To help you understand my philosophy and motivation behind starting an organic garden as well as this blog, I would like to share a short article I wrote about a year ago that I feel is a brief and concise explanation of GMOs and our food industry today. I am truly horrified at what our food has become and I try to make the best choices possible when it comes to what we eat. I hope my words can help bring you to a better understanding of the reality of our food today, and maybe even motivate you to make changes where it matters most. As stated in my “about” page here on my blog, I eat mostly but not all organic foods. It just doesn’t fit into my budget at this time. But when it comes to fruits and vegetables, it really is an area I just wont budge because I feel they do suffer from the most pesticides. If I can’t afford an organic fruit during the off-season, well we simply just don’t eat it! We eat a lot of organic bananas!!
And I outright avoid certain ingredients in other food I buy, even if I can’t buy it organically. For example, I will not buy anything with canola oil, soybean oil, or cottonseed oil since they come from sources that are highly genetically modified (corn, soy beans, and cotton). The only time I will ever buy a food item with these three ingredients is if it states it is from a Non-GMO source. I understand that it can be extremely overwhelming and off-putting to some to take this angle. But I honestly would take it if I didn’t believe in it. And I truly believe that our food is poisoning us! I hope you enjoy my article and find it is useful in shedding some light into the overwhelming world of GMOs!
I have found myself reflecting on how much our food industry has changed, especially in the last 20 years with the introduction of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). I find that many people are simply overwhelmed and confused by the wealth of information out there and feel unsure while shopping in our grocery stores, what exactly are the best choices for you and your family. I am touching on this subject, not from an area of expertise, but simply from a consumer (and mom’s) perspective, from someone who has spent the past few years investigating as well as educating myself on how to make smart choices in an industry that has become focused more on profitability, then the health and well-being of our families.
The first thing that we can do to make better choices, is to be aware of what is happening in our food system. As busy moms, this isn’t an easy task, yet one that I know we all take seriously. GMOs have been linked to a myriad of health issues and behavioral problems ranging from autism, allergies, ADHD, diabetes, and cancer just to name a few. A simple explanation of a GMO is it is a man-made food that has been created by taking the DNA from one set of cells (an example being a fish from Alaska that can withstand extreme cold) and injecting it into a completely unrelated species such as a tomato; therefore, creating a tomato that can survive extreme cold so the fruit can and will survive. Take a more extreme example like Roundup ready corn, created by Monsanto, pioneer of GMOs, which has been created to produce pesticides from WITHIN the corn, thereby any insect that feeds on this strain of corn will be killed, saving the crop. It is no coincidence that corn (and soy) are found in 90 percent of our food, and 100 percent of the grain fed to animals who produce non organic meat.
Another intention of GMO food is to be able to be resistant to heavy pesticide and herbicide use, particularly by Roundup (also produced by Monsanto hmmm). Farmers can douse their fields in pesticides, quickly killing the weeds surrounding the plants, while the GMO plants themselves survive. This translates into chemicals in our food as well as a food that is stripped of it’s nutrients. Not only that, over time insects and weeds have built up tolerance to these pesticides resulting in 2-3 times the amount of pesticides being sprayed. This has not only affected our food itself, but also insects we gravely need like bees. Without the bees to pollinate our food, our entire food system will dissipate.
Furthermore, what is most concerning to me is the fact that in 65 other nations, including the entire United Nation, GMOS are required to be labeled on their food. We are the only country that is not required to label. Why? Profits for the companies like Monsanto, who control our food system right down to the their GMO seed it forces farmers to buy year after years. They don’t want you to know. This forces consumers to do the research themselves and unknowingly and unwillingly consume food that is detrimental to our health.
The best way that we can avoid GMOS is to buy and eat food that is certified organic or verified by the Non-GMO project. Read labels, know what is in your food and shop locally by supporting the area’s farmers markets. Eating strictly organic may not be feasible for some so here is a link to a website that lists what is referred to as “The Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/. This website will tell you which fruits and vegetable contain the most pesticides and you can even download an app for your smart phone to take with you shopping. The first step toward changing your diet, is knowledge and with knowledge comes power. To help get you started, I have listed some helpful links below.
http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/ A group of moms committed to empowering others to educate themselves on GMOS and related pesticides and to get GMOs labeled.
The Cornucopia Institute-(The top organic industry watchdog group) http://www.cornucopia.org
Food Babe- http://foodbabe.com Tons of information on individual ingredients and a pioneer in the food industry! A link to possible GMO ingredients.
http://www.nongmoproject.org/ The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of Non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified Non-GMO choices
http://gmo-awareness.com/ Tons of excellent information and facts on GMOS
http://tv.greenmedinfo.com/ Has short clips on videos on topics ranging from GMO, Monsanto, to other various health advice.
This information is here not to scare you, but to keep you, the consumer, aware. I understand that it may not be realistic to eat strictly organic and eliminate all GMOs. We have to be reasonable at the same time and we can’t protect our kids from every last pesticide or live in complete fear of our food. We most certainly will eat out at restaurants that don’t conform to this ideal. And our kids will eat many an unhealthy meal at school or birthday parties. But making a good choice starts at home. If we shy away from the truth because it is overwhelming, or because ignorance is bliss, we are agreeing with the companies that are manipulating our food. And we at the very least deserve a choice in knowing what is in our food through correct labeling.