Do you really know what is on your plate? Halloween may have come and gone, but tricks are being played on us year-round. Even if you are trying to make healthier choices, there’s a dirty secret that big agriculture companies don’t want us to know about.
Your plate may contain “Frankenfoods” that are not found in nature. Genetically modified foods are created through bioengineering and can be made from inserting genes from one species into another. These crops are designed to be resistant to each company’s own herbicide. The herbicide is forced into the DNA so that when you eat a genetically modified food you are also eating the herbicide.
The problem is that genetically engineered foods are not labeled, so you don’t know you are eating them. And most Americans are eating them every day. In fact, genetically engineered ingredients are in 75% of the foods on America’s supermarket shelves.
The highest risk crops are: Canola, Corn, Sugar Beets, Hawaiian Papaya, Soy, Cotton, Zucchini, and Yellow Neck Squash.
Though the FDA deems these foods “Generally Recognized as Safe,” GMOs have never been tested, so no one knows for sure what effect they’re having on our bodies.
Worst of all, GMOs have also been linked to toxic and allergic reactions in people, and to sickness, sterility, and fatalities in livestock. They have also shown to be linked to damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals.
While many European and South American countries have outright bans against genetically engineered foods, America doesn’t even label GMO foods as such.
The bad news is that this is going on behind most of our backs, but the good news is that by educating ourselves we can make healthier choices. There are 3 steps you can make to avoid GMOs:
1- While there is no law that states companies must label foods as genetically modified, there are certain companies that have taken it upon themselves to label their products “non-GMO verified.”
2- Buy organic. This is a good step but does not ensure 100% safety from GMOs. Although GMOs are not allowed under the National Organic Program, organic certification does not require GMO testing.
3- Inform yourself on the issue. A great website is: Nongmoproject.org
How many of you are confused about what to eat? I’ll never forget years ago, on a visit home, when my mom told me she had just heard that you shouldn’t eat raw spinach and that tomatoes may be linked to certain illnesses. One day Popeye was telling us that spinach would make us big and strong and the next we were being told to eat it sparingly.
These contradictions are part of the reason that us nutrition “freaks” are so annoying to some people. One person touts a “miracle food” and the next day that same food is linked to some ungodly health issue. We are constantly being barraged by new diet fads that generally tend to cut one type of food down or completely out. My belief is that when we restrict our selves from one food completely, we tend to crave it even more. Think about the last time you decided to completely cut out sugar from your diet. How often did you think about sugar? Did you end up binging on a bar of chocolate or, in my case, a bunch of killer cookies?
My point is to not talk about cravings but to emphasize what I have finally come to realize about food. After a late-night debate with my husband, Jeff, I came to the understanding that what we need to focus on is the quality of our food. Instead of pushing a certain diet or type of food we need to think about what “clean” or “real” food is. What does that mean? Well it’s quite simple. It means that you avoid processed foods as much as possible, and that your food looks like what it is. Your potatoes look like potatoes and aren’t in a bag in chip-form, your turkey looks a turkey and not a perfect round ball of meat, and your strawberry looks like the fruit and not a square of fruit leather. Ideally your vegetables are organic when possible, your meat is raised in its natural state, and your grains are whole. Sounds pretty simple, right? Of course organic is not always going to be available, both literally and financially. So we do our best with what we have. Non-organic, canned, and/or frozen veggies are better than no veggies at all! The wise words of Michael Pollen sum it up for me: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
But what do we do with that sugar craving that still looms? I say have a little sugar, not a lot, enjoy it, savor it, and move on.
One of our favorite family traditions involves climbing a flight of stairs. Not just any flight of stairs, mind you, but the stairs that lead to the Season Pass office just above the Lift Tickets windows at Snow Park… [read more]
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