Many of the illnesses that we and our loved ones contract today were almost unheard of just a few decades ago. In fact, our ancestors were often healthier than we are, even though many were on a steady diet of beans, potatoes, cornbread, and real butter. How is that possible? Many questions are now being asked of GMO food, which has been making its way into the human food chain for just over 20 years now.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
First of all, let’s examine the development of the use of GMOs. What are GMOs and why do we have them? GMOs (Generically Modified Organisms) are genetically modified foods that are meant to help with the problem of world hunger by making crops stronger and more resistant to insecticides and herbicides.
This sounds great until we learn about the potential health risks involved when we consume these foods. As much as they are tested, we simply cannot be sure that they don’t cause long term health issues. The first commercially-available GMO food has been around only since 1994, and recently major steps have been taken to introduce significantly more GMO foods into our supermarkets – without being labeled as such.
There has been an ongoing battle between pro-GMO lobbyists and the general public. A common thread is that “independent” research into the safety of GMO food is often secretly sponsored by the food industry which has a strong financial interest in painting GMO food in a positive light. Independent studies are few and far between, and long-term studies are virtually non-existent. The public is therefore right to be wary of the safety of GMO foods.
Avoiding Genetically Modified Foods
How do we avoid consuming GMO foods? It is made all the more difficult in the U.S. at the moment as there is no mandatory labeling of GMO products.
- Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably that are organic and/or are labeled as being “Non-GMO”.
- Try to eat only wild caught seafood, because farm-raised fish may have been fed GMO foods.
- Don’t be afraid to ask where the ingredients of your food are sourced from when eating out.
- Request that your food be cooked in olive oil to avoid things like soy sauce, cooking oil and salad dressing.
- Most grains, seeds, nuts and beans are still non-GMO, so keep these around for fast, tasty meals and snacks.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners such as asparatme, as they are often made from genetically modified microorganisms.
If consumers begin to avoid companies promoting GMO foods, companies will find that they are a marketing liability and will begin to remove them. Eliminating GMOs from one’s diet, even a little at the time, may help increase energy levels, and may even help control weight and other health issues.
Many people who choose to follow a non-GMO diet also follow a vegan diet. Vegan diets are low in cholesterol and are generally low in saturated fat, reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases. A good vegan diet also provides better control and prevention of diabetes, a healthier body mass index and lower blood pressure.