To Avoid GMOs – Go Organic

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Avoid GMOs - Go Organic (USDA Organic Symbol) at 100 Days of Real Food #GMO #organic #realfoodHere’s the crazy thing about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) – not only have no long term trials been conducted to evaluate the health impact of eating GMOs, but also it’s very difficult to know when you’re eating them (unless you’re only eating organic). And while this may be top of mind when purchasing some of the common GMO crops like corn, soy, and even papaya, I think it’s something that is often overlooked when purchasing not-so-obvious products like dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.).

Dairy cows do of course have to eat just like the rest of us, and if their products aren’t labeled organic (or from a farm that follows organic practices), their diet is likely full of GMO feed.Avoid GMOs - Go Organic (Stonyfield) at 100 Days of Real Food #GMO #organic #realfood

Maybe this wouldn’t be a huge issue if GMOs were actually labeled here in the US. Can you believe there are 64 countries around the world (including Kenya, Bulgaria, and China) that are required to tell their citizens what’s in their food (therefore they Just Label It), but the US is not one of them?

That’s why I am thrilled to be partnering with Stonyfield on this sponsored post today. They are an organic company that is passionate about the issue of labeling GMOs and changing things for the better.

What are GMOs? Not to be confused with hybridization and appearing in our food supply for only 20 or so years, GMOs are “organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.” – World Health Organization

Personal Impact

The bottom line is, if you are buying high-risk crops or dairy that’s not organic, then you are likely consuming GMOs. In the case of dairy, cows that are not raised on an organic diet are likely given GMO crops as their feed. And, since many of you are parents, you know first hand the food that mothers eat while nursing (i.e. spicy food or allergens) greatly impacts the quality of their milk. So if a cow is being fed GMO corn, well, “You are what you eat eats too,” to quote Michael Pollan.

And when it comes to GMOs, we just don’t know yet how they will (or won’t) affect our health in the long run, which is rather disturbing considering how wide spread GMO crops are becoming in our country and the fact that they aren’t currently labeled. So, to avoid GMOs, choose organic when buying high-risk crops and animal products like dairy.

Environmental Impact

According to the Just Label It organization, industry introduced GMOs to the market “with the promise of higher crop yields, but the only things that have increased are the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides, the number of resistant weeds and bugs, contaminated crops, and chemical industry profits.” And as a result, Dr. Charles Benbrook of Washington State University says GMO/GE crop technology has led to an overall pesticide use increase of an estimated 404 million pounds since 1996. That is a crazy number, especially when we are talking about the use of synthetic chemicals designed to kill pests (i.e. poison)!

Not Enough Studies 

As I mentioned, GMOs are fairly new on the scene (only around for a few decades in a world where we’ve been eating for eons), and therefore no long-term trials have been conducted to evaluate the health impact of eating GMO foods. So that means we simply don’t know whether there are any negative health effects from eating these crops. Do any of you want to be the guinea pig here? The unknowns about GMOs sound like scary stuff to me!

What You Can DoAvoid GMOs - Go Organic (Just Label It) at 100 Days of Real Food #GMO #organic #realfood

  • Buy organic, especially when it comes to high-risk crops and animal products like dairy. This way you’ll be absolutely sure you are avoiding GMOs.
  • Be a proponent of GMO labeling through an organization like Just Label It, which, by the way, was co-founded by Stonyfield’s Chairman, Gary Hirshberg. How cool is that for a corporation? 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on GMOs in the comments below!

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69 comments to To Avoid GMOs – Go Organic

  • Jane

    Lisa, we live near Homestead creamery and get their milk (which is also what you have said you use for your family). I don’t know if you have heard this or not, but they don’t feed their cows entirely on grass. I have talked with one of the owners and he said they are partially fed on grain that very well could be GMO grain. So you see, it seems to turn up even when we are attempting to avoid it. He also told me that even if they wanted to get non-gmo feed, it is not likely that they could because of all the cross-pollination that has contaminated non-gmo fields so much! Also, does it bother you that Stonyfield now uses homogenized milk to make their yogurt? I don’t remember reading whether you have an opinion about homogenization, but I think it’s just one more additional step away from the “real” food! I really miss the creamline yogurt that Stonyfield used to make!

    • Critical Reader

      I think cross-contamination is way overestimated. I recently read a report from European food control dealing with that issue in context with foods imported from the US. Cross-contamination does not seem to be a huge problem. Why is cross-contamination is considered such a huge issue?

