Guest Blogger: Fresh Spinach – GMO Foods Debate in California

5 Oct

VBU! is lucky enough to receive new vegan bloggers joining every day. One such blogger is Lisa Frickle of Fresh Spinach.  Lisa lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and their two cats. After struggling with weight problems and health problems, Lisa and her husband turned to the vegan diet three years ago and haven’t looked back since! Fresh Spinach is about bringing health plant-based recipes to the masses, exploring new restaurant opportunities, and the struggles that inherently come along with a vegan diet. You can contact her at Lisa [at] gmail [dot] com. Feel free to connect with her on her: Facebook, Twitter and blog. Welcome Lisa!

When one is striving to live a healthy life focusing specifically on the food they eat, especially living on a plant-based diet as my husband and I are, organics and genetically modified foods become the center of many concerns.

On the Fresh Spinach Facebook page, I have posted a few items regarding genetically modified organisms/ foods (GMOs). If you have been following those posts, you may already be aware of the fight for a ballot measure in California (to be voted on this November) to mandate the labeling of GMO foods in grocery stores. This is something that is close to my heart. I am a firm believer that GMO foods are contributing to health problems. I also believe that prolonged exposure to such foods will produce chronic diseases—raising the rates of cancer, especially, across the country.

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The opposition to the ballot measure (Prop. 37 for those living in the state) maintains that these claims are unfounded; there have been no studies that show such diseases coming from these foods. What they won’t tell the voters is that there also have been no long-term studies done on these food products. To clarify, there is inconclusive evidence as of yet, which, to me, means we haven’t discovered the truth.

The supporters of labeling have put out, what I think are genius advertisements that really shed a light on the debate. These television ads make a clear link between the cigarette companies of yore claiming that smoking is perfectly safe and GMO conglomerates (Monsanto) insisting their products are safe.

So, what does this all have to do with eating a plant-based diet?

For my family, health and longevity are of the upmost importance. This is, in large part, the reason for choosing a plant-based diet. Obviously there are many other reasons that go along with making such a huge lifestyle change, but health seems to remain supreme for me.

I choose not to eat animal products because I have read studies, graphs, charts and research all pointing to animal proteins being, in large part, a contributor to chronic disease. Diseases such as cancer and heart disease run heavily through my family and are the diseases that can be avoided (or, at the very least, you can lower your risk for) with a WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED DIET. This does not mean your vegan diet includes ALL of the processed vegan options in the grocery store. This means that the great majority of your grocery bill comes from the produce department.

When it comes right down to it, I do not want to feed myself or my husband food that has been genetically created in a biology lab. I do not what to provide a meal made with products that do NOT exist in the natural world.

At the point we are now, GMO foods are difficult to avoid. When there is no labeling requirement, it can be hard to determine if your food product (either from the produce department or not) is actually real or GMO.

Luckily, there are a few saving graces.

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1) produce codes can tell you a lot more than how to ring it up at the register. Those little stickers slapped on your tomato can tell you whether that beautiful red fruit is organic, conventionally grown, or GMO.

2) A large number of items that contain NO GMO products will gladly say son on the label. Not all of the products are labeled, of course, but the ones that gladly tout that they are vegan, gluten-free and kosher, will usually also state they’re GMO-free. If you’re already vegan, you know that these products can be relatively difficult to find. If you’re not in California (or another area with easy access to vegan products) you already know, they’re near impossible to find.

So here is the heart of why I support the ballot measure in California, labeling across the country (or a ban on such products like in many areas in Europe), and education on the effects of these products.

1) A groundbreaking study recently revealed that GMO products were shown to increase the levels of cancer on rats over time. I know I mentioned above that no long term studies have been conducted and this is one, but I will continue to maintain that rat studies are not the same as human studies. I believe that this study will be helpful (and, believe me, I hate animal experimentation) but ultimately, a study on humans showing the the health of those who ate heavily GMO diets vs. those who ate organic will likely show similar results and get more attention.

2) All consumers deserve to know what they’re eating. They deserve to know how their food was grown and created. This will allow consumers to make informed decisions on their food choices.

To clarify, I’m not telling everyone in California to vote YES on 37. Every voter is free to, and should, make an informed decision on their own. I want my readers to be informed and I want my readers to know how I feel about the topic.

What are your thoughts on GMO food products? Would you knowingly feed your family food that was GMO?

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One Response to “Guest Blogger: Fresh Spinach – GMO Foods Debate in California”

  1. An Unrefined Vegan October 5, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Great (if scary) info! No to GMOs!

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