Last week on our blog, we discussed the Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen, a nifty list revealing which conventionally grown crops are cultivated with the largest quantities of dangerous pesticides. Discussing the issue of pesticides in modern agricultural techniques sparked further discussion about the innocently masked veggie-chemical cocktails we find in the produce aisles of the grocery store: what about genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?
The issue of genetically modified organisms is one steeped in frustration and mystery, largely at the efforts of multinational industries which have worked tirelessly to keep public curiosity stymied. While recent polls have shown that if given a choice, 90% of people would actively avoid GMOs in their foods, it is rare that GMOs are recognized on any food labels in the United States. It's really very simple: GMOs are not the natural and nourishing whole foods we were intended to thrive on, and have been implicated through many studies to pose serious health risks to consumers. Yet, despite these fundamental truths, yield- and profit-hungry agricultural giants have yet to budge on their use of this destructive technology. So what can we do as wise consumers? With the knowledge and communities that we do have access to, we can avoid known GMOs and choose to spend our money wisely to support industries that encourage our shared vision of healthy food sources.
1. Buy Local and Organic Produce and Animal Products
Current organic standards do not allow for the use of GM contaminants. Be aware however that there are 3 different types of organic labels, each with a different sneaky meaning:
- “100% Organic”- all ingredients are organic
- “Organic”- at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. The other 5% are still required to be non-GMO
- “Made with Organic Ingredients”- at least 70% of ingredients are organic, but the remaining 30% are still required to be non-GMO
Buying locally is helpful and humbling in a myriad of ways, including the avoidance of GMOs. Most genetically modified foods currently come from gargantuan multinational corporations who have purchased them from large industrial farms. It is important to use funds judiciously in the support of local industry to prevent the eventual domination and cross-contamination of these GM crops into our more intimate food supplies. The golden principles of buying organic and local go for all different types of foods- produce and animal products alike. Meat, dairy products, farmed fish and eggs are often derived from animals that survive on cheap GM feed. Look for products labelled “organic,” “wild-caught,” “100% grass-fed,” and “growth hormone (rbGH/rbST) free”
2. Avoid The Big Seven
There are seven GM crops that are currently used in popularized industry. While you can’t see a difference by looking at them, these crops and their derivative oils, meals and syrups do contain GM contaminants.
- Hawaiian Papaya
- Some Zucchini and Yellow Crook Neck Squash
Some people mistake novel products like seedless watermelons, tangelos and other hybrid produce combos as genetically modified. While not native, these are products of natural breeding process and are not genetically engineered.
3. Avoid Processed Foods, Additives and Sweeteners
While we sometimes squabble about the particulars of healthy eating, there’s one theme that seems to unite the varying “real” diet philosophies out there today: avoiding processed foods is perhaps one of the very best things you can do for your health. The same goes in avoiding GMOs: it is estimated that about 90% of non-organic processed foods have traces of GMOs packaged within their wrapping! In addition to the various forms of corn, canola, and soy in processed foods, many of the additives and enzymes used to flavor or preserve products are produced by GM bacteria, yeast and fungi. The popular sweetener aspartame is perhaps one of the most frequently used and harmful perpetrators in this category- finding its way into over 6,000 different products on the market today. Because they are not labelled, many people are unaware of the amount of immune destroying GMOs they are taking in by continually slurping down sweet spoonfuls of flavored yogurt or munching away on chewy tidbit of granola bar.
4. Watch your Supplements and Personal Care Products
It’s true: GMOs have found their way into most everything we use. Many of the synthetic vitamins are GM influenced as are the preservatives, fillers, lubricants, binders. coatings and flowing agents found in pharmaceuticals and supplements. Thus if you are looking for a way to nourish your body completely through whole foods supplementation, it is important to find sources that are non-GMO and excipient free. At Radiant Life we strongly believe that it is the consumer’s right to know the quality of the ingredients included in that product. That is why we have a rigorous set of standards and testing for the products we carry, following our detailed core principles. It is through empowered knowledge, dedicated community and careful choices that we can truly make a difference in creating sustainable wellness and ultimate happiness.
Genetic Roulette by Jeffery Smith
Top 5 Ways to Avoid GMOs in Your Food by Dr. Gregory Damato