What’s the big deal with “Non-GMO”?
A lot of us eat really well- Almost all organic, non-GMO, natural, healthy… but WHY is that healthy? What is the big deal with “Non-GMO”?
First, let’s touch on what GMOs are:
GMOs, or “Genetically Modified Organisms” are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated through genetic engineering in a laboratory… not out in nature. Creating GMOs is a relatively new science and doing so creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and even viral genes that do NOT occur in nature.
Most other developed nations consider GMOs unsafe and say “NO!” to them. If they are allowed there are very significant restrictions, but most have full-on bans on production and sales of GMOs.
Some argue that GMOs are being created so we can grow our food (whether it be meat, poultry, fish, veggies, fruit, seeds. nuts, legumes…anything) in a more environmentally stable way… those who grow this way have yet to prove so. There is no proof that GMOs are helping our environment or our agriculture to become more sustainable. In fact these GMO foods have been modified to create their own Bt gene, which means they can grow their own insecticide to fight off detrimental bugs. This leads some people to hypothesize that “superbugs” may evolve to be resistant to these Bt gene crops. They think this because of what has happened in the past: GMO Roundup ready seeds are resistant to Roundup herbicides, this allowed farmers to use a ton of herbicides and not worry about killing the plant resulting in the creation of “Superweeds” that are resistant to Roundup’s active herbicide ingredient and affecting over 60 million acres of land in the U.S.
Contrary to what scientists and pro-GMo advocates claim, the insecticide does not break down during digestion… it has even been found in the blood of pregnant women. Now although a pregnant woman and fetus do not share the same blood there is some slight evidence that is can make its way into the fetus blood stream.
Studies from Rats and Pigs being fed diets of GMO corn and potatoes link eating GMOs to tumors, damage to small intestines (which is where the majority of digestion and absorption occurs), altered blood chemistry, possible negative effects of male fertility, organ damage, sever inflammation, enlarged uteri that allude to infection and disease…. just to name a few health risks and serious concerns when eating GMO foods.
Everything is connected- what we choose to eat and put on our dinner table not only affects ourselves, family, and pets but it also affects the farmers who have to deal with insane regulations that favor GMO farmers making it ridiculously difficult to make sure crops aren’t contaminated with nasty GMO seeds and the like. GMO farming is wreaking havoc on our environment- our oceans, our mountains, our air, our fields, our livestock, our produce, even our own backyards.
There are a few ways to ensure you are NOT eating GMO foods… thankfully! Unfortunately GMO foods are NOT required to be labelled, so always be thinking non-GMO verified and organic!
1. Look for the non-GMO project verified seal – you know, that cute orange butterfly, and certified Organic. Finding a product that claims “GMO-free” on the label is NOT the same. The non-GMO project offers independent third party verification of testing and GMO controls for products in the U.S. and Canada. Other non-GMO verifiers include Natural Food Certifiers GMO Guard, and NSF non-GMO True North. The USDA is currently working on a certification process as well.
2. Buy Organic!
Shopping organic is one of the best steps you can take towards ensuring that your family eats the healthiest foods possible. According to the Organic Trade Association, “The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs, and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.” So if you buy organic, you are basically buying non-GMO- yay!
3. Stay away from processed foods
Do your best to stay away from processed foods… an easy way to do this is to stick to shopping only the outskirts of your grocery store ( no aisles), buy from local farmers and butchers at your local farmers market- be sure to ask about GMO use and if they are an organic farm.
Refresher of the most common GMO foods:
-squash (zucchini and yellow).
If you do buy processed foods, be sure to check for the non-GMO verified seal AND read the ingredients. Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, your family may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in a large percentage of the foods in your pantry.
“GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate(MSG), Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.” – non-GMO Verified Project
Hope this post helps you to understand the importance of eating non-GMO, natural, organic foods.