How to Avoid Eating GMO

image from Activist Post
Out of all the health issues we face GMO (genetically modified organism) scares me the most.  Why?  Well  it's untested science that's been unknowingly placed into our food system since the 1990s.  We've become guinea pigs without knowing it.  Imagine if you were approached to be part of an experiment to eat GMO foods by a research study.  Would you do it?  I know I wouldn't. So I thought I would share with you how I try to avoid GMOs.


 Not only are we unwitting guinea pigs but so is our environment.  GMOs can cross breed via the air with non GMO crops.  And it's not just plants.  There are even GMO mosquitoes that have been released into the wild to prevent diseases.  We don't know what the consequences of this are or even what would happen when a person is bitten by a GMO mosquito.    The next GMOs likely to hit the market are GMO salmon.  What will this mean for fish species, not to mention the health of people?

 What Are GMOS? 
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of taking genes from one species such as bacteria, virus, plant, animal or human and inserting them into the DNA of another (a food crop or animal) in an attempt to introduce a new trait or characteristic.

How Are GMOs Made?
Viruses or bacteria are used to “infect” the animal or plant cell with the new DNA in one of the following ways:
  • Coating DNA onto tiny metal pellets and firing them with a special gene gun.
  • Injecting new DNA into fertilized eggs with a very fine needle.
  • Using electric shocks to create holes in sperm membrane, then forcing new DNA through the holes.
image via Natural News
Why You Should Avoid GMOs?

GMOS Can Cross Pollinate with Non GMO Plants
What concerns me most about it is the fact that it can cross pollination with other plants and spread to other crops not planted with GMO and therefore have the potential to change our entire environment.   To contaminate the DNA of plants.  Mexico's corn has been verified by tests that it is contaminated by GMO's . It is believed to have been from farmers planting imported corn from the US and spread to other crops through pollination.  Think about that for a minute.  This is huge. This is where corn originated from if we lose all those varieties where will we be? 

Currently almost all corn, soybeans, cotton, zucchini and yellow squash, and canola are GMO.    Think about all the products soy is in.  It's even in chocolate.  Now GMO  beets, alfalfa, and papayas are approved.  So anything with  sugar that's not organic or cane could be GMO as well as corn syrup or high fructose.  Dairy and beef products will most likely have been fed GMO alfalfa. So now people will be planting GMO grass in their yards which can spread to pastures where grass fed animals are raised.  What happens when this experiment goes horribly wrong?  When natural plants no longer exists what do we do?  Will organic food even be safe when it can cross pollinate with neighboring GMO crops?  Will we have a choice even?

The Activist Post questioned the same thing I have found myself wondering, "Why has no one in the ... USDA or even the Supreme Court asked the million dollar question: "How can a mutated germ plasm be so vastly different that a patent can be obtained and, at the same time, be so substantially the same as the germ plasm it was derived from that it should be generally considered safe and unregulated?”  Or in other words my interprtation of that is, how can GMOs be patented if they are so similar to the replacement product that they can be considered safe?

GMOs Are Designed to Use Heavy Pesticides
Most GMO manipulation involves it being designed to withstand more pesticides.  Pesticides have been linked to decreased cognitive function, behavioral problems and cancer.  Studies done as early as the 1980s by biotech and ag-industry corporations (including Monsanto) all showed that Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate causes birth defects in laboratory animals, at very low exposures. It also introduces a bacteria gene that gives plants the ability to produce their own insecticides.

Needless to say pesticides are probably something you want to avoid.  Again imagine if you were asked to participate in a research study where most food you ate were drenched in pesticides while being grown.  Would you sign up? Do you really want think kids should be eating that?

GMOs are Untested
Whether GMOs adversely affect human health, or not is unknown.  According to ConAgra (one of the largest packaged foods companies in the US), "Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the FDA have concluded that GM food that is approved for human consumption is as safe and nutritious as food that is developed through more conventional methods."  Hmm....how do they know it's safe?  Do we know the effects of eating GMOs 30 or 40 years from now?  What about the effects on children?  Does GMO affect the next generation?  Or in other words if a women and man eat GMOs for years then have a child, will this impact the child's health?  Does it impact fertility? 

We are the guinea pigs, and we are not even being tested in a scientific manner, so if someone were to say ingest a lot of GMO and pesticides in a lifetime and die of say cancer, how would you know if it was because of the GMO food the person consumed in their lifetime?  So in other words not only have people been exposed to GMOs without knowing it for about 20 years, but we can't even gain any real data from this grand scary experiment.  Personally when I learned about GMOs for the first time about 5 years ago, I was so upset that I had unknowingly been exposed to this for possibly up to 15 years or more.  But unfortunately I can't change that.  I can only change my choices for today or tomorrow, and opt out of this scary experiment.

How Can You Avoid GMOs?
Check out what is Non- GMO verified here
In summary almost all corn, soybeans, cotton, beets, papayas, zucchini and yellow squash, alfalfa, and canola are GMO. Check out this Wikipeda page to keep up to date on approved GMOs and their percentage in the USA  market.

How to Avoid GMOS
Buy only organic food 
Organic means that the product is verifed by a third party to be 95%  free of chemical fertilizers, artificial and synthetic ingredients, antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, sewage sludge and irradiated ingredients, as well as GMOs. This really is the best option, but I know it can be hard to afford to buy all organic.  Some simple ways to help are to grow your own food (even if you don't have a garden you can grow many veggies and fruits in containers), eat out less and cook with simple organic ingredients (it will still cost you less), eat less meat (veggies are cheaper) for more ideals check out Food Babe's tips.

Stay away from Aspartame 
 It is made with genetically modified bacteria.  You should really avoid all chemical sweeteners anyways because they are TOXIC.  Check out the documentary Sweet Misery to learn more.

Stay on top of the latest GMOs approved, because unfortunately GMOs are not labeled.
Think they should be labeled?  Me too!  Legislation is often being put through to do just that in individual states but usually doesn't make it through to get passed.  Join the fight and keep up to date at Label GMOs.

Look for food with the label (see above logo) Non GMO verified


Check out a full list of GMO products at Non GMO Verified Project

If you aren't able to buy all organic food or non GMO verified products:
  •  Try to avoid all sugar that is not cane sugar or organic (that means if a label says sugar or high fructose it's probably GMO and you should avoid it)
  • Avoid conventional (non organic) corn, soy, 
  • Only buy organic beets, papayas, zucchini and yellow squash
  • Avoid conventional (non organic) dairy (due to GMO feed and the GMO growth hormone rBGH ), and all meat products (because they can be fed GMO alfalfa corn, or soy).
Check the Stickers on Produce to see if it's Conventional, GMO, or Organic
image via Foolish Fire




Update: 

2015 GMO apples have been approved to delay browning.  I always buy only organic apples anyways because they are a heavily pesticide crop.  But all the more reason now!

GMO Rice approved set to be in stores 2015-2016


What are your thoughts?  I hope you learned something and will pass it on! 

Sources:

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