If you read “What is a GMO? (And why do so many people want them banned?),” you may be wondering…
Am I eating GMOs?
Yeah, you probably are.
Despite all the effort I put into avoiding them, I know I am. I know my kids are. That is because they are pretty much in everything that comes out of a box or a package. And don’t forget, there is NO requirement to label GMOs.
What do you mean everything?
A huge number of the crops grown in this country are genetically modified:
- 94% of soy
- 90% of cotton
- 90% of canola
- 95% of sugar beets
- 88% of corn
Other common GMOs are Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and yellow squash. GMOs are also lurking in meat, eggs, and dairy products which have been fed GMO feed; milk from cows injected with the rBGH; and no-calorie sweeteners like aspartame.
Take a wander through your kitchen and pantry, reading labels… and, unless you are already making a conscious effort to avoid them, you will find GMOs in almost everything you pick up. Look for ingredients like corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and cottenseed oil–or vegetable oil, which could be any of many “plant-based” oils, including corn or canola oil. Look for ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or even sugar–because unless the label says “pure cane sugar” the sweetness comes from sugar beets, and therefore is likely to be genetically modified. Look for ingredients with the word “soy” in them–like soy lecithin and isolated soy protein–and “natural flavors” which can mean just about anything that is extracted from plant or animal matter and probably means MSG, which is hydrolyzed soy protein.
Does that make you want to toss out your bread, cereal, crackers, cookies, chips, chocolate and chocolate chips, ketchup, pickles, tomato sauce, peanut butter, and ice cream… and dozens of other things?
I did. I wanted to, that is; some of the things I really did just toss out.
The Boy and I went to the grocery store to find GMOs. It wasn’t hard. And it’s not just the stuff you already know is bad for you, like soda and chips. The so-called “healthy” foods are full of GMOs, too.
We also looked at some stuff that can in no way be considered “good for you,” but is oh, so tasty. And–no surprise–found GMOs in the form of vegetable oil, soybean oil, soy lecithin, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and natural flavors.
Is it even possible to avoid GMOs?
Here are some tips:
- Buy Organic. Certified organic foods are not allowed to contain GMOs or be GMOs.
- Buy foods labeled “Non GMO Verified.”
- Avoid processed foods. A lot of GMOs can be avoided simply by shunning anything that comes out of a box, jar, or bottle.
- Read labels. Skip things with corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin (that’s the one that gets me… it’s in almost every chocolate bar out there; if you find one without any, please let me know!), sugar, and soybean or canola oils.
- Use resources like the NON GMO Project and Fooducate (including the cool app you can download and scan food at the grocery store–it’s fun, trust me) to find GMO free food.
- Shop at your local farmers’ market and ASK the farmer where the food came from and how it was grown.
- Buy grass-fed or pastured meat, eggs, and dairy. Better yet, get your meat, eggs, and dairy from farmers you know and trust.
It takes a little work, and a lot of label reading. But it is quite possible to cut down on, if not eliminate entirely, GMOs from your diet.