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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

5 Essential Ways to Avoid Genetically-Modified Food (GMOs)

Recently, I got an e-mail from a reader asking how she would know if she is eating genetically-modified soy or not.

Figuring that many other people may have that same question, I wanted to explain how to avoid eating genetically-modified food (GMOs) and the things that you need to look out for.

#1 – Buy USDA Certified Organic Products  GMOs are prohibited in organic food. Therefore, look for products that contain the USDA certified organic seal.

Even though GMOs are prohibited in organic, organic crops can be contaminated by GMOs through cross-pollination and drift. (That is why the proliferation of GMOs is a real threat to organic farming. The co-existence of GM-crops and organic crops is simply not possible, despite what our government would like us to believe.)

USDA rules require that organic certifiers test samples from at least 5% of the operations they certify on an annual basis.

#2 – Buy Non-GMO Project Verified Products  There is an independent, third-party organization called the Non-GMO Project.

This entity does field testing on every base ingredient in a product and does not allow any of its verified products to contain more than 0.9% of genetically-modified ingredients. Since GMOs are so widespread, it is nearly impossible to find something that is 100% GMO-free, and this 0.9% is the same standard that Europe uses as well.

A few important things of note here:

* When it comes to detecting GMOs, the Non-GMO Project utilizes a much more rigorous process than the one employed by the USDA’s National Organic Program. So, if you can buy a product that is USDA certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, that is the best of both worlds.

* The Non-GMO Project does not account for super-toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and other substances prohibited in USDA certified organic products. Its objective is to identify genetically-modified ingredients.

That is why I will always choose USDA certified organic over Non-GMO Project Verified.

* Many products are labeled as “Non-GMO”. Yet, if it is not Non-GMO Project Verified, how do you know that it is in fact Non-GMO?

You don’t.

But if you know what the high-risk GM-crops are, you will have a much better idea if it is Non-GMO or not.

#3 – Understand the High Risk GM-Crops  In the U.S., there are five main crops that are incredibly high risk of being genetically-modified. If they’re not USDA certified organic, it is almost a near guarantee that they are GM.

The five high risk crops and the estimated percent that are genetically-modified:

Corn – (91%)

Canola – (90%)

Cotton – (90%)

Sugar Beets – (95%)

Soy – (94%)

Also, more than 50% of Hawaiian papaya is genetically-modified, and there are over 24,000 acres that grow GM-zucchini and GM-yellow squash. Genetically-modified sweet corn is a very new product and is not widespread just yet, so just to be on the safe side, always try to buy organic sweet corn.

#4 – Understand the High-Risk Derivative Ingredients   There are many ingredients, or products, derived from high-risk crops that you need to know about, and they are sometimes referred to as “invisible” genetically-modified ingredients. Some of them include:

Corn – Corn flour, corn gluten, corn masa, corn starch, corn syrup, cornmeal, High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), and sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose.

Soy – Soy flour, soy protein, soy isolates, soy isoflavones, soy lecithin, vegetable proteins, textured vegetable protein (TVP), tofu, tamari, tempeh, and soy protein supplements.

Sugar Beets – Sugar not specified as 100% cane sugar is likely from GM-sugar beets.

Cotton – Cottonseed oil

Canola – Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil)

Vegetable oil, vegetable fat and margarines can be made from soy, corn, cottonseed, and/or canola.

#5 – Avoid Animal Products That May Have Been Exposed to GMOs  If you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, consuming non-organic animal products carries real risks. Here’s why.

* Non-organic dairy products may have come from cows who have been injected with the GM-hormone recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). Please read this post on why organic milk is a MUST, especially for kids.

* Non-organic animal products, such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, may have come from animals that have eaten GM-feed.

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A Spring Limited-Edition: Hunny Bunny Garden Party Kit

Hop into spring with this limited edition suh-weet treat!

The Hunny Bunny Garden Party Kit includes all of the mixes and tools you need to bake up a yummy cupcake garden.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic – Decrease Pesticide Exposure by 90%

Here are a few things that we know.

1) In its pioneering testing several years ago, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) identified up to 493 chemicals in Americans of all ages, including 287 industrial chemical pollutants found in the cord blood of 10 babies born in 2004.

So, from the time we are in the womb of our mother, our body is flooded with synthetic toxins.

2) Even though this EWG data was collected a decade ago, not much has changed since then, in terms of our exposure to chemicals.

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Organic Sunday Stacks Pancake Mix

Rainbow Pancakes are fun and easy to make with this fan-favorite kit!

The Rainbow Fun Pancake Kit includes all the organic mixes, chemical-free dyes and supplies you need to make colorful Rainbow Pancakes.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Organic Milk – The Most Important Product a Family Can Buy

For people who are new to organic or have very limited financial means to buy organic, the one thing that I always say is the following:

The absolute number one priority in your household should be organic milk for your kids.

Even if a family thinks that organic food is out of their budget, organic milk cannot be compromised under any condition.

Organic milk is about the health of the kids, and that comes before everything else.

THE SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS OF HORMONAL MILK

Approximately 20% of the milk in the U.S. is hormonal milk. But what exactly is hormonal milk?

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

What You Need to Know About Buying Organic Food in Cans

While I promote organic food as much as I can and want to help the industry prosper, I also feel a need to educate and inform my readers.

Without question, organic food is the healthiest food that exists and is something that I believe can feed the planet. However, sometimes the packaging of organic food products is not always the best.

I have talked a lot in the past about my aversion to plastic bottles. Aside from the fact that they are horrible for the environment, they are also hormone (endocrine) disruptors.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink