Sylvia Egel’s GMO/GE Primer
Sylvia Egel, head of education for metabolic balance USA, researched the topic of GMO/GE and organised the following information to share with you.
First the US has no GMO / GE labeling rules or law. A very interesting web-page and nice visual (on labeling GMO / GE) can be found here.
Interestingly, the USDA organic seal needs to be non-GMO / -GE by law! You can find some interesting information on this topic here.
The US government has an official page created by the GPO (US Government Printing Office] which states that for an item to be organic certain methods are excluded.
“ A variety of methods used to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes and are not considered compatible with organic production. Such methods include cell fusion, microencapsulation and macroencapsulation, and recombinant DNA technology (including gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the positions of genes when achieved by recombinant DNA technology). Such methods do not include the use of traditional breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or tissue culture.“
When it comes to products that are of high risk and those which are non-GMO the web page of the non-GMO project is a valuable resource.
If you have more time, here are a few more links for you to review:
Recipe: Spring Soup
Eating what make sense during this time of year means eating spring vegetables! For this recipe, I decided to take my leftover asparagus and use it to make a soup.
1 serving vegetables (zucchini, bell pepper, green asparagus, onion)
1 serving Feta cheese
herbs and seasoning to taste
Saute all the vegetables together with a little olive oil in a pan. When the vegetables are soft, add the vegetable broth. Blend the vegetables and add the seasoning.
Place the soup in a bowl, add the feta cheese and serve.
Note: If you are in the strict phase of metabolic balance, eliminate the oil.
Note: To make the soup a bit more interesting, keep the asparagus tips and add them to the soup after you puree the vegetables .
Note: If you are using fresh asparagus (not leftovers) don’t forget to cook it. Fresh Asparagus takes much longer than the other vegetables to soften.
Meaning of GMO/GE
Here are two abbreviations used to describe genetically altered food products:
GMO = genetic modified organism
GE = genetically engineered
We are focusing on GMO/GE this week and will be sharing more links and information about genetically modified organisms and genetically engineered food products.
Christoph Egel’s Friday Blog: Buy Clean Produce
As we approach summer more and more fruits and vegetables are available fresh. Earlier this week we posted numerous links about seasonal produce availability. The Seasonal Ingredients Map from epicurious provides an interactive guide to locally harvested fruits and vegetable in your state.
All major dietary guidelines emphasize the importance of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet. At the same time it is imperative that we consider the amount of toxic pesticides that are involved in growing the produce we buy and that, as a result, will end up residing in our bodies. Many studies have demonstrated that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to our health, especially during fetal development and early childhood.
The Mayo Clinic has published a very good article that explains the difference between organic foods and their traditionally grown counterparts when it comes to nutrition, safety and price.
More useful when shopping than this general guide to organic foods are the Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ lists that are published as a part of the EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides™. Annually, the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit focused on public health, analyzed 28,000 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine the pesticide contamination in our food. The Dirty Dozen™ list includes fruits and vegetables that, you should either avoid or try to buy organic, because of their high residual pesticide levels. The fruits in the Dirty Dozen™ are apples, strawberries, grapes, peaches, imported nectarines and teh vegetables are celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and hot peppers.
For the second year, the EWG has expanded the Dirty Dozen™ with a Plus category to highlight two crops – domestically-grown summer squash and leafy greens, specifically kale and collards. These crops did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen™ criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.
EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ for 2013 – the produce least likely to test positive for pesticide residues – are pineapple, papaya, mango, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapefruit, corn, onion, avocado, frozen sweet peas, cabbage, asparagus, eggplant, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Consequently, you can buy these 15 fruits and vegetables non-organic and they should top your shopping list.
The Mayo Clinic Staff also provides some Food Safety Tips that are worthwhile remembering:
Whether you go totally organic or opt to mix conventional and organic foods, be sure to keep these tips in mind:
Select a variety of foods from a variety of sources. This will give you a better mix of nutrients and reduce your likelihood of exposure to a single pesticide.
Buy fruits and vegetables in season when possible. To get the freshest produce, ask your grocer what day new produce arrives. Or check your local farmers market.
Read food labels carefully. Just because a product says it’s organic or contains organic ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthier alternative. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat or calories.
Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Washing helps remove dirt, bacteria and traces of chemicals from the surface of fruits and vegetables. Not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing, though. You can also peel fruits and vegetables, but peeling can mean losing some fiber and nutrients.
Eat Vegetables That Are In Season
Check out this website which gives links to produce by State. Some links provide charts while others provide information about local produce.
Another website has a PDF you can download which maps out which vegetables are in season and how long the season lasts.
If you just want to find a place where you can buy fresh local produce, check out this website that allows you to find local providers of fresh produce in your area. (detailed lists with map and contact information)