I want to have a chat about a topic that I think is really important in our world today and that is GMO foods. GMO, or GM stands for genetically modified.
Genetically Modified foods are grown from organisms or seeds whose genetic material (i.e. DNA) has been changed in a way that doesn’t occur naturally.
Typically this is done through the introduction of a gene from a completely different organism – sometimes pigs or rats.
The purpose of doing this is to improve the plant’s resistance to diseases common with their species and to increase their tolerance of herbicides.
Another major argument for GM foods is increased crop yields and therefore a reduction in the cost of these foods for the consumer.
So, it all sounds pretty innocent, right?!
But I’ve been learning a lot about this issue lately and I want to share with you the top 3 reasons that I’ve decided to completely ditch GMO foods.
Reason #1: GMO foods have a HIGH herbicide content
As I mentioned, GMO seeds have been engineered primarily to improve yield through increased tolerance of herbicides.
Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in THE most widely used herbicide around the world – known as RoundU – is a “probable carcinogen” according to the World Health Organisation.
Just last year, in 2020, the company that produces RoundUp pledged nearly $11billion USD to settle court cases involving people claiming cancer due to RoundUp exposure.
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one, but this is pretty serious.
Rather than using the herbicides sparingly, what they do is literally dump PLANE loads of this stuff onto the crops – since the crops are resistant to it. And as a result, you end up with produce that has a far higher level of toxicity than even your standard non-organic produce.
Just to give you an idea of how big and how recent an issue this is, GM foods were only first introduced to the market in 1996, and since then, pesticide use has increased globally by 404 MILLION pounds, according to greenpeace.org.
Herbicides and pesticides are well known for wreaking havoc on your gut, on the nervous system, the endocrine system, the immune system pretty much every system in the human body – because these are man-made toxins, designed to KILL organisms.
Aside from cancer risks, other potential dangers of GMO foods include antibiotic resistance, allergic reactions and lower levels of nutrition in the food itself.
In more recent years there have been numerous new studies emerging proving that RoundUp is deadly to human cells, especially those in the developmental phase. So if you’re pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant – you want to be extra careful to avoid RoundUp, which includes avoiding eating GMO foods.
Now, skeptics might be saying “but why would these herbicides be permitted for use on our food if they weren’t safe?”
You know, we’ve got authorities that are checking these things, right?
Personally, I would be very careful about considering any man-made chemical safe – that includes pharmaceutical medications, a sunscreen, the chemicals in your cleaning products and personal care products.
Just because they have been labelled “safe” by the FDA, or whatever governing authority that decides on the safety of the chemicals we use, doesn’t necessarily make them safe. And here’s why…
What they are doing when they make these decisions, is they are looking at the amount of the chemical that is used in one sitting or one session, and analysing whether there are any adverse effects on the human body. And it’s usually on a fairly surface level – they’re looking for severe allergic reactions and other obvious physical responses to the chemical, mostly short-term reactions.
But what is not considered is the accumulation factor – the accumulation of all the different chemicals that we might come into contact with during a day.
And then if we don’t have adequate detoxification – which most of us don’t! – then that’s exactly what these chemicals do, they accumulate in our bodies and they cause health problems. It could be migraines, it could be skin conditions or IBS.
It’s the long term effects of toxicity in the body that are scary – I’m talking about the chronic illnesses or diseases that can develop over time from the accumulation of toxicity in our bodies.
But it’s not just our health that we have to worry about when it comes to GMOs… which brings me to the second reason I’ve decided to boycott them, and that is:
Reason #2: GMO foods are killing our Earth
As mentioned before, herbicides are not exactly used in moderation on genetically modified crops – the soil is literally blanketed with these toxic herbicides, and this actually sets off a chain of processes that are really detrimental to the health of the environment.
It’s causing issues with weed resistance (which in turn calls for yet MORE and even STRONGER chemicals to be used on the crops), as well as the emergence of “superweeds” which are these super-sized weeds that have developed a resistance to the major herbicides.
After harvest of GMO crops, farmers need to use heavy machinery to till the soil, and this is to work the chemical residue from the herbicides deeper into the soil so that they are ready to replant.
But this has been proven as a really unsustainable farming practise because it essentially erodes and destroys the soil in the long run – not to mention that it just buries the chemicals deeper into the ground where they deplete the soil quality even more.
