Chicken nuggets! Need those. One says organic and the other doesn’t. Why do I care? Why should I spend an extra minute looking for the organic version of my food? Well apart from the organic hype, the fact that it is organic assures me that it is also free of GMOs. Yeah I had no idea what that meant either for a while.
Who? GMO: Genetically modified organisms.
What? They are organisms whose DNA has been changed.
Why? It allows these crops to produce their own pesticides and makes them more resistant to diseases.
There are two sides to the story, as usual. For some, GMO foods decreases the amount of pesticide use, thus decreasing the cost of crop production and helping the environment. For others, GMO foods are a concern since our bodies are not meant to break down such modified foods. Interestingly, the use of GMO foods has been banned in Europe.
I like to indulge in chicken nuggets sometimes, and I make myself feel better about eating them by stating that really it’s not an unhealthy food. I mean there is chicken giving me protein and some bread giving me carbs and energy. So really I am still giving my body nutrition although it is not considered an ideal “healthy” food.
But if my chicken was fed GMO food, do I still get nutrition from it? I would hate to be eating something that irritates my body, let alone something that may not give my body the nutrients it needs.
The effects of GMO foods on people are still unknown, which is why currently there are opposing stances on whether or not foods made from GMO crops should be labelled. Personally, I like knowing what is in my food. Once given the facts I can decide what to buy.
The idea of continuously feeding my body food that is modified essentially to the point where it’s not even a food anymore does not sit to well with me. I mean splicing fish genes into tomatoes? How much more unnatural can it get? Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind it every now and then. Life is short, I want gummy bears and doubt there are organic ones. But for the majority of the time, do I want food that has been altered? Not much information on health effects yet, but I do know cancer occurs when there are a large amount of abnormal cells in the body, to put it plainly. Could the altered DNA in my food have toxic effects on my own cell’s DNA and lead to cancer faster? Also, do I want my body spending energy trying to break down GMO foods when I could be putting that energy to good use at work , the gym, or school?
Currently these are some of the crops are grown from GMO seeds in the US: soy, alfalfa sprouts, corn, canola, cotton, zucchini. According to Dr. Weil, “Corn, sugar, soy protein, cornstarch and vegetable oil almost always come from genetically modified crops”. This means that ice cream, infant formula, brown sugar, peanut butter, mayonnaise, and many more could be GMO. As far as meats go, most animals are fed modified foods since it is cheaper.
If you want to avoid, or limit the amount of GMO foods you eat:
- Buy organic, they are not allowed to be GMO
- Choose wild-caught seafood, not farm
- Avoid corn and soy
- Buy frozen corn or soy since more frozen vegetables are non-GMO
- Local grocery stores, local farmers markets, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts Farmers Market provide a variety of local and organic foods
Well I bought my chicken nuggets. Organic for me. And I enjoyed every bite even more knowing that I was feeding my body something natural and nutritious -well, as nutritious as chicken nuggets can get!
Some references and interesting reads:
Genetic Roulette by Jeffrey M. Smith. (Also a movie now)
GMO: Label Genetically Modified Foods? Dr. Andrew Weil.
GMO Basics. Integrative Wellness and Research Center, Tennessee.
Genetically Modified Foods: Just Say No! Joe Pizzorno, ND.
GMO Food Labeling Drive Has Biotech Industry Biting Back. Gillam, Carey. Reuters Health Information.
GMO: Your Right to Know. Whole Foods Market.