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What is GMO? And How To Avoid It?

An estimated 70 percent of processed foods in the United States — from soda to soup, crackers to condiments — contain genetically engineered ingredients.

One argument I hear repeatedly is that nobody has been sick or died after a meal (or a trillion meals since 1996) of GM food. Nobody gets ill from smoking a pack of cigarette either. But it sure adds up, and we did not know that in the 1950s before we started our wave of epidemics of cancer. Except this time it is not about a bit of smoke, it’s the whole food system that is of concern. The corporate interest must be subordinated to the public interest, and the policy of substantial equivalence must be scrapped as it is clearly untrue.

At the moment there are no proper labeling laws, so unless you eat organic, you have no way of avoiding Frankenfood. The United States is far behind the curve in protecting its citizens from the hazards of GMO foods. Europe has taken a much stronger stand on behalf of its consumers: Only 5 percent of food sold in Europe contains GMOs, and European laws ensure that the public is educated. In fact, outside the United States, 50 other countries require labeling of GMOs.

So what is Genetically modified organisms?

It’s basically when you take the genes from one species and force them into the DNA of another species. There are nine GM crops on the market. And the primary traits are either herbicide tolerance or pesticide production.

Herbicide tolerance, Roundup Ready is the most popular. There’s Roundup Ready soy, corn, cotton, sugar beets and alfalfa. They are engineered from bacteria, and pieces of virus, etc., and will not die when sprayed with herbicide, which normally kills plants, thereby making weeding easier for farmers. They can simply spray over the crops, killing all the weeds but not the Roundup Ready crops.

Pesticide production is another popular genetically modified trait. They take a gene from bacteria in the soil called, bacillus thuringiensis or BT for short, which produces a known insecticide and inject it into corn and cotton, so when certain types of bugs bite the plant then toxins are released, breaking holes into the walls of their stomach causing them to die.

Now we are eating the insecticide and Roundup laden crops. Meaning, we are eating two different types of poisons with these GM laden crops.

The FDA does not require a single safety study on GMOs.

GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have been found to:

  • Generate intestinal damage.

  • Create food allergies, a sign of immune system dysfunction.

  • Change reproductive function in both men and women, including sterility.

  • Lead to increased infant mortality

  • Premature aging

  • Reproductive disorders

  • Immune imbalance

  • Gastrointestinal problems

  • Organ damage

  • Insulin and cholesterol disorders

  • Cancer

  • It’s also been linked to autism, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease

  • Depression

  • Chronic inflammation

Genetically modified food generates a deep toxicity within the body.

Who hasn’t snidely quipped about the sudden increase in gluten sensitivity, often the butt of jokes about imaginary illness? Chances are, however, that it’s not our paranoia that has driven the gluten-free trend but a generation of young adults raised on gut-damaging GMOs.

This connection is not, as some suppose because wheat is genetically modified. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that wheat itself is not a GMO crop. The wheat we have today has changed over the centuries, but not because of lab technicians.

Instead, the Institute of Responsible Technology proposes that it’s the exposure to all of the other GMO crops in our diet that damages the gut and keeps it from properly processing gluten.

Plants are not the only GM foods that have been linked to disease.

Some dairy farms in the United States still inject their cows with something called bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST). Bovine growth hormone is an artificial hormone that was first developed by the agricultural biotech corporation Monsanto.

Genetically engineered bovine growth hormone promotes milk production. It also produces high levels of a hormone called IGF-1 in milk, which is known to cause cancer.

How To Avoid GMOs?

Eat Organic!

Choose No- GMO verified labeled foods.

Avoid canola oil (also called “rapeseed”), cotton oil, vegetable oils, and margarine. Many blended oils in North America contain canola and cottonseed oils. Also avoid soybean oil. Instead, choose organic extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, or peanut oil.

Unless it is specifically listed as organic or non-GMO, avoid the following: soybeans/edamame, tofu, “fake” meats/alternative meat products, soy milk, soy cheeses/alternative dairy products, tempeh, and tamari.

If you are buying anything processed or packaged and not labeled organic, check the ingredients and avoid if it has soy flour, soy protein (included in protein bars and many protein supplements), soy isolates, soy isoflavanes, soy lecithin, or vegetable proteins.

Unless specifically listed as organic or non-GMO, avoid the following: corn on the cob, corn in a can, corn chips, cornflakes and other cereals (read labels), and sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose.

For anything processed or packaged and not labeled organic, check the ingredients and avoid if it lists high-fructose corn syrup or corn syrup. An increasingly high number of products are being made with this crap. Also avoid cornstarch, corn meal, corn gluten, and modified food starch.

Keep in mind that GM corn is fed to cattle and dairy cows. If you eat beef, pork, poultry, or eggs, you are probably consuming secondhand GM corn. To avoid products from animals that have been fed GMOs, choose organic, wild-caught (fish or game), and foods from 100 percent start-to-finish grass-fed animals. Eggs labeled “free range” or “cage-free” do not necessarily mean GM free — make sure it also says organic.

Half of the sugar sold in the United States comes from sugar beets. If a non-organic product lists sugar as an ingredient (not pure cane sugar) then it is almost definitely a combination of sugar cane and GM sugar beets. Avoid anything not listed as 100 percent cane sugar on the packaging. Look for candy, cookies, chocolate, and other products made with 100 percent cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, or organic sugar.

Finally — and importantly — avoid aspartame (the artificial sweetener also known as NutraSweet or Equal). Not only is aspartame associated with myriad disturbing health problems, it’s derived from GM microorganisms, and the amino acid phenylalanine is manufactured with the aid of genetically modified E. coli bacteria.

Also steer clear of soft drinks, processed beverages, and juices that are not 100 percent juice blends. These are most likely made with corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup.

The other main GM foods are Hawaiian papaya (more than 50 percent is genetically modified), and over 24,000 acres of zucchini and yellow squash.

Some farm-raised salmon is also genetically modified, so stay away from eating farm-raised. Choose wild-caught instead.

Grow your own open-pollinated, heirloom variety plants in non-RoundUp treated soil.

Know your farmer and ask pointed questions about his or her growing practices, then opt to support those farmers who do not user RoundUp and plant GMO-free crops.

Yes, all of this does take time but is worth it if you are really concerned about yours and your family's health.

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