It Says Organic: Does That Mean It’s Non GMO?

non GMO food products

USDA certified organic non GMO Wheat

GMO or non GMO? That is the question….

Lately, GMO products have been hit with some bad publicity. I recently went to a local grocery store in Palatine, Illinois and took a photo of this USDA Organic certified wheat package. In case you can’t see it, this is a whole wheat Gemelli brand wheat product with the fancy USDA Organic logo. However, an organic label alone does not guarantee that you are getting a non GMO product.

What’s the Difference?

non gmo use graph

The agriculture industry has decided the answer to the question for you: “GMO or non GMO?” .

The difference is what each of these terms describe. The term organic is used to define how a product is grown. GMO and non GMO are adjectives that describe whether the product is genetically altered in some way. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. An organism that is genetically modified can still be grown organically.

GMO plants have their genetic code changed in a way deemed beneficial by scientists, not by nature.  Before 1997 the USDA Organic label did not specify whether or not the produce grown organically was non GMO or if GMO plants needed to be excluded from the definition of organic. Over the years the USDA has changed it’s stance.

The USDA government website states that,

USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use…

These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.

Organic farms and processors:

  • Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
  • Support animal health and welfare
  • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
  • Only use approved materials
  • Do not use genetically modified ingredients
  • Receive annual onsite inspections
  • Separate organic food from non-organic food

These standards specifically state that USDA certified organic products are in fact non GMO products as well. This is not necessarily true for all organic standards and certainly has not been true at all times in the past.

According to,

In 1997, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its draft National Organic Program rule. At this time, they proposed that organic allow the use of GMOs. This proposal was unacceptable to consumers, manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and basically anyone who had anything to do with organic.

The battle ended with consumers and farmers reigning victorious.

The final rule outlines that an organic operation has to document that it has not used GMOs and takes reasonable steps to avoid contact with GMOs. Whether a product is labeled “100% organic,” “certified organic” (with an allowance of 5% non-organic ingredients) or “made with organic” (a minimum of 70% organic ingredients), none of the ingredients are permitted to use genetic engineering.

That means in a “made with organic” cereal containing 70 percent organic ingredients, the remaining 30 percent non-organic ingredients cannot be produced from genetic engineering. Providers of non-organic ingredients being used in organic products, must also be able to provide proof that their ingredients are non GMO.

So the USDA Organic certification on a product is the government’s guarantee that these products will contain only non GMO ingredients. If you want to avoid GMO products and go only for the non GMO, then this is as sure of a bet as you can get at the grocery store.

non gmo map

Want to go non GMO in he US? Good luck.

How To Tell If A Product is Non GMO

If you don’t want to buy exclusively USDA certified organic products but would still like to eat non GMO foods there is another way to go about your grocery shopping. It is common for produce to use short numbers called PLU codes, or price-look-ups, to indicate what kind of product is behind the label. It can be used to indicate manufacturer, color, etc. It is often used to indicate growing conditions. The major benefit of the PLU system is that each PLU code is unique to each product, regardless of where you buy it. This is key for those people going the non GMO route.

The PLU Code user guide states that:

The IFPS shall be responsible for deciding the assignment and definition of qualifying prefix digits
for international recognition. At present, only three digits have been allocated:

0 Applies to all non-qualified produce and is generally presented without the leading
“zero” digit.
8 Genetically modified
9 Organic

This means that if the PLU code is five digits the first digit indicates organic or genetically modified, but it is not mandatory for the producer to specify if they do not want to. If the PLU code is four digits, then PLU code will not indicate whether the product is GMO or non GMO. While it is not currently a requirement in the United States to label GMO produce, in the USA and Canada, food manufacturers are not allowed to label their food as 100% organic if any GMOs are used.  To be 100% certain that your food is organic: look for an organic label, a 9 at the beginning of a 5 digit PLU code, or just grown your own.



Sources: USDA says “organic” means “non GMO” Organic Agriculture National Organic Standard

International Federation of Produce Standards

IFPS- Produce PLU Codes User Guide

Organic 101: Can GMOs Be Used in Organic Products?

Organic Food Council- Certified Food Logos

Snopes- PLU Codes

Stay Away From Antibacterial Soap!

