We Have The Right To Choose!

Do you know what A GMO is?

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Definition: A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.

Basically what is happening is our food is being injected with foreign genes to create a super food. Sounds cool, right? NO! These foods are not being made extra special to carry more nutritional value but to ensure the crops are not killed by bugs or Round-up (pesticide). What exactly does that mean? It means that poisonous bacteria or chemicals are inside the seed to keep the crops growing. While it sounds great, it is dangerous. These chemicals are in our food, in our bodies, and in the soil. Once a GM product has been planted there is no reversing this and that doesn’t even include when the wind blows and cross pollination occurs, or bees… oh the bees.

What are the GMO crops?

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There is only 8 GMO approved crops:

  1. Corn
  2. Soy
  3. Canola
  4. Alfalfa
  5. Hawaiian Papaya
  6. Cottonseed
  7. Some Zucchini
  8. Sugar Beets

The list is short and simple therefore it should be easy to avoid right? WRONG. Look at the labels of the items you are buying… it most certainly contains at least 1 of the above items. The trickiest part is that it may not even say “corn” but a VERY popular additive is High Fructose Corn Syrup. That is GMO. Unless it states Cane Sugar, rest assured it is GMO. Truth be told unless you are digging it from the ground or buying organic it is nearly impossible to buy non GMO products easily. The milk, eggs, cheese, etc you are consuming may not be treated with rBST but they are more then likely feed GM products, meaning that is will and does pass onto you. So now, you may be asking why isn’t this labeled? After all, USDA “Organic” product is labeled.

Why isn’t labeling required?

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This is where things kind of take a turn for the weird. At this point in the game, the leader of the GMO movement, Monsanto, also has their ex-VP sitting at the top of the FDA. Now I am not one to run with conspiracy theories but this one definitely has me scratching my head. Some of the top brands have spent MILLIONS of dollars to stop GMO labeling requirement bills around the country. At this time there is only a handful of states that have passed GMO labeling laws. I know that here in AZ the bill died without a blink. What is even crazier is that the US and Canada are the only countries to not require labeling.

What are the health risks in consuming GM products?

There are a number of dangers that broadly fall into the categories of potential toxins, allergens, carcinogens, new diseases, antibiotic resistant diseases, and nutritional problems. Autism, digestive tract diseases, cancers, all things that have drastically increased since the introduction of GMOs in the early 90s. I sat in a room full of hundreds of people and listened to some of their experiences. I heard the mother tell the story about her autistic son talking after a week of a Non GMO diet. A wife who’s husband was damn near cured of kidney failure after a 20 month diet free of GM products. The list goes on and on and even extends to pets.

How can you avoid GM products?

NON GMO PROJECT

This is hard. The easiest thing would to be find products with the Non GMO Project label on the packaging. It won’t be easy because it is very few and far between. Buy organic. If it is organic it is as GMO free as possible. I know this expensive. I get it, I really do. I choose to buy organic when it counts. I take a shopping guide with me and read labels. It takes longer but it helps. Whole Foods has committed to labeling their GMO Free products by 2018. While this is a great move in the right direction… it is just not soon enough. I am hoping that means other big name branches will follow in their footsteps and beat them to that 2018 deadline. Trader Joe’s has stated all their brands are GMO free but, again, no labeling. The less processed food the better. My husband is terrified that the next step is veganism. While it may be a premature fear, it may not be entirely unrealistic. We are in the process of finding a grass feed cow rancher to buy bulk beef from. We are way more cautious of what we buy and why. We aren’t prepared for a zombie invasion but what we have brought into our house the last two weeks are GMO free. Note to the wise… just because they are local does not mean they are organic or GM free. I learned this the hard way! To see a great shopping guide click HERE.

How can you make a difference?

no gmo

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Use your voice, use your dollar. I boycott things pretty frequently. Walmart, Chickfila, Nestle, Anthropology and even Target there for a while. When companies are letting me down I have no problem cutting out my financial support. These companies depend on YOUR money. If you stopped spending that few bucks on something filled with toxic chemicals because it is on sale and you were tempted by a coupon, then turned around a told a few friends, who turned around a told a few, etc…. it would be game changing. In the UK they got rid of GMOs in something like 10 weeks! We would only really need 5% of the US population to boycott until we saw real change. Research what is going on in your communities. Visit Farmer’s markets, know the bills, get involved, tell a friend, post on social media. Our children need US to provide them with a bright future. That cannot happen if we are busy eating poison.

