This post is a reality check. I am not trying to be a drag or rub unpleasantness in anyone’s face but I am going to honor the intent of this blog as I continue to “get to the truth about GMO in our food supply”. This holiday season was a stark reminder to me about what it would really take to avoid GMO food entirely. I honestly am not sure I will ever be up to the task on a permanent, year round basis. It is simply too monumental of an endeavor.
I am just beginning to get the knack of avoiding genetically modified food in my own home. I’m a savvy shopper who takes my reading glasses shopping with me, who turns every product around, who reads the fine print on the back. I am learning my hidden GMO ingredients.
But during the holidays, we are invited to others’ homes, to dinners out, and food preparation is out of our control. Below I discuss just some of the many items readily available for our consumption during the holiday season. Whether lurking atop a platter on my sister-in-law’s beautifully decked Christmas table, soaking in a savory marinade on an hors d’oeuvres tray, or pouring into a high ball glass or beautiful piece of stemware, GMOs are so pervasive it is sadly laughable to try to avoid them unless you are willing to never leave the confines of your own home.
Oils – danger Will Robinson! Marinades. Salads. Dips. Sauces. Gravies. Desserts. Breads. Crackers. Sweet breads. Cakes. Cookies. Unless it is 100% organic canola oil or pure extra virgin olive oil, it is GMO. (Sauces and gravies likely also contain corn starch and/or other corn products… big time GMO)
Candy – homemade candy, though lacking in additives (a good thing), is made with corn syrup as the main ingredient. How many cooks do you know who seek out 100% organic corn syrup for their holiday candies? And if such a dedicated cook finds it, it ain’t gonna be cheap.
All things dairy: cheese, cream, ice cream, butter. Only a few dairies are bovine growth hormone (rBST or rBGH) free in their non-milk products and many dairies still use the hormones in their milks. So in addition to the pure forms of these products, we are talking about a plethora of recipes that call for butter, cheese, cream cheese, cream, whipping cream – you get the idea.
Meats – here I got lucky because my sister-in-law served a hormone free, anti-biotic free prime rib. I don’t know if it was grass-fed though. And if it was not organic, it ate GMO corn feed. (I didn’t push it any further when she told me it was a hormone and antibiotic free prime rib. I simply complimented her on both her choice of meat and how perfectly she cooked it. The thing cut like butter.)
Cocktails – try to find a cocktail mix, juice in a jar or frozen juice can that does not contain high fructose corn syrup. Even if they contain sugar instead, if it isn’t pure cane sugar, it comes from the genetically modified sugar beet.
Wine and beer? Fermented with GMO sugar and yeast. This category is one of the most difficult for me. I’m sorry. I can’t say goodbye to wine and beer.
So there is my short description of common GMO laden food and drink consumed by me and gifted to me – all of which I ate and drank this holiday season and it isn’t even New Year’s yet. I am learning to pass on the homemade almond roca and caramels (after I have just a few), but it saddens me to know others will cheerfully gobble it up while completely unaware that anything could possibly be wrong. Generally, people just aren’t ready to know, don’t even want to know, all this GMO jazz and who would really want to know if they could avoid it? I was once blissfully ignorant too.
If you’ve even read this far, you are one of the few and I commend you. If we could only turn a blind eye to the manipulation of our food by mega-multinational-conglomerates – and it would all just go away. If only…
Written by Julie Kay