Does it feel like you've heard or seen a ton of talk/information about "Non-GMO" foods lately, but haven't been quite sure what it was? I did too! So, I did some research...
What are GMOs?
GMO stands for “genetically-modified organism.” Sounds delicious, right? According to the World Health Organization, GMOs are organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been changed in a way that does not occur naturally in the world. They are found in animals and plants that have been genetically altered through the addition of bacteria, viruses, or DNA from other animals and plants of different species. In fact, they were first used by pharmaceutical and medical research companies. Now, they are most prevalent in the agricultural industry. Eek.
Are GMOs Harmful?
Now, keep in mind, this is what I’ve read. My intent is not to make anyone completely paranoid on his or her next grocery shopping trip. In the book, The Athlete’s Plate (Kellinson, 2009), it was stated that the danger lies in having those modified food genes transferred into our own bodies and genetic make-up. Also, there is a potential risk that the DNA from GMOs can be transferred into a developing fetus via the placenta. Plain and simple: Avoid these foods as much as you possibly can. Eat whole foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meats, eggs, and milk, and stay away from processed foods. Think of processed food as food that can’t be found in nature. They don’t occur naturally. You can’t pick them off a tree. So, just to name a few, Oreos, hot dogs, many cereals, and, yes, potato chips should be crossed off the grocery list! No crying. They're not healthy anyway. ;)
Why are people on a “Non-GMO” mission?
Even though surveys have shown that Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing has GMOs, biotech lobbyists have succeeded in keeping the public blind to this information. Basically, lobbyists are preventing the FDA from requiring companies to put labels on their food products that contain GMOs. Talk about unethical. Because of this, groups like the Non-GMO Project were created to provide consumers with the information they need and deserve to make healthy choices. Companies are now joining the movement and giving you peace-of-mind when purchasing quality food for you and your family. Lists of participating retailers in your city/state can be found on the Non-GMO project website.
How do I find products that are Non-GMO? How do I know if a certain food has them?
I’ve found that if you eliminate processed foods, you lower your chances of consuming food with GMOs. What is an easy way to find food without GMOs? Choose USDA certified organic products- GMOs are prohibited, so there is no guessing. If you go to the Non-GMO Project’s website, www.nongmoproject.org, you can enter products and brands into the “Find Non-GMO Choices” generator to see if they are verified Non-GMO products. On their site is also a list of verified Non-GMO grocery stores and even an iPhone app which helps you determine if a product has GMOs. Here’s the amazing part- all of these resources, research, and tech tools have been provided to consumers for free.
I get it, organic products are expensive. But, fresh fruits, vegetables, even bread or pasta can be purchased for much less at a farmer’s market. Try to buy locally! Also, keep in mind that foods with these ingredients almost ALWAYS have GMOS: soybeans, canola oil, corn oil, and sugar made from sugar beets. So, by avoiding those foods, you are taking the first step towards living a GMO-free life!