Don't Believe The Media, GMOs Are Actually Harmless

Don't Believe The Media, GMOs Are Actually Harmless

The scary truth behind Genetically Modified Organisms.

Being the Michigan Sugar Queen, I thought it was high-time for me to put my agricultural knowledge to the test. However, not just about sugar but a topic that is highly controversial within the agricultural industry.

GMOs, otherwise known as a Genetically Modified Organism, sound pretty scary and I have the full undisclosed truth about them.

They are harmless.

Yes, you heard correctly, HARMLESS to you as an individual, safer for the environment, and provide cheaper sources of food for YOU, the consumer.

Now that is the scary truth. But before you think to yourself “this girl doesn’t know what she’s talking about” or “she’s just looking for attention” as I’ve heard time and time again, I’m asking you to hear me out and continue reading the rest of my article because I've grown up in the industry and have the behind the scenes knowledge to back up my information.

First, what exactly is a GMO?

A Genetically Modified Organism is created by scientists intentionally taking the desired gene from one plant and using it on another plant. These plants then undergo extensive testing and research before being offered to the American farmer to be planted.

You may be asking yourself why that is necessary?

Well, to have a successful farm at economically affordable prices, it is necessary to genetically modify organisms to prevent increased damages from weeds, diseases, insects, and extreme weather conditions. By genetically modifying an organism, farmers are able to use far fewer chemicals because they are able to make crops such as sugar beets resistant to various types of diseases, insects, and weeds. With increased resistance to outside influences, crop yields steadily become higher over time raising the production of certain crops on the same amount of land.

So what does that mean for the average American?

With our growing population and shrinking available farmland, GMOs become a staple for the American farmer to continue to be able to feed the world on the same amounts of land that were needed in the previous decades. Long story short, GMOs provide YOU with food and prevent the unfavorable outcome of food shortages.

How are GMOs safer?

First, “GMO crops allow farmers to apply pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, in a more targeted way, reducing their overall use; it is estimated that farmers have used 600 million pounds LESS insecticide due to Genetically Modified crops.” Secondly, “Herbicide-tolerant crops allow farmers to plow less often, which means fewer trips across the field and reduced greenhouse gas emissions; because no-till farming has been implemented with GM crops, soil health has improved, water retention has become better, and runoff has been reduced." Thirdly, “GMOs have been bred to resist drought, and new varieties are in development that will use nitrogen and other resources more efficiently."

If GMOs can resist drought, that means more food for you, the consumer, at lower prices and more economic profit, keeping the agricultural industry alive (and with low prices for farmers the way they are currently, this is extremely important).

What crops are Genetically Modified in the United States?

There are currently eight Genetically Modified crops in the United States including Rainbow Papaya, Field Corn, Canola, Soybean, Alfalfa, Cotton, Sugar Beets, Sweet Corn, and Summer Squash. However, although these products are Genetically Modified seeds, the modified features are not present in the product itself. It has been continuously tested and proven true time and time again that GMO foods and their non-GMO counterpart have the EXACT SAME NUTRITIONAL VALUE. The FDA, USDA, and EPA all must monitor and test the Genetically Modified crops before they can be cleared to grow by farmers; therefore, ensuring the safety for the consumers. Even organic crops and heirloom seeds have been undergone some form of modifications over time as "no commercially available crops in the United States were created by nature alone, every fruit, vegetable, and grain that is commercially available has been altered by human hands for taste, yield, and disease resistance beginning thousands of years ago."

Is the United States the only country that grows Genetically Modified Organisms?

No, the United States is not the only country amidst the many rumors. There is a total of 28 countries that grow GMOs and over 18 million farmers. Some of these countries include Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, Costa Rica, Columbia, Brazil, Spain, India, China, Australia, Argentina, and the list continues. In fact, humans began crop domestication over 10,000 years ago through selective breeding and as time went on and technology became more widely accessible our modifications have only become safer and more advanced. For example, hybrid corn was available for consumption in the 1930s and in the mid-1990s GM corn was created. With this creation, the overall nutritional value of corn has not changed (contrary to popular belief) but instead, the corn’s size, consistency, seed performance, yield, and the number of ears per stalk has improved resulting in higher productions and yields. Here is an image depicting the transformation of corn throughout the years (the top is corn that has not been Genetically Modified and the bottom has undergone Genetic Modification).

With that, what does the future of GMOs look like?

Healthier foods. Yes, you heard that right, with biotechnology continually advancing the future, offers increased amounts of pro-vitamin A, iron, and zinc, as well as improving the protein digestibility of sorghum in Genetically Modified Crops. For example, "Golden Rice", a biotech crop, is Genetically Engineered to provide an increased amount of beta-carotene and one serving of it could provide half the required daily intake of provitamin A for a one to a three-year-old child. Scientists are also working to improve the staple crops that people in developing countries rely on for food, ultimately looking to help with food security, a huge problem in today's society.

And for those of you who may still be wondering, NO, GMOs do not cause cancer. Farmers eat the same food you do, why would we grow something that would harm our own personal beings?

The take home message for this article--GMOs are not harmful to you or to the environment; think twice before you reach for the overpriced non-GMO product and choose GMO, the American farmer will thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Part 1: Necessary Changes

One of my favorite movies is "Fried Green Tomatoes" with Kathy Bates. In the movie Bates' character Evelyn Couch says, "Someone helped put a mirror up in front of my face, and I didn't like what I saw one bit. And you know what I did? I changed." I know the feeling.


I looked in the mirror over the weekend and didn't like what I saw.

The person I saw looking back at me is petty, selfish, manipulative, and unattractive. It wasn't that I hated what I saw, but I definitely didn't like what I saw either. It's a surreal feeling, looking at yourself through a critical lens, and it doesn't make you feel good in any way shape or form.

The image that I see of myself is not how I want others to perceive me. I want to be someone that people look at and see kindness, compassion, strength, and confidence.

I have enough general life experience to know that these types of changes aren't going to happen overnight, and not all of them will be physical; most of these will have to happen from the inside, from within myself.

When you find out you are all broken and damaged, it's hard to know where to start putting the pieces back together. I figured the best place to start would be the most literal: my actual insides; so, I decided to embark on a deep-cleansing journey to get all of the toxins out of my body, from the inside out.

I found this book on 10-day green smoothie detox stashed away in the dark corner of my bookshelf. The science behind it seems accurate and legitimate. By eliminating certain foods, your body is able to detox itself off of chemicals and foods that are slowing down your metabolism; the smoothies are specifically designed with combinations of foods that help restart your metabolism. Part of the detox process is getting rid of all dependencies on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.

Every day you are given the recipe for a specific smoothie; you make the smoothie (about 40 ounces) and sip on it throughout the day whenever you get hungry. Every smoothie is a combination of leafy greens, water, fruit, and flax seeds. If you do happen to get hungry throughout the day, you are encouraged to eat raw nuts, hard boiled eggs, and a wide variety of crunchy green vegetables. There is also a detox tea that you have first thing in the morning, but other than that no other beverages are allowed except water.

I know that this is only the beginning of a very long, emotional, and draining journey. But I think I'm at the point in my life where I have to make these changes. I have to put my pieces together, I have to become a normal functioning adult, I have to find out who I am. I think that this is the perfect way to start.

For the next 10 days I am going to be documenting my experiences, how I'm feeling, what my emotions are doing, and any results that I see.

Stay tuned!

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