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GMOs, Pesticides, and Palm Oil

Bewildered by the myriad of threats to your food supply? Going vegan and buying organic will help you navigate the danger-filled seas

A worker, fully ensconced in protective clothing, pours the extremely toxic pesticide Alachlor (commercial name: Monsanto Lasso) before spraying onto food crops most likely destined for animal consumption • Public-domain photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons • https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Creating and re-creating plant and animal life is obscene and blasphemous. One hundred percent of animals in the meat, egg and dairy industries have been genetically modified (GM), while all animal feed is comprised of GM soy and corn. Since 80 percent of corn and 95 percent of soy grown in America is set aside as animal feed, when you consume animals and the things that come out of their bodies, you are consuming GM animals AND plants! If you want to avoid genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), the first step is choosing a vegan lifestyle. Your next step is choosing to buy organic. Although many powerful companies are attempting to edit legislation, by law organic products must be produced without genetic engineering. For your benefit, very few vegan companies use GM soy.

If you're concerned about ingesting pesticide residues yet you're still a carnivore or omnivore, pay particular attention to the next sentence. The overwhelming majority of pesticide intake comes from eating animal products. There are three reasons for this. First, the meat, dairy and egg industries douse billions of animals with chemicals to kill flies and mosquitoes that spread diseases from animal to animal. These chemicals seep through the pores, where they're permanently stored in the animals' flesh. Second, federal law allows crops set aside as animal feed to be sprayed with two to 20 times the amount of chemicals used on crops set aside for human consumption! Finally, keep in mind that it takes from three to 20 pounds of plant protein to produce just one pound of animal protein (depending on the animal in question). Therefore, by eating an animal you are not only ingesting many times more toxic residue from the very plants eaten by the animal you ate than you would have had you just eaten the plants yourself; you are also ingesting the accumulation of these residues over the entire (brief) life of the animal you ate!

In stark contrast, only a small percentage of pesticide intake comes from plant-based foods. But the majority of that residue can be washed away pretty easily. You also have the option to purchase organic plant foods, which solves the chemical problem altogether. While you might be able to buy some chemical-free animal products (which is pretty hard to do because animal feed is rarely organic), don't forget that there are still four issues that can never be overcome: (1) slaughterhouse cruelty; (2) the commodification and enslavement of animals; (3) the deleterious effects of consuming animal protein, casein, the excessive amount of fat found in all animal products, and the naturally-occurring trans fatty acids found in meat and dairy; and (4) the environmental destruction and world hunger caused by animal-based agriculture.

Lately, people have been inquiring about which vegan companies avoid GM soy and only use sustainable palm oil. In case you are unaware, non-sustainable palm oil plantations—along with animal agriculture (grazing, growing corn and soy for animal feed)—are destroying Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests. Orangutans are being hit the hardest as they are left without a habitat. They are shot, poisoned, beaten to death and burned alive from deliberately set forest-clearing fires. After their mothers are killed, orangutan babies are stolen and sold as pets. Nearly 90 percent of orangutan habitat has already disappeared, and within 15 years most of the Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests will be gone. Almost all of the world's palm oil exports come from Indonesian and Malaysian plantations.

Companies That Use Non-GMO Soy

Gardein, Beyond Meat, Turtle Island Foods (Tofurky), Turtle Mountain Foods (So Delicious and Purely Decadent ice creams), Tofutti, Trader Joe's, Earth Balance, Whitewave, Uncle Eddie's, Clif/Luna Bars, Pro Bar, Follow Your Heart, Silk, Vegetarian Plus, Sunshine Burgers, Health is Wealth, Elena's Food Specialties (Nate's Meatless Meatballs), Worthington Foods, Field Roast Grain Meat, Five Star Foodies, Bahama, Food for Life/Ezekiel, Upton's Naturals (seitan), Chicago Soy Dairy, Daiya, Wayfare, Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Living Harvest (hemp milk) , Chocolate Decadence, Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids, Melissa's (soy chorizo), Amy's, Blue Diamond (Almond Breeze milk), Pacific Natural Foods, Coconut Bliss (ice creams), Rudi's Organic Bakery, Sambazon, Go Max Go (chocolate bars), Ener-G, Amande (almond milk yogurt), Boca's Vegan Meatless Burgers, Original Chik'n and Spicy Chik'n Patties (avoid red-labeled packages in these varieties to avoid GMOs) and all organic products from Hain Celestial (Yves, Rice Dream, Soy Dream, West Soy, Imagine Foods). Many other companies use non-GMO soy, but it would be impossible to mention every single one of them here. If you have doubts about a company’s practices or ingredients, contact them directly.

Companies That Use Sustainable Palm Oil

Gardein, Go Max Go, Turtle Island Foods (Tofurky), Turtle Mountain Foods (So Delicious and Purely Decadent ice creams), Tofutti, Trader Joe's, Earth Balance, Whitewave, Uncle Eddie's, Clif/Luna Bars and Pro Bar. Many other companies use sustainable palm oil but, again, it is simply not possible to mention every single one of them here. If you have doubts about a company’s practices or ingredients, contact them directly.

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