November 6, 2013

Natural Foodie: Extolling corn-free diet draws backlash, raises questions

A Maine writer gets lots of media attention from a variety of sources.

By Avery Yale Kamila

(Continued from page 2)

Caitlin Shetterly has adopted a corn-free lifetstyle because of her concern about the effects of derivatives of genetically modified corn on her health.

Contributed photo

“I think there is no way to fairly assess his assertions, given the amount of time he spends attacking anyone critical of GMOs or the amount of pesticides Americans are ingesting,” Graves said. “With the amount of time and effort he spends defending the industry, it is difficult to believe that agribusiness money is not subsidizing his work in some way. However, because he denies it, his denial must be printed, despite the reasonable doubts many have of his undocumented denials.”


As for her part, Shetterly, who is the daughter of artist Robert Shetterly and author Susan Hand Shetterly, isn’t devoting her time to worrying about Entine’s attacks. Instead she is traveling across the country tracking down additional experts who can shed light on potential connections between genetically modified corn and illness. She has a contract with Putnam to publish her findings in a book due out in 2015.

Shetterly credits Maine’s robust farming sector with allowing her to make such a significant change in what she feeds her family.

“I can’t tell you the joy I feel each time I visit my local farmers market,” Shetterly said. “Or drive around this state and see all the signs for markets in the small and large towns. Maine, I think, is ground zero for a food revolution.”

Because eating 100 percent corn-free means cooking the vast majority of your meals from scratch, Shetterly has a system for getting a corn-free dinner on the table every night. She composes her family’s meals from a foundation of cooked whole grains (quinoa, millet, rice, amaranth) and cooked beans (Jacobs cattle, kidney, lentils, black). To these basics she adds small amounts of Maine-raised chicken or grass fed beef and rounds out her meals with local vegetables and spices.

“Our food is a very emotional topic and whoever controls it is the person who will be on top,” Shetterly said. “(Food activist) Vandana Shiva has said that controlling our food is more powerful than bombs or weapons of any kind.”

In her own kitchen, Shetterly has retaken control and regained her health.

But in the end, Shetterly’s story leaves me with more questions than answers.

I now wonder how many others could find similar relief by kicking corn out of their diet? Might corn-free diets some day surpass gluten-free diets in popularity? Is there any truly GMO-free corn? How pervasive is the fear in the scientific community over voicing concerns about GMOs? Is Jon Entine a hired gun for the biotech industry? And, if so, how many more journalists-for-hire are out there? Will Shetterly’s book provoke more attacks from the scientific establishment?

Only time will tell. I can’t wait to read her book.


Avery Yale Kamila is a freelancer who lives in Portland, where she writes about health food and still eats corn, but only if it’s grown in Maine. She can be reached at:



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