Fitness & Nutrition, Life

Know and say, “No,” to GMO!

GMO refers to an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.

Should you be concerned?  Absolutely.

Did you know that the midwest grasslands are disappearing at a rate comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia?  They’re not paving paradise and it’s not even from the devastating droughts over the past few years.  It’s being overtaken by corn and soy, most of which are genetically engineered (GMO).  Corn and soy are two of the most common ingredients in practically everything you buy that is processed.  It also it contributing to a rapid increase in a variety of cancers.  Over 90% of all soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified for herbicide resistance, which means they are sprayed with massive amounts of those toxic chemicals.  85% of all corn is also genetically engineered.  These statistics are referring to non organic.  Farmers sell their soy and corn to distributors who mix these products together, so you are almost gaurenteed to be buying GM foods when you shop, even when it says “all natural.”  I learned this when I tried to buy my favorite Kashi Cereal at Whole Foods and there were signs warning me that it has GM ingredients.  What the heck?  Isn’t that why I’m shopping at Whole Foods to begin with?

It is heart breaking really, when you start trying to eliminate all of the toxic ingredients from your diet.  They are everywhere.  And when you think you know what to look for, you wind up getting dooped by the FDA because guess what?  Derivatives of ingredients that might be banned are allowed to be used, as well as alternate names.

It can be argued either way.  Many people say GM foods are not dangerous, they’re the future.  The science behind “strengthening” a tomato plant with DNA from a fish so that it doesn’t experience frost is said to be revolutionary.  But are they going to far?  Are they playing God with our food?  I tried to play the devil’s advocate because I do think you have to pick your poisons when it comes to the food industry.  The more you read, the scarier it is and the bottom line is you’re not really 100% safe unless you have your own cattle and grow your own food.  The thing that really got me is when you read about DDT.

DDT was a chemical discovered at the turn of the 20th century and was used for a variety of things such as lotions and wet gun powder.  During World War II it was used to help control malaria and typhus.  In the late 1940’s it started to be used as an agricultural insecticide.  It was used worldwide in massive quantities  In 1962 Rachel Carson published a book focusing on the concern of using such large amounts of a chemical in the environment without knowing its effects, both ecologically and in regards to human health.  This led to the environmental movement and the US later banned its use in 1972.  Then it was banned worldwide under the Stockholm Convention.  Why the use of something that kills a disease like malaria was raved about as a insecticide on our crops is beyond me.  Of course you shouldn’t ingest it.

Back to GM foods.  My point is that DDT was a chemical used for nearly 90 years before they realized it was a human carcinogen and environmentally toxic.  The problem with GM foods is that it is very hard to design clinical studies and find the result of ingesting genetically engineered foods, specifically because there aren’t exact doses at certain times.  It’s not tested on humans before it is marketed either.  My fear is that 30 years from now scientists will finally say that GM’s were hazardous to humans.  It also makes you wonder if all of the allergies are a result of massive ingestion of these unstudied ingredients.  The FDA does not have to tell you if your food has GM ingredients in them because they claim that they are essentially the same.  It’s up to you if you think it matters.  The only way to avoid it is if you buy unprocessed foods or certified organic, and know that even then, there can be trace levels of  GM’s due to cross contamination of crops.  However, trace is better than entirely, right?

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