I’m a firm believer in cutting GMO foods from our diets. But where do we start? Check out this list of non-GMO foods for your day.
When our family began transitioning to a healthier lifestyle nearly a decade ago, I was swimming in overwhelm at all of the changes we needed to make.
Our food, cleaning products, toiletries, and more needed a major overhaul. Just where should we start?
I learned that baby steps are crucial, and the best place to start is with food.
So when I was pregnant with our firstborn–and then even more so during her baby and toddler years–we began changing our diets.
One of the first things we sought to do was cut out GMO–or genetically modified organisms–foods.
Just what are GMO Foods?
GMOs are organisms—including plants and vegetables—that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals.
Some GMO corn and soybean varieties, for example, have had their DNA altered to make them resistant to chemical herbicides or to produce their own pesticides.
Where do GMOs show up in food?
There are actually just a handful of GMO crops, but they happen to be some of the most common ingredients in all processed foods!
Some experts estimate that GMOS are present in approximately 70 percent of processed foods in our grocery stores!
But we all ate processed foods growing up and turned out just fine, right?
That’s a comment I hear all the time, and at first glance, it might appear true.
But those of us born in the 1980s (1980s baby raising her hand here!) didn’t consumer GMO foods during most of our childhood!
In fact, the first commercial sale of genetically engineered food dates back only to 1994.
That means that most of us didn’t consume GMOs at all until our teen years. Even then, it took time for GMOs to dominate the marketplace the way they do today.
At least 26 countries worldwide totally or partially ban GMOs, and more than 60 countries require GMO labeling.
However, the United States does neither.
Why avoid GMOs?
Studies show that GMO crops lead to the increased use of toxic chemicals, herbicides and pesticides in conventional farming, elevating the risk of toxin exposure to the general public and especially farming communities.
Toxic pesticides and chemicals have been linked to birth defects, nerve damage and cancer, with children and pregnant women most at risk. Toxic chemicals also pollute our waterways, oceans and air.
How to Avoid GMO Foods
GMOs are often confusing.
What is the difference between non-GMO and organic foods? Are they one in the same? Are some organic foods GMO and vice versa?
In a nutshell, if you stick to all organic foods, you will be safe from GMOs. No organic foods can be GMO. However, some conventional (non-organic) foods are also GMO-free.
Your best bet would be to stick to organic foods for the main GMO crops, which are, at this writing are: soy, corn, cotton (cottonseed oil is in a lot of processed foods!), canola, sugar beats, alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash (source).
You will find that most of the above are present in almost every non-organic processed food on the market today.
Ideas for Non-GMO Foods for Your Day
While losing weight through the Trim Healthy Mama diet earlier this year, I grasped onto the fact that it’s absolutely necessary to nourish our bodies with energy foods throughout the day.
But how can we do this while avoiding GMOs?
It helps me to have a list of what I can eat.
The following are some ideas for some non-GMO foods for your day. These foods are nutrient dense and will help you maintain your energy without exposing yourself to GMO foods.
1. organic boiled eggs
2. veggies and hummus
3. organic cheese sticks or slices
5. fruit and nut butter
6. veggies and nut butter
7. green smoothies
8. protein bars
9. orange or peach slices and cottage cheese
The key is to eat these foods every few hours, in between meals, to avoid binge eating at meal time and to also retain energy levels throughout the day.
It’s important to have a protein source every time you eat, so I always ask myself: “Where is the protein?”
Kate Geagan, MS, RD and award-winning dietitian and “America’s Green Nutritionist,” put together the above info graphic to help you know how to shop for non-GMO foods. I hope you find it as helpful as I did! You could even print it off and keep it in your purse while shopping!
What are your ideas for incorporating non-GMO foods into your day?