Genetically Modified Foods: Give Them the Boot

As my life’s work is dedicated to sustainable wellness, it goes without saying that I’m a passionate opponent of genetically modified foods. For me the case against GM foods is a simple one: GM farming methods are poisonous to the environment and its chemicals-baked-right-in yield may be toxic to humans. Does eating GM foods that may deliver loads of genetically-altered organisms plus chemicals and pesticides directly into our bodies seem like a good idea to you? Certainly not. Therefore, as a wellness doctor, lobbying against GM food and raising awareness is critically important. For my patients though, the concern is more immediate when they ask how they can avoid GM foods. Here are four relatively easy ways to keep your distance from GM products:

  1. Profile your produce.The PLU label

    – that slightly annoying little sticker you’re always pulling off your produce? Think of it as a mini-dossier on your fruits and veg. It tells you where it was grown and most importantly whether or not it’s been genetically modified. How to crack the code? Look for a PLU number that starts with the number 9, followed by four numbers – that means it’s been grown organically. GM produce starts with the number 8 and is followed by five numbers. Conventionally grown produce has just 4 numbers. How to remember which is the good stuff? Think of the organic 9’s as having a higher value both nutritionally and numerically than the GM coded 8’s. Or as one of my patients recently said, “9 is fine. Negate the 8. Leave 4 at the store.”

  2. Use it: Your local farmer’s market.Support organic growers and whenever possible, local ones. Eating as much certified organic, locally grown produce as you can will help minimize your exposure to genetically modified crops. Why certified organic? Because the certification helps insure that the products you buy are the real organic deal and aren’t GM.
  3. Lose it: Food in cans, bags and wrappers.In other words, give processed foods the boot. The more processed foods you eat, the more GM ingredients you’ll ingest, so I say, stay away. By some estimates it’s said that up to 75 % of processed foods contain GM ingredients – not to mention too much sodium, sugar, bad fats and too few nutrients – so why bother eating foods that do so little good?
  4. Read all about it – with a magnifying glass.If you aren’t able to totally eliminate processed foods, then knowing what to look for on a label will go a long way towards helping you make the best possible choices. Be on the lookout for corn and soy and their derivatives because unless they’re tagged with the certified organic label, chances are they’ll be GM. And for more information, read my blog on practical tips to avoid GM foods.