Education, Sustainability

Did you know that 80% of our food is genetically modified? The average American will eat about 30,000 GMO’s today alone. Yes, you read that correctly!

October is National Non-GMO month, and it is my mission to inform you about the environmental dangers, health side effects, and future considerations of GMO’s in our food supply.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a lab through engineering. This organism is created by using a combination of plants, animals, bacteria, and virus genes that don’t occur naturally through traditional development. This basically means that our food is being manipulated and isn’t as “natural” as we think anymore.

So why do we use them in the first place you may ask? I have asked this question so many times myself. We can probably get into a big long governmental debate but we will skip over that part for the sake of this article. GMO’s in short prevent browning, enhance taste, increase size, keep costs down, and increase the quantity of products over a shorter duration.

GMO’s are found just about everywhere we look but are going to be found primarily in crops such as canola, corn, cotton, soy, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. Animal products such as beef, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, honey, and seafood contain GMO’s as well. With an abundance of packaged and processed foods in the marketplace nowadays, we are seeing an increase in GMO’s in just about every product since soy and genetically modified oils and fats are typically used as an ingredient to extend shelf life.

Unfortunately, the United States is one of the only regions where GMO labeling isn’t required. In fact, 60 countries around the world require GMO’s to be labeled on products and about 300 regions have actually implemented a ban on GMO’s altogether. This is primarily because of the health studies that link GMO’s with disease. The toxic herbicide known as RoundUp contains an ingredient called glyphosate. This toxic ingredient has been confirmed as a carcinogenic compound and poison that poses long term impacts on health which are still unknown.

Besides glyphosate being cancerous, it is also studied and linked to contribute to autoimmune conditions, altered digestive health, food allergies and intolerances, altered brain function, altered hormone balance, and a slow metabolism. The list of actual symptoms associated with these conditions would leave you afraid to eat. The good news however, is you CAN avoid GMO’s by making simple changes to your diet and shopping in the right health food store, such as Deans!

So what can YOU do to keep you and your family safe from GMO’s?

I recommend you eat organic as much as possible! It really does make a difference and it is worth the investment for your health. I teach my patients to read and look out for the PLU sticker on fruits and vegetables and make sure the 5-digit code starts with a number 9 which ensures that it is organic. If it starts with an 8 it contains GMO’s and if it starts with any other number, it contains pesticides and the farmer may use RoundUp. A slogan I use often to help people remember this, “I HATE 8, 9 IS FINE”. You can also look for the USDA organic label on meats and dairy as well as the non-GMO project verified label with the butterfly which is easy to identify on a packaged product.

One of the reasons I personally love shopping at this family-owned health food store is because I know that nothing is even allowed inside if it contains GMO’s. This peace of mind is everything! The knowledge and passion Dean and the entire staff has in regards to the non-GMO movement is incredible and inspiring!