      Concerning grass-fed cows: not all breeds do well with grass only. Dairy cows are bread to produce huge amounts of milk, for which they need protein (otherwise they would degrade muscle tissue).

      • Brie

        Cross-contamination and cross-pollination are two different things. If foods are imported into Europe from America they are in in their adult form and not sharing genetic material with European crops. I live in Germany and It has been my observation that most of the foods I’m buying here are from the EU, not imported from the US. Riles regarding pesticides, hormone and antibiotic use, etc. is much stricter here, so they won’t eat what we eat at home. Coincidently, there are very few over weight people here…I just saying…

        I think the concern for farmers in the US is that plants that have been genetically modified are pollinating plants that have not been and the “off spring” are all genetically mortified . If you consider how far an insect can travel it seems unlikely that any plants eaten in the US haven’t been effects by cross-pollination.

        • Critical Reader

          I used cross-contamination and cross-pollination synonymously.

          I understand which concerns farmers have or – more correct – which concerns people not familiar with agriculture think farmers should have. Depending on weather condiditons (wind) pollen can travel far, but it is not like pollen from the GMO-field is flying straight up into the air, taking a several hundred feet sideways turn, landing on the neighbour field and entirely conaminating/pollinating their crop. You see cross-contamination at the edges of the field, and sometimes farmes take advantage of it by starting their own little breeding project … and sometimes get sued …

          US crops/foods/feeds imported to Europe are frequently tested for their GMO-content. If any edible plant in the US was contaminated via cross-polliantion with GMOs we should be able to detect GMOs with analytical methods – but we don’t. Any GMO report I have read so far shows either none or a very low level of contamination, from which I conclude that cross-pollination (and cross-contamination) is overrated.

          It is a matter of debate whether food regulation is stricter in the US or in Europe. At least in terms of GMO labeling Europe is stricter, and – importantly – GMO labeling also applies to organic products. GMO labeling initiatives in the US are driven by organic manufacturers (why?) and they conveniently excluded themselves from the regulation. That stinks.

          I don’t think that the high obesity rate in the US is due to GMOs.

          How do you know that the majority of the foods you buy in Germany was produced in the EU? Also, is that a good or bad thing?

  • Stephanie

    I’m all for GMO’s being labeled!! We here in the state of Washington, have the opportunity to vote on GMO labeling! I of course, hope it will pass, and hopefully soon after all the other states in the US will too. When our food is “tampered” with (like with GMO’s) our bodies don’t recognize it the same, and then our brains are triggered with false signals of “I need more” or “I’m still hungry” then leading our country into obesity which then causes way more health issues. I also think MOST of our issues of cancer in this country is from our food system! Let’s have a start to do something about this and get back to REAL FOOD!

  • BOK

    We totally believe in eating products that are not GMO!! It is very unfortunate that in this country (USA) CORPORATE profits come before safety..

  • Sandy

    Just saw this news article and thought you guys would be interested (if you aren’t already aware of this):

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/huge-gmo-news_b_4129311.html

  • Jen

    In your blog post it makes it seem like you are saying if something is organic that iIt’s is therefore not a GMO or does not contain any GMO’s. I did not thing that that was an absolute, although obviously more likely less GMOs than conventional non-organic products. Am I wrong? Or are the two synonymous?

  • Jennifer Lawrenson

    THANK YOU so much for providing people with this information!! My family learned the hard way about GMO’s. They where making my infant daughter very sick with an allergic reaction that was causing her vocal cords to paralyze shut and giving her and my son stomach and digestive problems. I had no idea over a year ago what GMO’s even where. I thought I was feeding my kids what I ate as a kid. Since mom’s on the Internet telling their stories saved my daughters life I decided that I should share our story in hopes it might save another child from suffering. This is my family’s story: http://youtu.be/KOFy0wEN6RY There’s a lot of moms that have sick kids with a wide range of symptoms who have gotten better off of GMO’s. My family lives in Washington state and we are praying 522 passes. I also believe there is a problem with cross pollination and contamination! In Oregon this year a farmer discovered his wheat he planted was GMO. GMO wheat is not legal to grow for human or animal consumption in the US and its been years since test crops where planted there. All wheat has to be tested for GMO’s now before it can be exported to other countries because they don’t want or allow GMO’s. They also discovered GMO alfalfa on a farm in Washington a few weeks ago. Thank you again!

  • Thank you for this article I agree all product with GMO should be labeled. We have the right to know what we are putting into our bodies!

