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The Evolution of Food

As Dwight Schrute of The Office would say, “There’s too many people in the world. We need a new plague.”

Dwight might be a bit extreme, but there is certainly an overabundance of people walking around this Earth. The population has effected our environment in many, many well-documented ways, including how we grow our food.

A few days ago, we went out to dinner with my grandmother. She’s the diet queen in that she’s too full to finish her dinner, but never too full to eat a bag of Oreos. She also doesn’t like sweets….but she does know a few things. Food was different when she was young. My sister has undetermined stomach issues (I believe it’s lactose intolerance, but I’m not doctor) and with my working on going vegan, and our discussions of Celiac and gluten-intolerance, my grandmother couldn’t help but ask, “Why do people have so many problems with food these days?” It’s a good question, but there’s a simple answer. What we eat now is drastically different from what people used to eat.

It’s just another reason why I believe in proper labeling, including labeling for GMOs. To know what’s in my food sounds so simple. When I’m eating corn, I want to know if this is real, true corn, or if it’s genetically modified that may or may not cause potential issues for my health down the line.

Part of the argument against proper labeling is that it will get too confusing for consumers. At first, I was insulted. Do they think we’re too stupid? But no, they know how smart we are.  They know that if we find out what is truly in products that we purchase everyday, we might stop buying those products. Giving the consumer real power is scary for these companies. They bank on us not knowing that we already have the power and they certainly don’t want us to realize that we do.

It’s going to be difficult to convince the FDA that things need to change because they’re comfortable in their ways, and there are outside pressures. But with parents like this, things may change sooner rather than later.

How do you take a stand as a consumer?


September 19, 2012 at 1:36 am Leave a comment

Meatless Monday & Tofurky Product Review

On Friday, I was babysitting for a friend after work, so I didn’t have time to cook anything. It was the perfect opportunity to try out my Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire Roasted Veggies Pizza. The box advertises “Cheese that really melts!” but no brand of cheese. It melted, tasted, and felt like Daiya, but I can’t say for sure. The sausage was made from tofu. Overall, it was good. The sauce was tasty and the crust was crunchy enough. My issue was the cheese because I’m still getting used to vegan cheese. It’s something I would try again, for sure. My family eats pizza often and I know I’m going to feel like I’m left out quite a bit. At least I’ll have my own pizza to enjoy.

Meatless Monday was a success! I ventured into the land of Spaghetti Squash. I absolutely love how it just breaks apart. It looks like and has the texture of spaghetti (obviously). Our meal was Spicy Spaghetti Squash.

Stuffed with beans, corn, onion, cilantro, lime, and chili powder, it was tasty. I topped mine with guacamole and ate it with a side of Spanish Rice and salad. I wasn’t sure it’d be very filling, but there was no issue there. I definitely recommend this recipe as it was tasty and simple. It took 45 minutes to roast the squash, but after that it was sauteing the ingredients, then stuffing the squash. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

September 18, 2012 at 1:15 am Leave a comment

The Great GMO Debate

There’s big news in health and nutrition this week. It’s an issue that’s much older than just a few days, but it’s hot button topic right now. #Prop37 is a trending topic on Twitter and it deals with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).

I guarantee that acronym is familiar to you, but maybe you don’t know exactly what it means, or what the big issue is. Let me give you a quick run down. A GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using another organism’s genes to obtain desired traits. It’s a preferred method because food can be genetically modified be resistant to herbicides and/or produce their own pesticidal proteins. The company Monsanto is the largest producer of GMO food crops.

It sounds great, right? The issues is the fact that we don’t know what the effect is overtime on humans. Rats that were fed GMOs showed liver damage. Despite this, the FDA says that GMOs are “generally recognized as safe.” GM crops were supposed to increase production with less use of pesticides; however, that’s not what’s actually happening.

The bottom line is do we want to consume foods that might hurt us down the line, or are hurting us already? The issue lately is Proposition 37 in California. Proposition 37 is all about making it mandatory for food companies to properly label foods containing GMOs. Europe is already doing this, but we don’t have it in America. It’s predicted that the direction California goes (as in voting yay or nay), the rest of the country will soon follow.

Some big companies that consume every day are donating BIG bucks to make sure that this gets voted down. Monsanto, the biggest producer of GMOs and a huge abuser of farmers across the country (have you seen Forks Over Knives?), has donated 4 million bucks to ensure that you don’t know what you’re eating.

What’s worse, a lot of awesome veg brands who are owned by non-veg parent companies are involved. Dean Foods, parent company of Silk, donated $253,000. Silk will adamantly deny involvement and will declare that they have been properly labeling their products, and they have. Other brands, such as Lightlife, Larabar, and more are involved as well all because of their parent companies.

My problem isn’t specifically with these companies. You can’t blame the child when it’s the parent’s fault, right? My issue is that these companies have completely different values from their parent companies. Dean Foods is a dairy company, yet Silk commercials promote not drinking milk! Meanwhile, the dairy industry is laughing at us when we think we’re making an environmental difference when we choose Silk over dairy. Either way, they profit.

So, what can we do? First, look in to Proposition 37, even if you aren’t a resident in California. Maybe GMOs are totally harmless, but I want to know what’s in my food. There’s a reason these companies don’t want us to know what’s in the food. I’m tired of big money companies having the power over what goes into my body and having no concern of the negative consequences. Second, look in to GMOs and learn everything that you can learn.  Buy products that label with No GMOs. There’s a great app for the iPhone called ShopNoGMO – look into it! Third, check out Monsanto, but not just their website. Watch Forks Over Knives and Food, Inc. to see behind the scenes of the food industry and learn how Monsanto is changing the farming industry, perhaps not for the better.

The best thing we can do is be informed consumers. An excuse that the big companies like Monsanto use to fight Proposition 37 is that a change of labels and including GMO ingredients would just confuse the consumer. They don’t think we’re smart enough! Prove them wrong.

Info from Say No to GMOs

August 22, 2012 at 12:52 am Leave a comment

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