Living GMO-Light

By Ashley Koff, RD, Calmful Living Nutrition Editor

Better health begins with better nutrition. But what does that mean when it comes to GMOs? There’s a lot of debate about whether or not GMOs negatively impact health. As a healthcare practitioner, though, I share the concern of so many practitioners globally—whose countries now require a GMO label or even ban GMOs—that consuming GMOs is not as healthy as avoiding them. To that end, I recommend making non-GMO choices as often as possible. Here are some tips to help you follow this advice.

1) There’s no “perfect” in “better nutrition.”
Before I tell you what to eat, I need to provide this caveat: As unhealthy as certain chemicals or eating patterns can be, the addition of more stress, daily, in an effort to eat perfectly is equally, if not more, unhealthy. Think of it as adding a jelly doughnut to what your body has to digest (without getting to taste it!) each day. It can contribute to weight gain or inability to lose weight, keep you from optimal sleep, negatively impact digestion, and even increase risk of chronic disease. So, yes, I want you to avoid GMOs, but not to the extent that it brings on extra daily stress.

2) K.I.S.S. organic!
Keep It Super Simple by choosing organic, especially for what you eat most often. First, organic certification regulations prohibit GMO seeds. Second, organic regulations also limit the use of the harshest chemicals, since only certain ingredients are approved for use, and those are constantly being reviewed by the National Organic Standards Board to ensure their safety.

3) Know the GMO.
There are only certain foods that are genetically modified. So pay attention to these foods and the ones made with them as ingredients.The easiest way to avoid GMOs is to buy these foods certified organic, as noted above, or look for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal. Also keep in mind that there are many different names for these foods; for example, did you know that edamame and tempeh are soybean foods? Or that “sugar” can be beet sugar and thus GMO? Best to look for “cane sugar,” as that means someone wants you to know they are not using beets and are thus avoiding GMOs.

4) Eat whole foods most often.
Whenever possible, opt for foods that are the closest to the way they’re found in nature. When food is processed, there are more opportunities for the finished food product to contain GMOs—such as preservatives, additives, even nutrients used for fortification.

Better nutrition IS simple, and following this advice should help you be more effective and efficient in your quest to get and maintain better health with better nutrition.