There is a constant worldwide debate on the topic of Genetically Modified Organisms but before we get too into let me clarify what a GMO is. GMO’s are basically foods which have been altered and mutated from their original state either to create a newer and prettier version of the original or to increase yield. They were created to boost the profits of BIG companies and the food industry!

Many countries have banned them completely such as Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand and France, making you wonder: what do they know and we don’t? If risks are not entirely known due to lack of research, is it not best to avoid all together until extensive studies have been completed? There is one sad fact that remains about GMOs – it disrupts the true nature of things. As an example, the monarch butterfly population has severely diminished due to genetic modification of crops. The Monarch typically lay their eggs on one species of plant – the milkweed. When their eggs hatch, the caterpillars feed exclusively on this particular weed. This specific plant tends to thrive around corn fields and so when Monsanto created a GMO corn, the corn crop thrived but killed off an abundance of milkweed. With that, the monarch butterfly’s ecosystem was diminished and the population depleted. Above all, we need to look after our environment so that it may look after us.

Although, we don’t really know the true affect that GMO foods may have on our
health, many studies have been published about the safety of this process to people, wildlife and the environment and there is growing evidence that GMO’s are affecting the well-being of many living things. That’s why consumers in Asia and Europe are demanding that their food be free of genetically modified ingredients and as mentioned above many countries have already banned them all together.

So, why eat organic? How about: to save our planet and to save ourselves. Two good enough reasons that have my vote! Eating GMO free is easier said than done, 70% of items on grocery store shelves are or contain GMO’s! Therefore it’s extremely important to understand how to identify GMO foods in your local grocery store in order to alter your eating to be free of them here are some tips to get you started:

1) Become familiar with common GMO Foods
– Soybeans (in 60% of packaged product), Corn, Rice, Dairy, Papayas and Farm Raised Salmon, Many fruits and vegetables.

2) Buy foods labelled 100% Organic
– The Canadian Government does not allow GMO foods to be labelled this way so if you are buying Certified Organic you know its GMO free

3) Understand Fruit and Veggie Label Numbers
– Look at the sticker next time you buy produce to identify what you are buying.
– 4-digit number = Convention Produce
– 5-digit number beginning with 8 = GMO Produce
– 5-digit number beginning with 9 = Organic Produce

With that in mind, remember a step in the direction is still a step in the right direction. Start with small changes and soon looking at the quality and source of your food will become a lifestyle and less of a chore. In the meantime – are you trading your health for what you are feeding yourself? Hmmm… good question to ask yourself when strolling those isles….