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Oh GMOs, you dirty little rascals.

In the wake of the Prop 37 defeat in California I thought it would be nice to do a quick post on GMOs.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

“… an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.”

A broad spectrum of organisms and science with thousands of variables, wrinkles and gray areas, GMOs are basically organisms that scientists have altered the DNA of to some degree. Ranging from drought resistant to built-in toxins, these new “products” have been developed in the pursuit of scientific and agricultural progress. Although I think there may someday be some well formulated and safe GMOs, their introduction into the food supply without adequate testing was a bad idea. Whether you fall on the side of the fence of the doomsday skeptics (more and more of us), the “they are the virtually the same organisms” side (less and less of us) or somewhere in the middle, it is important that we all have some knowledge of what’s going on in our food supply.

What was once a well intentioned dream and effort to help increase food production has turned into a nightmare. For all of history plants have been adapting to their environment, changing as needed to survive and reproduce. Slowly and in harmony with the rest of the natural world. Then humans came along, found out we could practice agriculture and it soon followed people began breeding certain plants for the best interest of the crops and human consumption. Manipulation, sure, but within the laws of nature. Then it got ugly.

Several decades ago scientists started looking into genetic modification of plant and animal DNA. They wanted to make plants more resilient and hearty. They succeeded. But they never asked at what cost to human health.

Now we are finding out that there is indeed a big problem with eating soybeans with Round Up or corn with insect intestine rupturing toxins built into their DNA. Many scientists did indeed argue this was a bad idea long ago. Unfortunately, politics, big business and money argued louder. So here we are, dealing with the fallout.

GMOs are everywhere. Check out this graph:
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Nearly anything soy is GMO with cotton and corn not far behind and closing the gap. There are many more foods in the GMO pipeline and this graph doesn’t even include genetically altered wheat that is now almost everywhere.

So how do we navigate the murky, altered gene filled water?

Here’s a start, two great resources:

A Non GMO Shopping Guide
This is great resource, with tons of info, resources, a downloadable PDF and an iPhone App.

The Non GMO Project
More info, resources and action steps you can take to get GMOs out of your family’s life.

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The Bare 5 Bottom Line:
1. Taking a few minutes to educate yourself about GMOs and how to limit your exposure to them can only benefit your health.
2. Limit or avoid soy and be aware of corn, wheat and cotton (think cottonseed oil in food products) in your diet.
3. Fanatical avoidance of GMOs is likely unnecessary.
4. Eating real, whole food limits your exposure to GMOs.
5. Supporting efforts to get genetically modified food labeled is likely in our best interests.

Thanks for reading, have a great non GMO day!

P.S. Another great infographic…

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