Happy Non-GMO Month!
Consider What You’re Eating
If you are an avid non-GMO enthusiast, you know the importance of raising awareness to stop genetic modification in its tracks. If you’re not sure what GMO’s are and why you should care about them, I invite you to read on.
What Are GMO’s? GMO’s are Genetically Modified Organisms. This term typically refers to a particular organism; like agricultural seeds as an example, which has been artificially altered in a laboratory to give the seeds seemingly “better” characteristics for farming. This process is also referred to as Genetic Engineering, and it typically involves removing proteins from one species and inserting them into the genetic makeup of another species. This practice is usually found in conventional agriculture, in which seeds can have animal genes or genes from other plants added to them for supposed benefits.
Why does Genetic Engineering Exist? The intention of genetic modification/engineering is to create crops that have higher yields, are drought-resistant and even pesticide resistant, although sometimes pesticides are engineered into the plants themselves. One argument is that genetic engineering allows farmers to use fewer pesticides on their crops, since the crops will have the pesticides built in. But, research does not offer proof that this is actually a benefit of GM crops. The Non-GMO Project, an organization that offers voluntary labelling of non-GMO’s to producers, notes that the use of the carcinogenic pesticide, Roundup has increased, instead of decreased, with the growth of GMO’s.
Should we be concerned? Research is growing about the risks of GMO consumption and exposure on health, the environment and agriculture. Unfortunately, not enough research or long-enough studies have been conducted to determine the long-term safety of GMO’s. However, many gut-related illnesses have been related to GMO exposure. You may find that by removing genetically modified foods from your diet that some digestive disturbances can improve.
Foods to Avoid: Only some countries have banned GMO’s. The top genetically modified foods in Canada are soy, corn, canola, sugar beet and alfalfa, and these foods are in almost all packaged, processed foods. It can be tough to find them and avoid them. My tip? Do your research, choose products that have the non-GMO Project Verified butterfly seal (see below), or, choose certified organic to avoid genetic modification, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and synthetic/sewage-derived fertilizers.
Helpful Resources: This month encourages the celebration and awareness of companies and retailers who have committed to using ingredients that are not genetically modified.
For more information, check out www.nongmoproject.org, to find a list of non-GMO retailers and non-GMO verified products, and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network https://cban.ca/ for the latest research and updates on genetic modification.
Megan Horsley is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who helps her clients discover a holistic approach to their wellbeing with delicious food and, enriching lifestyle choices.