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A Simple Way to Avoid GMOs and Improve Your Health

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Gardening Once upon a time, not too long ago, gardening was seen as a hobby where the focus was on creating beautiful flowerbeds that adorned your yard. Occasionally, herbs were added to the mix, either for aesthetic purposes or to include in dishes. Vegetable gardens were more often seen in rural areas, where people, more often than not, owned farmland.

However, in the last few years, a surge in interest in vegetable gardening in both urban and suburban areas has taken hold, and now many more people are enjoying homegrown vegetables throughout the gardening season.

There are many reasons why vegetable gardening is becoming increasingly popular, from the joy of growing and enjoying your own harvest to gardening as a form of relaxation. Vegetable gardening serves an even greater purpose for those who decide to embark on such a venture. Gardening as a whole exercises the body and spirit.

If you happen to have outdoor space to garden, the process of squatting, digging, walking throughout and around your garden, twisting and using your arms to plant seeds, pull up weeds and harvest the results exercises your muscles and massages your internal organs. Some of the twisting involved in gardening massages your organs similar to the Matsyendra pose in yoga).

Meditation and relaxation are also results of gardening. Planting seeds, watering your garden and pulling weeds are repetitive actions allowing you to go into a semi-meditative state.

Aside from the physical and spiritual benefits of gardening that are immediately felt, there are other reasons why, if you have not already, you should give vegetable gardening a try. Here are just a few of those reasons:

Knowing that your food is free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

Growing vegetables from organic or non-GMO seeds protects your health and the planet. More and more foods are being genetically modified. Although organic food may not be of interest to you, this does not mean you want to consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables whose genetic makeup has been altered.

To date, the majority of corn, soy and wheat grown in the United States are genetically modified, yet scientific testing has not been done on what effects GMOs may have on humans. What has been shown is that GMO foods contain excessive amounts of toxins, the effects of which have not been determined. Genetically modified foods also negatively impact the environment by creating more toxins and potentially leading to the creation of mutated soil bacteria that can lead to more harm regarding the future of food production.

The rising cost of groceries

If you have not already noticed, the cost of food is rising. Although the increase is more dramatic in other parts of the world, it is rising here nonetheless. Purchasing food under these circumstances may lead you to eschew some of your former regular purchases.

Control over the production of your food

Having a vegetable garden allows you control over the type of seeds (organic, non-genetically modified), soil nourishment -with or without compost or natural fertilizer- and pesticides used and therefore consumed.

The satisfaction of going to your garden

Ultimately, there is great satisfaction being able to walk out to your garden and harvest what you would like to have as your next meal. If you have children, letting them take an active part in garden increases the likelihood that they’ll eat the vegetables they helped grow and enjoy them.

If you do not have yard space, this does not mean you cannot reap the health and nutritional benefits of vegetable gardening. When I first began gardening, I lived in an apartment. The lack of yard space did not deter me. Instead of foregoing having a garden, I turned to container gardening. Container gardening brightened up my apartment while providing me with many other health benefits.

For those of you with yard space, you can create a garden in a variety of ways depending on your preference. Here are some of the ways you can plant an outdoor garden:

Digging and planting into the ground

This is the traditional way of gardening, which is labor intensive, offers an excellent workout when starting out and doesn’t cost much.

Lasagna gardening

With lasagna gardening, instead of digging into the ground, you are building up. This involves selecting where you’d like your garden to reside, then layering that space with cardboard, peat moss, compost, dead leaves, cut grass and finally soil. Once done, you can plant your seeds. I now live in a house where I have yard space. Part of my yard consists of my lasagna garden, which has been working wonderfully.

Soil Bag Gardening

Soil bag gardening is an easy way to have a garden for several reasons from not having time to start a garden to not having enough garden space. You simply cut a square out of one side of the bag leaving about an inch of space around the edges then plant your seeds.

No matter what form of gardening you choose, the health benefits will be well worth it. For some of you, you may find that you can move closer to becoming self sustaining.

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. – May Sarton

References:

Scientific Facts on Genetically Modified Crops. Retrieved from http://www.greenfacts.org/en/gmo/index.htm on 3/9/11

The Scary Side of Genetically Modified. Retrieved from http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/2008/09/25/the-scary-side-of-genetically-modified/ on 3/9/11

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14 responses to “A Simple Way to Avoid GMOs and Improve Your Health”

  1. Gamblewa01 says:

    Being an avid gardener I always find anti-gmo things funny, theres nothing wrong with alot of gmo’s and really when you think about it all modern fruits and vegetables are genetically modified but through cross breading instead of gene manipulation.

    • Chuck says:

      There is quite a difference between hybridizing to develop the positive traits of a species and genetic modification. Crossing a carrot with a parsnip is hybridizing. Crossing a mouse with a corn is genetic modification. Carrots can cross pollinate with parsnips. Mice cannot cross pollinate with corn on their own, but scientists have accomplished this.

    • Anonymous says:

      GMO is madmade organisms that do not occur naturally in nature. They are a mixture of animal AND plant genes in their DNA. This is very Frankenstienish and we don’t know the long term effects.

      Now for the really bad part, perhaps that is why there is astonishngly no required labeling bringing up the fact that we may be being used as guinea pigs.

      • Casie says:

        The labeling is the most disturbing part. It’s such a devastating catch-22. The only way to know for sure is to buy “certified organic” and even that is growing cloudy since GMOs seem to be slipping into supplies across the country–sometimes without the farmer’s knowledge. Furthermore, there are times when a consumer might not be able to pay the extra cost for organic. Organic might be critical for exposed produce like strawberries but it isn’t AS important when buying foods with a natural shield like bananas. Sure it’d be ideal in for both but some of us prioritize organic purchases so we can practically stay within a budget. But without GMO labeling laws or regulation…. there is just no other way to know which is sad. One woman on our facebook page made an excellent point when she said, “fine if you choose to believe in GM; the rest of us would like to have it labeled so that we can make the choice to consume it or not.”
        I agree 110%

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  3. Chuck says:

    Lissa, I enjoyed your synopsis but I think the historical perspective laid out in the first few sentences is somewhat misleading. Once upon a time just about everyone got some of their food from their gardens. I remember visiting my daughters Italian Great Grand Father on her mothers’ side, in San Francisco, where the two story houses have adjacent common walls. The back yards of most of them were vegetable gardens and vineyards and orchards. I remember Nano making his own wine in the cellar from the grapes of his vineyard. If he didn’t grow it, his neighbors did. He bought very little fruit or vegetables from the stores. When after a meal he told stories of the old times, he would peel the citrus and slice the apples from his backyard orchard and pass them to the children listening to his tales. It seems to me that first generation immigrants on the whole grow more gardens than the rest of us. Maybe that is just my experience and is not an accurate reflection of the larger society. As I have come to befriend Ukrainian and Russian immigrants I find that they support my hypothesis. At any rate, good story and happy gardening to you.
    Chuck

  4. Vivian says:

    Thanks Lissa. This article is getting me excited to start my summer garden. I look forward to my home-grown summer veggies, because they taste so much better!!

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  7. […] you with a source of GMO-free vegetables, useful herbs or beautiful flowers, gardening has many health and economic benefits, as portrayed in this infographic.  (Click on the image to view it full […]

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