me to be against genetic modification, as without it I would not be the proud owner of a Chihuahua, a Chinese Crested, and a Doberman.