If you live in North America then you know our food does not have to be labelled if it contains GMOs.
However, I have some good news for you!
Once you learn what foods are possible GMOs and all of the names they can be listed as in the ingredient label it is actually really easy to avoid products containing GMOs while grocery shopping.
If you are not sure why you might want to avoid GMOs please refer to some of my previous articles on Featured Documentaries: GMO OMG, Genetic Roulette, King Corn, and The Future of Food.
In addition to the health effects there are also social, political, environmental, and economic outcomes of GMOs, the documentaries listed above are great resources to understand these issues.
So when it comes down to how GMOs affect our health it really comes down to two main issues:
1. The herbicide-resistant GMO crops are heavily sprayed with glyphosate, which is now classified as 'probably carcinogenic to humans' and damages our digestive lining and microbiome. This is also an issue for some non-GMO grains since they can often be sprayed with the same pesticides and herbicides, including glyphosate. I always look for certified organic and non-GMO.
2. Bt-insecticide producing GMO crops are engineered to produce an insecticide from inside of their cells so that when insects bite into the plant the insect dies. GMO advocates state that this insecticidal protein is safe for human ingestion because we have a much more acidic stomach than insects do, rendering the insecticide inactive. However, what is not taken into account is that the pH of our stomach it not always as strongly acidic as it should be. Many people have low stomach acid production, or are taking acid-blocking medications or antacids, and when we eat our stomach becomes a lot less acidic due to the presence of food and liquids.
I feel this is such an important topic, and really is easy to follow once you learn the main ingredients to watch out for.
As consumers, our collective purchasing power has a lot of influence over our food system. We can inspire substantial change by voting with our dollars for sustainable, organic agriculture and safe food.
Lemon Berry Avocado Pudding
2 medium avocados
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup yacon syrup or maple syrup
1 tsp Simply Organic Lemon Extract
1/4 cup Organic Traditions Antioxidant Berry Blast Powder
2-4 tbsp water or almond milk
Add all ingredients to a food processor, NutriBullet, or Vitamix and blend until smooth.
Adjust the amount of sweetener to your preference. Adjust amount of liquid to desired consistency. Garnish with strawberries and coconut chips.
Gut microbiome research is a fascinating area of nutritional science and has even been called the "future of medicine".
The bacteria that live on our skin and in our digestive system outnumber our cells by 10 to 1, so it makes sense that the health of our microbiome is so essential for our overall wellbeing.
This is an excellent presentation introducing the many reasons why this research is extremely important and how we can support the health of our microbiome.
There are many steps we can take to maintain the health of our microbiome, including:
1. Eat unpasteurized fermented foods on a regular basis. I try to include a serving of fermented vegetables in either my lunch or dinner or sometimes both! Examples of unpasteurized fermented foods are: sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, water kefir, and home-made coconut yogurt. *Avoid fermented foods if you have histamine intolerance. Please email me if you would like to learn more.
2. Use a water filter for your drinking water and shower. Chlorine kills bacteria so consuming too much chlorinated water could negatively alter our microbiome. I use the Santevia water pitcher and shower filter.
3. Eat organic and Non-GMO to avoid pesticide residue.
4. Eat plant-based whole-foods. Many types of fibre contained in these foods are prebiotics that help build and maintain proper microbiome balance.
5. Limit your consumption of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates since these are the preferred food for non-beneficial yeasts and bacteria - the kind we don't want.
6. Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. If you must use antibiotics, be sure to follow up after with a high quality probiotic supplement to help rebuild the population of good bacteria in the intestines.
7. Live dirty! Spend time in nature, play in the soil, and garden. Try not to over-sanitize your indoor environment with antibacterial sprays and cleansers. Of course this is best if done from an early age in order to strengthen and train the immune system, but if you are healthy and do not have a compromised immune system then it is never to late to start. Training of the immune system from a young age is an important factor for the prevention of autoimmune conditions, where the immune system confuses our own cells with something that needs to be attacked.
I hope you enjoy the video!
Feel free to book a complimentary 15-min Discovery Call if you would like one-on-one support for 'growing your inner garden' and improving your digestion, mental clarity, and energy levels.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist, college instructor, and raw food educator.