Why Eating Organic, Non GMO and/or Local Is Much Better Than Eating GMOs and/or ‘Long Distance’ Produce
These days, it’s easy to get confused about the topics surrounding our nation’s food supply. More people are becoming aware of what’s been happening, but it’s a slow moving train. GMOs and organic food are not usually something that’s covered in the mainstream media. It takes deeper inspection and an expanded search for answers, if you’re truly interested in being informed.
I’ll do my best to keep it as simple as possible, even though this topic isn’t always simple. Let’s break it down:
Organic produce are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that are grown without, according to Wikipedia, ‘synthetic petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides; plant growth regulators such as hormones; antibiotic use in livestock; genetically modified organisms; human sewage sludge; and nanomaterials‘ for reasons including sustainability, openness, independence, health, and safety. That pretty much covers it all, wouldn’t you say, as to why it’s important to eat only organic?
GMOs are genetically modified organisms and are usually produced by inserting a gene from another species into a species, mutating a species with a gene from another species, or deleting some genes from a species. For agriculture, the main ‘benefits’ for GMOs are resistance to pests, resistance to herbicides, increased nutritional value, or production of valuable goods such as drugs (pharming) as well as increased shelf life. According to the Non GMO Project, though, these promises aren’t proving to be true: ‘Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.’ In the U.S., GMOs are in about 80 percent of the processed food supply in the U.S., and what’s more disturbing is that labeling them as having GMOs is not required. There’s lots of information on the Non GMO Project’s website; that site alone will give you a lot of education. Once this subject is understood, there’s really nothing that can be said that is a benefit to consuming GMOs.
Non GMOs obviously are the pure organism; there’s no mutation, additions or deletions of that organism’s genes. There are about 60 countries around the world that ban or restrict GMOs. For that alone, it would make sense to buy and consume produce from those countries.
Local produce is just what it implies…the produce was grown, picked and distributed locally. Local food, when purchased and consumed, contains the most nutrients intact. If a food is picked, bought and eaten fairly quickly, in a matter of days, that consumer will get the most nutrients because it didn’t have so much time to oxidize, whereas ‘long distance’ produce does. Whether produce is grown and picked across the country, or in another country overseas, that produce’s nutrients oxidation is greatly increased and its shelf life are greatly decreased.
And speaking of ‘Long Distance’ Produce, the other side of that is that this produce is sprayed with preservatives that slow down the ripening effect caused by a natural hormone called ethylene. Preservatives such as SmartFresh are sprayed on many different types of produce and supposedly is a safe substance for humans. With that being said, researching all of the preservatives used in every single item you buy that is known to come from across the country or overseas, would be very time consuming, let alone finding out what that farmer used.
Let’s put it all together…
Organic produce? Buy and eat it whenever you can. Yes, in some parts of the U.S. it’s hard to find. Do your best. Get your produce at Farmers Markets. Ask your farmer how he/she grows their food. Do they spray with pesticides? Keep in mind that even if they aren’t labeling their food as organic, it may still be…they just might not be able to afford to pay for certification. Grow your own, if you can. Join your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) not only because most if not all of the produce is organic but it’s also local.
GMOs? That’s a big fat no, any way you slice it. Of course, it’s easier said than done. GMO’s are everywhere. In some parts of the country, it’s extremely difficult to find non GMO produce. Some tips: if your only option are GMO fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them well. One way to control your GMO consumption is to either not buy processed foods or only buy processed foods with the Non GMO project label on them. This ensures that what you’re eating does not contain GMOs. You can find a list of participating brands, retailers, restaurants, and even an iPhone app to use, here . Another thing you can do to help improve your health if you’re eating GMOs, is to consistently detox your body from them. This can include eating superfoods like cilantro, chlorella, wheatgrass (powder or juice), psyllium husks, and MSM. Probiotics and roots and herbs like Burdock and Cascara Sagrada help too.
Local produce vs ‘Long Distance’ produce has some gray areas to it. Local produce will help your local economy, reduce environmental pollution, and it will provide the most readily available nutrients, especially if it’s non gmo. Overall, local is best, even it’s not organic (remember what is noted above, about Organics…it may be organic, just not certified). If you’re choosing to buy produce that is grown in other countries and across the country, where the transit time will be long from the time it’s picked to the time you eat it, you have some things to consider: the local economy isn’t benefitted as much, the environment is not benefitted as much (energy costs and pollution in transporting it), and your body isn’t benefitted as much…meaning the oxidation of that food is greater and the preservatives used in avoiding that food to spoil may or may not be harmful to you. You would have to research what preservatives were used and if that particular preservative has been tested to be okay for humans.
I hope this made more sense in figuring out what’s happening to our food supply and how to determine which routes to go, for your own personal use and benefit. These issues can be very in depth and complex, so I encourage you to do your own research!