Have you heard the debate about “GMO” products in the news lately? To be honest, like many consumers, my first introduction to the issue came from a packaging label I saw a few years back on an organic food: “Non-GMO.” But, what the heck is GMO? So, I did some research to find out.
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, and it essentially means that the food’s genes have been somehow modified. It may have been spliced with a chemical or a gene from another organism, but one thing is for sure: It’s not natural. It may look and feel as natural as anything else, but this food is not produced as Mother Nature intended. Man has intervened.
The U.S. government insists that there isn’t enough difference between GMO and non-GMO seeds to cause concern. But, along with a growing number of people, I’m thinking it’s pretty dangerous to mess with nature.
We’ve only been genetically modifying foods since 1996, so there’s not a lot of history. At that time, about 5 percent of this country’s corn production was GMO. According to the USDA, in 2010 that number increased to about 70 percent. GMO foods are being introduced into our food supply at very fast rate, and there are no labeling requirements.
So, here are some tips for avoiding these potentially dangerous foods:
- Buy Organic! If a food is USDA certified organic, it’s non-GMO. Phew.
- Find that “Non-GMO” Label. A food can be non-GMO and non-organic. This label will help you identify those foods.
- Grow your own garden with organic seeds. The same rule applies to seeds as it does to foods. If you see the USDA certified organic label, you’re buying non-GMO.
My favorite tips to avoid GMO foods…
Buy your meat and produce at local farmers’ markets. Typically, genetically modified food is grown on industrial farms. The farmers’ market allows you to speak directly with the farmer to find out how the food was grown. These markets usually have other locally grown (and non-GMO foods) such as: organic honey, jam/jelly, baked goods, beans, etc.
Buy rBST- or rBGH-Free Milk (or buy an organic, non-dairy alternative). If milk contains rBST or rBGH, the cow that produced it was injected with a genetically engineered substance. The milk itself isn’t technically GMO, but it could contain GMO substances. And, just like GMO foods, the milk will only be labeled if it doesn’t contain the substances.
Like rice? Me too! My favorite non GMO rice is Hinode Rice. See my recipe below for my quick & easy recipe using whole grain Hinode Brown Rice
Chicken, Rice, and Run!
I am a huge fan of brown rice. But I am not a huge fan of the 40 minutes it takes to cook it. Hinode Rice makes a terrific 2 min (microwave) brown rice that tastes every bit as good as homemade.
Rice is a gluten free whole grain that has fiber and protein.
You can add just about any veggie to rice as a way to boost the nutritional content.
Excellent left overs!
Chicken, many options here: use chopped chicken breast or thighs, chicken sausage or ground chicken (use about 3/4 pound for 4 servings)
2 cups of chopped uncooked veggies (I like using asparagus)
2 cups of cooked brown rice
1. In a large sauce pan on medium heat, warm up 1 Tbs. of olive oil
2. Add the chicken and cook until almost cooked through
3. Add the asparagus and cook and stir for about 1-2 minutes
4. Add the cooked brown rice and warm the entire dish through