Also, GM crops require the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, which are responsible for the release of copious amounts of nitrous oxide – and this is a highly potent greenhouse gas.
THEN on top of all this, when the crops are being completely drenched in the toxic herbicides, they’re killing off all the bugs and critters,
And what we are learning now from the study of organic farming – which is simply going back to the way farming always was done prior to the introduction of herbicides and pesticides – is that there are really complex symbiotic relationships occurring in organic ecosystems. These work to not only enrich the soil for future use, but they have actually now been proven to INCREASE crop yields, when done in the right way. Even more so than the promised increased yields of GMO crops.
True agricultural practice used to be all about learning about the importance of environmental symbiotic relationships and the importance of biodiversity. Given the current state of our planet, this really SHOULD be the focus in modern agriculture. But sadly, it’s not.
This brings me to the final, and arguably the most important reason to avoid GMOs:
Reason #3: GMOs are a presenting a major human rights issue
There are only a very small number of companies who “own” GMO seeds – in fact, there is one company that owns around 95% of all GM seeds – and this on its own is a bit of a crazy scenario.
I mean, they’ve taken a piece of nature, done some weird Frankenscientific bullsh#t to it, and then claimed ownership of it! In no other circumstance can anything from nature be owned or patented by a company.
I mean, they are trying to monopolise SEEDS – GLOBALLY, and this is a huge concern for our planet and for farmers all around the world.
There is a really awesome documentary called ‘Seed: The Untold Story’, which covers so many of the issues surrounding corporate ownership of seeds and it’s truly eye-opening.
One of the key issues is that these super agri-corporations are threatening the livelihood of farmers, by not only lowering the average cost of the produce for them to try to compete with, but they are actually SUING these farmers if their crops are accidentally contaminated with GMO seeds. Which, in most cases, the farmers don’t want anywhere near their crops anyway!
This contamination can happen just via the wind blowing GMO seeds into a non-GMO farm. So the fear is that ALL organic or non-GMO crops will someday be tainted with these “frankenseeds.”
The documentary I just mentioned explains this in a lot more detail, and there’s also another one called ‘David vs Monsanto’ which looks more specifically at a number of cases where small-time farmers have had to either majorly lose out to, or engage in a long-winded battle with these super-companies.
ALSO, there is another major social issue at play here…
Throughout human history, cultivation of seeds has been an absolutely vital skill for our survival. There are just 10 “agrichemical” companies that now control more than 2/3rds of the world’s seeds, and as mentioned earlier these are the same companies that produce the herbicides.
So what’s been happening since around 1990 when GMO’s were first introduced, is that these companies have being going all around the world and selling their seeds to farmers on the proviso that they will get higher-yielding crops. And that all they have to do is blanket their crops in this other lovely product of theirs – the herbicide that their seeds are resistant to.
So what’s the big issue with this?
Well there are two very major problems, and ONE is that the farmers are losing their ability to cultivate seeds, because they don’t have to do it anymore. And what happens if we have no one left in the world who can cultivate their own seeds naturally anymore?? Then EVERYONE will eventually be buying their seeds from these argichemical companies and they are going to have complete monopolisation while “real”, natural seeds become extinct.
And the SECOND major problem here is that it’s locking farmers into this vicious cycle of buying seeds AND herbicides from these big companies, and often not even getting the increased yields they were promised. So, this, in combination with their susceptibility to being prosecuted by these same companies if they choose not to use their seeds, is resulting in BIG human rights issues for farmers all around the world.
In the last 20 years in India, since GMO’s were first introduced, more than a quarter of a million farmers have committed suicide…
So if you ask me, all of this is just really scary. We’re talking about our FOOD here. The food that mother Earth provides us to nourish us, to give us life, and she does it SO perfectly. We do not need to be messing with it.
As I will always say, DON’T just take my word for it on the issue of GMOs – do your own research. Go down the rabbit hole. Come to your own conclusions.
I hope this has helped steer you in the right direction as far as making a decision that will be the most beneficial to your health and to the health of our beautiful planet.
Watch out for my follow up post + video on this topic which covers the ‘How’ part of boycotting GMOs (and trust me, it’s not as straightforward as you might think)!