GMO’s are a complicated topic, but it’s essential to know the basics and understand how to avoid them if you choose to do so.
Hey there, it’s Elaine Gardner, I’m the founder of DesignYourHealthyLife.com. I want to talk to you about GMO’s and GM ingredients. GMO stands for “genetically modified organism” and GM would just be “genetically modified”. A lot of people think that genetic modification is the same as a natural replication process, that it’s just like when men and women have children together, or when plants renew themselves and have babies. But it’s actually very, very different.
The process of genetic modification introduces genetic material that doesn’t belong in that organism. If you’ve ever read the Jurassic Park books or have seen the movies (of course that was a fictional story) and remember the story, it is possible that this could have happened because they had pieces of the genetic codes from dinosaurs. So they introduced pieces of genetic material from other species in order to complete the genetic code and were able to grow dinosaurs. But the introduction of those genes changed a lot of the characteristics of how the dinosaurs expressed themselves, and of course in the movie that creates big trouble.
Again, that’s a completely fictional story. But if you think about how a man and a woman join together, you have a combination of chromosomes and genetic material, and you don’t know how that’s going to express in the offspring. If you tried to manipulate that genetic material to determine a specific result, say you want to create blue eyes or you want to create someone who will be six feet tall, you’re also going to get other genes in that mix that are going to create things that you can’t necessarily determine. So it’s not as controlled as we’ve been lead to believe, and there are unintended consequences.
They’ve been able to successfully do some of the things and achieve some of the results that they’re looking for with GMO’s, but there’s also unintended consequences. They are changing our food and changing our food system in ways that we don’t have control over. Also, the method by which they introduce the genetic material into the plant that they’re manipulating is the use of carriers. Those are typically something in the microbial family like a virus or bacteria or something of that nature. The theory was that this material would not be active in the final food, but that has turned out to not be true.
So you also have this foreign microbial activity, foreign viruses and bacteria that are in those genetically modified foods. And they’ve been manipulated so your body doesn’t recognize them, so they can really challenge your immune system as well. And the nutrient content of genetically modified foods is different, and so there’s all kinds of issues created with that. The process of genetic manipulation or modification is very different than hybridization or normal replication by humans and animals. And we’ve been led to believe otherwise, so there’s a little trickery involved in what we, as the public consuming these things, have been told.
We’ve been told that GMO’s are very safe, and that’s a huge political issue that we’ll get to in a minute. One of the things that they’re doing with genetic modification is breeding those plants in order to resist the application of pesticides. This allows for mass application of pesticides to crops without killing the plant that they’re trying to grow. So you have plants that are resistant to pesticides and an increase in pesticide use. The pesticides get into the soil and can still be in the final plant because they’re taken up by the roots, not to mention how much more prevalent they’re going to be in the environment.
One of the main pesticides that we’re using these days, Roundup, is water soluble and spreads everywhere. So we’re using more Roundup and it’s in the air, and the soil, and our water. So yes, we’re able to grow plants that are resistant to Roundup so we can have food to feed people in that way, but we’re creating this huge potential environmental nightmare at the same time. And pesticides are something that your body has to detoxify, so it’s a burden on your body to try to handle those pesticides. When you introduce this new genetic material, your body doesn’t know how to use it or what to do with it. So that’s another issue beyond the genetic modification in and of itself.
The process of genetic modification and having it in our food supply is very, very political and from what I’ve heard, there’s been a lot of suppressed science. I’m not one to read mainstream newspapers or watch TV regularly, but I understand the public has been fed propaganda that GMO’s have been tested for safety even though there’s a lot of evidence that I’ve seen to suggest otherwise. A lot of scientific studies have been done on the effects of GMO’s in animals, with some horrific results such as infertility, massive tumors, disease and things like that. And this is being hidden from the public. It’s a very complicated issue and it’s very hard to know who to listen to and what to believe, but I’ve seen enough evidence that I’m convinced that the science has been suppressed and that GMO’s really are a risk to our health. Our bodies do not know what to do with them.
And the companies that make these genetically modified seeds and plants are also trying to monopolize the food supply by patenting their seeds. Farmers are not allowed to reuse the seeds, and instead have to buy them every year. So the companies making them are really creating a lot of financial stress and dependency on their seeds, with lofty promises that they’ll have better crop yields and all kinds of things. And a lot of those things have not panned out to be true. So it’s a really complex and politically involved issue as well, unfortunately.
Now the good news, the silver lining in all of this, is that genetically modified ingredients or genetically modified organisms are not allowed in organic food production (thank goodness). So as a consumer, if you have concerns about GMO’s, you can buy organic food and you will not be getting genetically modified ingredients. The other label that will protect you from consuming genetically modified ingredients is the Non-GMO Project Verification label. But keep in mind, the only two labels that will actually have legal meaning are USDA Organic (or any kind of certified organic label) and the Non-GMO Project Verification label.
I’ve seen a lot of other labels lately that have very little meaning. Private clients of mine will come in with products that say Non-GMO on them, but that is not legally defined. Unless it is USDA Organic, Certified Organic, or Non-GMO Project Verified, that non-GMO statement can be completely unverified and can be an outright lie. That’s the unfortunate truth about our labeling laws here in the US. And that’s tragic, but at least we do have those two labels that we know we can trust. These labels ensure that there’s nothing genetically modified, no ingredients, no food that was given to the animals, nothing from start to finish can be genetically modified.
So if you have concerns about genetically modified ingredients, (and I would encourage you to be concerned about them because they’re untested, unproven, and something that’s very controversial), I suggest you buy certified organic food and also food that is Non-GMO Project Verified so that you know that you’re not getting GMO’s and just being a guinea pig for these industries that have created these products. Hopefully at some point our labeling laws will be more transparent and it’ll be easier for us to avoid them.
I hope that serves you well. My intention is always to give you inspiration, knowledge and resources so you can have incredible personal health. You need your health in order to live the life that you deserve.
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