GMO soybeans

One of the most common questions I’m asked, besides how I get our son to make healthy food choices is how to avoid GMOs. GMOS, or genetically modified organisms are everywhere, and many of us have no idea why we need to avoid them, whether it’s just a way to eek more money out of us, or if it’s really worth the extra effort.

One of my favorite blogs to follow in the effort to clean your life of GMOs is Food Babe. Check out Vani’s site for constant updates on foods to choose, those to avoid and to help support her never-ending quest to call out big food companies on their hidden GMOs.

Today, as much as 86% of corn in the U.S. is Genetically Modified. GMO corn has been engineered in a laboratory to produce pesticides in its own tissue so that once a bug eats the crop, it will die, rather than continue to feed on the crops until the crops die.

So, the food itself, is a pesticide.

So what’s a GMO?  A genetically engineered food is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria in order to produce foreign compounds in that food (which causes the bugs to die when they eat them).  This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature,  is experimental and the correct scientific term is “transgenics,”. You’ll also hear them called  (GE) genetically engineered foods. GE and GMO are thrown around a lot these days and there are definitely two sides to the story on whether it’s ok for us to consume. As for me, I’m going with the idea that a seed that has been turned into a pesticide to kill what eats it is going to grow into a food that still maintains those pesticidal properties and is probably not something I want to eat.

So what can you do to avoid GMOs?

Here are some quick tips for those of you trying to avoid GE/GMO foods followed by some helpful tips on how to spot GM foods since labeling of them isn’t required by law. Remember, in addition to sourcing your own foods, farmers markets are a great resource for avoiding GM foods. organic foods

Tip 1: Shop local. Go 100% Organic. Love Grass Fed/Pastured meats.

Buy food labeled 100% organic. The US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic if that food has been genetically modified or been fed genetically modified feed. Note that just because something says “organic” on it does not mean that it does not contain GMs. In fact, it can still contain up to 30% GMs, so be sure the labels say 100% organic. Remember this applies to eggs, as well. Eggs labeled “free-range”, “natural”, or “cage-free” are not necessarily GE-free; look for eggs to be 100% organic.

More than half of all GM foods are produced in the US and most of it comes from large, industrial farms. By shopping at farmers’ markets, signing up for a subscription from a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, or patronizing a local co-op, you may be able to avoid GM products and possibly save money at the same time. Here in Austin there rare several small farms offering grains and meat directly to customers, in addition to the usual fare (vegetables, fruit, herbs).

Tip 2: Avoid the DIRTY DOZEN™. These are the top commonly genetically modified foods!

EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of produce includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. Each of these foods contained a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items.

In particular:

  • Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
  • A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.
Tip 3: Focus on The Clean Fifteen™

EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ for 2014 – the produce least likely to hold pesticide residues – are avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides.

Tip 4: Be diligent and read labels. All the time.

Our reality is every trip to the grocery store is at least 30 minutes longer than we’d like because we spend time reading every label. Every damn label.

Read it so you don’t get any surprises. Read it so you know the food is 100% organic. Read it so you and your family will be more likely to live long, healthy, happy lives.

Here are some of the other common GMO foods to watch for. Again, be diligent and shop for the organic versions of these guys as much as humanly possible.

Soybeans – A gene is taken from bacteria (Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4) and inserted into soybeans to make them more resistant to herbicides.
Corn – There are two main varieties of GE corn. One has a Gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis inserted to produce the Bt toxin, which poisons Lepidoteran (moths and butterflies) pests. Present in high fructose corn syrup and glucose/fructose which is prevalent in a wide variety of foods in America (though you won’t find these preservatives in their European versions).
Rapeseed/Canola – Gene added/transferred to make the crop more resistant to herbicide.
Sugar beets – Gene added/transferred to make the crop more resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
Rice – Genetically modified to resist herbicides; not currently available for human consumption, but trace amounts of one GM long-grained variety (LLRICE601) may have entered the food supply in the USA and Europe. More recently, golden rice, a different strain of rice has been engineered to produce significantly higher levels of beta carotene, which the body uses to produce vitamin A. Golden rice is still undergoing testing to determine if it is safe for human consumption.[3]
Cotton – engineered to produce Bt toxin. The seeds are pressed into cottonseed oil, which is a common ingredient in vegetable oil and margarine.
Dairy – Cows injected with GE hormone rBGH/rBST; possibly fed GM grains and hay.
Aspartame/AminoSweet – Addictive and dangerous artificial sweetener commonly found in chewing gum and “diet” beverages. A building block of aspartame, the amino acid phenylalanine, is usually manufactured with the aid of genetically modified E. coli bacteria. This process has been used industrially in the US for many years.

