The Problem with GMO and Your Food
Chances are you have heard the term non-GMO or maybe you have seen it highlighted on labels of the food you have purchased from the store. As consumers, I think we tend to be enchanted by the highlighted "benefits" on our food labels. Labels containing headlines such as: PASTURE RAISED, GRASS FED, FREE RANGE, NON-GMO, ORGANIC, CERTIFIED ORGANIC and so forth.
Let's take a deeper look at just one of these headlines: GMO.
What is GMO?
GMO stands for "Genetically Modified Organism" - it is a plant, animal, microorganism, or organism that has been modified through genetic engineering or transgenic technology.
What does that mean?
It means, in your food, there are parts of it, or all of it, that is not a naturally occurring ingredient or a food that does not grow naturally in nature. It requires a lab or some other form of genetic modification.
Is GMO bad for you?
Genetic modification affects many of the products we consume on a daily basis. There is no exact science that directly links health issues to the consumption of GMO foods, however, just because it isn't there, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There is a saying that "We are what we eat, and we are what our food eats."
In my non-professional, non-degree and, non-medically educated opinion, if it doesn't grow naturally, how can it possibly be safe?
In a society where we are already plagued with substantial increases in health issue, - birth defects, ADHD, seasonal and food allergies, skin irritations, headaches, epilepsy, migraines, obesity, heart disease, autism - the list goes on and on - Could this be because of our food?
Again, we are what we eat, and we are what our food eats. I don't need a medical degree to know that genetically modified and unnaturally occurring compounds or organisms could potentially and negatively affect the chemistry of my body, much like over the counter and prescription drugs are developed to modify the our body chemistry. It just makes sense.
Regardless of my personal opinion, here are a few more points to consider with GMO:
Many scientists agree there is a concern that genetically altered foods, once consumed, may pass on their mutant genes to bacterium in the digestive system. How these new strains of bacteria may affect our body systems’ balance is anybody’s guess.
Food items that contain GMOs are unlabeled in America. (yes, you read that right - UNLABELED).
The organs of rats who ate genetically modified potatoes showed signs of chronic wasting, and female rates fed a diet of herbicide-resistant soybeans gave birth to stunted and sterile pups.
GMOs require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. These are poisons, and contain extensive warnings on the side of their contains saying "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION". Furthermore, they are allowed to run off into our water supply. Unfortunately, some companies care far more about the bottom line and they use them anyway.
What foods have GMO?
Here are some foods known to contain GMO's to lookout for: Alfalfa, Canola, Corn, Cotton, Papaya, Soy, Sugar beet, Yellow summer squash / zucchini, Animal products, Microbes and enzymes, Potato, Flax, Mustard, Rice, Wheat, Apple, Mushroom, Orange, Pineapple, Camelina (false flax), Sugarcane, Tomato
What can you do?
There are a few things you can do to control what you bring home and feed your family.
You can look for food labels such as USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC which means no part of that product has been genetically modified.
You can learn to grow your own food from USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC seeds.
Check out our blog posts on composting, Raising Backyard Chickens and permaculture basics.
You can purchase food from a local farmer that only uses organic growing practices.
The good news is we have options!
Our health is one thing that money won't buy in this world. At the end of the day, it's all we truly have. We have the ability to control what we put into our bodies and in return we can better control our health.
"We are what we eat, and we are what our food eats."