Weekly Newsletter – by Deanna Mandichak, PT, CHC
“Life is for laughing, loving and living. Not for whining, worrying and working.” Ed Foreman
Identifying Genetically Modified Foods….
Genetically modified foods are genetically engineered for optimum looks, growing and selling. They are not what we were meant to put in our bodies. I have written about them in a past newsletter, so you know that these foods are to be avoided. These foods are artificially grown by inserting genes into the crops or animals. These genes can come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. The problem is that the US does not require them to be labeled. So how do we know which foods are genetically modified? Look at the PLU Code on the sticker. conventionally grown produce, grown with toxic fertilizers and other chemicals, use 4 numbers on the code. For example, a conventionally grown banana would be 4011. Organically grown produce has 5 numbers on the code, and begin with the number 9. For example, you would find 94011, on an organically grown banana. Genetically engineered (GE or GMO) produce has 5 numbers on the code, but will start with the number 8. For example, a genetically modified banana would read 84011.
It is important to know this, since over 80% of processed foods in the US are genetically modified. Other countries such as Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg, have banned genetically modified produce. There are, in fact, some doctors now, thankfully, that are prescribing non-GMO diets to all of their patients. The foods to look at for at this point are papayas from Hawaii, zucchini and yellow squash, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets and corn. Notice that some of these foods are ingredients also found in a variety of foods, so make sure to read your labels and list of ingredients. If it is not organic, it could contain GMOs.
Your best bet?? Buy organic! Organic products must not contain any genetically modified ingredients. Avoid products made in North America with “sugar” in the ingredient list, instead of “pure cane sugar”. It may then be a combination of sugar cane and SM sugar beets. Non-organic dairy products most likely come from cows that are injected with GM bovine growth hormone and/or antibiotics. If it is not labeled organic, look for labels that state “no rbGH, or rbST, or artificial hormones”.
It seems all of our lives we have been told to eat our carrots because they are good for our eyes. For children, you can show them the cross section, and it actually looks like an eye! So what is it exactly that is good for our eyes? That would be the beta carotene, which our bodies convert to Vitamin A. The vitamin A forms a purple pigment in our eyes, which makes it easier to see in dim light or in the dark. But that is not all. Carrots also contain plenty of antioxidants which help us ward off cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. They actually contain the highest amount of sugar than any other vegetable, except beets, which contribute to the tasty flavor.
Interestingly, the first carrots were actually purple and yellow, and now you may find red carrots in India. In the 1600s the Dutch traders began growing the bright orange carrots. The orange color comes from the beta carotene also. Carrots also help with digestive problems, especially constipation. They contain plenty of fiber, which holds the beta carotene. Cooking them slightly will help release the beta carotene so your body can absorb it better.
It is easy to try to get carrots into our diets by throwing them into almost any dish, like salads. You can grate them into potatoes for hash browns. (Try grated zucchini and onions too!) Add them to red or white sauces, creamy soups or casseroles. Some have added carrots finely ground into peanut butter for a new kind of crunch. You can cook them with beans, peas, lentils, rice or pastas, and they are great in stuffing too!
Health and Happiness to you!!
Deanna Mandichak, PT, CHC
Reno-Tahoe Health Coaching