Don’t be fooled by all the language used in the organic food world. We’ll look at what the words used in advertising mean and how you can be a savvy, money-saving consumer.
We live in a time of food crisis with GMOs and chemically laden foods. We want to help you understand labeling, shopping, and organic, non-GMO vs GMO.
For those of us who have made the decision to remove GMOs, pesticides, toxins, and as many “bad” things as we can from our diets and homes, this is relevant information. More and more people are starting to ask us why we choose the non-GMO, organic farming lifestyle. I wonder at the idea that our lifestyle seems so different to them.
People say things to me which I just scratch my head at. I’ve had people say things like, “Oh, I can’t afford to eat like you;” “It doesn’t matter if it’s organic or not;” “There’s no difference in what I buy in the grocery store and what you grow on the farm;” the silliest thing I’ve been told is, “I like to eat good food. Why would I eat that healthy stuff.” The scariest thing I’ve heard is, “What’s a GMO?”
Since we switched to a Non-Gmo, organic, and no snacks diet, I’ve lost over 40 pounds and my husband has lost 55. We’ve been amazed at how much more energy we have, how our bodies have healed themselves from diseases, the health of our skin, and our strength, just to name a few of the benefits we’ve experienced. Because of the world we live in, it’s impossible to remove all pollutants from our lives, but we can remove what we have control over.
Most of you are reading this because you have a homestead of some kind or you are interested in a healthier lifestyle. You may be in a suburban setting, a rural setting, an isolated setting, or somewhere in between. There’s only one way to be 100% certain of what you’re feeding your family and it’s growing your own food.
What Is A GMO?
So where do we start? Well, the first place is with GMOs. A GMO is a genetically modified organism. That is any plant or meat product which has had its DNA altered by a person in a lab in order to produce some desired trait.
These things don’t happen in nature. Like a tomato with fish genes spliced into it…yes! Mind blowing isn’t it! This link gives some straightforward information about what GMOs are: Non-Gmo Project Verified .
You won’t hear too much about it on the mainstream media because of the government involvement with the project. Scientists have been paid by corporate America to insert foreign genes into seeds to come up with crops which cause bugs to blow up when they eat them! They say this is to make stronger, higher producing crops to help feed the world. It is a lie. You can read more here A Seed is a Seed is a Seed…Right?
GMOs Across the Globe
Over 60 countries have banned GMOs from being grown and/or imported in their country. Some have fewer restrictions than others. In most of the countries where they are allowed to some degree, they require GMO ingredients be labeled.
This year, 2014, India has experienced a crisis among its farmers which is directly related to the failure of their GMO crops. Last October, Mexico banned GMO corn from being planted because it was contaminating their native maize crops.
Only the U.S. is pushing non-labeling, non-informing, no right to know programs. I personally believe it is because of the involvement of big corporations in our defunct governmental system. Monsanto and its allies pumped over $45 million into fighting labeling laws in the state of California alone.
Our federal government has said it will pass a bill to prevent states who have adopted labeling laws from enforcing them and to prevent other states from introducing such laws. So you can see there is a problem and all we can do is research the issue as much as possible and make our own decision.
We began our journey to a non-Gmo, organic, no processed foods here after watching the video, Seeds of Deception. We have encouraged all of our family and friends to watch it. I warn you, it will cause you to take a hard look at what you want for your family. You will either make the decision to rid your life of these or you will decide to ignore the issue.
How Do GMOs Affect Gardening?
Knowing what you’re planting is of the utmost importance. You cannot plant a GMO seed and grow it organically and call it organic. By definition it simply isn’t organic, its source is GMO.
Ordering heirloom seeds from a company who sells non-Gmo certified seeds is the first step. There are several you can find on the internet. These are the ones I highly recommend and do business with. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Wood Prairie Farm, Seeds of Change, and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
There are more and you may have a favorite but these are the ones we have experience with and would recommend from our farm. When you start with healthy non-GMO seeds, you can then plant and raise them organically and know you’re feeding yourself and your family the very best you can.
GMOs Affect Your Heirloom Recipes
You know me, I cook on cast iron and use techniques and recipes handed down through my family for generations. It wasn’t until I started educating myself about GMO and organic issues that I found the answer to a question which had haunted me for most of my adult life. “Why don’t my recipes taste like Granny’s?”
They couldn’t. I didn’t have the same quality of ingredients. She didn’t have GMOs or non-organic ingredients to use. Pesticides and such weren’t used to any large degree until after World War II. Most family farms didn’t start using them until the late 50’s early 60’s.
There were no GMOs. Heck, they couldn’t even imagine a day when someone would think they could improve on God’s creation, much less actually trying to sell the lie to the world! She had farm fresh eggs and dairy products straight from her cow to the table, lard from the hogs they raised, on and on the differences go.
Until I discovered this answer, my recipes just didn’t measure up. Once I started using organic, non-GMO ingredients by increasing what we produce for ourselves on the farm and by changing my shopping habits, most of her recipes turn out perfect for me as well. At least I know the reason why something isn’t just as good as hers when I am using her recipe.