Triclosan. Ever heard of it? Me neither, until now that is. Triclosan was originally registered as a pesticide and it has been labeled as a dangerous chemical over the last couple of years. Apparently it’s a very pervasive and popular chemical used in antibacterial soap, deodorant, and toothpaste. Not only that, but it can sometimes be found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys. How do I know that? The FDA website says so. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA:

At this time, FDA does not have evidence that Triclosan added to antibacterial soaps and body washes provides extra health benefits over soap and water. Consumers concerned about using hand and body soaps with Triclosan should wash with regular soap and water.

Ok, so it’s just fluff added to appeal to the customer right? Yes and NO! A recent study conducted by the University of California, Davis, and the University of Colorado found that:

Triclosan impaired the ability of isolated heart muscle cells and skeletal muscle fibers to contract.

How exactly?

In the presence of Triclosan, the normal communication between two proteins that function as calcium channels was impaired, causing skeletal and cardiac muscle failure.

A higher risk for heart attack or heart failure?! Yes, I ran to my bathroom to check if I had anything that contained it. This of course was followed by the ceremony of throwing out my half-filled soap dispenser; there goes my hard earned 3 dollars, oh well. No real benefits and yet it is in our antibacterial soap, shampoo, and toothpaste! Sounds to me like we don’t really need it. Dr. Sarah Janssen, a physician and senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council agrees:

Triclosan is what we call a stupid use of a chemical. It doesn’t work, it’s not safe and it is not being regulated.

Ways to get around anti-bacterial soap and toothpaste:

Go All Natural!

If you are hardcore: Create your own Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste!

Or simply start reading labels. It honestly takes 10 seconds to scan through the ingredients, and now you know at least one ingredient to be on the lookout for!

As for the clothes and other cloth items that contain Triclosan… start knitting.

For other ingredients to avoid check out this article on Wheat and Corn! It’ll boggle your mind to find out about those two heavily used items. Yes, everything nowadays seems to be bad for you but avoiding the bad things may lead you to a healthier, longer life! That should be reason enough to avoid something!


U.S. Food and Drug Administration

UC Davis Study

Sarah Janssen, MD

Triclosan Definition

Natural Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste, Etc.

Homemade Soap

Homemade Toothpaste

Homemade Shampoo

Wondergressive: Wheat Article

Wondergressive: Corn Article


Obesity and Low Carb Fads: Where Did We Go Wrong? (Part 1)


The rate of obesity in America and the West is just as much in an incline as low fat and low carb diet fads. Do you know someone who successfully lost weight recently from a strictly low fat diet?


Obesity and Low Fat Diets

Low fat diet fads started to appear in the 1980s, but the obesity rate then was nowhere close to what it is now. Also, after the introduction of low fat diets, the rate of obesity did not fall, rather it increased. So where did we go wrong?

Food Portions

Food Portions

For the past 20 or 30 years, ads for low fat food products started to proliferate the market at an alarming rate. What also increased at a steady pace was the average American food portion. Furthermore, there was a rapid replacement of fat with carbohydrates, including sugars. For the food companies to be able to produce products that people would salivate over, this was a necessary step. This is a step backward in the fight against obesity. Let’s not forget that the food companies don’t have our best interest in mind. The amount of ingredients also doubled, or even tripled for some items, such as JIF peanut butter. Try to compare the ingredient list between the regular JIF peanut butter and the low fat version.


Enter Low Carb Diets


After seeing that obesity was far from being solved by a low fat diet fad, we turned to a new approach; limiting our carbohydrate intake. We have realized that we are consuming way too many simple and processed carbohydrates. Carbohydrates make up the majority of a Westerner’s diet. We saw the rise of such diets as the Atkins diet. There are countless forms of low carb diets out there. This seems to have partially solved the problem as lowering overall carbohydrate intake does decrease the rate of obesity to a certain extent (many studies have even linked low carb diet with blocking the effects of aging!). Despite many successful cases, the West is still fighting obesity more than ever. Perhaps there is a crack in this low carb diet that needs to be patched up.


