Genetically altered foods create risks

 I set out on the how-to’s of couponing and refunding to the point where groceries and household goods were practically nothing, or at times money-makers.

In the process, I learned about GMO foods — those are highly processed foods that utilize genetically modified seeds. The seeds are designed in a lab to produce more, grow faster, harvest bigger, etc.

There are MANY problems attributed to GMO foods — and those problems started spiking shortly after 1995, when the FDA approved them for human consumption. The rise of diseases like diabetes, obesity, cancers and even early-onset puberty can be directly linked to GMO foods.

The more I learned about GMO foods and Monsanto, the company that makes most of them, the less I liked it, and the more I realized that the coupons we have for “food” are for those products.

Those products are put out by some VERY BIG names! I was shocked: Kraft, Proctor & Gamble, Pillsbury, Nestle, Hershey, just to name a few.

So, on my one month hiatus from writing for the Agora, I went soul searching for myself and what I am providing for my family, and what can I teach you, the Agora reader.

Obviously, to live a healthier life, one must rid their homes of GMO foods. The biggest argument is that items marked certified organic are very expensive — this has been my experience and the experience of students I have spoken with on campus.

So the challenge then for me was to find ways that we could live more healthily! It HAS been a challenge!

Perhaps the easiest, and most cost effective way to change your diet is incrementally. Start with something small, and then add to that.

I have found coupons for certified organic products, and I didn’t have to traipse to Ann Arbor’s Whole Foods to satisfy this.

You can print off coupons for organic products online (and they are accepted at all stores and doubled at some stores, like Perrysburg Krogers or Sylvania’s Giant Eagle). Learn to love to learn — as you will need to change from the fast food, quick and easy to made from scratch.

It sounds formidable, but once you are used to it, it takes up no more time, than say, an exercise regime or coupon clipping!

Things that I have done since my last writing: I have switched our family from store bought milk, sour cream, ice cream and butter to Calder Dairy (Carleton, MI). They deliver once a week to my home (no real extra cost). Their products are all natural and contain no growth hormones.

My base weekly purchase is: 1/2 gallon chocolate milk, one gallon Creamline milk (this is pasteurized but not homogenized and tastes the way it used to taste growing up!), and two pints of whipping cream. My average bill each week is $9 and I am billed monthly.

Now, if you look at my standard order, your first thought is, good grief, that’s a lot of fat! Well, yes and no. You see, when you drink things that are pasteurized but not homogenized, your body processes the milk fat differently. It is the homogenization that makes milk fat bad for you.

I use the whipping cream to make my own butter! The difference in taste is phenomenally different than store bought butter (which is expensive!). If you knew how simple it was to make, I would bet more people would make their own, too (15 minutes in a stand mixer, with only two ingredients — sea salt and whipping cream).

The chocolate milk on my order is just because it’s a treat — I can change this out for a quart of peach drinkable yogurt or a half gallon of their ice cream, but the chocolate milk is thick and delicious.

So, now that I have taken the simple step of changing out my dairy products to natural products, I am at the next crossroads — meat!

Meat is expensive all the way around. Unless you can find winetags for meats, there are virtually no coupons. So, what you need to do is buy the meat on sale — you can go to www.shoplocal.com and search all of the sales ads in your surrounding area to find the best deal, or you can peruse your Sunday advertising.

I highly recommend using a butcher for your meats — with the best option of buying direct from the cattle rancher. We are in between two of the best places to buy meat — in Taylor (Telegraph Rd. between Goddard and Northline) is Cattleman’s Meat Market and in Toledo (several locations) is House of Meats.

Produce should be obtained locally, and SEASONALLY!! In other words, tomatoes in the summer time (learn how to can them for other seasons), fruits of the summer, grapes after first hard frost, pears after first hard frost, squash in the fall and winter, potatoes in the fall, etc.

Try to use as much fresh local foods as possible, and remember, it never hurts to ask your farmer if he is using HEIRLOOM seeds or if he is using Monsanto seeds. If he says he is using HEIRLOOM seeds, he is using seeds that are not genetically modified.

A big one for my family (and maybe yours too) is pop … I gotta have my pop (it’s the 11th commandment). What makes pop so bad? High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). This is also a Genetically Modified product…BAD, BAD, BAD!!

HFCS is not the same as corn syrup that you use to make candies with, it is a byproduct of a byproduct. But I have to have it. I am more addicted to it than I am to coffee!

There is hope, though! Pepsi has come out with Pepsi Throwback (you can find it locally at Sam Stop, on 7th Street in Monroe). Pepsi Throwback is made with 100% REAL SUGAR and no HFCS. It tastes the way it used to taste back in the 1970s. It’s delicious, and while pop is not a “good for you” food, it’s better than it could be with the HFCS in it! Pepsi Throwback comes in 2 liter bottles and 12 pack cans. For the Dew lovers, Sam Stop also carries the Mountain Dew Throwback.

Stay away from any products listed as diabetic or sugar free — 99.9 percent of them contain artificial sweetener, which has been proven to cause a myriad of problems, including cancer! It’s truly a KILLER.

Because I want you, the Agora reader, to digest what I am writing, I am going to end this segment with a link to learn more about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), and a long list of products to both avoid and their alternatives to help you live a healthier life.

The products that you need to avoid at all costs in the United States, that are GMO are: Soybeans and all byproducts (unless it says Certified Organic), beet sugar (cane sugar is fine), papaya (fresh or otherwise), canola, and corn and all byproducts.

Go through your pantries and prepare to be amazed at what contains GMO foods! My biggest shock was “100 percent vegetable oil” — it is 100 percent GMO Soy! We have made the switch to either 100 percent olive oil (which you can get from Randazzo’s Farmer’s Market in Westland — on the corner of Warren and Newburgh Rd., for $4 for a half gallon) or coconut oil (my next installment will discuss this wonder oil and all of it’s uses — it’s truly amazing). Coconut oil can be purchased locally at the herbal store by St. Paul’s in downtown Monroe or online at Amazon.com

Links for more information and alternatives to GMO foods: