GMOs in Larabar, Kashi & Silk?

A good friend of mine—who loves food, especially the healthy variety—attended a nutrition seminar recently. She was told that 3 of my favorites brands (Larabar, Kashi & Silk) oppose the labeling of GMOs in California (aka: Proposition 37).

Since I care about GMOs (and would rather not see them in my food), and those 3 brands comprise a large chunk of my diet… I decided to do some research. Here’s what I found.

  • All Larabar’s have always been Non-GMO
  • All Silk products are Non-GMO
  • 11 of Kashi’s cereals have been verified Non-GMO, but not all of their products are

The Non-GMO Project has a list of brands here that they have verified to have no GMOs. They are not the end-all-be-all of GMO regulation, but they appear to be the largest, most organized group with pretty strict guidelines (in the US).

In terms of Proposition 37, here’s a list of who’s donated money supporting/opposing the California Prop 37 for mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Silk & Larabar each have their own sections on their websites dedicated to Non-GMO ingredients.

Larabar is owned by Small Planet Foods, which is a branch of General Mills (GM), and GM has donated money opposing GMO labeling (12th most of all companies, in terms of total dollars). But all Larabar products are still Non-GMO.

General Mills has a great explanation on their website about GMOs. While I don’t agree with all of it, I do like how they talk about it. And their responsibility page makes me feel pretty good about them as a company. But you should read those pages & make your own judgements.

Silk used to be owned by Dean Foods (who donated money opposing Prop 37), but they are NOT owned by Dean Foods any longer. They are owned by White Wave Foods, who has not donated any money either supporting or opposing labeling. But they definitely support labeling (according to their website), and all their Silk products are Non-GMO.

White Wave Foods used to be a subsidiary of Dean Foods, but in 2012, White Wave Foods went public, and is now operated independently from Dean Foods.

Kashi does appear to be owned by Kellogg Company, however, they do not list Kashi in their brand portfolio on their website. And I could not find any info on GMOs on Kellogg’s website.

“Organic” vs. “Natural”

As a general note, any product that uses the word “Organic” on its packaging, it has to be Non-GMO. However, products can be “Natural” and still contain GMOs. That’s regulated by the FDA. Here’s a good starting point on the FDA’s website that addresses the regulation of “organic” vs. “natural”.

 

If you have any further information to add to this, please include it in the comments below. There are probably a lot more resources out there that I don’t know about, but I’d love to see them.

Going Vegan: The Cows Are Watching

During my short holiday break in Jersey, a great friend of mine lent a book to me about going vegan. I’ve considered it before, but wanted to spend some time researching it before I made the decision to try it for real.

I read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone (yes, the actress). Alicia breaks her decision to go vegan down into 3 main areas:

  • Be kind to your body
  • Be kind to animals
  • Be kind to the planet

I already thought I was pretty kind to my body. I eat well. Exercise. Yada yada. So I wasn’t looking to be persuaded on this front.

I am more kind to the planet than the average Joe. But then I heard this book would flip my world upside down in terms of how eating meat/dairy has such a negative impact on the environment. Say no more. If I can help this Earth, I’m all ears. This is where I expected to gain the most insight—and be the most persuaded—by the book.

I’m all for treating animals well, but never really thought I’d find myself fighting for animal rights. I love animals, especially dogs. But I never made the correlation to animals that I put in my mouth.

Fast-forward a few days

Tonight I found myself over a friend’s for dinner. They didn’t know I had recently made the decision to go vegan, nor would I have expected them to cook any differently. What was on the menu? Steak. And cheesy potatoes.

I told them I was still in the midst of my transition, and that I would have some steak. No big deal. And the potatoes… yeah, they’re loaded with dairy, but I’d already made up my mind that wasn’t a big deal for tonight.

I cleaned my plate of veggies, and potatoes, quickly. And even had one small piece of steak. But there were 2 pieces still sitting on my plate.

The cows are watching

With every bite of that steak, I thought about cows. Unbelievable how one book read over the course of a few days could completely change my mindset… but it did. And here I am, staring at a plate full of delicious, juicy flank steak, and all I see is a sad cow’s face staring back at me.

I was struggling to take any more bites, mainly because I felt bad for animals all over the world. Animals that we unnecessarily kill for our enjoyment. I also thought about the negative impact it would have on my body, but I couldn’t get over how bad I felt for animals.

Guilty as charged

I felt guilty. Not only with every bite, but every chew. I suddenly found the texture of meat rather disgusting. Chewing on another animal’s flesh (we are animals too, ya know?).

I’m sure it didn’t help that they have the sweetest, softest, cutest golden retriever who I love so much. Or the fact that I’d just watched a video about 2 guys who raised a lion cub, then released him into the wild in Africa, and went back for him a year later. Their reunion is my reminder that they are capable of many of the same feelings we are.

Solar & Wind-Powered Airplanes

Is this not an obvious move for airplanes to use wind & solar energy? Here’s my argument.

Here’s an idea…

With gas prices getting as high as they are, people won’t want to drive as much. Well, airplanes use gas too, so that will probably make flights more expensive as well. The solution…

Solar & Wind-Powered Airplanes

You can’t tell me no one has thought of this yet. With all the hybrid & electric cars out there, a scientist somewhere has to be working on alternative sources of energy for airplanes, right?

The argument for solar power

Aside from spaceships, they are the closest human-driven moving objects to the sun (that I’m aware of). They’re 10,000 feet closer to the sun than anything else on Earth. The main thing that blocks the sun from hitting us on the ground is clouds. And heck, half the time planes are above the clouds. Seems like a valid argument to me.

The argument for wind power

Well, this seems pretty obvious. They are moving at 600mph through the air! Why not use all that air for energy?

I’m not a scientist. Or a pilot. But this just seems too obvious not to happen in the next few years.