Nature's Path Blog

How to Go Non-GMO. A Simplified Guide.

Posted by Ashley Koff RD on October 15, 2015

How to eat non-GMO


We all want better health. Whether we are healthy and want to stay that way or are working to heal a health issue - better health begins with better nutrition. But what does that mean when it comes to GMOs (genetically modified organisms)?

There is much debate about whether or not GMOs negatively impact our health. Because GMOs are so new, we don’t yet have the data to tell us how consumption of GMOs could impact our body's health and functioning over the long term. For this reason, we can’t assume GMOs are safe.

As a healthcare practitioner, I share the concerns of so many practitioners that consuming GMOs is not as healthy as avoiding them.  To that end, I recommend making non-GMO choices as often as possible. Here are some tips to help you follow this advice.

1. Better nutrition isn't perfect - and that's OK!

Before I tell you what to avoid (and what to consume) I need to provide this caveat.  As unhealthy as certain chemicals or eating patterns can be, the addition of more stress, daily, in an effort to eat "perfectly" is equally, if not more unhealthy. Think of it like adding a jelly doughnut to what your body has to digest (without getting to taste it!) daily. A jelly doughnut once in a blue moon can be delicious, but add it daily and it will contribute to weight gain or inability to lose weight, can keep you from optimal sleep, can negatively impact digestion, and can even increase risk of chronic disease. So, I want you to avoid GMOs, but not to the extent that it brings on extra daily stress.

2. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple)

Organic! Nothing is simpler than organic - I think of it as our best partner in better nutrition, simplified.  When in doubt - choose organic - especially for what you eat most often.

  • First, organic certification  regulations prohibit the use of GMO seeds.USDA Orgaic Certification
  • Second, organic regulations also limit the use of the harshest chemicals, as only certain ingredients are approved for use and those are constantly being reviewed by the organic standards board to ensure their safety.
  • Third, organic regulations look at optimizing the health of the land, workers, and product from start to finish. That doesn't mean you can blindly choose an organic product, it could still be too processed, but it does mean that with organic you get more of what the body recognizes and less of what could possibly irritate it.

3. Know GMOs

There are certain foods that are predominately GMO (corn, soy, canola, wheat, papaya, beets, etc.), so learning these foods and products that use them as ingredients is important. The easiest way to avoid GMOs is to buy these foods certified organic, but when that isn't an option, look for the Non-GMO project verified seal.

Tip: keep in mind that there are many different names for the same potentially GMO foods. For example, did you know that edamame and tempeh are soybean foods? Or that "sugar" can be beet sugar and thus GMO? Best to look for "cane sugar" as that means someone wants you to know they are not using beets and are thus avoiding GMOs. 

4. Eat whole foods most often

The form of the food you should consume most often is food that still looks as it would in nature.  A good example of this is Q'ia - just look at those seeds and groats! When food is highly processed there become more opportunities for the finished food product to contain GMOs; whether they’re hiding in preservatives, additives, or even nutrients used for fortification.

Better nutrition IS simple, and following this advice should help you be more effective and efficient in your quest to get and maintain better health with better nutrition.


free organic food guide download 

Written by Ashley Koff RD

Ashley Koff RD

Ashley Koff is an internationally-renowned registered dietitian who believes better nutrition is simple, but isn’t typically explained that way. To that end, Koff created a tool-kit: “The Better Nutrition Simplified Program” which offers several tools to make better nutrition, simple and accessible for everyone.The Better Nutrition Simplified program includes easy meal planning tools such as “The Better Nutrition, Simplified Plan”and “Better Nutrition Simplified Pit Stops,” as well as a tool for food and supplemental foods selection “The AKA (Ashley Koff Approved) Personal Shopper.” Koff also offers Better Nutrition Simplified Quick Start video consults and the opportunity to arrange personal consults.