GMOs and the threat to our food, our land, our future
What exactly are GMOs? Can they really make us sick? Why is there so much controversy around them?

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August, 2013 | ELLE READER, HEALTH

The Bad Seed

With symptoms including headaches, nausea, rashes, and fatigue, Caitlin Shetterly visited doctor after doctor searching for a cure for what ailed her. What she found, after years of misery and bafflement was as unlikely as it was utterly common...

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Image © Daniel E. Davis Photography

Caitlin Shetterly

Caitlin Shetterly is the author of Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home (Hyperion, 2011) and is a freelance reporter, writer and contributing producer to National Public Radio where she reports on arts and culture, food, and lifestyle.

Shetterly writes regularly for The New York Times and has a column, "This Mom’s Life," on Medium.com, from the creators of Blogger and Twitter, for whom she writes about "raising a family in a high stress, increasingly toxic and dangerous world." She is a regular columnist for Oprah.com--her pieces for Oprah have been syndicated to CNN.com, Yahoo.com and the Huffington Post.

Shetterly’s piece, "The Bad Seed," in the August 2013 issue of Elle Magazine, is the first to make a possible link between GMO corn and the allergy and autoimmune epidemics.

In 2009, Shetterly created a series of autobiographical audio diaries for "Weekend Edition" on NPR about the Great Recession under the title "Diary of a Recession," which went viral. Those audio diaries, along with her blog, Passage West, inspired Made for You and Me. The book was excerpted by The New York Times Magazine in January 2011, featured on American Public Media’s "Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal," NPR, Slate, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The LA Times, and many other publications and blogs. Made for You and Me was selected for a Goodreads "Choice Award" in the category of Best Travel and Outdoor Nonfiction Book of 2011 and was a "Maine Women Write" book club pick in November 2011. MFY&M was the first American book to chronicle the middle class experience with the Great Recession.

Shetterly has been a frequent contributor to the PRI shows "This American Life" and "Studio 360," among others. Her book Fault Lines: Stories of Divorce, an anthology of America’s greatest short stories on the subject of divorce, was published by Putnam/Berkley in 2001 and was an Indie bestseller in January 2002. From 2004-2007 she wrote a bimonthly column, "Bramhall Square," about relationships and love for the Portland Phoenix. A former actor, she is the founder and artistic director of The Winter Harbor Theatre Company.

Shetterly graduated from Brown University with Honors in English and American Literature. She shares her life in Maine with her husband, photographer Daniel E. Davis, their young son, Master M., their salty dog, Hopper, and cat, Hemingway.

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GMOs and the threat to our food, our land, our future

After she was diagnosed with a sensitivity to genetically modified corn—and discovered that her toddler son was suffering from the same condition—Caitlin Shetterly set out to ask these questions.

The answers, and her hard-fought journey to learn them, are here in Modified, a disquieting and meditative window into GMOs and how they are modifying not only the food we eat and our landscape, but our entire ecosystem.

Modified delves deep into the heart of the matter, from the corn and soy fields that blanket Nebraska to a beekeeping convention in Belgium to research labs in California, and shines a light on the farmers, scientists, politicians, activists, and corporations all wrestling over a most essential question: Are GMOs safe? This is a rare breed of book that will make you nostalgic for the majestic beauty that America’s Great Plains once held, while at the same time forcing you to harvest deep seeds of doubt about the invisible monsters that come to us in the foods we feed ourselves and our families.

Spellbinding and devastating, soulful and startling, Modified opens the door, in prose that is both beautiful and clear, to the provocative conversation about genetic modification and the irreversible damage it may be causing. A mustread for those on both sides of the debate and anywhere in between..

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Made For
You and Me

Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home

Newlywed Caitlin Shetterly and her husband, Dan Davis, two hardworking freelancers, began their lives together in 2008 by pursuing a lifelong, shared dream of leaving Maine and going West.

At first, California was the land of plenty. Quickly, though, the recession landed, and a surprise pregnancy that was also surprisingly rough made Caitlin too sick to work. By December, every job Dan had lined up had been canceled, and though he pounded the pavement, from shop to shop and from bar to bar, he could not find any work at all. By March 2009, every cent of the couple's savings had been spent.

