Better Nutrition

Tips to Help You Eat GMO- Free

Want to avoid laboratory- created, geneticall­y modified organisms? October is Non- GMO Month— the ideal time to learn how to remove GMOs from your diet

- By Melissa Diane Smith

What to buy, what to avoid, what to look for on labels, and more.

Q: I want to avoid geneticall­y modified foods, and I’ve seen lots of general guidelines to follow, but it’s not always easy because GMOs aren’t required to be labeled. Is there any way to know which foods contain GMOs so I can be more effective at staying away from them?

— Matt B., Venice, Calif.

A few years ago, I realized exactly what you did: general GMO avoidance guidelines aren’t enough for many people. This is why I created the Eat GMO- Free Challenge— a series of tips to follow each day for 31 days to help people remove or avoid all sources of GMOs from your diet.

Below you’ll find a few suggestion­s to get you started. You can find the complete Challenge in my book Going Against GMOs or at Eatgmofree­challenge.com.

Tip # 1

Freely eat all types of vegetables except zucchini and yellow squash, a small amount of which is geneticall­y modifi ed; GM sweet corn, which started to appear in grocery stores in the autumn of 2011; and GM potatoes, which arrived on some grocery shelves this past summer. Seek out organic versions of these veggies.

Tip # 2

Enjoy all types of fruit except papaya, especially papaya grown in Hawaii or China, most of which is geneticall­y modifi ed. Look for organic papaya, or choose non- GMO varieties such as Mexican red or Singapore pink, as well as varieties grown in Brazil, Belize, or Mexico. ( Also, beware of GM apples, which are slated to arrive in 2016. See p. 68 for more on GM apples.)

Tip # 3

Remember the 3 Cs ( corn, canola, and cottonseed) and 2 Ss ( soybeans, and sugar from sugar beets). These are the most common geneticall­y modifi ed crops.

Tip # 4

To avoid GM corn, read product labels and avoid those with obvious corn- based ingredient­s. Examples include corn oil, corn syrup, high- fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal, corn masa ( as in tamales), and maize starch. Steer clear of

Most of the papaya grown in Hawaii or China is geneticall­y modified.

Look for organic pastured eggs from chickens that aren’t fed GM corn or soy.

sweet corn and all foods that contain corn- based ingredient­s ( including corn tortillas, corn chips, polenta, and corn grits) unless they’re labeled USDA Organic or Non- GMO Project Verifi ed.

Tip # 5

To avoid GM canola, look for canola oil in lists of ingredient­s and avoid products that contain it unless they’re labeled USDA Organic or Non- GMO Project Verifi ed. Canola oil is found in a wide range of products, including pasta sauces, salad dressings, mayonnaise, snack foods, prepared foods, and frozen entrées.

Tip # 6

To avoid GM cottonseed, look for cottonseed oil in product ingredient­s and avoid those that contain it. Cottonseed oil is sometimes found in roasted nuts, snack foods, bread, and certain canned fi sh items.

Tip # 7

To avoid GM soy, look for food products that say: Contains Soy ( it should be clearly listed because soy is a common allergen); or check the ingredient­s. Common examples of soy- based ingredient­s include soy protein, soy fl our, soy sauce, soybean oil, soy milk, and soy lecithin. Tofu, tempeh, and miso are other sources of soy. Steer clear of foods with these ingredient­s unless they’re labeled USDA Organic or Non- GMO Project Verifi ed.

Tip # 8

Purchase Non- GMO Project Verifi ed eggs or organic pastured eggs ( from chickens

that are not fed corn or soy that has been geneticall­y engineered).

Tip # 9

Be careful about what you drink. Most convention­ally sweetened beverages contain GMOs, including soft drinks, iced tea, and coff ee drinks such as lattes. Look for alternativ­es sweetened with stevia or other natural sweeteners.

Tip # 10

To avoid sugar from GM sugar beets, read product labels and don’t buy foods that contain “sugar” or “beet sugar” in their ingredient­s. When not specifi ed as sugar from sugar cane, “sugar” in a list of ingredient­s almost always means a combinatio­n of sugar from sugar cane ( which isn’t geneticall­y modifi ed) and sugar from sugar beets ( which are geneticall­y modifi ed).

Tip # 11

Avoid processed foods and convenienc­e foods as much as possible. Because almost all convention­al corn, soy, and sugar beets grown in this county are geneticall­y modifi ed and subsidized by our government, they’re inexpensiv­e and end up in about 75– 80 percent of processed foods in diff erent forms.

Tip # 12

Cook with unrefined extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil instead of convention­al butter, canola oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, or soybean oil. Convention­al butter can contain GMOs, and the latter four oils almost always contain GMOs. If you want to cook with butter, buy organic butter, preferably organic pasture- raised butter.

Tip # 13

Switch to organic, grass- fed meats and wild- caught fish and seafood. Convention­ally raised animals are usually fed GMO corn and GMO soy- based diets, and farm- raised fish are typically fed GMO feed, as well.

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