Purchase beef that is 100% grass-fed. Most cattle in the U.S. are grass-fed, but spend the last portion of their lives in feedlots where they may be given GM corn, the purpose of which is to increase intramuscular fat and marbling. If you’re looking to stay away from GMOs, make sure the cattle were 100% grass-fed or pasture-fed (sometimes referred to as grass-finished or pasture-finished).

Monsanto is the biggest culprit in supplying GM seeds to farmers, and making sure that they continue to buy their seeds thanks to constant pressure form their lawyers.

For years,  Monsanto has provoked outrage among its critics for suing farmers who save and replant seeds, such as soybeans and canola, from the company’s patented Roundup Ready crops. Some of that outrage is based on a decade-old case in Canada, in which a court ruled that a farmer, Percy Schmeiser, violated Monsanto’s patents by planting canola that he “knew or ought to have known” contained Monsanto’s Roundup Ready gene. Schmeiser argued that he didn’t want the gene in his fields, and that it had become incorporated into his canola via wind-blown pollen.

Yes, the wind (and probably birds) carried seeds onto his farm from a nearby farm using Monsanto’s seeds, and Schmeiser now has to buy new seedlings from Monsanto and plant a new crop of GMO seedlings. Every year.

Here’s a chart to help you avoid the most common GMOs…

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) Aspartame Formaldehyde Poisoning & Health Destruction Healthier Sweetener Resource List
Roundup Herbicide Monsanto’s Toxic RoundupScientists Issue Urgent Warning Lawn & Garden Care Solutions 
Genetically Engineered Soy & Canola Products & Ingredients (Roundup Treated) Genetically-Engineered Frankenfoods & Scientists Issue Urgent Warning Certified Organic Foods
rBGH Dairy rBGH (Posilac) — Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer List of non rBGH Dairy & Check Local Health Food Store for Organic Dairy
Ambien Insomnia Medication Zolpidem Warning Label Information Natural Alternatives Where Possible:HealthWorld SolutionsAyurvedic Info &Meditation or Yoga Classes.

Environmental Working Group

I’m sharing this email that came through from the Environmental Working Group today to help them reach their goal of 50,000 signatures to stop Dow from releasing Enlist Duo, a toxic weed killer mix of 2,4-D and glyphosate to be used on millions of acres of genetically engineered crops. Dow has asked the EPA to allow this, and Environmental Working Group (an advocacy group to help protect our crops, water supplies, land and animals) is working to prevent this from happening. 

Please take a moment to sign their petition and help support a great cause. Thank you!


Environmental Working Group


I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news: Dow Chemical Co. asked the Environmental Protection Agency for permission to sell Enlist Duo, a toxic weed killer mix of 2,4-D and glyphosate to be used on millions of acres of genetically engineered crops. If approved, this dangerous new herbicide cocktail would wreak havoc on human and environmental health.

The good news: It’s not too late to stop it. The EPA is still seeking comments from the public before it makes its final decision, but that window closes on June 30. We’re so close to our goal of 50,000 signatures – we just need 18,000 more.

Just one minute of your time could help tip the scales in favor of safer food and the environment – we need you to take action today.

Click here to stand with EWG and tell the EPA to deny Dow’s application to use Enlist Duo, a combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate, on genetically engineered crops!

Researchers have linked exposure to 2,4-D to higher likelihoods of developing thyroid, immune system and reproductive problems, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease. Widespread use would affect dozens of endangered species and potentially contribute to further decline of honeybees and other beneficial insects. Simply put, there’s too much at risk not to act.

Sign EWG’s petition right now: Tell the EPA to deny Dow’s application for Enlist Duo containing 2,4-D and glyphosate for use on genetically engineered crops.

Thank you for taking action,

Mary Ellen Kustin
Senior Policy Analyst, Environmental Working Group


In this hilarious “New Rules” segment Bill Maher takes on GMOs and the food supply.

