I received this message in my e-mail box today from The Center for Food Safety, and I wanted to share it with my readers. Holiday time means people are buying more food and other products than any other time of year.
This year, I want to challenge my readers to commit to going GMO-free for the holidays (next step, make it a part of your regular habits after the holidays too). Please read this valuable information from CFS and my commentary in italics.
Then, please take a few minutes and watch me being interviewed by my friend Leslie Stoddard who co-founded GMO-free Idaho with Jenny Easley. I am so excited about the important work these two women are doing, and I’ll do everything I can to support their efforts and work alongside them. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and may it be filled with blessings, health, real food, and lots of time with friends and family.
Thanksgiving is the time of year when we gather with friends and family and reflect upon all the things we are thankful for in our lives. Of course, no good celebration is complete without sharing it over a good meal. But many popular Thanksgiving dishes may use ingredients that have been genetically engineered. Here are 5 simple tips to try to avoid these unlabeled, unwanted guests:
- If you’re eating turkey, try to buy it organic so it hasn’t been given genetically engineered feed. For you Tofurky fans, Tofurky sources non-GMO ingredients.
Go one step further and buy your turkey locally from a sustainable farmer that pasture-raises their turkeys and if they supplement, make sure the feed is non-GMO and soy and corn-free. Soy and corn in feed can diminish the nutritional value of poultry meat, and cause food allergies, organic or not, and interfere with hormones in those who eat the meat. See the section below on soy. Tofurky is not real food, its an engineered product that the body doesn’t know how to absorb – organic or not. AVOID at all costs. Real meat and fat is important for health.
- Look out for the Big 5. These are the ingredients most likely to be genetically-engineered. You’ll find them primarily in prepared, packaged and canned foods like stuffing mix, oils, prepared desserts, and canned cranberry sauces.
- Corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrup
- Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose
- Modified food starch
From a real food standpoint, soy is unhealthy to consume unless traditionally prepared through fermentation. So I avoid soy as much as possible unless it’s naturally fermented soy sauce or miso soup. I don’t care for tofu, so I don’t ever buy it. I might eat it if I know it’s been properly fermented, but I avoid all products with soy in them like the plague, and especially since it is hormone altering (thyroid, thymus, hypothalamus), contains phytic acid which inhibits the uptake of various nutrients including minerals, and contains phytoestrogens which also alter our hormonal state.
- Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone
- Vegetable oil and vegetable protein
- Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil)
There is never any reason to consume vegetable oil, organic or not. These are modern oils our body cannot process. They are created by the food industry, are fragile and become denatured during the cooking process, and even before they are stocked on the grocery store shelf, they have been deodorized and subjected to high-heat temperatures. Read this post about how cottonseed oil was originally created, and just how pervasive it is in our food supply. These oils also contain Omega 6s, one of the elements our Standard American Diet is too plentiful in, and which contribute to inflammation and disease in the body (i.e., heart disease, cancer, and obesity).
Instead of sugar, opt for healthy, unrefined sweeteners such as Rapadura, sucanat, coconut date sugar, maple sugar, real maple syrup – B grade, real Stevia (the green variety, not white powdered), and raw honey. These sweeteners, especially if organic, are non-GMO and contain important trace nutrients and minerals, left intact due to their low-processed state.
- Unless 100% cane sugar or evaporated cane sugar, sugar may be produced from sugar beets which may be genetically engineered.
Look for products labeled “USDA Organic,” or labeled as “Non-GMO.” Certified organic products are not allowed to be produced using GMOs.
Go one step further and buy as much as you can from local, sustainable farmers. Here’s a post about what types of questions to ask your farmer when buying food. USDA organic labels are not always reliable, and because of labeling laws becoming less stringent more “fuzzy”, you may end up buying something containing something you don’t want that’s not even showing on the label.
- Look for dairy products (milk, cream, butter) labeled “rbGH-free,” “rbST-free” or “USDA Organic,” as they are not produced with genetically-engineered, artificial growth hormones.
Go several steps further and buy local, sustainable milk – raw is best because it retains all the important beneficial bacteria (probiotics), enzymes, and nutritional value since the milk is not heated – from healthy cows on pasture. Many commercial milks, even organic, still come from cows in confinement and from animals fed a large majority of their diets in soy, corn, and grain. Cattle are ruminants and are meant to consume grass as they have long digestive tracts designed to process grass. When they are fed other substances like corn, soy, and grain, the result is an acidic digestive tract and overall health. They become sick and then farmers administer antibiotics and other harmful drugs which alter their health and the quality of the milk.
- Look for products in our True Food Shoppers Guide. You can download a .pdf for free, or as a free app for your iPhone or Android mobile phone.
Other action steps to take:
- Tell FDA to label GE foods! The Center for Food Safety recently filed a formal legal petition with FDA demanding that the agency require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Now, we are spearheading a drive with over 350 other organizations and businesses in the Just Label It! Campaign, to direct one million comments to the FDA in support of our petition.
An ABC News poll found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. As ABC News stated, “Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare.” Yet the United States is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling of GE food!
In my opinion, mandatory labeling doesn’t solve the inherent problem of GMOs polluting our earth, but it gets consumer awareness up. We need this because currently, most people I have talked to about GMOs either have no idea or don’t think it’s an issue. This is scary. Once mandatory labeling becomes a law, we can work toward the next goal which is banning GMOs from our food supply all together – what many European countries have already done and what we should have done years ago.
In the U.S., we pride ourselves on having choices and making informed decisions. Under current FDA regulations, we don’t have that choice when it comes to GE ingredients in the foods we purchase and feed our families. Send your comment to FDA demanding mandatory labeling of GE foods today!
- If you are fortunate enough to be able to share the holiday abundance, please consider donating to a local Food bank, or volunteering some time on Thanksgiving to help those less fortunate. If you don’t know where your local food bank or soup kitchen program is check Volunteer Match by typing in your zip code and “Thanksgiving” for a list of Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities near you.
Here’s the video interview with Leslie Stoddard of GMO-free Idaho. The purpose of this interview was to spread the news about GMOs to our community and beyond, and to help people understand that avoiding GMOs is not only possible but critical to our health and the environment, and the success of the sustainable food community – an effort that may well be one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Here’s Part I and Part II:
GMO-Free Idaho Interview Part 1
GMO-Free Idaho Interview Part 2
Busting myths about GMOs
Stop the use of GMOs in our food supply
The Institute for Responsible Technology – providing research and education to consumers who want to make educated decisions about what they eat