To learn more please visit my favorite source  HERE

No Comments

  1. Xza -  March 14, 2013 - 11:46 am

    Fantastic intro to GMO- free living Risa! I still vote for starting our own commune.

  2. Amy -  March 14, 2013 - 12:22 pm

    I want in on the commune, when it happens. We buy organic, we both have so many food allergies, and guess what? Regular milk bothers LO, organic milk does not.

  3. Heather P. -  March 14, 2013 - 12:53 pm

    Great info. Thanx Risa! It’s bum deal being in a small town but I think it’s got pros to Farms galore! I will be looking into my options.

  4. Amanda M S -  March 14, 2013 - 1:26 pm

    Great post- thank you so much. I have been cautious of using non-organic for years but I really didn’t know that much about GMOs besides avoiding them. So if you buy something that is labeled organic does that automatically mean it’s GMO free? Or can something be organic but still GMO? We do a lot of shopping at the farmers market and I specifically look for organic and if the sign says GMO free I take it as a bonus. Now I will be more careful to make sure my produce is both. Frankly I am extremely scared of pretty much all food. Even the “better” brands still have unsafe chemicals. It is very hard to shop and get healthy food for your family. What really pisses me off when companies make people think they are buying good quality food when it’s just the opposite. What are some good, everyday brands you can suggest that are GMO free? I live in a medium size city and we don’t have Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

    • Risa -  March 14, 2013 - 4:44 pm

      Thank you Amanda! It is hard and this is very very new to me! NO Gmo and organic are different. From what I have read organic foods are gm free. The hardest part is in fact the meat and dairy can be labeled “organic” but sometimes they are being fed GM feed. I am still working on this part. I have a great app I downloaded called “True Food” and “ShopNoGMO”. Well it isn’t as easy as I would like, it has helped. Hope this helps!

  5. Lori -  March 14, 2013 - 1:52 pm

    I’m sorry but I find the quality of this blog entry disappointing. I grow much of my own food and support local, organic producers because I too am against GMOs. However, this entry is so full of assumptions and misinformation and I think TMD owes their readers an explanation of what is known versus what is unknown if it is going to open discussion of these types of topics. I’ll name a few here, but I hope everyone will look into GMOs further on their own (and still support labeling of them if not an all out ban on them, which won’t happen for reasons mentioned in the blog that Monsanto is high up in our government).
    First off, “toxins” are not what’s transferred in GMOs. GENES are transferred. Genes that can resist toxins (like pesticides) or genes that code for secretion of a bacterium that affects insect guts (Bacillus thurengiensis is toxic to corn insect pests). And yes, GM is indeed used to create healthier, “supercrops.” Golden rice that is high in beta carotene, tomatoes that have omega fatty acids, etc. the intention is not all bad as this article would like for readers to believe. I still don’t support GMOs, but it’s unethical to mask the truth about what we dont know or havent proven.
    Further, there is no research on the effects of GMO consumption to human health, so I think you should stick the word “potentially” in front of your Health Risks section. These things simply have not been correlated. As you can imagine with Monsanto, ADM, and Cargill all up in our governmental ranks, virtually zero federal dollars are supporting any research that would aim to prove a link between GMOs and health. I don’t think you’re far off on your conspiracy theory statement, to be honest. I’d be among the first academics to submit a research proposal should funding for that kind of research ever open up, because I think we haven’t investigated GMOs enough before releasing them everywhere.
    I DO boycott Walmart and fast food chains, but for reasons of workers’ rights and animal ethics. Risa, you wrote yourself that it is nearly impossible to avoid GMOs unless you grow it yourself. By your suggestion to boycott businesses, you should also say to boycott any store that sells human or animal food (every single grocery store and mom and pop restaurant). Even Whole Foods has plenty of GMOs on their shelves, and Trader Joes may as well own stock in Monsanto with all of the crap on their shelves. To boycott the business does nothing because the path is too circuitous between GMO producer and the shelves on the store. You need to boycott the direct holdings/vocal supporters of big agribusiness, and more importantly WRITE LETTERS TELLING THEM WHY YOU’RE BOYCOTTING THEM! Simply not showing up and not spending some money makes no dent in their bottom line…not at this point at least. The movement is far too small. Letters/protests/picketing go a lot further.
    Organic does not equate with non-GMO. To the commenter above, guess what got FDA approval last year to feed to ORGANIC dairy cattle: GM alfalfa. And nearly every single organic dairy now feeds their cows GM alfalfa. If you want to consume dairy and be absolutely sure you’re not getting GMOs in your system (it has not yet been proven whether inserted genes end up in the milk), find a local farmer with a cow who does not use GM feed. You have to know the person who grows your food, and you have to trust them. This is unfortunate not easy and is why CSAs like the one Jessica and her family are starting up are so important.
    Again, I am against GMOs and I support the cause put forth in the article; this isn’t meant to be an attack. But I think it is unwise to spread counter-propaganda that is filled with assumptions and emotional, “I heard about this one guy…” type stories because they are just hearsay and will not recruit marginal people to our side who want to weigh the facts. The best you can do is be completely honest and spread the message of, “maybe we shouldn’t be eating GMOs since the health effects are not yet known. Our guts didn’t evolve with these modified foods, so best to abstain from eating them until we know more about whether there’s a correlation between GMOs and all these health epidemics.”