So, a year after they'd set out with big plans, Caitlin and Dan packed up again, this time with a baby on board, to make their way home to move in with Caitlin's mother. As they drove, Caitlin blogged about their situation and created audio diaries for NPR's Weekend Edition—and received an astounding response. From all across the country, listeners offered help, opening their hearts and their homes. And when the young family arrived back in rural Maine and squeezed into Caitlin's mother's small saltbox house, Caitlin learned that the bonds of family run deeper than any tug to roam, and that, with love, she and Dan could hold their dreams in sight, wherever they were.

Made for You and Me captures the irrepressible spirit and quiet perseverance of one small family—and offers to share that strength with any reader willing to make the journey.

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Book Cover Fault Lines Book Cover Fault Lines Book Cover Fault Lines
Book Cover Made for You and Me Book Cover Made for You and Me Book Cover Made for You and Me

Fault Lines

Stories of Divorce

A sense of freedom. A sense of failure. A range of reactions, from anger to relief to regret. This bestselling anthology explores the conflicting emotions surrounding divorce-in twenty-two outstanding short stories by "some of the countries most formidable authors" (The New York Post).

A first-of-its-kind collection, this bestselling anthology represents a journey through the rocky terrain of separation and divorce, from the viewpoints of the various people affected by the dissolution of a marriage, whether that dissolution is slow and sad or sudden and shocking. Fault Lines is not only a stunning showcase of talent, but a unique literary look at the culture of divorce.

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Made for You and Me


"For anyone still buried underneath the rubble of the economic collapse, Made for You and Me is more than a relatable read; it’s a straightforward and unsweetened source of inspiration."


"A deeply personal and riveting, alternately funny and poignant read... Forget the Cleavers. Shetterly’s is the new American family."

Scott Simon
Host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, author of "Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other" (Random House, 2010)

"Caitlin Shetterly’s Made for You and Me is a beautiful, moving, haunting, and funny memoir about what really counts. It moves deftly and lightly between the west coast and the east coast, and frustration and hope, with pointed, buoyant lines that make you smile as they pierce your heart. Made for You and Me is a memoir about great people (with great pets, too; funny how that works out) and their great new son going through a rough patch with grace and wisdom. Caitlin and her family will realize many dreams. And in the meantime, rather than despair, they have given us a sublime gift of a book."

Kai Ryssdal
Host of Marketplace

"There’s a story of this country that doesn’t get told a lot. Or told well. Of what it’s like to not make it. Of having to say to yourself, and to your spouse and your child ‘Listen, this isn’t it. We need to try something else. We need to start over…from the very beginning.’ Caitlin Shetterly’s Made for You and Me is that story. Resonant and richly detailed, it takes you deep into the personal heart of the beginning of the financial crisis and the recession that followed. Then, somehow, via Venice, California, backwoods Maine and 3000 miles in between brings you out the other end."

Terry Tempest Williams
Author of Refuge, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, and When Women Were Birds

"In a world of uncertainty, we are offered a thoughtful pause, from a writer of uncommon resonance, heart, and verve. Made for You and Me is a chronicle of change through love--sometimes painful, sometimes funny, often moving. What matters about this book is its revelation that what we think we want is not what we really need, which is family, community, and a meaningful life. This book will make many, many people feel less lonely in the world."

Melissa Coleman
Author of This Life is In Your Hands

"I thoroughly enjoyed the wild ride Caitlin Shetterly takes across America (with husband, pets, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and soon, child) in Made for You and Me. Shetterly is an honest and companionable writer and I look forward to what's next."

Isabel Gillies
Author of Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story and A Year and Six Seconds

"Caitlin Shetterly’s lovely, moving account of her small family’s journey to seek out and attain the sometimes elusive American dream will resonate with anyone who has had a tough time, and who hoped and tried hard to keep going."

Peter Davis
Academy Award-winning director of Hearts and Minds

"Kerouac would be proud. In fact, he might be envious."

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