You’ve seen it! All those tree huggers on the internet touting their perceived hippy way of living life without artificial food laden with fertilizer and pesticides created in some crazy lab experiment to feed starving America, right!?! But could a million tree huggers and their hippy holistic following be right? Could it be that the food we eat that is grown and ultimately filled with the fertilizer residues left behind and lab created mutant food produced ultimately be bad for us and most of all our children?
I am proud to call myself one of those tree hugging hippy types that cares about the way food was grown and treated before coming to market for sale. More than that though, I’m concerned about that the fact that so few in America are not as concerned as we are.
First of all, what is does GMO stand for and what exactly is it? – GMO a/k/a Genetically Modified Organism – GMOs are plants and animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria and viruses that would not normally or naturally occur in nature. Most all GMO organisms and products are engineered to withstand the fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides that conventional growers typically treat their crops with to produce abundant crops in times of extreme drought, insect or other crop invaders and assists in mass crop production.
So exactly how much of America’s food contains GMO? Based on information that I was able to find as consistent percentage based on a survey completed in late 2012 stated that approximately 70% of America’s food contains GMO or some ingredient that contains GMO when manufactured. I don’t know about you, but that number is horrific to me. The fact that 70% of food available today is genetically modified means that we need a stricter product label movement to allow us to be informed of what is and what is not GMO. Luckily, such labeling requirements are beginning to be used, but they are at humble beginnings even still.
When I was researching for this blog, I came across an article in Scientific American, which discusses the movement for proper labeling of GMO foods. The article titled, Labels for GMO Food are a Bad Idea, in my opinion, is worthy of a quick read. The article refers to paying premium for Non-GMO food, that premium to me is worth every cent! It touts that your grocery bill will double, but in the past 3 months of our household switching to organically grown food, our grocery bill has stayed the same. We meal plan and buy what we need for the week and ironically, our fresh veggies and fruits seem to be lasting a few extra days, unlike the conventionally grown food products we bought in the years before that. We have also noted that our fresh Non-GMO food has a lot more flavor, which I don’t know about you, but I go for flavor in all of my meals.
Food should be thy medicine – Hippocrates was on to something when he came up with that little one liner, which I feel is so close to the truth. The idea that you can literally taste and eat your way to healing your ailments, losing unwanted weight and prevention of many diseases simply by changing the type of food you eat. This is so much more than cutting out fast food quickies that it’s frightening!
Feel helpless and not sure what you can do for yourself or your family to start a path of eating less GMO laden food? It is truly a simple process when you get down too it, it just takes a little more time and effort.
- Start reading your labels, if you must buy a processed food product then read your labels and make sure that all ingredients listed on the package are recognizable ingredients. This is my first rule of thumb when buying and comparing products to purchase for our pantry.
- Check to see where the product was manufactured and look for the Non-GMO Verified symbol on the package. You can also look for the USDA Certified Organic label which is required for any product that contains organic in its product packaging description.
- Do not feel like you need to replace everything in your fridge and pantry right away if you cannot afford to.
- Making little purchases each week will help keep your costs manageable and meal planning will also keep you on track for cooking and eating fresh less processed foods and meals prepared for your family.
- Get involved, if available, in your local food Cooperative and search for your local organic Farmers Markets. Get to know your farmers and their practices. How they grow their food, what they use and if it is an animal product, how are those animals cared for and treated.
- Lastly, and most importantly, be informed. Read more about GMO products and read the benefits of shopping Non-GMO and Organic.
Knowledge is power, reading is key but more importantly, what you choose to do with that knowledge can help you progress with making better food choices for you and your family. What will you do going forward to change the way you look at YOUR FOOD and how it came to your table?