Understand What GMOs Are and How to Avoid Them

Understand What GMOs Are and How to Avoid Them

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are created when a plant’s DNA is altered with the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.

Are GMOs safe? America is an odd one out on the issue of GMO safety. In more than sixty countries around the world, including Australia, Japan and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs, according to the Non-GMO Project.

There is a growing catalog of environmental and health risks associated with GMOs. Among these are concerns that GMOs are not adequately regulated to ensure safety; increase pesticide use; create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds,” compromised soil quality and increased disease susceptibility in crops, and are as energy hungry as any other chemically farmed crops.

The ongoing debate over GMOs and GMO labeling will likely continue for some time. In the meanwhile, you’ve got to eat! Here are four tips for how to navigate the GMO issue.

  1. As unhealthy as certain chemicals or eating patterns can be, the addition of more stress, daily, in an effort to eat perfectly is equally, if not more, unhealthy. So, avoid GMOs, but not to the extent that it brings on extra daily stress.

  2. Keep it super simple by choosing organic, especially for what you eat most often. First, organic certification regulations prohibit GMO seeds. Second, organic regulations also limit the use of the harshest chemicals, since only certain ingredients are approved for use, and those are constantly being reviewed by the National Organic Standards Board to ensure their safety.

  3. Know the GMO. There are only certain foods that are genetically modified. So, pay attention to these foods and the ones made with them as ingredients. The easiest way to avoid GMOs is to buy these foods certified organic, as noted above, or look for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal.

  4. Eat whole foods most often. Whenever possible, opt for foods that are the closest to the way they’re found in nature. When food is processed, there are more opportunities for the finished food product to contain GMOs—such as preservatives, additives, even nutrients used for fortification. Better nutrition IS simple, and following this advice should help.

Non-GMO Apple Pie Energy Bars

Please note that all ingredients are Non-GMO Project Verified and/or organic. Look for verified products by brand or category on the Non-GMO Project’s shopping list.

Serves 3


1½ cups walnuts
1 cup dried apples
1 cup dates
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ginger
⅛ teaspoon salt

  1. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and chop them until a paste is formed. Don’t chop them so much that you can’t see little bits of walnuts, apples and dates. Test to see if the mixture binds together. If not, add a couple more dates.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a 7 x 7–inch pan lined with wax paper. Press down evenly. Refrigerate for at least two hours and then cut it into eight bars. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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