By Heather Munro
These days, figuring out what to eat is just plain overwhelming. Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan — these are just a few of the diets my friends are following. But I, for one, don’t do well with extremes.
During one detox, I became the creature from the all-liquid black lagoon. Consequently, I have learned to make gradual changes to my diet. Giving up dairy milk in my cereal first, and then omitting it from my coffee, for example. Right now, I am applying the same gradual approach to my GMO consumption.
You’ve probably been warned to stay away from GMOs. In fact, General Mills just announced that its original Cheerios would be GMO-free.
Here’s the deal. The FDA claims to regulate GMOs, saying they’re safe to consume. And the conventional argument has been that we need disease- and pest-resistant plants so we can provide enough food for everyone on the planet.
But on the other hand, more than 60 countries, including all of the European Union, have banned GMOs. Opponents argue that the pesticides alone we are consuming are enough to give us pause. Even more disturbing, no one really knows how dramatically changing the genes of these plants and animals are affecting the health of humans.
And the truth is that it’s getting harder to ignore the environmental damage from using strong chemicals and pesticides in our food supply. Not to mention that allowing mega-corporations like Monsanto to own seed "rights" has dramatically changed the American farming industry, making it near impossible for small, local farms to turn a profit.
So what can you do? Safe food crusader Jeffrey Smith, author of the world’s best-selling book Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, explains how to avoid GMOs.
Your Cheat Sheet: Nine Likely GMO Crops
3) Cotton used for cottonseed oil
4) Canola oil
5) Alfalfa used for animal feed
6) Sugar from sugar beets
7) Papaya from Hawaii or China
8) Some zucchini
9) Some crookneck squash
But here’s where it can get tricky. 9 out of 10 processed foods, according to Smith, can include derivatives of any of these GMO crops. Now what?
The only way to be absolutely sure is to read the ingredients list for traces of GMO crops. Thankfully, the NON-GMO Project’s Web site makes searching foods by brand, category and name fairly simple.
What about when you’re in the store? The Non-GMO Shopping Guide has downloadable shopping guides, pocket shopping guides, even an app for your iPhone to help take the guesswork out of purchasing your groceries.
The easiest thing to remember though, is to check the packaging for one of these two important labels: USDA Organic or NON-GMO Project Verified, both of which mean there are absolutely no GMOs inside.
Hungry for more information about America’s food supply? Check out Gaiam TV’s Everything You Wanted to Know about GMOs video collection.