Week 7: 2017 Healthy Start – Organic vs. Non-GMO

Once upon a time there was a perfect little grain. He was natural, untouched by the greed of mankind. But as years grew by, his children, and his children’s children became tainted and the original little grain lost his perfect little DNA.

We live in a world where vast fortunes of wealth and consumption are prominent in one part of the Earth, while devastation and famine dominates the other areas. And while food source can be scarce in many countries, the true nature of food has greatly changed throughout the years. Once when farmers knew very little of the word “genetically modified” now has to fight for territorial rights along neighboring farmers who are less inclined to grow healthier crops. While non-genetically modified organisms are important to preventing health problems and destroying the environment, people are often confused with the difference between the term organic and non-gmo.

When shopping for non-GMO products, it’s important to look for the Non-GMO Project (https://www.nongmoproject.org/) verified label. The Non-GMO Project started in 2007 with the intent to educate and verify the status of GMO products in the US food industry. Before the Non-GMO Project, consumers naively purchased food products from stores assuming they were somewhat if not entirely safe to consume. If you weren’t growing your own food you had to rely on what was sold in markets. But when organic foods became more readily available in markets, so was the term “Non-GMO” popping up almost everywhere. Consumers started getting even more confused. Because wait – wasn’t non-GMO the same as organic? Well, that’s where the confusion lay.

So what exactly does non-GMO infer? GMO, or genetically modified organisms, refers to plants, animals, and other organisms whose genetic material has been changed in ways that do not occur naturally. Such instances would be products that have been manufactured in a “lab” rather than from traditionally-grown seeds from original crops. In order for food to be labeled as “non-GMO”, the food must be made without ingredients that derived from genetically altered or manufactured organisms. For meat, poultry, dairy and eggs, the “non-GMO” labeling indicates animals were not fed a diet containing genetically engineered crops.

But which is better for you? Organic or non-GMO? Well, organic products go through strict guidelines under the USDA organic certification process. There are so many steps to ensure your products are indeed organically made and grown that sometimes products can get quite costly. Below, I’ve outlined the vast differences and how you can make wiser decisions in the food and products you buy. Buying organic is always best but sometimes it’s not possible so always look for the non-GMO Project verified label to ensure your food does not contain “frankenstein” organisms.

 

As you can see from the info above, choosing organic products is always a safer choice and while non-GMO products are just a standard, it isn’t always regulated. The Non-GMO Project does their best to test and identify brands that are certified under the Non-GMO Project label, but there are still companies out there who hide under the radar and bypass many steps to ensure a safer and healthier product.

But organic doesn’t always mean that it’s healthier for you either. Organic products have to contain at least 75% of organic ingredients in order to be approved by the USDA and wear the USDA Organic label. That means the other 15% or so could contain not so healthy ingredients. Of course companies who strive to produce organic products usually do so with honorable intentions because they have a reputation to uphold, after all. Regardless of whether you buy mostly organic products or not, always read the labels.

If you’re concerned about buying food that are grown using genetically modified organism, watch out for these top 10 most common GMO foods:

1. Soy – Up to 90% of soybeans in the market have been genetically modified to be naturally resistant to an herbicide called, Round Up. 

2. Corn – Half of the US farms growing corn to sell to the conglomerate, Monsanto, are growing GMO corn.

3. Canola Oil – Canola oil is derived from rapeseed oil. It is considered one of the most chemically altered oils sold in the US.

4. Cotton – Cotton has also been on the rise to be genetically altered.

5. Sugar Beets – commonly found in food that contains sugar.

6. Papaya – 77% of Hawaiian papayas are grown genetically modified.

7. Squash – squash are readily grown in the US and other countries for faster growth and resilience to insects.

8. Zucchini – like squash, zucchini contains a toxic protein that helps make it more resistant to insects.

9. Tomatoes – tomatoes grow abundantly and can be found in many types of food in the US and across the world. Insecticides are also used for resistance in crops.

10. Aspartame – Aspartame is made from aspartate, methanol, and phenylaline. All are highly carcinogenic which can cause drastic health issues.

So when it comes to the argument of whether to buy organic or non-GMO, try to buy organic whenever possible. Organic ingredients are strictly and often tested and must be certified on a regular basis. These testing include not only the final product, but the soil and seeds used as well. But if buying organic isn’t always possible, then be sure to look for the non-GMO Project verified label (or the “butterfly” label).

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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