Health foods should be healthy right? Are your health foods toxic? What’s all of the fuss with the GMO conspiracy? Here’s a step-by-step look at the facts. Who do you believe?
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Traditional breeding, cross breeding, and selective breeding has been around forever. Produce like seedless watermelons fall into this category. It is a natural process to make whatever it is you are growing – plant or animal – more favorable. We all want better animals and crops, right?
Scientists discovered a way to generically modify organisms – we call these GMOs. Genetically modified basically means that the molecular structure has been artificially altered to produce a better quality or characteristic. They take the genes from one species and inject them into another. That sounds like it’s a positive thing, right?
GMO crops are resistant to insects, disease, and extreme weather conditions such as drought or rain. Which is good, right? GMO does the opposite of what you think they should do. It does not better control weeds and pests, it actually makes them worse. GMO seeds are made to withstand the strongest of pesticides. Bees take the pollen in GMO crops, pollinate weeds with GMO, and now weeds are resistant and overgrowing the fields. Which results in a need to make pesticides such as Roundup much stronger and more toxic. Oh and by the way, the genetically modified crops both humans and animals eat now also contain higher levels of toxins.
Let’s go back to Roundup. It’s actually the brand name for a poison called glyphosate. Glyphosate is a patented antibiotic that destroys the good bacteria in your gut. Every time you consume anything made with GMOs, you are exposing your gut to the glyphosate.
The ONLY 9 GMO Foods
There are 9 genetically modified food crops currently on the market – soy, corn, cotton (oil), canola (oil), sugar from sugar beets, zucchini, yellow squash, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa. Approximately 94% of soy crops and 88% of corn crops are genetically modified, and soy and corn derivatives are found in practically everything that humans and animals eat.
The Conspiracy Theory
Studies have been conducted to show that GMO foods are equally as nutritious as non-GMO foods. But adequate studies have not been completed on the long term health effects. Why is this not a concern to our policy makers?
Monsanto is the number one donor in the agriculture lobby, having spent $6 million dollars in 2012 along with one million dollars directly to political candidates. Ever wonder how your elected representatives who make a normal salary have millions in the bank? Wonder no more. Monsanto is just one of the companies who pay for votes.
So while the correlation between GMOs and gluten are only speculation, the fact remains that GMOs are harmful and toxic, especially to those with autoimmune diseases and in cancer prevention. Why stop at those nine crops? Monsanto will be adding more crops to the list sooner than you think!
Non-GMO or Organic?
First of all, there is a difference between a product being Non-GMO and/or organic, and also being certified or verified. Let’s start with non-GMO.
In its simplest form, a non-GMO product is one that is not genetically modified, nor has any genetically modified components to it. Easy enough, right? Now what about organic? Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, GMOs, or ionizing radiation. Organic animals are ones that do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.
What is Certified Organic?
Fortunately, the US Department of Agriculture has regulations for a product to be labeled USDA Certified Organic.
According to the USDA, to be qualified to be labeled as USDA Certified Organic, the inclusion of any type of GMO is strictly prohibited. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t us any GMO ingredients. To meet USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table. It’s important to note that the USDA has relaxed their standards and unless it is labeled 100% USDA Certified Organic, “organic” now means 95% or more organic.
What is Non-GMO Verified?
Since non-GMO specific labeling can be suspect, the Non-GMO Project was formed to help consumers make smart choices.
According to their website, The Non-GMO Project was designed to build off of the work that certified organic companies are already doing, with the added measure of ongoing testing of risk ingredients at critical control points. The Non-GMO Project also verifies conventional foods. The organization believes that all consumers, whether they purchase organic or conventional foods, deserve transparency and have a right to choose whether they want to consume GMOs. The Non-GMO Project verification seal ensures that a product has been scrupulously tested and verified to NOT contain any genetically modified material.
What is the Difference?
To be clear, these are two separate verification processes. Use of GMOs is prohibited in being USDA Certified Organic, but it doesn’t mean that it has gone through the Non-GMO Project certification process. So how do you know a product is non-GMO and/or organic? Look for the NON-GMO Project Verified seal and look for the USDA Certified Organic seal.
The studies are many. The studies are controversial. Believe what you want. But look around you. Does it seem like everyone is allergic to something these days? All of our kids have ADHD or Autism or Aspergers? Is puberty hitting earlier? Fertility issues? Is menopause hitting harder? Does cancer seem to be on the rise? What about non-diagnosed conditions and autoimmune diseases?
Trust me, I know it’s extremely confusing. I always thought that eating healthy was good enough. It wasn’t until I started researching all of this that I realized there is so much more out there. I started out believing this was a big conspiracy theory. I now understand it’s so much more than that. I’m still learning. But the more I learn, the more I want to know.
One of my favorite websites to shop at is Thrive Market, because you can sort by the various certifications such as organic, Non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, etc. I’ve included a list of my favorite “green” stores, products, and additional resources in my free book, How to Make the Transition to a Healthy Lifestyle.
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