Avoiding GMOs and eating organic, locally grown foods is no easy feat. It’s more of a lifestyle change than just making a choice to buy certain foods. You have to make a commitment to searching out ingredients that contain GMOs and it seems that after a while, it becomes an obsession. Once you realize just how many foods contain GMOs, it really does consume you. You look at every cereal box with scrutiny. You look at every label of every piece of fruit for the code making sure it’s organic. You look at every item you order at a restaurant for yourself and your kids wondering how much of it contains GMOs. You look at the ketchup at the BBQ you’re at, wincing as your kids slather their nitrate filled hot dogs with it. GMOs are everywhere and trying to avoid them can really make you a little bit crazy.
I had to laugh because recently we were at a friend’s house who was teasing me about being “organic”. He’s not the only one who’s done that, and to be honest, I used to think (years ago) that people who ate organic food were a little crazy. That was before I became educated. I believe that education is the key to getting to the milestone where GMOs are labelled and hopefully banned. If we explain to one person what a GMO is- (and you’d be surprised at how many people don’t know what GMOs are) then we are educating one more person who can help join the fight against GMOs.
In the meantime, I will continue to be crazy, continue to search out non-gmo foods, and continue to buy and grow organic foods. Here’s some of the grocery guidelines I try to follow that have made it easier to be a Non-GMO Mom:
Milk and Eggs- I stick with organic milk and eggs- and usually grass fed, as it’s probably a given that the cows and chickens were fed GM corn, canola or soy feed.
Meat- This is a tough one because buying organic, grass fed meet is often very expensive, but I try to stick with organic, hormone-free chicken and beef whenever possible- as with dairy and eggs, these animals are likely to have been fed GM corn, soy and canola feed and grass that may have been treated with pesticides and other toxins.
Produce- I stick with organic for the most part. There aren’t a ton of GM produce on the shelves yet, but I usually avoid corn which is rarely labeled with a code or anything to tell me if it’s GMO or not. I do sometimes buy conventional avocados because pesticides don’t penetrate avocados like they do other fruits and vegetables, but for just about everything else I stick with organic. You can try sticking with avoiding the dirty dozen, which is a great way to get started avoiding chemicals and toxins.
Oil- I stick with Organic Olive, Sunflower, Coconut and Sesame oils. Avoid conventional canola and vegetable oils- these are most likely GM.
Ketchup and other condiments– Most ketchups and other condiments are made with GMOs. My little one sometimes eats ketchup by the SPOONFUL (I know- it’s gross and I’m probably a bad mom for letting her- but sometimes you have to choose your battles!) so avoiding Heinz and sticking with organic ketchup is a priority.
Cereals- I only buy organic cereal, to the dissapointment of my husband and my kids. The conventional cereals are loaded with GMOs and a whole bunch of other crap- like high fructose corn syrup.
Ice Cream- Most ice cream products are GM. Ben and Jerry’s has recently made a commitment to rid GMOs from their products so I am a little more inclined to choose that, but in the meantime, it still has GMOs. I am thinking about getting an ice cream maker and making my own ice cream- there’s nothing like making your own food and knowing exactly what’s in it.
Snacks and Chips- I avoid things like Doritos and Pringles (also to the dissapointment of my husband and kids!). Did you know that Doritos can be used as kindling for a fire? Yep- they ignite. We’ve tried it. Why would you want to put something like that into your body? Most snacks, chips, pretzels and fruit snacks are loaded with GM corn, soy and canola products and are just plain horrible for you. I try to stick with organic, natural snacks like you can find at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Target also has a great line called Simply Balanced which I buy often. Rumor has it, Target will be eliminating GMOs from their Simply Balanced brand over the next year, so that makes me excited.
Either way, grocery shopping has changed for me since I have made the choice to try to be GMO-Free. It’s no longer a quick trip to the store. It takes time and effort to make sure I am buying the right foods, but the more I do it, the easier it gets. You start to learn what products are pretty much guaranteed to have GMOs, and you learn to look for symbols and signs like the Non-GMO Project Verified butterfly. It gets easier- I promise. Unless your kids are like mine and you bring them with when you go grocery shopping. That always makes me a little (ok- a lot) crazier.
I’m okay with people thinking I’m crazy or over-the-top, even though I don’t always think I am. I am making these choices to provide my kids with a better, healthier lifestyle. I will never be able to avoid GMOs and other toxins 100% of the time, but I will try as much as I can to provide them with the healthiest Non-GMO options and if it makes me a little crazy from time to time, I’m okay with that. 🙂