*This post was originally published in 2012 on my previous blog.
As much as I love plunging face-first into bowls of decadent delights, I have learned that with great pigging out comes great responsibility.
I recently attended the premiere of Jeremy Seifert’s palate-prodding documentary “GMO OMG,” a dad’s-eye view on genetically modified organisms in our food stream and the effect they have on our planet/bodies. Inspired to feed his (so-cute-they-could-be-genetically-modified) children as best he can, Seifert goes on a quest to find out the long term effects of eating GMOs — currently found, per the film, in 80% of all processed food.
Along the way, Seifert traverses DNA hackery, pesticide dependency, creepy rat tumors and Big Ag vs. organic farming techniques. He travels the globe, with stops in exotic locales including Haiti, France, Norway’s so-cool-it’s-frozen Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and Monsanto headquarters (from which he promptly gets booted).
Because there hasn’t been exhaustive research into the long-term effects of GMO consumption, the film leaves you with a weird gut feeling that’s more than just the GMO popcorn digesting.
I interviewed filmmaker Jeremy Seifert and got his thoughts on cereal, sanity and the power of tax dollars.
Q: What are food choices like in your household these days?
Seifert: We eat a lot of Nature’s Path cereal! Really, they are one of the best, most reliable organic cereal companies, and we all love cereal. To be able to afford organic food, we also shop in bulk and my wife, Jen, makes most meals from scratch. If you switch to organic and try to eat already-prepared meals and highly processed food, it gets expensive really fast! And it’s not as healthy of a choice either.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing your/your family’s diet choices (snack vices, limited access to X product, etc.)?
Eating out is always a challenge, and we often have to compromise our convictions to maintain sanity or not ostracize our friends. So, yes, we do on occasion eat GMOs! It’s a balance, and we’re doing the best we can within the genetically-modified, chemically-saturated world we live in. It’s a constant struggle because the status quo is pesticides and herbicides and GMOs, so you do feel a bit crazy and outnumbered when you go against that dominant current. But there are so many amazing and beautiful people waiting for you with open arms and tons of support. People who have awakened to the issue and really care about food are consistently very warm, highly intelligent, and often amazing cooks!
Q: What social/political and/or economic changes would have to take place to convince/motivate commercial farmers to switch to heirloom and/or organic farm practices?
Conventional/GMO farmers need support from the government to help them transition to oganic farming. It’s a three-year process to convert to organic and most farmers can’t stay afloat during that time period. We need the massive and broken farm bill to come alongside farmers willing to make this transition. Why shouldn’t our tax dollars go toward a way of farming and eating that eliminates toxic herbicides and pesticides and synthetic fertilizers?
Q: What are your top shopping tips for the general public to help them make more informed decisions about their food purchases?
The easiest but not always the most affordable thing we can all start doing is buying organic food. Organic by its very definition means non-GMO. It also means that no synthetic and toxic chemicals were sprayed on it. You can also avoid GMOs by staying away from highly process foods because up to 80% of processed foods contain GMOs. There are also helpful sites like nongmoshoppingguide.com. We support an entire unseen system when we buy food, and it’s either a system of exploitation or one of nurture. We have the power to decide and grow one or the other.
What’s your take on GMO foods? Do you avoid any? Do you have tips on living GMO free? Tell us in the comments below!