During your recent shopping visits, you may have noticed many products on the shelves that are labeled "Non-GMO Verified." This important project is the initiative of the non-profit Non-GMO Project organization. It is North America’s only third party verification and labeling system for non-GMO (genetically modified organism) food and products.
GMO products are organisms that have been altered from their natural state through an engineering process that consists of trying different combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes to create new products for different purposes.
Almost 90% of all corn and soybeans produced in the United States have been genetically modified. The Non-GMO Project lists a number of ingredients on its website that we regularly see in the products we purchase every single day.
Common Ingredients Derived from GMO Risk Crops
Because the side effects and dangers of GMOs are not yet known, over 60 countries around the world have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. However, in the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that benefits from the sale of GMO products.
My question is, If Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union have banned or placed restrictions on GMOs, then why haven't we? Although polls show that over 90% of Americans would like mandatory labeling of products containing GMOs, the law has yet to pass.
I considered myself to be a healthy eater. No fried foods, sodas, junk food, red meat, etc. I felt really good about my eating habits. I've always been an avid researcher, and I love reading about nutrition and watching documentaries. I was looking for food documentaries on Netflix, and I stumbled across a documentary called Vegucated. After watching this movie, my eating habits were never the same. The movie chronicles the food journey of three meat and cheese eating New Yorkers after they agreed to go on a Vegan diet for six weeks. If you have Netflix, you should definitely check it out. After watching this documentary, I immediately choose to become Vegan for a few reasons:
Two Words: Animal Cruelty
When I was a meat eater, I guess I never really thought about the whole "this animal had to be killed first" process. When I saw the scenes of what occurs in slaughter houses, I was done with meat. Instantly. The movie showed some undercover, whistle-blower footage, and it was very hard to watch. The relentless abuse that was depicted was utterly shocking. I've already heard, more times than I can count, the excuse "God made animals for man to eat." However, I don't think God would condone the abuse and violence that was bestowed upon the animals He created.
GMOs: They're Everywhere!
GMOs are "genetically modified organisms." Most people I talk to have never even heard of GMOs, but they eat them every day. Basically, genetic engineering methods were used to create different crops which are both pesticide and insect-resistant against specific pests. Approximately 90% of all corn and soybeans that are consumed in the United States are genetically modified. The DNA in these crops has literally been altered so that when a farmer sprays an entire field with herbicides, the weeds die leaving the crop alive. I will address the dangers of GMOs in a future blog.
Plant-based Diet: Amazing Benefits
Numerous studies have been conducted by the nation's leading physicians and health scientists on the benefits of a plant-based diet. In the movie, Vegucated, all of the participants experienced weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure levels, and several other positive health outcomes. They all made major improvements in their overall health when they excluded meat and dairy from their diets. According to The Permanente Journal, "the major benefits for patients who decide to start a plant-based diet are the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions, lower body weight, decreased risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from ischemic heart disease."
Helping Myself and the Environment
Before I became a Vegan, I would notice patches of mysterious little bumps on my hands, fingers, arms, and sometimes my face. They were extremely uncomfortable and itchy. Aloe and coconut oil helped to alleviate the itchiness, but I still did not know why they kept returning. I also experience different digestive problems that made me feel miserable.
Now, the patch of seven has dwindled to two, and all of the ones on my fingers and face have disappeared. I have also dropped 10 lbs since I stopped eating meat and dairy. My skin is definitely looking and feeling better, and the digestive problems are a thing of the past. I am VERY happy about that!
I can say that my Vegan journey has been amazing, and every day I am learning, researching, and uncovering more information, tips, recipes, reviews, and news that I look forward to sharing. This has definitely been one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only am I helping the environment, I am truly helping myself and my family as well!
About Tabatha James
Tabatha James is a wife, mom, and children's book author navigating her way through a vegan way of life!