Organic and Heirloom Food vs. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOS)


Determining How Healthy Your Food Is

Eating right is important to maintaining your health and protecting your body. Unfortunately, it has become more difficult and confusing in recent years to make sure that you are eating as healthily as you should, especially considering the increasing concern over the rise of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Those who believe that GMOs are unhealthy or unsafe may find that even foods they previously thought were safe to eat are now potentially problematic because they are grown from genetically modified seeds.

When choosing what to eat and what foods to grow, you need to understand the different types of seeds and products out there so you will know what you are consuming.

Organic vs. Heirlooms vs. GMOs

To know how healthy a food is, you need to know what seeds it was grown from. There are three types of seeds:

1.   Organic : Organic seeds are harvested from organic plants in accordance with OMRI rules and regulations. Many believe that food grown from organic seeds is healthier than food grown from plants that are exposed to pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Growing seeds from organic plants can be cumbersome and expensive. Opinions are mixed regarding whether organic seeds are worth the trouble. Non-organic seeds usually contain a minimal presence of pesticides or chemicals. This would not make the food any less healthy as long as organic growing methods are used after the seed has begun to grow into a plant.

2.   Heirloom: Heirloom seeds have been passed down from family to family, and are essentially the antiques of the seed world. Heirloom varieties are unique. While most people have heard of heirloom tomatoes, heirloom seeds are not limited to tomatoes alone. Many varieties of vegetable types can be grown from heirloom seeds, provided you can find someone who is able and willing to supply them. We have provided an alphabetical list of 100 heirloom seed suppliers in the United States. This website provides an address and phone number for ordering heirloom seeds outside of the United States.

3.   GMO: GMO seeds are those that have been modified on a genetic level in a lab setting. There are two classes of GMO’s: Cisgenic and transgenic.

Essentially, instead of a plant’s genetics being modified through the selective breeding of different plants, the plant’s genetics are modified by altering the DNA structure. This video explains the altering of the DNA structure in plants and food in detail. Unfortunately, GMOs have not existed for a long time. Therefore, they have not been subject to long-term safety tests that would indicate whether they are truly safe for consumption. There is also grave concern about GMOs affecting surrounding eco-systems and natural crops. GMOs are banned in many parts of the world, but are widely used for food grown in the United States. GMO seeds are only available for a few limited types of crops including sugar beets, corn, soybeans, cotton, papaya, and squash.

For most people, organic and heirloom seeds are better options than GMOs. While they may be more expensive and difficult to find, the cost can pay off when you are able to produce or consume food that is healthier. In turn, you will feel more alert and energetic. Healthy eating, and a healthy lifestyle better prepare you to face the day (and that’s worth an extra buck, right?).

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