GMOs stand for Genetically Modified Organisms. The process of genetic engineering involves taking a gene from one species and inserting it into the DNA of another. This creates something never before seen in the history of natural evolution. The transferring of genes into another species is not always exact and the possibility for damage to that species' genetic structure is very real. To learn more about the process of genetic engineering you can read this article.
Why would I want to go GMO-Free?
Before genetically engineered foods were quietly introduced into our food supply in 1996, there were no tests performed to determine the long-term health risks to humans and animals. After their introduction we have seen cancer rates skyrocket, food allergies reach a level never before seen, and autism rates steadily climb.
Not only are we consuming a genetic structure never before recognized by our bodies, but we are also consuming the toxic herbicides and pesticides these plants have been engineered to either withstand or produce themselves. Many plants, including soy and grains, are sprayed with an herbicide called glyphosate. Now glyphosate, commonly known as Round-Up, is unique in that it kills off the friendly bacteria in our guts while also binding to minerals. It is one of the most potent mineral chelators known! So if we eat animals that were fed GMO grains (and most are unless you buy organic pasture-rasied animals) and we eat the grains that were sprayed (non-organic wheat, barley, lentils, oats, and sorghum), we leave our bodies susceptible to multiple mineral deficiencies and abnormal gut flora. Did you know that abnormal gut flora and mineral deficiencies partner to create immune system dysregulation and therefore leave the body susceptible to food allergies and sensitivities?
Did you know that corn is now engineered to produce the Bt toxin? So when an insect goes to take a nibble from the corn, the Bt toxin breaks holes in its digestive system, killing it. Well what happens to animals or humans that ingest this corn? We've now seen massive amounts of livestock deaths and infertility from the feeding of Bt corn. A recent Quebec study showed that the Bt toxin has been found in over 90% of pregnant women, in 80% of umbilical blood samples taken from fetuses, as well as in 67% of non-pregnant women. It is theorized that our gut bacteria transfer the Bt toxin gene into their own DNA and begin to produce the toxin themselves. So on top of consuming it, now we have people walking around producing the Bt toxin in their own guts! Remember that the Bt toxin is designed to poke holes in the digestive systems of insects. It is possible that it is doing this in our own intestines and this is part of the reason we are seeing a huge increase in the number of people dealing with "leaky gut syndrome." Having a leaky gut allows for large food molecules and bacteria from the intestines to enter the blood stream where the immune system perceives them as invaders and attacks and immune response. If you want to learn more about a leaky gut and how it develops please check out our newest book, Nourishing Meals, where we thoroughly examine the causes behind the food allergy epidemic.
Additionally, new research has shown that the consumption of genetically engineered food is causing tumor growth in lab rats. A two year study in Europe has shown that feeding GMO corn to rats increased liver damage by 2.5 to 5.5 times compared to the control groups. Rats fed the GM corn with glyphosate were 2 to 3 times more likely to die, have more tumors, and the tumors were larger compared to controls.
To learn more about the health risks associated with consuming genetically engineered foods please read this article from The Institute for Responsible Technology.
How do I avoid GMOs and Herbicides?
Since GMOs are not labeled it is very difficult to avoid them at this point. When you grocery shop you can buy "organic" since organic foods cannot be made with genetically engineered ingredients. But you have to be careful when buying processed foods. Many companies make a label claim that sounds something like this: "Made with organic ingredients!" This just means that some of the ingredients are organic, while the others may be genetically modified. Even when shopping at a food co-op or health food store, you may be purchasing foods made with GMOs and not even realize it.
In addition, many of the gluten-free products on the market today are either made with GMOs or made with non-organic grains sprayed with glyphosate! Look at all of the baking mixes made with cornstarch and other non-organic gluten-free flours. Remember that glyphosate destroys our healthy gut bacteria leaving us susceptible to digestive disorders, nutrient deficiencies, and food allergies.
Corn, soy, sugar beets (white sugar), canola oil, cotton (non-organic cotton clothing and cottonseed oil), papaya, and zucchini are the most commonly genetically modified foods right now.
Non-organic wheat, barley, oats, soy, and sorghum are typically sprayed with herbicides, such as glyphosate. Additionally, glyphosate is sprayed on land for an average of 10 years following a clear cut to keep deciduous growth down so the young conifer trees can grow. Think of the damage to the soil and the water run-off!
Here is what you CAN do:
- Avoid eating out unless you find a restaurant that uses ingredients which are 100% organic and GMO-Free
- Look for the Non GMO Project Verified seal of approval on food products
- Use this GMO Free shopping guide
- Buy organic!!
- If you are an omnivore, eat animals only raised on organic pasture land instead of being fed grains
- If you eat grains, be sure you are buying organic to avoid consuming herbicides
- Eat a simple, unprocessed whole foods diet
- Get to know your farmers and buy locally
- Learn more so you know the risks of consuming GMOs by watching movies such as Genetic Roulette
- Learn more by reading this article, entitled GMO Myths and Truths
- Beyond food, think of purchasing upcycled or used clothing, organic cotton or hemp clothing, or natural woolens. Cotton is heavily sprayed with chemicals and is one of the most common genetically engineered plants