GMO; an acronym tossed around more than a football on a Sunday. It’s no secret that GMOs are present in most of our food, yet how much do we really know about GMOs? Am I the only one whose wondered:
- What the heck are GMOs?
- Which of our favorite processed foods (+ home grown) foods contain GMOs?
- How can we avoid them, whilst making healthier food choices??
What the heck are GMOs?!
GMOs = Genetically Modified Organisms. Scary, huh? I don’t know about you but I’m not too comfortable with the idea of eating anything who’s genes have been messed with! It’s just weird! Not to freak you out, but GMOS are just that: the smallest of organisms that have been altered in some way by us humans. Go humans! (Not.)
Plants or animals are modified for several reasons:
- Improve resistances to pesticides/insects
- Increase nutrients
- Increase environmental tolerance (ie, temperature)
- Enhance growth
- Control reproductive activity
The list goes on…
The genetic modification process involves combining the genes of different plant and animal species. The result is unlike anything that can occur through cross-breeding. In fact, about 80% of the crops that are genetically modified are able to withstand toxic levels of pesticides! The toxins that these genetically modified plants produce are actually rupturing the stomachs of insects that feed off of these crops. (thanks, but NO thanks!)
So, just how bad are GMOs? Well, take a look at this lovely little video for a better idea:
When fed to rats, mice, pigs and cows, GMO crops have been shown to cause precancerous growths, bleeding stomachs, intestinal damage, sterility…the list could go on, folks.
Which of our favorite processed foods (+ home grown) foods contain GMOs?
How do we know if our food contains GMOs? Well, that’s the tricky part. The FDA does not require companies to disclose whether their products contain GMOs. Some choose to disclose that info on their own (hence the “GMO-free) labels you see on some supermarket shelves. Certain health food stores, like Whole Foods, are much more transparent in the GMO world. Last year, Whole Foods announced that all products would be labeled if they contained GMOs. This process is expected to be completed by 2018. (Go Whole Foods!) The state of Vermont is in the process of passing legislation that would require all GMO foods in Vermont be labeled as such by 2016! (Go Vermont!)
Despite these concerted efforts, not all GMO-ladden food is labeled. Some of our favorite foods may actually be the worst culprits on the GMO boat. Here are just a few of the food items that are known to contain GMOs:
- Sugar Beets
About 80% of processed foods contain GMOs (eek!). That’s basically all of the processed food we’d consume in any given day!
So, how can we avoid GMOs, whilst making healthier food choices?
It’s important that we continue to be aware of the foods that DO contain GMOs in order to make the right food choices for ourselves and families. Luckily, the wonderful people at the Non GMO Project have compiled a fabulous list of food products and brands that do NOT contain GMOs (yay!).
A few personal favorites:
- So Delicious
- 365 Brand (Whole Foods)
- Arrowhead Mills
Steering clear of GMO ridden food is a challenge but it is not impossible. Do research and find out if any of the foods you love contain GMOs. Buy organic and avoid processed food all together while enjoying more GMO-free fruits and veggies!
For more information on GMOs, check out the Non GMO Project!
Peace, love & GMO-free Coconuts!