A Simple Guide to Eating GMO-Free
While I am totally in favor of GMO labeling, I’m not waiting for labeling to occur in order to eliminate GMO foods from my diet. We can all eat GMO-free NOW.
For me, the biggest reason to not eat GMO foods is GMO technology alters the natural state of foods. The are just unnatural. Our bodies and foods were designed by nature to be compatible. GMO foods are different. I think we may not see the real health effects of GMOs for decades.
So how do you know what’s GMO?
The first thing to know is that there are very specific GMO crops. Not everything is GMO.
The following crops are at risk of being genetically engineered, either because GMO varieties are in commercial production, or because of contamination from unapproved trial varieties:
Yellow Summer Squash
Honey & other Bee Products
So if you stay away from the foods listed above, you’re pretty much avoiding GMOs.
The problem is that these are very common ingredients in processed foods, which may have other names on labels, including (but are not limited to): Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.
It’s actually easier to identify what is NOT GMO.
If you are looking at packaged foods and food products (such as dietary supplements), look for identifying symbols that there are no GMOs. There is no standard symbol for this, but if a product intentionally does not contain GMOs, the manufacturer will usually make that clear on the label.
Also you can look for the Non-GMO Verified seal. This organization verifies products as compliant with the Non-GMO Project standard. Products are listed on their website and also carry the seal on their labels. These products are usually carried at natural food stores and online. Thrive is a good online source for non-GMO packaged foods and food products (and with a membership you get a substantial discount).
There is also an app you can get for your cell phone that will help you identify which supermarket foods are GMO-free. If you shop at supermarkets (which I don’t recommend). get the True Food Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GE Food from the Center for Food Safety.
My best recommendation is to prepare your own meals with fresh, certified organic ingredients. USDA Organic standards do not allow GMOs in organic food. Even better is to frequent your local farmer’s markets or join a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) so you can get to know your local farmers, visit their farms, and observe their growing practices. Ask questions at your local natural food stores that sell organic produce and fresh meats and dairy products.
As long as you know what to look for, it’s pretty easy to find foods that are GMO-free.
In addition to these crops, GMOs can also be found in cheese. Read my post GMOs In Cheese? Yes for details on how to find and make cheese that is GMO-free.