Successful High Carb Diets


A local tribe in Papua New Guinea called the Kitavans have a diet that is comprised of 65% carbs, 17% saturated fat, and high fiber, yet their obesity rate is at 0%. Literally no obesity at all has been reported thus far. They are also not prone to strokes, diabetes, nor heart disease. Their diet mainly consists of starchy root vegetables, fruit, some fish and meat, and coconuts. Food is also abundant and they don’t suffer from scarcity.

The Machiguenga people, local to Peru, also have a diet that is high in carbohydrates and fiber. Their diet also consists of mainly root vegetables, fruits and nuts. Meat and fish are eaten in low amounts. These people also don’t have reported cases of obesity.

The Mexican Pima Indians have a diet that roughly consists of 62% carbohydrates, high fiber intake, and 25% saturated fat. There is a 7% obesity rate in males, and 20% obesity rate in females. Incidence of diabetes is at 7%. Their diet mostly consists of beans, wheat-flour tortillas, corn tortillas, and potatoes.

Just across the border, the Arizona Pima Indians have a diet that consists of 49% carbohydrates, 15% protein, 34% fat, and more than 10% of it is saturated fat. Even though they consume less carbohydrates, the obesity rate in males is 64%, and in females it is 75%. Over 30% have been reported to have diabetes. The big difference between the two people is in their diet. The Arizona Pima Indians consumed fried breakfasts, processed meats, hamburgers, pork chops, beans, white bread, flour tortillas, fried or baked dough, cereals, canned foods, and fruit juices.


The Culprit: Carbohydrate Density


According to the National Institute of Health, the diet of these people is closely tied to the diets of people in the Paleolithic period. The main trait that these people share is consuming cellular carbohydrates as opposed to acellular ones. Foods that have living cells such as fruits and vegetables contain the carbohydrates inside the cells themselves. The maximum density of carbohydrates that a cell will allow is at 23%. Most of the cell’s mass is comprised of water. When digesting these sources of carbohydrates, it also takes time for the stomach to break up the cellular walls and take in the energy from the carbs.

Acellular carb sources, on the other hand, are very simple in form and contain no cellular walls. There is nothing between them and the stomach microbiota. They are easily taken in by the body and swiftly used. These include all wheat products, grains, and sugars. These are also what currently dominate the ingredient lists in Western diets. All things being equal, macronutrients, amount of carb intake, calorie intake, etc.; it is the foods with the higher carb density that relate to the promotion of obesity. The chart in the beginning of the article shows foods (in grey) that are dominant in the modern diet, and the ancestral diet (white).

The discussion about carbohydrate density and its relation to obesity will continue in a follow up article, but for now, the main point that I am trying to summarize is: stick to foods that have a lower carbohydrate density, and you will be more than likely to prevent obesity.




Wondergressive:Low Carb/Low Calorie Diet Produces Compound that Blocks Effects of Aging

Wondergressive: The Obese Shall Inherit the Earth

Wondergressive: Save the Food Pyramid by Cutting it by the Limbs Comparison with Ancestral Diet Suggestion Ancestral Diets Table

PubMed.fov: Carbohydrate Density of Ancestral Foods 

Image Source:

Can Genetically Modified Corn Form Tumors in the Body?

If you are planning on prolonging your life and evading this cancer frenzy, you should be careful of which breakfast cereals and tortilla chips you choose. If you are not aware of the negative effects of wheat, a quick glance about wheat and what gluten is won’t hurt, but read on to learn about yet another daily source of negative possibilities.

Most of the consumed corn in the United States is genetically modified. According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Caen connecting genetically modified corn and long term effects on health, it can cause rapid and uncontrollable tumor growth as well as damage organs. This has been already tested on research rats. We can be thankful to Monsanto for the GM maize and their fertilizer, which in trace amounts is enough to cause the aforementioned wreck along with premature death.

According to the same site, this genetically modified maize that we all consume, also known as NK603, even in the smallest quantities has made the rats form tumors in the mammary glands as well as develop liver and kidney damage. The male rats exhibited the observable effects as early as 4 months, and female rats as early as 7 months. The control group observed the effects within twenty-three and fourteen months respectively.

