3 Easy Tips For Avoiding GMOs This Holiday Season
It’s inevitable. Enjoying the holidays means we’re eating (and drinking) way more than usual. With a barrage of merry events leading up to Christmas and the New Year, plan on a major food and drink fest until January 1st. However, there are ways we can keep things in check without damaging our wellness. One suggestion is to, at all costs, avoid Genetically Modified Organisms.
According to Non-GMO Project.org, “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide.”
Thing is, avoiding GMOs may not be so easy to do because they’re hidden in virtually all foods that contain corn, sugar and soy. With willpower at an all time low, holiday time can lead us to put off healthful thinking — this is okay for the short-term, so long as we aren’t poisoning ourselves. That being said, eating habits generally worsen during the holidays giving rise to the over-consumption of GMOs for two reasons: (a) our decisions tend to be hasty due to the holiday rush (b) GMOs are in every commercial holiday goodie we eat. That means, even if we live healthfully and we’re just tasting, we’re taking in more GMOs than usual.
When we eat commercial pre-packaged holiday cookie mix, baked goods and holiday beverages we are consuming foods made cost effective by companies using cheap ingredients that are likely genetically modified soy, corn and sugar beets. So while you’ll want to steer clear of GMOs this Christmas, indulge cautiously. Know your ingredients and know which ones to avoid. Here are three easy tips for avoiding GMOs during the holiday season:
Make Your Own Holiday Goodies
Before you reach for that gingerbread cookie, be mindful. There are hidden ingredients to be aware of. The first ingredient to avoid is sucrose. The second is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). These are two sweeteners abundant in packaged food, especially this time of year. Molasses, a major ingredient in gingerbread cookies, contains sucrose. Sucrose is derived from GMO sugar beets and is an additive in many foods we eat namely baked goods, packaged cake mix and pre-made cookie dough. See a list of Foods highest in Fructose here.
While it may seem easier to pick up a box of cake mix for holiday cupcakes, or buy a roll of pre-made cookie dough to make cookies for the kids, I suggest to avoid it. The sure-fire way to avoid sucrose and HFCS GMOs in your holiday baking is to bake your own holiday treats. When shopping for ingredients that are chocolate, be careful to avoid soy lecithin, a commonly used emulsifier that is GMO. Be sure to use organic ingredients, particularly organic sugar made from evaporated cane juice. Organic sugar can be purchased at your local supermarket, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market or online. If you’re baking gingerbread cookies, Wholesome Sweeteners Brand makes Fairtrade Organic Molasses which is the better choice for that Non-GMO gingerbread house your kids want to build.
Avoid the Holiday Lattes
Everyone looks forward to Starbuck’s holiday beverages. I know I do, but a favorite holiday drink shouldn’t include GMOs. If you’re a Mocha Latte or Frappuccino fan, pass on the Starbuck’s mocha chocolate sauce, which is used to top many of their drinks. It contains HFCS as does Starbuck’s ever popular caramel sauce. If you’re an Eggnog Latte fan like I once was, steer clear of Starbuck’s Eggnog Lattes since their eggnog contains HFCS. If you’re thinking Dunkin’ Donuts is a safer option, think again. Dunkin’ Donuts is a major GMO offender since every single one of of their holiday drink syrups and baked goods are essentially a GMO. They contain HFCS and should be avoided. The best idea is to make your own version of a Dunkin’ Donuts holiday drink to be certain of the ingredients.
Celebrate with Non-GMO Beer and Cocktails
Cheer responsibly. Ring in the holiday with non-GMO adult beverages. It’s a safe bet that any peppermint or chocolate syrups used to sweeten alcoholic beverages such as Candy Cane, Peppermint Mocha or Black Santa Martinis contain HFCS. Eggnog, if it’s not organic or homemade, contains HFCS. If you prefer beer, stick to the imports. Companies like Budweiser, Pabst, Corona, Coors, Michelob and Fosters Beer are loaded with GMOs since HFCS is an ingredient in beer from the US.
Here’s one last tip. If you’re the cook this holiday season, look for the non-GMO Certified label while doing holiday food shopping. Trader Joe’s pledges that any food with their label has no GMOs. When buying poultry look for farm-raised, non-GMO fed, free range, organic birds. For the holiday roast, look for organic, grass-fed and grass-finished beef. Make certain the vegetables you purchase are organic and pesticide free.
Remember, we vote for good ingredients with our dollars.Avoiding GMOs is the best holiday gift to give ourselves and our families. Stay off the naughty list by avoiding GMOs whenever you can.
Happy GMO-Free Holidays Everyone!