Just because it looks like a vegetable or tastes like a fruit, doesn’t mean it qualifies as a healthy food. Understanding what are the dangers of GMOs is an overlooked, yet life-saving endeavor.

Hot Spinach Salad

“You are what you eat”. We all know that. Christmas cookies go to our butts, beer goes to the gut, and love handles and back fat are the carb-cravers biggest fear.

But have you ever contemplated the vast truth behind this seemingly silly cliche?

Everything that encompasses our physical being comes from the foods we take in–not just the Halloween candy and birthday cake. Our muscles, bones, organs, skin, blood, neurons, hormones— the atoms and molecules of our DNA, neurological pathways, blood chemistry, nervous system, senses…it’s all put together and kept functioning by food. Food doesn’t just go through your body, it BECOMES your body.

The one time in life we are most aware of this is during pregnancy. As I carried each of my four children, I knew I was CREATING a little human with every meal. And as pregnant mammas, we become so diligent, paranoid even, about what we are consuming. There is a kaleidoscope of advice on what not to eat…unprocessed dairy, soft cheeses, caffeine, alcohol, lunch meat, sprouts, red food coloring, raw fish and so on. And it’s impossible to eat in a group without Helpful Hannah offering advice, even as she stuffs her mouth with sashimi and fried goat cheese croutons and then splashes it down with a diet coke. But at least she joins you for dessert as you need to eat for two.

But what Helpful Hannah isn’t conscious of is that baby mammas aren’t the only one’s creating life. So is she. So are we all. All of us create our bodies with each bite we take.  Continuously. 24/7. Our state of health or lack thereof is most significantly determined by our diets. (China Study…go buy it!)

Yet insight as to how we grow and process our food for most of us stops at the grocery store. Where do 100 calorie snack packs come from? ummmm…isle 4? What’s in those? ummmm….cookies? And even if you “shop the perimeter of the store” as instructed by the health helpers on TV, most of us still don’t have a clue as to where that tomato came from or what dangers might lurk in the bag of potatoes.

In any conventional, mass produced crop, there are 3 levels of problems: What’s in the food? What’s on the food? And what exactly IS the food? Exactly what are the dangers of GMOs?

What’s in it?
According to the USDA website, organic regulations severely restrict the use of food additives, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colorings, flavoring and MSGs and GMO’s. So if you are not buying organic, you ARE getting these unnatural substances in some level or form. And though there are conflicting studies, arguments, opinions and laws ad nauseam regarding these products, each chemical is added to foods for reasons that are governed by money. And in the end, profit margins, market share and stock prices are given higher value than our health.

What’s on it?
So if I offered you a beautiful, golden, succulent ear of corn, and then mentioned that the reason it’s so good and gorgeous is because I sprayed an herbicide/pesticide/insecticide combo over my fields. This amazing chemical of death kills ALL the pesky insects, bugs, weeds, birds and any other varmint that dare threaten my crop,  Would you eat it? Would you feed it to your kids? I tell you it’s an amazing advance in technology that gives me a 30 percent higher yield! The corn thrives while everything else dies. How awesome is that?…. Oh, would you like butter on that? How about a nice glass of water from my well?

You may politely refuse, but chances are you stop at the grocery store on the way home and buy that same corn anyway.

What IS it?
Ever wonder why bins of produce seem to contain identical size and shaped beans and squash, row after row? That would be because they are clones. And I don’t mean twins. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have DNA that has been altered so that the best traits are expressed. There is a standard of beauty that must be met. But even more complicated, each plant needs to be productive and produce maximum yield.  So the corn that thrives amidst chemical warfare does so because bacterial, fungal, plant, animal and even viral genes are cut and pasted to create an unnatural food with superhero powers….those powers ultimately create money for the agriculture giants.

And contrary to the marketing campaigns launched to educate us on the safety of genetically modified organisms, there are a couple of huge problems.

What are the dangers of GMOs? For starters, our environment, GMO’s can’t co-exist with natural crops. The wind and cross-pollination by the pesky birds and bees that manage to survive the acid rain bath just keep doing what they do. So now we’ve introduced artificially mutated DNA into our environment that will interbreed and continue to evolve. And sadly, it’s true that some small farms have gone under in litigation battles with Monsanto (BIG AG) for having genetic specimens in their field that were supposed to be only available for a price. I wonder which is worse…the indignation of the accusation or the loss of the family farm?

In humans, the bacterial and viral DNA contain an element designed to stimulate the immune system. (Which is why the crops are ‘immune’ to the chemical assault.) Especially in children, where toxicity thresholds are so low, this can lead to inflammation, allergies, asthma, arthritis and lymphoma.  And ultimately, fields that yield more product in less space than nature intended deplete the soil of nutrients. And as they genetically tinker with maturation rates to fit in more crops per year, the sun doesn’t get as much time to assist in antioxidant production. We all understand the saying that ‘some things just take time’….but industrial agriculture wants our dollars NOW.

And then our beloved ecosystem that Mother Nature designed so that species of all life co-evolve, co-exist, survive or die is thrown down for the count. Science is now smarter than God, and has stepped in and taken over. But don’t count Her out. Super-bugs are evolving in response to the super-gene pool. And in the end, a ‘naturally’-evolved swine/avian/bovine virus may take most of us out anyway.

But I’m an optimist. I think positive energy, conscious awareness and people who care can make a difference. Turn the tides, as they say. So all I ask of you is whose tide are you on?

What’s in the picture? Oh…so good. The organic produce was provided by Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, a company whose mission is to bring organic produce back to local markets and make it easy for people to get by bringing it right to your front door.

In the skillet, I sauteed one clove of garlic, and added chopped onion, yellow and orange pepper, carrots, broccoli and spinach. The saute sauce that I used was also GBD…Farm to Kitchen Asian Vinaigrette dressing. I started with a tbsp and browned the garlic, added 1/4 cup of water so the veggies would steam, and then added a few swirls more of the dressing. It was delightful and simple. But if I am what I eat, I should probably change that to delightful and complicated…:)

The dangers of GMO’s are greater than any potential upside. Avoid them!