This is a must watch video for anyone who cares about our food supply. Or who’s concerned about why we’re eating horse meat. Or why our fish supply is riddled with mercury and other chemicals.  Or who just appreciates a hilarious skit a’la Bill Maher.

When describing why Prop 37 made sense to pass, he comments “your Chilean Sea Bass is neither Chilean, nor bass, nor from the sea.” Better yet, when blasting Californians for destroying the Prop 37 Initiative last year which required GMO labeling, he quips “Label GMO’s? Nah, GMO’s… TMI!”



Here’s hoping you saved yourself some cash at the grocery store after reading yesterday’s post. Today I’ll give you more cost-cutting advice including my secret on how to save money AND get your kids eating more veggies. I will also share with you some of my tips on savvy label-reading so you won’t get gypped.


  • Herbs. Houseplants and I don’t get along very well. I have just recently kept my first one alive for over a year and I’m thrilled (as is the plant). So when someone gave me a pot of herbs for my backyard, I worried those little herbs were doomed. I stuck it in a sunny spot and watered it a bit from time to time and those suckers grew by leaps and bounds. I was totally stunned. In an effort to save yourself the $2-3 per small bunch of organic basil, dill or thyme you find at the store: try your own hand at it. You will be amazed at the abundance you’ll have just outside your backdoor.
  • Veggies. Another great option is to grow organics at home with assistance from aeroponic growers like the Tower Garden. The range of your favorite vegetables, herbs and fruits! you can grow at home is amazing.

A veggie bonus tip: My kids now water the robust pot of herbs in our backyard. What I’ve come to discover is that I can serve almost any food in the world to my kids, and if it involves something that came out of our pot of our herbs, they will taste it. This is especially true if they got to harvest the herbs and sprinkle them on our chicken or asparagus themselves. The reason ? They’re curious. They are dying to know what they’ve helped create.


  • Produce. If you can’t afford to buy your produce 100% organic, rely on the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” —foods that contain the highest levels of pesticides—as your go-to reference for must-buy organics. Apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, and spinach top the list. To confirm that your produce actually is organic, check the sticker number on your produce. The number should begin with a “9”.
  • Chicken and pork. Watch out for sexy labels. Do not pay more for chicken or pork that says “hormone free” on it. The U.S. prohibits growth hormones to be used in chickens or pigs so all of their meats are “hormone free” except for what is naturally-occurring.
  • Eggs. Pastured eggs are a beautiful thing. When chickens are able to feed on bugs and worms instead of corn and soy or animal by-products, the fats you get from eating their eggs are filled with healthy omega-3s. But a word to the wise, the terms “cage-free” and “free-range” are very loosely enforced. In fact, you may use these terms on your packaging if your chickens have access to the outside. In some cases, this means there is a small door available for them to go in and out of. What does that mean ? When it’s your birthday you get to be put outside? I don’t know. My advice to you is to get to know your eggs. Some eggs that say “pastured” are, in fact, pastured eggs. My favorites are Vital Farms Eggs. You can find them at Whole Foods.

So good luck my conscious-consumers and please share with us below your tips for getting more bang for your organic buck.

It’s our motto around here, but what does it mean?

Well, to start it addresses the power of food, and its incredible effect on our ability to heal the damage most of us are facing due to the popular American diet we’ve all grown accustomed to. Who hasn’t stopped in for a quick bite at a local fast food joint when you just didn’t have the time to cook dinner after a long day of work, knowing you’re coming home to face a gaggle of hungry faces clamoring for dinner?

I know I did, and I know all too well that I’m not alone on this one. And while I only ate out in moderation, many of you probably find yourself at the drive thru more often than you would care to admit. And if you’re dealing with food sensitivities, or suspect you might be, and are eating out, you might be aggravating your allergies with cross contaminated foods and highly GM foods and oils often used in restaurants and fast food joints.  I’m a big fan of the experience of eating out. I love spending time out with friends and family, enjoying a tasty meal that I didn’t have to prepare, or worrying about cleaning afterwards. The social aspect of being out appeals to me, and I appreciate it every time. 