  • Laura

    Hi, I have been enjoying all the recipes and lunch ideas.
    Just reading the blog post about GMO food and it seems to me that the number one problematic GMO food has not been mentioned- wheat! All wheat since the early 1970′s has been so modified that it is essentially a ‘frankengrain.’ The things they did to wheat to make it more drought resistant, higher yielding, and give it more desirable baking characteristics, etc was all done without any consideration for how it might affect the health of the consummer. Genetic changes made to ‘frankengrain’ leaves us with wheat which the body cannot fully digest, and which causes a myriad of destructive health effects including arthritis, acid reflux, skin disoreders, brain fog and other nuerological conditions, and of course weight gain. Modern wheat is addictive. It actually works as an appetite stimulant. How? It is an opiate, making it addictive and making us want more, more, more. This opiate ( wheat) binds to the opiate receptors of the brain, but unlike heroine, doesn’t make us high. It makes us hungry. All this from a food we are advised to eat more of.

    I have just read “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis and he explains how the wheat ( pasta, bread, cereals, etc) that we consumme is not the wheat that our grandparents consummed.
    Also, he says that switching white flour, white bread or regular pasta for “healthy” whole grains (ie whole wheat flour, wholewheat breads or pastas) is like turning the dial of health only about 5%. To drastically improve one’s health and avoid serious health problems, one needs to eliminate all wheat for a 100% health improvement. There is no such things as ‘healthy whole grains’ when it comes to our modern day version of wheat. Consumming white OR wholegrain bread increases blood sugar more than pure sugar. The Glycemic Index shows that eating a Mars Bar for breakfast will increase your blood sugars LESS than 2 slices of toast- regardless of whether its white or brown bread. Food for thought. The list of health conditions associated with modern day wheat consumption is formidable. I recommend “Wheat Belly”. It’s a compelling read. It is hard to wrap one’s head around going ‘wheat free’ for health since conventional dietary wisdom says to consumme more healthy whole grains and eat a low fat diet. It is this dietary ‘wisdom’ which has seen diabetes and obesity reach epidemic levels. Cheers.

  • Amy

    Thanks for pointing out that many products people don’t think of as GMO most certainly contain GMOs. My daughter is severely allergic to corn and she reacts badly to milk from animals fed corn. If they are not fed corn she can drink milk without issue. It does get into the milk and also into the meat as well. GMOs are in almost all processed foods. I’m in favor of labeling and even more in favor of making GMOs illegal entirely. They are part of what is slowly killing us and I believe are a huge part of why we have seen such a huge increase in food allergies, especially in children. They’re not the only factor of course, but a big part of it.

  • Allison

    Hi Lisa…I love your blog and have been following it for the past few months. I don’t usually post or comment on sites but today I felt the need. My son is 3 years old, I have been giving him healthy, homemade, sometimes organic food since he was introduced to food as a baby ( I used to make his baby food with organic ingredients) therefore he has never really had too much in the way of processed food. Although, he does love chicken fingers and french fries. Anyway, this year was the first year he went trick or treating, and the past couple of days he has been acting crazy hyper as if he was a motor that won’t stop. Completely unlike him. I looked at my husband and said what is wrong with him? I can’t even get a complete thought out of him. He looks at me and says…the candy. It was as if a brick hit me in the head. Oh my goodness the candy. Something which he has only had a handful of times before. He was completely strung out on candy and processed food. Today alone he had a bag of those mini muffins, fruit snacks, m&ms and 3 mini cookies out of a snack bag. He has never had any of those things before and now I know why. I was amazed how two day with these items in his body has completely changed his behavior. Needless to say I threw all of this “junk” out as soon as I put him to bed. I am sure you have heard many stories like this before, but I was so amazed that I felt the need to share. I am glad that my family eats healthy on a regular basis and feel grateful that my children (I have a 3 month old) will continue to be given the healthy wholesome food that we eat every day.

  • Wonderful! I love Stonyfield and I’m terrified of GMO’s! Thanks for helping to spread this message!

  • I wasn’t aware of http://www.justlabelit.org – thanks for the additional resource!

  • […] does their best to treat both farmers and the planet well, but also is passionate about helping in the fight to label GMOs. And today we are going to be discussing Stonyfield’s signature product – organic […]

  • Ros

    i’m Kenyan and i didn’t even know gmo’s have to be labelled in Kenya..Way to go Kenyan government…Great Job Lisa, and 100 days team..you enlighten us in so many ways!!

  • Ros

    i’m Kenyan and i didn’t even know gmo’s have to be labelled in Kenya..Way to go Kenyan government…

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