    • Risa -  March 14, 2013 - 4:41 pm

      Thank you for informing me of all this stuff. I am JUST learning about GM products and this is the introduction to my journey. I am not an expert nor do I claim that I am. I would love to learn more and I am still very much researching. From my personal experience, I have found that for myself, I am emotionally driven…learning about the terrible things in GM product scared me enough to research and make a change. The biggest problem with GMO is the lack of labeling and the companies and our government’s insistance of keeping information hidden. Like you said there is HUGE connections to Monsanto and the US government. I am not one to believe that correct and truthful reports would be released… but like I said I am not one for conspiracy theories 😉 The truth is just because a “local” farm is creating a CSA really does not make it organic or GMO free. It takes a ton of continually research and commitment to change this. I am well aware of all that. I would love to have you guest post for us since you do have SO much awesome info 🙂

    • Amanda M S -  March 14, 2013 - 10:35 pm

      I’m interested to learn more about this. I am a vegetarian so I don’t have to worry about the animals I eat getting fed GMO crops but I do eat dairy so that is something I need to look out for. It’s very frustrating to have to avoid all processed food with dairy in it since I have no idea if it containers dairy from GMO fed animals. :/ I swear some days I wish I lived on a farm and grew my own produce and had my own chickens (for eggs).

      • Lori -  March 14, 2013 - 11:35 pm

        Risa, that’s what I mean about knowing your farmer through a CSA. If you know your farmer, you build a trusting relationship with them. They allow you to come to their land and see exactly what they grow/raise. I’ve never known a CSA to grow GMOs or feed GMOs to their animals. Amanda, I too am vegetarian, but eats eggs from my own hens (fed on GMO-free organic feed from farther north in The state), and we buy raw dairy from a family about 80 miles away. The two cows are pasture-raised and supplemented with non-GMO hay and alfalfa. Can I be there every single day to make sure they’re not getting a spec of GMOs? Absolutely not. But I know these people well enough to know that they shun GMOs themselves, and have built a trusting relationship with them. For me, that’s what supporting local is about. You have a direct line to the producer of your food; a stark contrast to big agribusiness where the commodity changes ownership half a dozen times before it ends up on the grocery store shelves. Amanda, owning a dairy animal is a lot of work, but depending on where you live, keeping chickens is legal and fairly easy. Check out your city ordinance regarding fowl, you might be surprised!

  6. Ashley -  March 14, 2013 - 2:02 pm

    Good intro post but SO much more I’m sure you know..you should totally do a series of these. The unfortunate part of this is even though its organic nowadays doesn’t mean it’s gmo free. Food inc is an awesome doc for people to watch who are new to gmo’s and it shows exactly how in control our govt is of this whole situation. I had to learn about this the hard way as my son, who is extremely allergic to certain foods caused me to start researching. You know the funny thing, he’s allergic to the top gmo crops, soy wheat corn and peanut. It’s quite sad and even more disturbing that every other country like you said either labels gmo foods or doesn’t even produce them. I have a feeling we will never get there, we as a nation are to lazy and want that instant gratification and prob won’t stop buying…but I do pray through people like you and your posts the word gets spread. Thank you:)

  7. Beth -  March 20, 2013 - 6:44 pm

    Even if the post wasn’t perfect, it’s a great start and has lots of good info for others out there who may be completely in the dark about the whole situation. Thanks for sharing, I’d love to see more posts of this nature!

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