Many have made the decision to eat healthy by eliminating processed foods, GMOs, glyphosate and other chemicals from their diet by eating organic. What about eating out? How can you reduce, mitigate or eliminate the risk of these toxin when you go to a restaurant? I am offering a few do’s and don’t’s of eating out to avoid GMOs that may assist you in finding balance and still staying healthy, even when eating out.
The obvious answer is to find an organic restaurant. But we all know at times and in certain cities this is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes you may have to eat out, especially when travelling. I have a few tips to offer to assist you in preparing for your trip and for choosing food in restaurants that have little or no organic food.
First of all, let’s discuss preparation for your travel. I always do my research when travelling to a new city to see if I can find any organic or farm to table type restaurants. If I do find a place or two to eat, great problem solved. However, often there are not organic restaurants that are convenient or even close to where I am travelling. The first thing I do it prepare! What I do to prepare is I bring food some food with me. I recently traveled to Denver for a seminar and packed my own duck eggs in my suitcase–one dozen! I wrapped them carefully and they made it on the flight to Denver intact! I have an allergy to chicken eggs and not duck eggs so I planned ahead. I was staying with a friend who eats organic so the rest was not a problem.
If you are staying in a hotel without a kitchen, then you must make some different choices as to where to eat. If you cannot find any organic restaurants, here are a few tips to assist you.
- 1. Obviously don’t choose a fast food restaurants that will contain corn or soy derivatives which are definitely GMOs. Choose a high-end restaurant that cooks from scratch, not that it will be perfect by any means, but clearly a better choice. Even restaurants that cook from scratch will use GMO condiments like ketchup, mayo and salad dressings.
- 2. Unfortunately, most restaurants in this country cook with genetically modified oils. Over 90% of soy, corn, cotton (seed), and canola grown here are GMO. So unless the oil explicitly says organic or non-GMO, assume it is genetically engineered. Vegetable oil is usually made from soybean oil, as is margarine. You can call a restaurant in advance and ask them what kind of oil they cook their food in. More than likely they will be using a GMO oil. You can ask them if they can cook you meal with pure olive oil instead. The question is, is it pure olive oil. Some restaurants blend olive oil and canola because it is cheaper. Just ask if they can use just olive oil and not a blend. Not all food uses oil but this is a good place to start.
- 3. If you avoid GMO oils, it can be difficult to eat in most Mexican and Chinese food places. Mediterranean restaurants, including Italian, Middle Eastern, and Greek, often use olive oil. Thai restaurants often use GMO oils, but most do not use any oils in their curry dishes. They cook the food in coconut milk. Also, some Thai soups do not use oil. Fish entrees can often be grilled without oil as well. Deep fried foods like french fries are very difficult to obtain non-GMO because of the oil.
- 4. Most sugar in the US comes from GMO sugar beets. To avoid sugar GMO sugar, limit desserts and soft drinks to those made with pure cane sugar or some other sweetener. (Unfortunately, cane sugar is often sprayed with Roundup before harvest.) Commercial soft drinks and sodas are usually sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or a combination of sugar and HFCS. The corn, of course, will be from GMO sources. Diet drinks are no better or possibly worse. Aspartame, also called amino sweet, is found in Equal and Nutrasweet. Aspartame is produced from the use of genetically modified organisms, and is linked to serious diseases. I suggest bring your own pure water and have that instead.
- 5. The bulk of GMO feed crops are fed to animals. This includes corn, soymeal (leftover from processing soybeans into oil), alfalfa hay, and sugar beet pulp (leftover from extracting the juice for sugar). Dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), a by-product of the corn-based ethanol industry, are also mixed with feed for animals. Farm-raised fish as well as commercial beef, pork, and poultry are fed with GMO feed. Ask if the source is wild caught or pasture-raised. Organic products don’t allow the use of GMO feed. Please be aware that GMO salmon is entering the restaurant industry so you will have no way of knowing about it as it is not required to be labelled. If I cannot find a clean meat or fish, I usually opt for a vegetarian dish.
- 6. Do not order the Impossible Burger! Yikes? Where do I start? The Impossible Burger not only contains a genetically-modified protein that has never been in the human diet until a few years ago, but it has also tested positive for glyphosate. Additionally, company founder Pat Brown wrote the other day that the Impossible Burger will now be using GMO soy in its burgers. Genetically-modified soy is sprayed with Roundup and is one of Monsanto’s most important products. Also, According to Moms Across America, who had the product tested at Health Research Institute Laboratories, the levels of glyphosate were 11x that of the Beyond Meat burger and the total result (glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA) came in at 11.3 parts per billion (ppb). There are NO SAFE LEVELS of glyphosate. If you want to learn more about GMOs do a search on this site to listen to interviews and articles about GMOs and glyphosate. You can also go here to learn much about this technology.
- 7. Non-browning Arctic apples and non-bruising White Russet potatoes, both created with genetic engineering technology, are entering the market with the primary use intended for the pre-packaged and commercial foods sector. The apples are genetically engineered not to turn brown when sliced; the genetically engineered potatoes do not show bruising. Papaya grown in Hawaii or China may also be genetically modified. A small amount of zucchini and yellow squash are also grown from genetically modified seed. And although more than 90% of the corn in United States is genetically engineered, the percentage of GMO sweet corn, used for corn on the cob and for canned corn, is much less. Edamame may have GMO soy.
- 8. It is always beneficial to ask questions. We have the power to create change in our food supply by asking questions, educating and by not buying the GMO food. Keep in mind that your server in a restaurant may not have all the answers to your questions. They often have to go back and talk to the cooks or chef for answers. Always be curious and kind to people when asking these questions. They will be more likely to listen to you if you are being respectful. Please continue educating ones that do not know!
- 9. At times, we may not have great options for clean food. My advice to you during those times, is to never make your food more powerful than you. If you do eat a GMO food out of necessity, do not eat with the energy of judgment. If you are judging your food as you eat it, it can become more toxic. Bless it, eat it and don’t make it more powerful than you! In reality, it is not!
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Thanks for reading, we would appreciate you leaving a comment below! Be well, Carol