GMO’s- What you need to know

Organic, natural and non-GMO have become quite the buzzwords this year, but do you really know what they mean? When you begin a healthier lifestyle, you start to realize how much you really don’t know about what’s in your food or where it came from. It is my hope that you’ll become a healthy AND educated consumer, so you can make the best choices for you.

So, what are GMO foods exactly?
GMO foods are those created from organisms that were genetically engineered. Those organisms have had very specific changes introduced into their DNA. Sounds like a science experiment, doesn’t it? GMO foods have only been commercially available for 20 years, but a growing number are produced each year.

Today, you will find that almost all cash crops, crops produced only for their commercial value and ability to turn a profit from parties outside of the farm, are GMOs. The list includes soybean, cotton seed oil, canola and corn. The next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a bag of chips and take a look at the ingredients.


Chances are, they were fried in a mix of canola, soybean and/or cottonseed oil. Why? Because those oils are cheap and mass produced thanks to genetic modification. Companies just use whatever they can get cheaper at the time. None of them are healthy, however.

What’s wrong with GMO’s?
One of the biggest problems and major concerns surrounding GMO’s is simply that we don’t know exactly what they’re capable of doing. In many ways, GMO’s really are science experiments. They are restricted in 60 countries, including Japan, Australia and every country in the European Union. It’s important to note that the US continues to allow GMO’s based on safety studies that were conducted by the very same companies who create and sell them.


Many GMO foods are produced to resist certain viruses so the crops won’t die. What happens when we, as humans, continue to give our body more and more antibiotics and drugs? It usually stops working right. And on top of that, it can become resistant. Viruses and bacteria can morph, and then we just end up with new strains of things like the flu or other illnesses. Is it all that crazy to think genetically modifying food to grow faster and stronger is perhaps not safe?

Many farmers have run into problems because their organic crops have been contaminated by GMO crops due to cross-pollination. Monsanto has patented the GMO seeds they’ve developed, which has turned into a legal issue as well. You can read more about Monsanto’s ability to sue farmers whose organic crops are contaminated by their GMO seeds here.

What can you do to avoid GMO’s?
The first thing you can do is start by avoiding most processed foods. It is estimated that 80% of processed foods in the US contain GMO’s. Have no fear- you can still buy many things you need in packages! Keep an eye out for the non-GMO project verified label. You can use this list to help you find the non-GMO versions of items you need.

Buying organic is a great step when it comes to produce. Always look for produce labels with 5 digits that begin with the number 9. If you see a 5-digit code beginning with 8, the item was genetically modified. Other items typically begin with a 4. Those are not organic, but they are not GMO foods either.

Do you avoid GMO’s now? Do you think you might try to learn more about GMO’s and find better choices?

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Fight Flu Season: Four immune boosters to keep in your kitchen

Flu season is in full swing, and if you’re like most people, you’re trying to avoid it. Flu “season” is actually a result of our bodies not adapting well to cold, less sun, less activity and often less water.

If it’s not the flu getting you down, it may be something else. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from bacteria and viruses when your body is a bit more compromised. First of all, be sure you stay active and hydrated. Eliminate any unnecessary stressors and make sure you’re getting enough rest. You’re body can’t fight if it doesn’t have the energy and tools to do it! You’ll also want to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D in since the sun isn’t around to help. Eggs, almonds and salmon are all great sources.

Here are a few other things you can keep in your kitchen to help your body fight away the bad stuff all year long.

One clove of garlic is said to contain more than 100 sulfuric compounds. That’s a lot of fighting power! It was actually used to prevent gangrene in both world wars. Raw garlic is the most effective for fighting bacteria and infection, but that doesn’t mean cooked garlic has no benefits. If you’re in a hurry to get well, try adding some raw garlic to a salad. If you’re brave enough, you can chew on a few small pieces. However, for regular fighting power, use garlic in sautees and stir-fries.

I could dedicate an entire blog post to the benefits of ginger, but I’ll just share a few today. Ginger contains two natural antibiotics. It is a strong antioxidant and it’s antimicrobial when used both internally and topically. It’s often used to help those with digestive trouble, and it improves circulation. So, how can you use this super power in your home? 
Like garlic, you can use ginger in sautees and stir-fries. You can also chew on it raw to help with tummy troubles and nausea. Be careful- ginger is spicy and packs a real punch! One of the easiest things to do when you are fighting infection or tummy trouble is to make ginger tea. To do this, all you need is water, fresh ginger and an optional sweetener like honey. Bring water to a boil and then drop in a few slices of peeled fresh ginger. Once you’ve added the ginger, reduce to a simmer and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Add a small amount of honey or maple syrup to sweeten as desired.

Fresh lemons are naturally high in Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C helps to reduce inflammation in the body and it’s necessary for a strong immune system. Without enough potassium, you’re at risk of developing more chronic diseases. Lucky for us, lemons are pretty easy to find and even easier to use! You can add fresh lemon juice to the ginger tea recipe above, or you can squeeze it into warm water first thing in the morning. If you have a Vitamix, you can also add lemon juice to your juice mixes.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar improves conditions for the growth of good bacteria in your gut. ACV contains malic acid, which is a strong antiviral. Raw, unfiltered ACV has also been said to help break up mucus and cleanse the lymph nodes. These are just a few reasons ACV can be especially helpful when dealing with a cold or sinus infection. Be sure you buy organic, raw and unfiltered ACV. Bragg is a very popular brand that’s easy to find in most health food stores. 
Begin with just 1 Tbsp of ACV diluted in water. It is very important that you dilute it, so it does not damage your teeth. If 1 Tbsp is helping you, you can increase the amount up to 2, and eventually 3 Tbsp. Many people find this easy to incorporate into their daily routine first thing in the morning. Additionally, if you can handle the sour taste, you can add ACV to your daily lemon water or juice mix.

The next time you’re sick, remember that your body is talking to you. In some cases, you can boost your body’s ability to heal naturally. Each time you do this, your immune system has the chance to work and fight back. That is a beautiful thing!
Do you use any of these natural remedies now? Do you keep them in your kitchen regularly? 

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