Don’t be fooled by all the language used in the organic food world. We’ll look at what the “ad” words mean and how you can be a savvy, money saving consumer.
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 a relevant question. More and more people are starting to ask us why we choose the non-gmo, organic farming lifestyle. I just wonder at the idea that it seems so different to them. Have farmsteads become just a novelty to people? For every homesteader we know of, there are thousands and thousands of people who are unheard of, maybe even unnoticed by the world in general, who live the wholesome farmstead life.
People say things to me that I just scratch my head at. I have had people say things like, “Oh, I can’t afford to eat like you;” “It doesn’t matter if its 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 Non-Gmo, organic, and no snacks between meals, I have lost 40 pounds and my husband has lost almost 50. We have been amazed at how much more energy we have, how our bodies have healed themselves from diseases, our skin, and our strength, just to name a few of the benefits we have seen. Just because of the world we live in, it is impossible to remove all the pollutants from our lives, but we can remove what we have control over.
Let me say that there are many ways to change your diet. Most of you are reading this because you have a homestead of some kind. You may be in a suburban setting, a rural setting, an isolated setting, or somewhere in between. Growing your own food is the only way to know for certain what you are feeding yourself and your family. Shopping at a farmer’s market and asking the right questions is another good way and of course, there’s the local grocery store. 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 that is not an option here in the states.
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 that 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 that has had fish genes spliced into it…yes! Mind blowing isn’t it! This link gives some straight forward 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 that 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. See our previous post A Seed is a Seed is a Seed…Right? for more information. Also, Natural News is a great resource for information.
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 in some degree, they require GMO ingredients be labeled. This year India has experienced a crisis among its farmers which is directly related to the failure of their GMO crops, see this article. 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 just in the state of California. Our federal government has said that 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.
If you want to know what started us on this journey to Non-Gmo, organic, no processed foods here is a link to a video we have encouraged all of our family and friends to watch. 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.
Now, as a farmer, how does this effect you? Knowing what you are 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. Like I said there are many more, 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 that you are feeding yourself and your family the very best you can.
You know me, you know that 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 that 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. All seeds were Non-Gmo, 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. Since 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 them are just as good. Some of them are a work in progress because we haven’t gotten the farm back into the full swing of things (see my About Me page). But at least I know the reason why something isn’t just as good as hers when I am using her very same recipe.
We talked about shopping at farmer’s markets and from local farmers for things you can’t or don’t want to grow for yourself. I am very supportive of farmer’s markets that have organic sections. The one closest to us, remember I live in no-wheres-ville, is about 90 miles away, but they have a very large organic section. But remember to 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 to much to buy anything from them.
It can be more expensive to purchase organic, Non-Gmo foods at a grocery store. With chains like Kroger increasing their organic sections it is becoming cheaper. They made over $1billion dollars last year in organic sales. Of course, 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 that 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 even 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.
So you have to shop in the grocery store; as much as we would love to provide everything we need here on the farm, there will always be some things we have to purchase as well. Can you really trust the organic label? Well, I’m glad you asked that question. Of course, you know there isn’t a yes or no answer. 🙂 There are loop holes that companies use, sad but true (you didn’t think they all really want what’s best for you did ya?), to get around the organic labeling laws. Some are sneaky, some are just a straight out lie!
One way the public is deceived is by words that say the same thing, but mean totally different things. 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. Of course this is where the lie that salt is bad for you comes from because, 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 that is 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, and 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 or Here.
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. This is not the best option.
Made with Organic ingredients: Up to 70% of the ingredients are organic. These products can NOT carry a “USDA organic” label, however their “remaining non-organic ingredients are produced without prohibited practices, including genetic engineering. Bad option.
Non-GMO Project Verified – Non-Gmo label does not mean it is organic. 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.
Natural: Means absolutely nothing, this is an advertising trick word.
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 is 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 that is important to you.
You can find more information on our Pinterest Board Non-Gmo, Organic News and videos on our YouTube Playlist Gmo News. You can always ask me anything. I will do everything in my power to give you a truthful and correct answer. Email or comment your questions, experiences, or thoughts. I am here to help you.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack