GMO. What’s the Big Deal, Anyway?

GMO tomatoes

In my previous post, I shared with you a list of companies who have invested significant amounts of money to continue to produce foods with genetically modified organisms (GMO) as well as prevent the general public from knowing that they are consuming foods with GMO.

What I did not share was information about GMO foods, what they are, what to look out for and how to make sure that you and your family have the best food that you can provide.

At one time I did not know much about genetically modified organisms (GMO).  I was in the dark about the whole thing.  When I learned about GMO, I became very concerned.

What are GMO Foods?   GMO foods have had a gene from another organism (plant, animal, virus, bacterium) forced into them, altering its DNA.

Can you believe it?  Putting animal genes into plants?  Here I am a vegan and I could be consuming animal products through vegetables or other foods that are plant based.

This process initially began to  increase crop protection and production.  It is said that GMO foods keep insects and disease at bay. Resistance against insects is achieved by incorporating into the food plant the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This means that the plant produces its own pesticide! Yikes! The crops are more resistant and therefore the crop yield is also increased.  Genetically modifying these foods is used for drought tolerance, hot and cold temperature resistance, as well as ensuring that products travel well.

At what cost, I ask?

Are GMO foods safe?

A lot of people don’t think so.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t think so. The Academy reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including but not limited to:

  • infertility
  • immune problems
  • accelerated aging
  • faulty insulin regulation
  • changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.

What? This is absolutely terrible.

The following information comes from the Institute for Responsible Technology:

It has been found that:

  • Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
  • Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
  • More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
  • Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
  • By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
  • Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
  • Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
  • Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
  • The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
  • Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.

Some other factors to consider:

  • If the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to transfer into bacteria living inside our intestines, it could create super diseases, resistant to antibiotics
  • If the gene that creates Bt-toxin in GM corn were to transfer into bacteria living inside our intestines, it might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.

This is a big deal.  A very big deal.

10 Ways to protect yourself and your family

1. Choose organic 100% of the time.

  • According to the Organic Trade Association, “The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is prohibited in organic products. 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 use any GMO ingredients. To meet the 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.

2. Avoid the most common GMOs. 

They are

  • soy
  • cotton
  • canola
  • corn
  • sugar beets
  • Hawaiian papaya
  • alfalfa
  • squash (zucchini  and yellow)

Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, your family may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in a large percentage of the foods in your pantry.  Corn is also in many, many processed foods.

3. Read labels carefully.

  • GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

4. Buy whole foods and cook from scratch.  It is estimated that 80% of grocery store products contain GMO.

5. Start your own organic garden.

6. Sign this petition Support GMO labelling.

7. Watch the film Food Inc.

8. Pass information on to your family and friends.

9. Follow “Millions Against Monsanto” on Facebook.

10. Do the best that you can.

Thanks for reading!  If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe and join me on Facebook,  Twitter or Instagram.

 

A Simple Guide to Menu Planning

Rainbow SaladI feel that it goes without saying that organization is the key to successful menu planning.  Having a clean and well-organized kitchen will encourage you to spend time there and create beautiful dishes for yourself and for your family.

Balance is also important to planning a weekly menu.

Balance

  • the season
  • the weather
  • your health
  • your individual tastes
  • what is available to purchase
  • your cooking and working schedule
  • the dietary needs of your family.

I feel that this can be applied to any type of diet.  I choose a Plant-based, Whole Foods diet that is gluten-free and vegan with mostly raw foods.  That is what works best for us.Continue Reading

7 Steps to Returning to Health

imageThis my 12th week back at work since my brain injury in September 2013.  At the time of writing, I am now working 5 hours per day, 5 days a week.

What a journey it has been.

I feel pretty good.  Sure I am tired and have better days than others but for the most part, things are going quite well. I attribute this success mostly to my diet and lifestyle and of course a positive outlook.

In order to ensure that I eat the best foods possible and get outdoors for exercise on a regular basis, I need to be organized.  I still have children living at home and my husband works away during the week so I needed a system.  I want to share with you what I have do that has helped me through this healing process.Continue Reading

Vegan Pad Thai Made Easy

Barbara's Vegan Pad Thai Made EasyMy eldest daughter does not enjoy preparing meals.

She is a snacker.

I think she may even forget about eating until she is too hungry.  This is often because she doesn’t want to take the time to make anything.  She likes it to be ready.

This post is dedicated to her.  I want to show her that it is possible to make something delicious, filling and healthy that does not take much time.  And it isn’t soup!Continue Reading

How to Detox The Easy Way

beautiful girl enjoying the summer sunThe calendar says that Spring is here.

Spring is a good time to do some detoxing to improve your health, boost your metabolism and help renew your energy.

“Why?” you ask.

Gently cleansing your body has the following benefits:

  • boost your metabolism
  • give your body a rest to allow it to repair itself
  • remove toxins and wastes from your body
  • improve your blood sugar levels

I know that there is a negative stigma attached to doing a cleanse or detoxing so I thought that I would make a few simple suggestions.Continue Reading

Mexican Cauliflower

Mexican Cauliflower

Let me tell you about cauliflower and why you may wish it include it in your diet on a regular basis.

Being a member of the cruciferous family, it has some amazing health benefits.

  • Fights cancer – contains sulforaphane which is known to kill off cancer stem cells
  • Improves blood pressure – again that sulforaphane is involved to help with this
  • Anti-Inflammatory – contains Indole-3-Carbinal which works to keep inflammation down in the body
  • High in Vitamins & Minerals – contains lots of Vitamin C as well as Vitamin K, protein, magnesium, Vitamin B6 & much more
  • Good for your Brain – contains Choline (B vitamin) which is known for helping with developing brains
  • Good for your Digestion – high in fiber and also that sulforaphane (love this stuff!) protects the lining of your stomach by keeping bacteria under control
  • Detoxifies – super high in antioxidants (when eaten raw) as well sulforaphane (there it is again) assists with detoxification

All of this plus (I think) cauliflower tastes delicious!Continue Reading

A High Vibrational Salad

Food has energy.  Some food more than others. The more energy or Life Force that a food has, the more our body will absorb this energy and help us feel more vitality than before.

Read more about the concept of food and energy at The Tapping Choice where I wrote a guest post.

Foods that have a high vibration are:

  • Organic foods-develop very high vibrations. Pesticides have a very low life force energy.
  • Freshly picked ripe fruits and vegetables-learn to grow your own food
  • Sprouts-learn to make simple sprouts here-mung bean, alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover
  • Edible flowers and weeds
  • Sea vegetables and algae
  • Plant sprouts-buckwheat, sunflower, pea shoots, wheatgrass

So I decided to prepare a salad that could help raise your vibration and leave you feeling energized.  Ready?Continue Reading

5 Great Ways to Turn Your Salad into a Delicious Meal

IMG_0792I love to eat salad.  I really do.

When I make a basic salad, I think about including different types of vegetables; root vegetables (carrots, onions), round vegetables(broccoli, cauliflower) and leafy vegetables(lettuce, parlsey).  I also consider different colours of the rainbow.  Having a variety of types and colours of vegetables ensures that I will ingest a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Many people tell me that eating a salad is just not enough for them.  It doesn’t fill them up.   I think that it would help by making the salad the main thing, rather than the ‘side’, if you know what I mean.  Get a large dinner plate and pile it high with your favourite things.

I am also told that in the winter time (which is now in my part of the world) they don’t ‘feel’ like having salad.  I have a suggestion for that.Continue Reading

Stuffed Avocado with Curry Sauce

stuffedavocado3Oh yeah!  This is so tasty you will want to make it all the time.  I made a few variations of it over the Christmas holidays and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Avocado may be high in fat but it contains healthy fats that are good for you.  The fat in avocado contains oleic acid which has been known to reduce inflammation.

Other benefits of avocado:Continue Reading

Curbing Carbs

veggie-platter

A friend recently mentioned to me that he has transitioned to a whole-foods, plant-based diet over the last year.  He is very happy with the change but finds himself reaching for snacks in the evening that he would rather not eat.  It seems that he is craving bread, chips, etc. and knows that these are not the best choices for his body.

I wrote a post in October with suggestions to ‘Outsmart Your Food Cravings’.

I would like to add a couple of things regarding carbs.Continue Reading