POP Nutrition | Organic vs. Non-GMO

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I think we are what we eat and that, at least for me personally, goes beyond just macro-nutrients (e.g., carbohydrates, proteins and fats).  I am blessed with an option to be able to buy mostly organic foods including produce, milk, cheese, and the list goes on. But only yesterday I truly made the connection between Orgnic and NON GMO.

It was news to me but not by any means news for the rest of the world. I am glad that I finally had the light bulb go on and was able to find a lot of resources online. Although, I already took some steps in the right direction about a year ago I still never connect the dots between GMO and Organic.

For instance, I stopped buying anything with canola oil, since the canola plant never existed until it was finally created. As per Canadian Canola Council “…For decades, Canadian plant breeders had pursued a high-quality edible oilseed that would thrive on the Canadian prairies. They succeeded by removing the anti-nutritional components from rapeseed”. If you do not knwo rapeseed is highly toxic for human and cannot be ingested. Here is a great article about how canola oil was made.  Although, Canadian Canola Council states “..that Canola is not rapeseed. While canola’s origins were in rapeseed, the two plants are not the same. Their nutritional profiles are very different…” they also state that “…For more than four decades, plant breeders have continued to improve the yield, plant disease resistance and quality of canola”. I do not even have to say anything they said it themselves that rapeseed seeds genes were modified  and …The plant was named canola – a contraction of Canada and ola, meaning oil.” So it is not GMO Free. It cannot be due to it’s origins.

But for some reason even though I kept thinking how I still can see Canola oil labeled Organic on the shelves of markets while it is GMO and only yesterday, almost after a year I made the connect. Or rather I should say Food Babe made the connection for me.

So lets see what those two terms mean – Organic and GMO:

Organic Agriculture: Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use. Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a defined set of standards to produce organic food and fiber. Congress described general organic principles in the Organic Foods Production Act, and the USDA defines specific organic standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives. ( http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=organic-agriculture.html)

GMO: GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. 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.

Here are two great sites where you can get even more information and find out about the product you use at home and feeding you kids (I love the tool where I could check my son’s favorite snack):

  • http://www.gmofreeusa.org
  • http://www.nongmoproject.org
  • http://www.responsibletechnology.org/buy-non-gmo

That brings me to Organic + GMO Free living and how to make sense of it. I think it is great to look at those two definition as external and internal environmental characteristics where Organic is external growth components and GMO Free is internal ecosystem component.  Both are complimentary to each other and vital to healthy and strong body.

I fought with myslef for a long time about even just going mostly organic because it is expensive and frankly just hard to get a lot of times. Moreover, certain items are just not available or are very hard to find. Next time you are in the store try looking for organic papaya, pineapples, cantaloupes, watermelons, cucumbers and etc. But at the end what we are evaluating is more then just food, we are looking at the quality of life of our families and I think they deserve the best and as a parent we are responsible for not just making sure they are not hungry but also nurtured with quality foods. So here are my TOP THREE tricks to staying on the budget:

  1. Buy what’s in season. Those items usually have the most nutrient density and are a lot of times on sale since they are in season and there is a whole lot to go around. Check out this great one stop resource for what’s in season in your neck of the woods: http://www.cuesa.org/eat-seasonally/charts.
  2. Buy in bulk. For example, I get 5 lb. organic carrots vs. small baby carrots and slice them up for my son and 1 lb. organic carrots cost almost twice as much as a 5lb bag. To save time I invested in a few kitchen items to get long-term saving: KitcheanAid mixer, pasta maker, slicer, power blender, and etc.
  3. Subscribe and save. I use Amazon and other retailers who allow me to subscribe and save. I also got Amazon credit card that gives me up to 5% back, plus I bundled my items to come at certain interval and if there is more then 5 I get another 15% OFF. That is 20% OFF on top of other savings. Another retailer that gives discount is Nature Path (great Non-GMO and Organic snacks and cereals), Vitacost and Swanson (both are great for vitamins, soaps, toothpaste and other household items). They also give free shipping on orders more then $49.

And before I go here is a list of GMOs that are hiding in your pantry and kids lunchboxes (source: http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/brands/invisible-gm-ingredients.html)

Aspartame (also called AminoSweet®,    NutraSweet®, Equal Spoonful®, Canderel®,  BeneVia®, E951)
baking powder
canola oil (rapeseed oil)
caramel color
cellulose
citric acid
cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
colorose
condensed milk
confectioners sugar
corn flour
corn masa
corn meal
corn oil
corn sugar
corn syrup
cornstarch
cottonseed oil
cyclodextrin
cystein
dextrin
dextrose
diacetyl
diglyceride
erythritol
Equal
food starch
fructose (any form)
glucose
glutamate
glutamic acid
glycerides
glycerin
glycerol
glycerol monooleate
glycine
hemicellulose
high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
hydrogenated starch
hydrolyzed vegetable protein
inositol
inverse syrup
inversol
invert sugar
isoflavones
lactic acid
lecithin
leucine
lysine
malitol
malt
malt syrup
malt extract
maltodextrin
maltose
mannitol
methylcellulose
milk powder
milo starch
modified food starch
modified starch
mono and diglycerides
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Nutrasweet
oleic acid
Phenylalanine
phytic acid
protein isolate
shoyu
sorbitol
soy flour
soy isolates
soy lecithin
soy milk
soy oil
soy protein
soy protein isolate
soy sauce
starch
stearic acid
sugar (unless specified as cane sugar)
tamari
tempeh
teriyaki marinades
textured vegetable protein
threonine
tocopherols (vitamin E)
tofu
trehalose
triglyceride
vegetable fat
vegetable oil
vitamin B12
vitamin E
whey
whey powder
xanthan gum
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) although usually derived from corn, is probably not GM because it is not likely made in North America.

Stay healthy!

Svetlana ” Free2BFit360″