Tuesday, January 22, 2013

crowded kitchen: GMOS (Oh, and a few updates, too!)

Some updates first...

Pretty New Colors!

What do you think of the new layout?? Just so we're on the same page, I'm big on changing things around more than I probably should. I've been like that since I was big enough to drag, muscle, and cajole my furniture around my old bedroom back in El Paso. I love remodeling!

So Long to an Old Friend

A couple years ago I started a foodie blog and for the most part, I was decent at keeping it updated. Lately it's been tough to shoot photos, edit, and upload, but little by little I'm getting back to it. But I've been reading A LOT about the business of blogging and what effective bloggers do with their resources...and the number one piece of advice was to NOT separate out each tiny interest you have into new blogs. Ouch. I'm terrible at that...I want an art blog, a food blog, a kids blog, a writer blog...and I'm so stretched out that I can't keep up any of them. So....I'm moving my favorites over here from the blog formerly known as the "Hungry Little Blackbird" and tagging them as "Crowded Kitchen."

It'll keep all my writing under one roof (except my author page, but I'm pretty much ignoring that thing until I ink that ol' bookdeal...so don't hold your breath!)

Little by little, I'll be bringing over the recipes (mine) that I posted and some of the write ups I did after interviewing neat food-based folks. The label up on that nav bar will take you to all the "Crowded Kitchen" posts from here on out...Huzzah, right?

Well, now on to today's post. I want to preface it and say that I'm not some holier-than-thou food elitist. Seriously. I don't even recycle in our current apartment. (The SHAME! I know, I know.../facepalm.)

But I'm edu-ma-cating myself about what I've been eating for a few decades and what I'm putting on my kids' plates. It kinda freaks me out...

So without further ado...some of the things that freaked me out...

Today's Post

It's a strange time to be a foodie, isn't it?

Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, hormone free, cruelty free, foods versus "food like" substances...

The list is long and pretty daunting and sometimes I don't know where to start.

Lately, there's been a lot of talk about genetically modified (GM) food. I don't pay much attention, really. Up to this point, I've never bought anything organic on purpose. Not that I have a problem with organic, I just didn't have the pocketbook power to learn more about it.

But I guess you can only stick your head in the sand for so long before the earth starts rumbling below it and you can't hide anymore.

I've been doing a little cursory research into what exactly GM food is, where it comes from, why there was a big honkin' fight over it in California (and one to follow soon in Washington), and what it could possibly be doing to my family and I.

I'm pretty sure I'll never know everything I need to...that would require a Ph.D. in chemistry that I just don't have. But I know more than I did yesterday. And I'll know more than I do today. I started this journey for knowledge after reading an article in this month's Mother Earth Living. From there I went down the rabbit hole of GMOs and I'll probably never come back.

Another resource was a Netflix gem I stumbled across called "Hungry for Change." It was hard to hear at points because my sons were locked in a death match over a lego, but what I was able to hear was pretty thought provoking. And scary. As hell...

The basics of GMO (as I've found it so far)

Let me state this disclaimer (again): I'm not a scientist. I'm not a lawyer. I'm not a farmer. I'm a mama. I'm a food eater. I'm a student of this all. I'm chronicling this as a journey of what I discover, not as a thesis of any sort.

Phew. Glad that's over.

GMO foods contain genetically modified organisms. They've been around for a couple decades and are, from what I've found, everywhere. Evvvverywhere. They can be found under the monikers genetically engineered (GE), transgenic, recombinant, gene-altered, bio-tech...it goes on.

Most cotton, corn, and soybeans grown in the U.S. are modified in someway...most likely to make them pesticide resiliant. Some estimates put the amount of GMO foods consumed by the average American in an average year to be about 190 pounds. (Does that seem like a lot? It did to me.)

Scientists take a gene for a characteristic they like from one plant (able to resist cold?) and place it in another plant's DNA.  According to watchdog groups, its an imprecise science that even the scientists don't really have a handle on yet.

The risks? So far, in independent studies, GMO foods behave differently when consumed by lab rats. Side effects included stomach lesions and ...ahem...rat testicles turning BLUE when they should be more rat-ty colored (pinksh?). SCARY!

There's so much more to it than that and I encourage anyone with the time and interest to find the study in "The European Journal of Histochemistry." If you find it, pass it along, will ya?

Mother Earth Living quotes a Michael Pollan essay:

"These new crops are revolutionary enough to deserve patent protection and government support, yet at the same time the food made from them was no different than it ever was, so did not need to be labeled." 

Mother Earth Living offers a link to this and other reading materials at motherearthliving.com/GMOs.

In the next installation, I'll talk a little more about the major players and what's at stake (money?). And then? I'll talk about my own personal journey and how I'm shifting from one way of eating to a new, more conscious way. It's not immediate and it's not easy, but the more I learn, the more I think it's worth every ounce of effort.

...happy eating!...



  1. I've been thinking more and more about my food and where it comes from ever since reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few years ago. Last year we did a garden at my friend's farm, and this year I've decided to go full force (as I'm sure you've seen on my FB). We all need to do our part to get back to our roots and support local farms and try to eat as responsibly as possible. Trust me, I'm on a scary tight budget myself, but I'm determined to do what I can. I'm documenting my efforts on my blog www.sarcastamom.com

  2. It's a pretty important thing to get educated on, that's for sure. I drug my feat too, and still struggle from time to time. I call them hiccups.

    LOVE the new look... and the plan of "under one roof." It's so true!