Intro to GMOs Part 1


If you do not know what a GMO (genetically modified organism) is, you should.  There is so very much to know, and it can get overwhelming.  For those of you who do not know what a GMO is, I am fairly confident you will be concerned, if not outraged by the fact that you haven’t known thus far, because it is no mistake that you have not.

Quite often, people ask me to share with them what I have learned.  So I have written a multi-part series (for beginners) about GMOS, where they come from and who produces them, why they are dangerous including why so many countries have bans and/or restrictions on them, what we can do to avoid them, and of course, my story.

For over 20 years I have been struggling with an autoimmune disease, ever-increasing complications from the disease itself, and side effects from pharmaceutical medications.  After experiencing more, new and debilitating (not to mention depressing) symptoms, several hospital admissions and countless additional medications which medical professionals claim I will never be able to do without, I decided to look toward food in order to heal myself.  Sounds simple enough, right?  I have used nutrition in the past as recommended by naturopaths, homeopaths, nutritionists, integrative medicine professionals and more, but mostly to no avail.  The problem is that I was advised to remove certain foods from my diet and replace them with something else.  I was encouraged to eat less meat and animal products, but this was simply to avoid saturated fats and to better assist my digestion.  In fact, a nutritionist advised that I eat meat with at least one if not two meals a day.  This clearly was not working, nor do I like the idea of eating meat anyhow.  I was also advised to go gluten-free, but not only did that fail to help, it made some matters even worse.  One reason, I believe, is that many gluten-free foods replace wheat ingredients (or gluten-based ingredients) with corn products.  Next to soybeans, corn is the most genetically modified food in our country.

Ultimately, I have made significant changes to my diet.  My focus is mainly on plant-based foods that are organic and/or locally grown when available, and I avoid GMO foods when possible.  I read labels incessantly, not only to know what is in a food, but also to better understand the company that produces it.  Since I have implemented these changes over the past several months, I have reduced my prescription medications by more than half, and I have more overall energy and mental clarity.  This redirection of lifestyle is not only for myself, but for my husband and children as well, which has already resulted in extremely favorable changes for all.  Such a dramatic turnaround for the better leads me to believe that not only were GM and non-organic foods making matters worse for me, they were quite possibly causing the health problems in the first place!  It is so incredibly gratifying to feel empowered by simply searching for and knowing the truth, and I invite you to do the same.

As I began to focus more on a plant-based diet, my eyes were opened to a world of lies, deceit, misrepresentation, mistreatment and torture of animals, environmental destruction, and squandering of taxpayer dollars (through subsidies,) all to better the bottom lines of large corporations.  These companies in turn attempt to secure political candidates (by way of continual lobbying and campaign funding) in positions that will guarantee the future of their companies.

Like anything, the more I research, the more I find myself wanting to know and learn.  I have become wholly consumed by the desire to know more in search of the truth.  What I have found is very disturbing and it is very easy to be angered by those who created this problem in the first place.  But I have to remember that there are always (at least) two sides to a story, even if the other side goes against everything I love, believe in, and care for.  In this case, the subject is humanity itself. The casualty (in addition to humans) is nature and everything that makes it beautiful and sustainable. The culprit is biotech/agribusiness and the government entities that are involved.

What is a GMO?

A GMO is a genetically modified organism.  This genetic modification is the process of taking DNA from one organism and inserting it into another, specifically genetically modified (GM) crops.  They are engineered for faster growth, higher yield, and resistance to pests, pathogens, weeds, and drought.   All of these elements sound like a good idea.  But the problem is that there simply is not enough knowledge about the safety for human consumption, the effects of GM feed on livestock, or the effects on the environment and ecosystems involved.

The most abundant GM crops include soybeans, corn, rapeseed (canola,) and cottonseed.  Most developed countries have restrictions on the cultivation, import and/or sales of GMOs, and some have a ban on GMOs altogether.  At the very least, most of them require labeling of such foods.  They do not believe that GM foods are safe for human consumption or safe for existing and future crops and future farming, despite biotech engineering companies’ claims that GM foods are no less harmful than conventional foods.  These countries simply do not wish to subject their citizens to a worldwide science experiment, nor do they find reports provided by biotech companies credible.   Most countries conduct their own independent research and find that there are in fact high levels of toxins in the plants, soil and water systems where GM crops are used.  More so, researchers here in the U.S. (who are not on USDA, FDA or biotech company payroll) have found much the same results, and it is already so very widespread that there is much more of a problem than any of us ever knew.  It seems logical that moving DNA around from one organism to another and then feeding it to an entire country without public knowledge is simply a recipe for disaster.

So why don’t we (or didn’t we) know what GMOs are?  And why aren’t they labeled?  If GMO foods are such wonderful discoveries that are going to solve world hunger, feed the ever-increasing populations, and resist everything and anything that might threaten a crop, why wouldn’t we have known more about them?  Enter, Monsanto.

Be sure to check back soon for part two!

Deanna Kohlmeyer