Here is a quick list of some the facts from the study

  • Between 50 to 80 per cent of female rats developed large tumours by the beginning of the 24th month, with up to three tumours per animal. Only 30 per cent of the control rats developed tumours

  • Up to 70 per cent of females died prematurely compared with only 20 per cent in the control group

  • Tumours in rats of both sexes fed the GM corn were two to three times larger than in the control group

  • The large tumours appeared in females after seven months, compared to 14 months in the control group. The team said the tumours were ‘deleterious to health due to a very large size’, making it difficult for the rats to breathe and causing digestive problems

Shortly after the release of this study RT reports that:

The national academies of agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, sciences, technology and veterinary studies issued a joint statement condemning the findings on Monsanto’s NK603 corn, which were published last month by molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen.

RT also reports that Seralini’s study also:

earned widespread criticism for its methodology. Tom Sanders, head of the nutritional sciences research division at King’s College London, saying the study was a “statistical fishing trip,”manipulated from the start to achieve a specific result.

This later report was released and backed by two government-commissioned scientific reviews, however Monsanto has a bit of a history of manipulating governments and placing itself in a seat of power.

Genetically modified food is a very controversial debate with many sides to the story. In the mean time we should think about what we’re putting into our bodies and make sure to always read labels when buying food.






The Grocer- Monsanto Roundup Weedkiller and GM Maize Implicated in ‘Shocking’ New Cancer Study

Wondergressive- Save the Food Pyramid by Cutting it by the Limbs

Wondergressive- Natural, Living Pesticides

International Journal of Biological Sciences- A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health

Mail Online- Cancer row over GM foods as study says it did THIS to rats… and can cause organ damage and early death in humans

RT- Good crop, bad crop: French scientists dismiss Monsanto ‘cancer corn’ study

Global Research- Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Monsanto Man

Wondergressive- And the Court Battle Begins Between David and Goliath, Bowman and Monsanto

Wondergressive- I Believe in GMOs


Save the Food Pyramid by Cutting it by the Limbs

Yes, that’s right. What you thought was healthy wheat and whole grain does not turn out to be so healthy after all. Bread, pasta, mozzarella sticks, pretzels, bagels, etc… As a matter of fact, you are probably better off drinking a can of Pepsi. This can sound absurd at first, since most of the printed text books teach you otherwise; that wheat products should form the foundation of our diets.

The bread that Jesus from the Bible shared and the bread we consume today are totally different. The wheat crops grown in the last 50 years are a result of genetic manipulation and hybridization. This has brought upon the creation of a super starch called amylopectin A. This starch is present in normal bread, whole wheat bread, whole grain bread, high fiber bread, you name it. Two slices of whole wheat bread now raise your blood sugar level by more than two tablespoons of sugarThe health claims written on these products are as misleading as the Fox News news anchors.

What you need to know about blood sugar levels is that starches cause it to spike, some more than others. When blood sugar levels rise, the body releases insulin from the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that tells the body to start to store the dietary sugars into its fat stores, and does not allow for an easy way for you to burn that fat while insulin levels are up.

Here is an easy way to remember the aforementioned:


Of course, this does not mean that you should completely remove starch and carbohydrates from your diet. Carbohydrates are very important for bodily functions, especially for fueling your cells. But certain carbohydrates do more harm than good.

Now that we covered the super starch amylopectin A, you should also know that current wheat is also made up of super gluten. There is nothing super about it though, except that it makes you super sick and fat. Gluten is a protein that stops the bread from falling apart and gives it a sticky texture. The modern genetically modified wheat contains twice as many chromosomes and produces harmful gluten that triggers obesity, body inflammation, as well as Celiac disease, which now affects at least 21 million Americans.

On a happier note, I am sure there are many people like me who just cannot quit on bread, crackers that go well with cheese and wine, etc… You do not have to quit these. There is a vast number of alternatives to wheat products such as rice and buckwheat. You can make bread and crackers out of rice flour. There is also quinoa flour and oat flour.  Most of these alternatives are gluten free, and none of them contain the super starch that makes your blood sugar levels sky rocket.

So instead of cutting any limbs, let’s work towards defining a more accurate food pyramid.




Suggested Reading: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

Huffington Post 
The Atlantic 
Health Central