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    Local, Organic, Non GMO? Why Should I Care How My Food is Grown?

    With heightened focus on the macro and micro nutrients of food, which foods you should eat to maintain a lean physique, shiny hair and radiant skin, sometimes where the food comes from gets lost in the hubbub. But if you care about yourself, your health and the health of the planet, it’s important to pay attention to how your food is grown.

    Local: When you purchase locally grown foods you are not only helping to support your community, but you know that the food you are eating is at the peak-both nutritional and taste-wise. As the leaves change color, and a slight chill starts to surround the days, there is no better time to enjoy the bounty of local farms. It’s harvest season, which means it’s time to find your local farmers market, gather up your reusable bags, and stock your pantry with the best produce your local growers have to offer. Find a local farmers market near you, or investigate a CSA here.

    Non-GMO: Genetic modification of our food is sadly prevalent in today’s ag business.  Scientists remove one or more genes from the DNA of another organism, such as a virus, or animal, and “recombine” them into the DNA of the plant they want to alter, to express a specific trait-such as pesticide resistance. However, several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and cell signaling. 50 countries have banned GMO crops, but US refuses to even label these food items. Legislation under Prop 37 in California is currently up for vote on the labeling of GMOs foods, believing that we have the right to know what is in our foods, and make an educated decision.

    Organic: Organic refers to the way a food is grown and processed-without the use of pesticides and herbicides. All food that is labeled organic must be 100% free of GMOs. Organic crops reduce pollution, encourage soil diversity and are sustainable for generations to come. Non-organic crops harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity.

    Shopping 101:

    • Peruse the local farmers market first
    • In the grocery store stick to products labeled “100% organic,” or with a Non GMO Project verified sticker [attached image]
    • If you can’t buy all organic, avoid products made with any of the “Big Four” GM crops: corn, soybeans, canola, and cottonseed.
    • Download the NON-GMO Shopping Guide app on your smartphone!

    Author: Elizabeth Jarrard RD, LDN
    Elizabeth Jarrard is a Registered Dietitian and CLEANSE Advisor practicing in Boston. 

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