What’s a GMO?
Written by Tina Hatcher, Earth Girl Wellness
Food manufacturers praise their products as Non-GMO. A television commercial portrays Triscuits as “Nongenemodiscuit.” So what’s with the Non-GMO trend? Is it worth our interest since most food marketing departments have long tried to lure us in with fancy wording to entice us to buy their product? Especially since many of these marketing ploys are only vain attempts to make a product inaccurately sound healthier? Earth Girl thinks the Non-GMO marketing trend is worth the added effort.
GMOs are “Genetically Modified Organisms.” Essentially natural food items (fruits and vegetables) have their genetic material altered to create a newer, “healthier” version of the food. Take corn for example. One species of corn has a piece of its genetic material taken and inserted into another species of corn to make it more resistant to drought, torrential rain, bugs, or undernourished soil. The new version of corn is then easier to grow in harsh conditions, creating higher crop production and lowering cost. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Cross-breeding of crops has been done for centuries to create similar results. So what’s so bad about that? Cross-breeding is a naturally occurring event. A farmer can put two similar breeds of corn together to make a new breed. Genetically modifying the corn is a scientific process occurring in a laboratory; two unrelated species are forced to combine. Think of it like this: You can create a new breed of dog by allowing natural puppy love to occur or you can create a “Frankenpup” by taking an eye from one and a leg from another.
As a point of debate, most of these new species are created to help bolster food supplies in challenging environments. Unfortunately, food executives have also used the technology to make a maximum amount of profit from their products. Most of the products containing GMO ingredients are of such poor quality, we shouldn’t eat them. But let’s push the point a little bit. What other ramifications can come from GMO products? Not a single GMO product can be labeled as organic and can’t really attest to the health of the nutrition or the potential harshness of the product to the land. There is not a single long term study which can validate the safety of these products. GMOs may not have dramatic effects on the current generation but can side effects show up in our children or our children’s children? Additionally, GMOs can ultimately eradicate normally occurring species of many fruits or vegetables. Cross pollination can occur across GMO farm and organic farms that are literally miles apart.
So how can you know if your food is safely free from GMOs? The most commonly genetically modified crops today are corn and soy. These are found in virtually every packaged product on the supermarket shelf! Earth Girl highly recommends putting any GMO product back on the shelf. Look for the Non-GMO Verified Green Seal of Approval and buy organic when possible. For more information on GMOs, go to The Non-GMO Project at www.nongmoproject.org.
For more info about Earth Girl Wellness, visit here.
Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday season is in full swing! Don’t panic! Dr. Jude Miller Burke has some words of wisdom for the busiest time of the year. The following tips are from over 100 business owners, executives and mothers to help you reduce stress and increase well-being during the holiday season:
- Decide with your partner/spouse what your family values are for holiday celebrations. Create a detailed, but flexible, schedule including who is driving children to their different events — and don’t let others’ expectations determine what you do.
- Be aware of others’ expectations for you at work, home, or in the community. Make an active decision to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and have a ‘stop doing’ list. It is not your job alone to ensure the employees are recognized or the family has the best holiday ever.
- Self-made businesswomen organize and delegate. Gift shopping, wrapping, cooking, entertaining all require extra time. Consider buying one item in different colors for employees or the same top in various sizes for sisters. Buy the most difficult presents now and start early to avoid the holiday rush. Check items off a master list and have one of your children help wrap gifts.
- Revisit the schedule with the whole family to ensure everyone knows what the expectations are. Often forgotten tasks include haircuts, party clothing, holiday cards, flowers, hostess gifts, school concerts, and meal planning. Creatively use help from kids, neighbors, and others to accomplish all of your holiday tasks.
- Find small ways to do what YOU enjoy every day. Successful women are assertive, and in spite of guilt, set limits to preserve their energy. If you have three small children at home, it may not be the best year to plan the holiday work gathering. It may be better for you to keep going to your dance class to keep your energy level high.
- Practice mindfulness – be 100 percent wherever you are, work or home, with no interruptions. The holiday season will come and nothing is going to stop it. Worrying about holiday home tasks while at work or vice versa only increases your stress. Breathe deeply and be present wherever you are and this will decrease your stress. And, remember sometimes an “I’m sorry, Johnny is ill and we can’t make it” is all you can do. Take control of what you choose to be stressed about.
- Keep small problems from becoming bigger ones. Problems will inevitably arise and complicate things even further. Communicate well at work with your supervisor and your employees. Irritability and conflict seem to be inherent during these busy months, so try to accept this and using humor to diffuse tension. At home give each child time alone before bedtime to check in on their emotions; this will ward off problems later.
- Reduce stress by creating a holiday budget to live by. Spending money on items you can’t afford significantly increases your stress. You may not be able to save money during the holidays, but you can live beneath your means.
- Have your own holiday support system. Agree with a couple of friends to meet for coffee and discuss how you want to handle holiday expectations. And, then meet to discuss your progress.
- Highly successful women are kind and generous with themselves. Of course, the holidays are never perfect, but give yourself credit for accomplishing a great deal. If possible, schedule a quiet evening in or out with your spouse or the whole family to catch up with one another when this season ends. And have takeout for dinner!
Pick up our December issue of Bella Magazine for more Holiday Survival Tips!