“I got this from the farmer’s market, so it’s non-GMO and basically organic,” your friend tells you. Unless you’ve been watching all those food shockumentaries on Netflix, you may not know why you should care..
What’s the Difference?
A GMO is a Genetically Modified Organism. Think scientists in labs mixing strawberry seed genes with Icelandic fish to make the strawberries immortal.
GMO’s are damaging to the environment and small-scale farmers. Often times, the GMO seed is genetically patented and will not re-grow. GMO seeds mix into the gene pool of organic seeds and subsequently farmers are forced to buy from Monsanto, one of the largest pharmaceutical and agricultural companies that produces genetically-modified foods.
GMO food is sometimes designed to produce its own insecticide, so we end up ingesting those “naturally” grown chemicals. Some think GMO’s are a potential cause of food allergies and other autoimmune inflammation.
On the other end of the spectrum, organic food is produce or meat brought to you under a strict set of chemical-reducing guidelines. Organic standards ask for regularly tested soil, growth without pesticides, and clean harvesting techniques. Organic food is then packed, labeled, processed, shipped and distributed to maintain organic integrity. So, if you buy organic from OTA certified retailers, then you know it is mostly GMO-free.
Mostly is the key word. Only 95% of organically-labeled foods need to be organic. The other 5% can be non-organic.
Where to Buy
Shopping at farmer’s markets is a safe bet. Small-scale farmers care deeply about providing organic, GMO-free food. You can always ask vendors for details.
Whole Foods is also committed to offering quality foods. The staff should be educated on which items are GMO-free and organic. And now there is an organic section at most chain supermarkets. You can get your Earthbound Farm’s Organic Kale on your midnight run to Ralph’s
Another great habit to get into is reading the label of your packaged foods. If the label doesn’t mention organic or GMO-free, chances are GMO’s are present. According to the Non GMO Project, 80% of food sold today contains GMO ingredients.
As you integrate more organic foods into your diet, it is most important to buy organic foods that you eat the skin of, like blueberries, grapes, and broccoli. If you want to start changing what you buy, start with your most consumed items. If you eat a lot of carrots, buy them organic.
The point of leading a healthy lifestyle is peace of mind, and the facts about the GMO/Organic issue can be pretty depressing. So, just keep on exercising, watching funny movies and drinking purified water to help flush out any residual mental and physical toxins!
Find out more at:
– Sara Schwartz, Fabletics Master