At the annual Canadian Organic Growers conference - which I attended yesterday there was a plethora of information – from how to grow as a farmer, to how to shop as a consumer. However the main theme of the day was the topic of GMO’s. If this is a new term to you – it means Genetically Modified Organisms. Doesn’t sound so appetizing does it? Since there are so many questions, concerns and comments around this area, I thought I would bring to you, my readers, some of latest and most currently research in the area and what you can do as a consumer!
Firstly – you should know that many GMO’S are currently found in most of the food that we eat. Sounds crazy…right? But they can be found among very few crops such as cotton, soy, corn and canola – and these few crops are the basis of most commercial and packaged food that is sold in the market. So a simple solution of course, is to just stop eating these foods and do I what I have been advising all along…eat whole foods!
But the problem with GMO’s goes much further than this. There are many claims, policies and science that goes into this whole field. This has all caused a substantial amount of controversy as to whether GMO’s really actually beneficial to us? The initial theory and “claim” was that they would help to save world hunger, give new variety of foods, improve rural livelihood, help facilities and the environment. Instead they have created more harm that proved to be beneficial. GMO’s have proved to be unsustainable as farmers have to use new seeds every year while destroying the land, they have also created numerous allergies, health problems and deadly conditions, contaminated large sources of our foods and crops that certain populations rely on- and this is just to name a few! So really the goals that may have been in mind, aren’t really accomplishing what they had set out. In fact Europe has already figured this out. In Germany GMO’s are not only rejected by consumers but farmers are liable if they are caught planting GMO crops. Unfortunately in North America – the trend is not the same. There are large companies behind this that will do anything they can to protect their “seeds” and make sure that “their seeds” are the only ones used by farmers in a majority of North America’s farmland. This is a sad truth but there is something you can do. You have a choice to make each time you buy food. There are resources available like the Non GMO project which has set out to help consumers find products that are free of GMO’s. It is important to know and learn what you can do as a consumer and what you can do for your health.
Okay I know, now comes the question of Organic!
I still constantly get asked, how do you know? What is the benefit of organic – is there a difference? Well the proof really is in the pudding. Just try it and see for yourself. It has taken me several years to get the point where I am at now – where I am pretty much 100% organic, local – with the exception of eating out sometimes and other such factors. I have to say that not only do I feel better physically but I know that I am not contaminating my body with pesticides, hormones, residues and GMO’s! I have made the choice not to put toxic foods into my body and have it affect my children one day or my health down the road. You too have this same choice to make. So choose wisely!
The other huge question around organic is the cost. “Organic food is sooo expensive!” The same point that I make to my clients and cooking class participants was also made yesterday.
The initial costs of buying organic – yes “seems” more expensive when you look at your bill and start to compare. But it is the bigger picture that needs to be looked at. First of all, most people consume and eat a lot of meat during the week. Well, meat is expensive – so cut down on that, have more vegetarian meals and you will be saving (plant based foods such as beans and grains go a long way in terms of $ value!) The nest point to mention is that most people also dine out during the week- this is the perfect opportunity to start to make your own healthy organic meals and Dine In! Then you will also be saving and it’s more fun! So in turn by making these small changes you will begin to afford organic and high quality foods – and there actually may not be more actual dollars spent but the value of your health will increase. Isn’t that what it is all about anyways…eating the best foods so that we can feel our very best? (then you will also save on health bills/prescriptions down the road etc..). Why else are we on this planet? Just think about this and it will start to make sense – even if it is not right now.
So just to reiterate you have a choice to make. What do you want to eat? how do you want to feel? where do you want your food coming from? – if you don’t know then start by saying NO to GMO!