If you’re conscious about your health finding out how to avoid gmo foods is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. The food you eat provides fuel to give your body energy throughout the day as well as improve your physical health.
It’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a diet of candy bars and potato chips. However, with more GMO foods entering our food supply every day it’s becoming harder than ever to know what you’re really eating.
A GMO is a Genetically Modified Organism, meaning that it’s been altered by a scientist in a laboratory on a genetic level.
The term can apply to foods, plants, even mammals that have had their genes manipulated to become something that nature never intended them to be.
One example would be a type of strawberry that was developed to be more frost tolerant. In order to do so, scientists inserted a gene from a cold ocean dwelling fish. Sounds tasty doesn’t it?
How to Avoid GMO Foods: “Franken-foods”
According to government statements testing has been done on these so-called “Franken-foods” and they were found to be “substantially equivalent” to the original food.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has shown that consumption of GMO foods are linked to genetic problems with: Insulin control, cholesterol, protein formation, and cell signaling, changes in the kidney, liver, spleen and gastrointestinal system, accelerated aging, a weakened immune system and even infertility.
It can be difficult to know how to avoid GMO foods. There is no government standard on labeling and companies are not required to tell you if the products they’re selling you contain them.
Monsanto, the largest GMO manufacturer in the world, a corporation that has sued hundreds of farmers for replanting its “patented” GMO seeds has openly admitted that over half of the sweet corn consumed in the United States is genetically modified.
This corn was originally intended to be for animal feed only but government officials have indifferently stated that hundreds of tons of this genetically modified corn have made it on to our supermarket shelves.
Chipotle Mexican Grill & GMO Labels
Not all companies have the same views as Monsanto. Chipotle Mexican Grill has become one of the first restaurant chains to label all GMOs on its company website, placing a red “G” next to any ingredient containing these organisms.
While the company admits they are unable to rid their menu completely of them, they have given much in the effort to raise awareness of the issue.
In 2012 Chipotle was extremely vocal in their support of California’s Proposition 37, which would have required the labeling of all genetically modified foods and forbidden them to be labeled as “natural”. Unfortunately, the proposition did not pass.
An Easy Way to Tell GMO Foods from Organic Foods
So how can you avoid GMO foods and not eat foods spliced with random genes? There are ways. First you can look for PLU codes. It’s okay, I didn’t know what they were either. It stands for Price look-up codes.
The next time you’re in the grocery store pick up a piece of fruit. There’s a good chance it has a sticker on it with a four or five digit number on it. If it has five numbers look closer.
Requirements by the International Federation for Produce Standards require that the first number be a ‘9’ if the item is organic and ‘8’ if it’s a GMO. Nine is just fine but hate the eight.
Your healthiest choice, if possible, is always your local farmer’s market or your own garden.
The fruits and vegetables you find in the supermarket were picked before they were ready to eat in order to get to the store when they were ripe. By the time you purchase them they’ve been sitting for days, if not weeks, losing their nutritional value from the tumble of transit and the shock of cold storage.
In addition, your grocers want the products they sell you to be pretty and perfect. A typical commercially grown fruit or vegetable may have been treated with 20 or more pesticides before being covered with a spray coating of wax to give it that nice shiny look.
If your food comes from your garden you know what, if any products are on it.
Fruits and vegetables at a farmer’s market are often picked that day and you can talk to the farmer and learn his techniques and whether any chemicals were applied.
Either way your food will be healthier, tastier and GMO free.