Non GMO foods: How to Avoid GMOs
GMOs are everywhere in our supply chain and according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, around 80% of all conventional, processed foods contain some form of GMOs. Now you would probably say, for me this is not a problem because I am on a plant-based diet and I don’t consume processed foods. But wait a minute, among other things processed foods is also made by fruits and vegetables.
Here you will found how to avoid GMOs and find non GMO foods.
A bit of background
GMOs are plant or meat products with DNA artificially changed in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, bacteria or viruses. All this results with foreign compounds presented in natural foods. This type of genetic alteration definitely is not natural and hasn’t been studied extensively.
Some people believe that GMOs help to feed world hunger, while some disagree with this theory. These peer-reviewed studies link GMOs to increased allergies, organ toxicity, hormonal disruption and other health problems.
How to avoid GMOs and Find non GMO sources
- Buy food labeled “100% organic” or labeled by the 3rd party non-GMO project. These are the ONLY labels that legally guarantee food is 100% GMO-free;
- You should shop at farmer’s markets and be aware that most produce is safe non GMO, even conventional varieties, with the exception of corn, radicchio, beets, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and yellow summer squash;
- Organic whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are safe. Buy organic rice only, safe brands include Lotus and Lundberg;
- Keep eating out to a minimum; and
- Avoid packaged foods/beverages.
Non GMO on a budget?
- Buy lots of fruits and vegetables, with the precaution of corn, beets, zucchini, summer squash, radicchio and Hawaiian papaya.
- Purchase organic grains, legumes, nuts and seeds from bulk sections or online.
- Buy cases of coconuts from local Asian grocery stores. Use the juice, pulp, and fat for a variety of recipes including this one and this one.
- Grow your own food! Here’s a resource for non GMO, safe seeds since many are contaminated with GMO strains.
- Most conventional processed foods.
- Any conventional product that contains sugar. Nearly all sugar in the U.S. is derived from GMO sugar beets. So, read the labels, “no” to anything with ingredients labeled: sugar, fructose, dextrose, glucose, caramel color, mannitol, maltodextrin, etc. Fortunately, you’re safe if ingredients are listed as 100% sugar cane, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar. That’s because the sugar cane plant is more complicated to genetically modify.
- Canola/rapeseed oils. Canola is a modified “food” derived from the rapeseed. Ever heard of mustard gas? Yeah, it’s part of the same family. Over 80% of the Canola/rapeseed in the USA has been genetically modified and it’s better suited as an industrial product than food.
- Any conventional product containing soyor derivatives. This includes their oils and by products like soy protein soy lecithin, isolate, and isoflavone, as well as, tofu, tempeh, and soybean oil. This would include most vitamin E supplements which are derived from soybean oil.
- Any conventional product containing corn. This includes conventional corn muffins, fresh corn, high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch and corn starch products like infant formula and Cheerios, foods commonly given to babies and toddlers. Vitamin C supplements in the form of corn-based ascorbic acid cancontain GMOs.
- Aspartame. Not only is it a neurotoxin, it’s created using a genetically modified bacteria strain.
- Even organic alfalfa is at risk of cross-contamination by the GMO crop. Unfortunately, the USDA didn’t think this was a big deal.
- Conventional cotton, particularly from India and China. This includes processed foods that contain cottonseed oil.
Surprising “safe” (non GMO) foods:
Although Monsanto flirted with GMO tomatoes and potatoes, they weren’t popular due to their bad taste and susceptibility to spoilage. These foods are relatively safe, for now, but, organic is better to be sure.
Wheat is often lumped into the GMO category, but the truth is there hasn’t been a successful attempt to make GMO wheat. While many are allergic to highly tampered wheat crop today, it’s because its high levels of gluten and starch, not GMOs.
What about eating out?
It is not easy to avoid GMOs when eating out, unless you go to a place committed to serving local, organic plant-based foods.
Some non GMO safe bets at most restaurants:
- Vegetable plate (sans zucchini/summer squash);
- Baked potatoes;
- Most salads if you bring your own dressing;
- Nuts and seed dishes like hummus, nut butters, peanut sauces, etc.; and
- Pasta dish with fresh vegetables and herbs.
Want to check out your favorite brands?
GMO-Free Shopping Lists
Here you can find verified non GMO fruits and vegetables. Non GMO Alternative “Dairy” Products can be checked here, while GMO-free Cereals here. Also, you can find Herbs, Spices and Other Ingredients verified as GMO-free here, while here you will find GMO-free Grains, Beans and Flour. Furthermore, GMO-free Tofu, Tempeh and Alternative Meat Products can be found here. And finally, verified GMO-free Vitamins and Supplements can be found here.
We hope this article was helpful (and not overwhelming.) While avoiding all GMOs could lead you to the brink of insanity, we can empower ourselves with knowledge and then make the best decisions for ourselves and family.
How about YOU? Do you go out of your way for non GMOs foods? Or is it not top of mind?