Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rally for Real Food and GMO 101

So maybe you've heard the hype about GMOs or maybe it's one more acronym that has made your eyes glaze over in the grocery store. 

Either way, you'll want to pay attention. Believe me. 

"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food."

My husband just got back from the Farm and Food Leadership Conference in San Antonio hosted by the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. I was a little jealous of all of the great snacks and meals he was telling me about over the phone on the breaks, but mainly I wanted to hear about the latest updates on GMOs in farming

I've heard about scary mutations happening to produce highlighted in some of the documentaries we've seen and wanted to learn more about the latest news in GMO research. I want to be an educated food consumer. It is my family's health at risk after all.

When Austin-based Beanitos (a non-GMO verified product) sent me information about the upcoming Rally for Real Food on Sunday, October 2 from 12-4 p.m. I knew we would be headed to the capital steps to support the right to know what is in our food. Check out Beanitos on the NBC Today Show's Healthy Lunch Box Finds on Friday, September 16th at 8:36 a.m. CST. Or, check them out on Oprah's website.

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. 
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
-Ayurvedic Proverb

GMO 101 (No textbook needed)

Prepare to be scared. No, it's not Halloween. I'm talking about scary mutated vegetables and fruit. The veggies and fruits sitting in your fridge right now, in your child's lunch or being served at your local cafe are being disguised as real food.  

Many of the foods we eat on a regular basis are GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms. They are food plants that have been genetically engineered to alter the original, natural plant in some way. The DNA from other sources are transferred into an organism through gene splicing so that it is altered in a way that (in theory at least) deters pests and increases crop yields. To give you an idea of what we're looking at, most European countries already restrict or outright ban GMO food products. 

The most common GMO crops are corn, cotton, soybeans and canola. The problem is, the corn you may be enjoying may actually contain the genes from animals, bacteria and viruses. These GMO plants are formed through gene splicing and do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Corn Chops, anyone? It also makes it very complicated for a person with food allergies as they do not know if they are reacting to the actual food or genes from an organism introduced through engineering. 

The first step is to start with your farmers' market and ask questions about their seeds. Look for non-GMO labels on food products in the store (Wheatsville and People's Pharmacy are a great place to start!) Read labels and ask questions. Shouldn't we be doing that anyway? The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance reports estimates that 80% of packaged products in US and Canadian grocery stores have GMOs present.

If you are buying produce at the grocery store, look for the little sticky PLU codes on produce:

4 numbers = conventionally grown
9 numbers beginning with an "8" = GMO
9 numbers beginning with a "9" = organically grown

Which foods are the biggest concerns?  The foods to watch out for are ones that are resistant to glyphosate or glufosinate because these are the plants that are "Round-up Ready" meaning you can dump chemicals on the plants without the plants dying so that they don't have to control weeds. It is also possible that some of these chemicals are what might be causing problems in bees and other pollinators. The entire food chain may be affected. 

Please pass this information along to your friends, co-workers and family. We should have the right to know what we're eating. 

GMO - Just the Science

The Non-GMO Project
Non-GMO Report

Read more about the GM seed giant, Monsanto, and why they are a concern to small, organic, non-GMO farms. 

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. 
-Thomas Edison

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