How to Shop For Non-GMO Food
You can shop at a farmer’s market or with a local farmer for things you can’t or don’t want to grow for yourself. By asking the right questions this is a good option. You build relationships with the local farmers and many will let you visit their farms if you schedule an appointment. I am supportive of farmer’s markets with organic sections.
Ask questions: Are they planting non-GMO seeds? How are they managing their soil? What do they fertilize with? How do they deal with pests and disease? Don’t be afraid to ask.
A farmer who loves his work and is doing things the right way wants to answer your questions and help you. If someone is vague or doesn’t know the answer to your questions, don’t shop with them. I had one farmer’s wife say, “Oh, I don’t know what he uses. You’ll have to ask him and I don’t know when he will be here.” I love my family too much to buy anything from them.
If you have to shop in the grocery store
Most people shop at their local grocery store and this is where you run into the most problems. I would love to live in a place where they have the open markets in the streets and you can talk to all the farmers and get to know the way they grow their food, but this isn’t an option in the U.S. because of so many laws and regulations.
No matter what level of self-sufficiency you’re at, there’s simply no way to be to provide everything you need. There will always be some things we have to purchase as well.
It can be more expensive to purchase organic, non-Gmo foods at a grocery store. With chains like Kroger, Costco, and Aldi increasing their organic sections it’s becoming cheaper. In 2014, Kroger alone made over $1billion dollars in organic sales.
When you mass produce something you loose something, it’s just the way it is. But mass produced organic is still healthier than conventionally raised products. When talking about the expense of buying Non-Gmo, organic products, something most people don’t realize is we don’t really need as much as we eat to gain what we need from our food.
When we aren’t feeding our bodies living, nutritious food, they are constantly telling us, “I’m hungry! I need more!” When you begin to change the way you eat, you will naturally see the amount you eat go down. Your body is getting what it needs so you don’t eat as much.
We don’t have snacks and we often eat only twice a day. As you can imagine, this cuts down on the grocery bill a lot. There are people from all walks of life eating this way.
I have friends who are single moms, friends on food stamps, friends with 6 children, all who are eating and living this way. It can be done. It may take some time to make a complete change, but every step is one step closer to a healthy lifestyle the natural way.
Know Your Labels
Can you really trust the organic label? Well, there simply isn’t a yes or no answer. There are many loopholes companies use to get around organic labeling laws, sad but true. You didn’t think they all really want what’s best for you did ya? Some are sneaky, some are just a straight out lie!
One way U.S. labels deceive the public is by the use words which say one thing but mean something totally different in the label world. Salt for example. We think we know what that means, but do we?
Do you want “salt” that is made from two chemically combined ingredients in a factory somewhere that resembles shards of glass when under a microscope? Shards that cut your gut, your arteries, and other vessels causing your body to have its healthy response and cover the cuts with self-produced cholesterol to keep you from bleeding to death.
This is where the lie “salt is bad for you” comes from. Over time, the body’s response causes your vessels to be blocked from all the cholesterol it is putting on the continuous cuts this “salt” is producing.
OR do you want real salt? Salt dug from the earth or taken from the sea. I believe the Bible. When the Bible tells me that “Salt is good…” Mark 9:50 and all through the Old Testament, I believe it. If you want scientific proof, Here you go. This is just one of hundreds of articles written by doctors on this subject.
So in order to know what we are buying, we need to understand what the label is telling us. Here is a brief look at the meaning of the wording used in the U.S. and what we should look for: Read More here and Here.
Natural: Means absolutely nothing, this is an advertising trick word.
Made with Organic ingredients: Up to 70% of the ingredients are organic. These products can NOT carry a “USDA organic” label. The “remaining non-organic ingredients are produced without prohibited practices, including genetic engineering.” Bad option.
100 % Organic: Must contain 100 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). This is the only label that certifies a completely organic product AND completely GMO-free ingredients. So this is a good option.
Certified Organic/USDA Organic: At least 95 percent of content is organic by weight (excluding water and salt). The <5% remaining ingredients must consist of substances approved on the USDA’s National List. GMOs are NOT on this list, so USDA Organic products are also usually GMO-free. While it’s a good option, it isn’t the best option.
Non-GMO – A plain non-Gmo label does not mean it’s organic. Nor does it indicate any verification.
Look for a 100% organic, Non-Gmo Project Verified label for your best option. I will buy a more expensive 100% organic product with this label on it vs one labeled 100% organic without it.
Just as it is with many things a label can be tricky. It can read non-GMO or Gluten Free as a selling point when the ingredients are naturally gluten free or aren’t GMO yet. Take the time to educate yourself and you’ll be just fine.
I know this is a lot of information, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Read and research to discover the truth for yourself. Remember, I can only tell you what I have learned, what I have experienced in my own life and that of my family.
Just because it’s written down, on TV, or on the internet, doesn’t make it so. Make the decision for you and your family and be comfortable with it. This applies to anything important to you.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack