On Friday, one of Ben’s friends posted this on Facebook.
As a result, we ended up down the rabbit hole of genetically modified food.
I’ve always known about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) but it’s one of those things I knew I should care about but was kind of afraid to learn more because I knew it would make life more difficult. Well, after this weekend, I know more. And yes, it’s going to make life more difficult. But that’s cool because Ben and I decided that we strongly believe we should not be eating genetically modified food or feeding it to Soren.
I think I spent 50% of my waking hours this weekend thinking about food. That’s more time than I want to spend thinking about food, but it’ll get easier as we figure this stuff out. For now, we’re just doing the best we can without going totally crazy. Our current plan (this will evolve as we learn more) is:
- Try to buy products made by companies that don’t use GMOs and aren’t owned by companies that do. Some of these, like Morningstar Farms, will be hard.
- Try to avoid the big genetically modified ingredients (unless they’re included in a non-GMO product), including canola and cottonseed oil, soybeans, sugar from sugar beets (which can be any sugar listed as an ingredient other than pure cane sugar), and corn or corn-derived ingredients. (Our consumption of processed foods is going waaaaaay down.)
- Grow our own zucchini and yellow squash (and avoid papaya, which we never eat anyway).
It looks like this means we won’t be buying food made by big corporations or by smaller companies owned by big corporations. (Here’s a good article in The New York Times about this.)
This is in addition to some things we already do and some that are new:
- Avoid meat.
- Avoid products that contain animal ingredients.
- Avoid products that are tested on animals (not food but kind of related).
- Make what we can (food and non-food) from good, GMO-free, natural, environmentally friendly ingredients.
- Buy organic.
- Buy only dairy products that are free of rBGH/rBST/artificial hormones.
- Go out to eat infrequently.
Saturday’s trip to the supermarket (Soren loves the word “supermarket”) was a long journey involving lots of label reading. We bought different produce, bread, granola bars, chips, some cheeses, ice cream, and a frozen lunch for me, among other things. We were already doing okay in some areas — cereal for Soren (he loves Leapin’ Lemurs) and yogurt, for example. We’re planning to start making more things from scratch — ice cream and bread, for example. We’re going to be dedicating a lot more time to thinking about and preparing food and we’re going to spend more money on food, but that’s cool because we’re going to be healthier and in our own little way, contributing to a healthier world by supporting companies that aren’t doing creepy stuff with food in an effort to make even more money. Hippie power!!
If you’re interested in learning more about GMOs and how to avoid them, the Cornucopia Institute and the Non-GMO Project are good places to start. There are a few iPhone apps, too, but they don’t seem to be updated often enough, so I”m not sure how accurate they are.
I’ll keep you updated on our progress!