Before I discuss smoothies, fruits, or other aspects of my raw vegan diet, I think we need to sit down and have a discussion concerning the (genetically-modified) birds and the bees: GMOs. Chances are, you’ve heard this acronym before, although perhaps you didn’t understand what it meant, or what the implications could be. I know that I didn’t really “get it” until I started doing a lot of research over the past few years.
GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organism.” Basically, genetic engineers have discovered a way of manipulating the DNA of organisms (like soybeans, corn, cotton, and canola, to name the main US crops affected), changing their makeup in order to yield certain “benefits.” For instance, the company Monsanto owns the patent on seeds which can survive heavy spraying of the herbicide Round-Up. This might sound great, totally convenient, until you get into ethical questions like, “who has the right to patent life, and what does that mean?” Or, “is it okay to modify seeds which will become a permanent part of our ecosystem, in other words, manipulating said ecosystem?” And what about questions like, “what does it mean to create ‘food’ with a fraction of the nutritional value of its organic counterpart?” and “what does that mean for our diets, our health?” And what about questions like, “isn’t it creepy that some of these plants are being listed as pesticides and not FOODS, and yet we are still blindly consuming them?” I’m not even going into the way that these seeds, as well as their subsidized crops, are negatively affecting traditional agriculture (The Future of Food and Food Inc. are great documentaries which can outline this for you, available on Netflix).
Even if you don’t care about the detrimental effect big business is having by putting very scary monopolies on our food, and really, food chain, you SHOULD care about having the right to know what foods contain GMOs, and also having the right to make educated decisions about what products you eat, and feed your family (CHILDREN are the most biologically sensitive to and affected by contaminates). I highly recommend educating yourself by reading a variety of opinions on GMOs, so that you can make considerate decisions about your food. I do also strongly encourage you to visit the Organic Consumers Association website and signing their Millions Against Monsanto Truth-in-Labeling petition so that GMO foods will be labeled. Why is this important to do? Because past initiatives to label GMO foods, which make up more than 80% of foods at the grocery store, have been blocked, misrepresented to the voters as “more red tape” that would get in the way of, essentially, the American Dream. WE’VE BEEN DUPED. I just know that someone is going to bring up the “feeding the world’s hunger” with these GMO crops. Cattle consume 16x more grain as they produce as meat. That means 16lbs of grain yields 1lb of beef. Livestock eat 70% of the grains we produce. Why don’t we just cut out the middle man, and then we really COULD tackle world hunger? Don’t let these big businesses convince you that they have your best interests in mind. There’s a reason these patents exist, and there is a reason they don’t want these foods labeled. In 2000, a Harris Poll showed that 86% of Americans supported GMO labeling. Take action today to protect your rights as an American consumer.
The best way to protect yourself is to buy certified organic produce. If your food products are not labeled as such, they are probably GMO. This should not be a “we vs. them” discussion, or situation. These concepts may challenge what you’ve come to trust and believe about our institutions. And that is scary. However, the alternative will be ultimately more destructive and painful for all of us.
(More myths on GMOs busted here.)
Visit the Organic Consumers Association here.
Sign the Truth-in-Labeling petition here.
More about a 2012 initiative campaign & GMO FAQs here.