At some point you have probably considered if it is really worth the money to eat nongmo foods. You have also probably thought about whether it is really worth cutting out a product from your diet because it contains gmos. We have all been there and having more knowledge allows you to make an informed decision.
Or maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum and have no idea what GMO is. GMO stands for genetically modified organism, which is different than hybrid foods. Genetic modification involves artificially altering the genome of an organism in a lab. This can involve inserting genes from all kinds of organisms including genes from an animal into a plant. Seedless watermelon and seedless grapes are examples of foods that are hybrid foods created by natural means not GMOs.
GMO Foods in the USA
- sugar beets
- non-browning ‘white russet’ potatoes
- non-browning ‘artic’ apples
- yellow summer squash
- pinkglow pinapple
Types of GMOs
Some GMOs are designed to be disease resistant, grow faster, while others are designed to create a toxin that creates holes in the walls of the digestive tract. Some are designed to be herbicide tolerant, which allows the farmer to spray the crop with roundup to kill the weeds without killing the crop. There are also genome editing crops, which causes changes in physical traits. Synthetic biology GMOs to develop bacteria or yeast to develop other things such as aspartame and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). There is also gene silencing which is used for foods like the non-browning potato and apple. There are other types of GMOs in development as well.
Dangers of GMOs
Animal studies have shown organ damage, accelerated aging, infertility, gastrointestinal and immune system damage connected to the consumption of GMOs. Genes that have been inserted in the GMO food can also insert themselves into the genome of the bacteria in our gut.
GMO crops that have been specifically designed to withstand higher levels of herbicide usage means higher levels of exposure to these herbicides for the land as well as the consumer. High herbicide exposure has been connected to a slew of issues. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at MIT, has done extensive research specifically on the dangers of glyphosate (the main ingredient in roundup) if you would like to dig into that more check out her website.
It is impossible to predict the side effects changing genes will have on the organism due to the complexity of genomes. It may take years for side effects to become evident. Because genomes are so complex genetic engineering is totally unpredictable.
GMO research is also incredibly corrupt and has become the new tobacco science. This makes it really difficult to find accurate information on GMOs when nearly everything that comes out putting GMOs in a bad light gets pushed under the rug and silenced.
Research has also shown that GMOs do not have the same nutritional profile or yield as nongmo foods. In both cases yield and nutritional profiles are below that of nongmo foods.
Finding nongmo food
- certified organic
- organic ingredients
- Nongmo Project verified
Certified organic products cannot contain gmos, so anything that has that certification has a green light in regard to being nongmo. Also look for the butterfly from the Nongmo Project Verified certification. A company can write nongmo or have their own variation of that listed on their product based on their own criteria. They do not have to share what their criteria is either, so there is no way to know if it really means the product was produced without GMOs. Whereas with the Nongmo Project they are a third-party reporting if a product meets their published standards. You can learn more about their requirements on their website http://Nongmoproject.org.
If a product has neither the organic certification nor the Nongmo Project Verified butterfly, then read through the ingredients and see if any of the GMO foods are listed. You specifically want to look for organic versions of the potential GMO foods. If the protentional GMO food is not listed as organic, then chances are it is GMO and it’s best to pass the product by. For example, if the product contains corn starch and it lists it as corn starch and not organic corn starch it is probably GMO, and you want to pass over that product.
Avoiding GMOs requires a lot of label reading. At first it seems rather daunting, but over time you get more proficient at it and will build up a list of safe foods.
What about grassfed meat?
Grain fed animals consume a lot of corn and soy and unless the packaging or your farmer says they feed organic or nongmo grains the animal most likely consumed GMOs.
Even grassfed is not safe as there is genetically modified alfalfa. For all meat, grassfed and grain fed, you really need to look for it to say nongmo fed or organic fed. The most affordable way to avoid meat that has been fed GMOs is to find a farmer who does not use GMOs and buy direct.
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How do you find nongmo meat?
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a wonderful resource for finding clean food. There are chapters all over the world. You can search for your local one here.
Azure Standard is another option for nongmo meat and clean food in general. They are a co-op with drop locations all over the United States. You can check them out here.
Another option is to call and ask around. If you have a natural medicine practitioner in your area chances, are they know someone as well.
What about Salmon?
When it comes to gmo salmon, the ones that are going to be gmo are the ones that are farmed. If you stick to buying wild caught you can avoid the genetically modified salmon.
There are some foods that may not directly be GMO, but the source for the food was fed or used GMOs. This would be foods such as:
- heavy whipping cream
- food adatives
- rennet for making hard cheeses
- sugar (unless it is cane sugar)
- derivatives of corn
- derivatives of soy
For these foods unless you raise your own animals or know a farmer your best option is buy organic to avoid GMOs.
Avoiding GMOs can feel extremely overwhelming when you are starting out. Don’t worry about being perfect, just start and make one change at a time. The journey to health is just that a journey. You can’t accomplish it all in one day.
If you want to dig more into gmos I highly recommend reading Seeds of Deception by Jeffery Smith and checking out his website.