In my last post, I offered reasons for buying organic food. Now let me chat a bit about nasty ass GMOs (OMG). Then I’ll give you tips about where to put your money when you’re grocery shopping. Here we go.
What happens when you cross a sheep and a cauliflower?!
This is basically what’s happening in the wild world of genetic modification; scientists take genes from a species (a fish, for example), and splice them into a vegetable (let’s say corn) so the resulting “plant” has more desirable characteristics suitable for growing conditions.
But before you freak out, the science experiment that is genetic modification was created with good intentions. Genetic modification was created to ensure that more people are fed. But as consumers, we have a CHOICE and therefore don’t have to buy food that has been genetically modified; buying organic is one of the ways.
Genetically modified crops are neither healthy nor delicious:
- GMO crops are modified for higher yields.
- GMO crops are sometimes engineered to already contain pesticides and/or be resistant to higher levels of pesticides. This translates to more pesticides in your bod.
- They’re lower in nutritional value, which translates to less value for your money overall (pay me later).
- And most concerning of all, because GM crops are so new, we really don’t know what the long-term effects of consuming them will be. Digestive concerns are just the tip of the iceberg.
Common GMO crops include the foods that we find in nearly every processed food:
This means that any processed food that you may come across will likely contain one of these GMO ingredients.
But do you trust a chemist more than mother nature? I sure don’t.
How can you tell the GMOs from the good guys?
- If the 5-digit number starts with a 9, the produce is ORGANIC.
- If the 5-digit number starts with an 8, the produce is GMO.
- If it’s a 4-digit number, the produce is CONVENTIONALLY GROWN and contains PESTICIDES.
Which foods to buy organic?
If you can’t afford to buy everything organic, that’s ok. It’s a big step to start buying all of your food organically. Here are some tips:
- Buy the ‘Dirty Dozen’ organic. What’s the Dirty Dozen? These are the guys that you should buy organic because they don’t have thick peels and therefore have higher pesticide residues. Think celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, kale, collard greens and potatoes. For a full list, visit the Environmental Working Group’s site.
- Spring for organic oils, meat, eggs and dairy. Toxins and pesticides tend to accumulate in fats, so try to buy the best organic quality that you can afford. And you know what’s cool? When a cow is allowed to feed on grass (as a cow should), its meat and milk has a higher level of essential fatty acids (EFAs), which can be beneficial for our health. And here’s another fact: organically raised cows, chickens and pigs cannot be fed GMO feed. Oh, and organic meats have less exposure to antibiotics. There are concerns that use of antibiotics are leading to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
- Sign up for an organic delivery. Prices can range from $30 for a weekly delivery of organic produce. If you love to experiment in the kitchen, but don’t like to shop for groceries, this could be the solution for you! An organic box can be like a magical mystery tour, each week brings some new treasures and you can have lots of fun and learn about new ingredients in the process. If you live in the Toronto area, check out Mama Earth Organics: http://www.mamaearth.ca/
Cheers to all things organic! xo Andrea