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.
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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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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Please Know That Being Diagnosed With PCOS Is Not The Same As Living With It

I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2018, but it wasn't until months later that I realized what it’s actually like living with it everyday.

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In October 2017, tired of counting calories and never seeing the scale move, I decided to try the latest fad diet: Keto.

It worked.

I lost almost 40 pounds in half the time it had taken to lose 20. I had lost nearly 10 inches from waist and hips. I went from a size 18 to a size 12.

Getting into ketosis was hard, but once I was there, I felt incredible: better mental clarity and focus, astronomical amounts of energy, regular body functions. Don't get me wrong, this diet is hard. No carbs, no colorful vegetables, no pasta. The struggle was real. But what it was doing for my body was worth it.

Except for one little thing: my periods had lost their minds. I'm talking bleeding for three weeks straight, no break. Coming and going in particular pattern, sometimes twice a month. Side note: this is not normal. In the world of Keto, it's supposed to help exponentially with fertility and hormone balances; people use this diet as a way to reverse hormone imbalances, PCOS, and infertility. This was virtually unheard of in all of my support groups.

Months and months go by with no relief. My doctor can't figure out why everything is so wonky. She takes me off the pill and things get better - slightly. Any improvement at this point was a victory.

She finally gets my ultrasounds back and she says "Well that's a surprise!" Cue my questioning look of confusion. "Umm care to share?" "Your ovaries have the characteristic look of PCOS. But you don't have any of the usual symptoms. I'm guessing the Keto diet was helping in it's own way. I recommend staying on the diet, let nature re-regulate your natural hormones, and we will re-evaluate in a few months."

I was frustrated, but this was totally do-able. I had been living this lifestyle for months, so I didn't foresee it as an issue. But then my kidneys starting reacting to the diet, and that doctor recommended I come off it. Obviously I wasn't going to jeopardize my health, so I started a low carb version of the Mediterranean diet.

I went in fully expecting to gain some weight back, because I was reintroducing carbs when I had gone largely without them for over a year. I knew that this would happen, and I didn't let myself get discouraged when the scale started going forward.

What I did not expect was to have my PCOS start running lose with my entire life and sanity.

Don't get me wrong — my periods were normal again, but everything else went AWOL. My hormones were going up and down of their own volition, we are talking sobbing hysterically over a butterfly commercial one minute and then fuming with anger over a car ad the next.

I started experiencing pelvic pain that feels like cramps only not all the time and without rhyme or reason.

My hair became uncontrollably oily to the point where I had to wash it everyday like clockwork; it started to thin and fall out.

I also started getting darker hair everywhere. I'm naturally an incredibly fair-skinned person so having black hair anywhere stands out like a sore thumb.

I felt like I wasn't in control of anything going on with my body. I felt like a hairy, unattractive monster. Everything that made me feel attractive and desirable was slowly being taken away from me piece by piece.

I had been living with PCOS for nearly six months, but I hadn't realized what it was like to actually live with it. I thought it was just irregular periods, but it is so much more than just a weird period.

I went back to the doctor, and she explained to me again how PCOS works, and how she didn't think traditional treatment options were the best thing for me. "Go back on the Keto diet. You were having incredible success with managing your symptoms. Go back to that."

Going back has not been easy. When I first started Keto, it wasn't easy, but I got into it quickly. I've been trying since January 12th to get back into it, and it hasn't worked.

I'm now in a place where I need to do it — for my health, for my sanity, for my self-esteem — and I physically can't. I do exactly everything the same as before, and it's not working. I'm trying to move away from the mentality of doing it for weight loss, and move toward positive thinking about how it's what's best for my body and my health.

My PCOS has forced me to have militant control over everything I eat. I can't simply enjoy food anymore. Everything that I chose to eat directly relates back to my PCOS and what that particular food can do for me. I think about everything that I put into my body, and the potential it has for either healing my body or harming it.

I see a piece of cake and I smell it, and picture in my mind what it tastes like. But I know that if I eat that piece of cake, I will bloat, get a stomach ache, and have to start back from square one the next day.

I cut out the carbs. I say no to cake. No potatoes. No pasta. I eat only green vegetables. I drink coffee that has nothing but heavy cream. I try to do intermittent fasting for 15 hours a day.

And I hope that it works. I hope that today will be the day I can get my life back on track. That today will be the day Keto works its magic.

I hope.

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