But I also recognize that it’s hard to find a restaurant with a social conscience. That is to say, that they’re using meats farmed from socially responsible farmers, locally raised produce free of pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms. In fact, I’m willing to bet that every time you eat out, you’re consuming a vast amount of GM soy, corn or wheat. And we know that these foods are slowly poisoning us. 

So it’s time to ask yourself – am I happy? Do I feel like crap more often than not? Am I overweight? Am I avoiding my annual checkup because I dread the results of the blood tests? Does the blood pressure machine at your local drug store call to you but you run and hide like a child playing hide and seek?

I can tell you that if you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re in very good and well numbered company. The fact is, most Americans would answer yes to those questions. So now that you’ve brought your state of  health to mind, let’s see what we can do to improve it!

Whether you’re just embarking on a journey to understand what this movement with our food supply means, or if you’re well invested in the cause already, you most likely have had that “Ah Ha” moment that made you stop and wonder whether it’s possible for food to actually heal, or hurt us.  Sadly, the answer is simple. Yes, the foods we eat can either help us heal, or harm our ability to live a happy healthy life. 

And to be clear, I don’t think food in its natural state causes us harm. It’s the way we’ve changed our food to handle mass consumption and appeal to the Fat and Happy mainstream that has caused us harm.  We have modified our food supplies to create ‘food’ that lacks all aspects of nutrition, and are instead made up of genetically modified sources so that we can enjoy brightly colored cereal with a glass of hormone-laden cow’s milk before sending our kids off to school. And that brightly colored cereal which is rich in sugar, food colorings, processed and genetically modified wheat or corn, causes a sugar spike that will give your child a sugar rush bigger than any that even an adult’s body should/could handle, and then a devastating crash  that leaves them unable to concentrate and in need of some other sugary drink to retain a balance. 

If this sounds like your typical breakfast, don’t worry because you’re not alone. And if you’re here, you’re probably realizing that this typical American breakfast might not be the best choice for you or your child. This is where the idea of food healing us comes in.

Food in its natural, real state is powerful. It was designed to provide naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our bodies need for fuel. Food in its natural state fuels our bodies, mind and soul. Real and powerful food can reverse toxic damage caused by the dangerous processed foods that are so readily available today. It can help you to lose weight, reverse auto immune conditions, prevent dangerously high levels of blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol. I know, because I’ve experienced it first hand.

Processed food caused me devastating health issues, and real/whole foods helped save me. It’s that simple. Eat real food, heal your body, and thrive.

Has food changed your life? Share your stories below so others can be inspired by the power of food, and its ability to heal!



monsanto, gmo foods, organic farming

“Think Local. Choose Organic. Know your farm and know your food.”  That’s how this TedX speech in Asheville by an amazingly insightful 11 year old ends. 

His name is Birke Baehr and he’s a brave little man to take on the food giants! A quick watch that is well worth the 6 minutes it takes to view. Enjoy!

One of the biggest challenges today when talking about why the rates of food sensitivities and allergies, immune disorders, chronic illnesses and more have all dramatically increased over the last 20 or so years, is that people have little idea of what they’re consuming, and hows it’s affecting them. From hormones, chemically created oils, genetically modified/engineered foods, etc., the list of what we eat, and how its altered goes on and on. And sadly, most people have little idea of what they’re putting into their mouths and the effects it has on them. Why have the rates of allergies, ADD, ADHD and Autism increased so dramatically in conjunction with the onset of GMOs? Can I claim a correlation? Not definitively but there are plenty of resources that support the correlation belief, from allergies to auto-immune disorders, imbalanced hormones, thyroid disorders and more, chemicals used in our food supplies are slowly destroying us. Here’s a quote from, founded by Robin O’Brien that speaks to the danger of chemical exposure in our children:



“It’s up to you”. That’s how the powerful film, the Future of Food ends. One powerful statement about the right to know what’s in our food.

With the rate of  allergies, autism, ADHD and asthma on the rise, earning these conditions the nickname “the 4 As”, and with heart attacks, cancer and immune diseases continuing to escalate, many Americans are growing more and more weary of what we’re eating, and how our food supply is affecting our health. Inspired Eats is about finding healthy alternatives to food-based allergens, however, along the way I’ve discovered a growing community of concerned citizens who are fighting a long and difficult battle of ensuring Americans are aware of what we’re eating.