The US food industry spent $45 million dollars to ensure they were not bound to those two little words. And all in the name of three letters.
This whole thing has been pretty surprising to me. GMO’s. Genetically Modified Organisms. I felt (still feel) so ignorant. Really. Its kinda scares me. For the most part, I am proud of the food buying decisions I make for our family. Organic, local and unprocessed are certainly the trifecta we strive for. The reality often falls short of that and I make no apologies for it. Because what I am – or maybe thought I was – if anything, is an informed consumer. I like to think the purchases I make are conscience and deliberate. That is, I consciously buy the expensive local, organic apples when I can and I consciously buy the supermarket granola bars if I have to. In both cases, I know what I am getting.
Or so I thought so.
The quick back story is this. During the recent US election I would hear about several “props” that were going on. Prop37 has been all aflutter on my (food biased) twitter feed for several months. Here is my understanding.
What is a GMO? It’s a plant or animal whose genetic material has been altered – either by adding or deleting genes. When added, they usually come from a different species & they insert the mutated genes by attaching them to a virus.
Why GMO’s? It allows food producers to create bigger, longer lasting food. Here are some example equations. (I love it when I get to bring math back into my posts)
Tomato’s + Flounder Genes = Tomato’s with a long shelf life
Potato’s + Jellyfish genes = Potato’s that glow in the dark when they need water
You can’t make this stuff up.
What is (was) Prop 37? It required the labeling of food with any amount of GMO, to be labeled as such. And no more calling it natural. (insert waving finger here) If you were Pro37 you basically believed it was your right to know. Against37 said it just creates government bureaucracy and increases family grocery bills by hundreds of dollars per year.
Guess who backed Against37? Guess who won? The answer is the same. The big guys with lots of money.
So long story longer, when I heard $45 Million was spent trying to defeat Prop37 I was not surprised to find it was large, multinational conglomerates spending wads of cash on ads to tell people their grocery bills were going to skyrocket. (companies like Coca-cola, PepsiCo, Kellogs, Kraft etc) What made me sad (and a wee bit mad) was discovering the smaller brands that were associated with the no side. Namely three.
Kashi. Larabars. Naked.
And while they never lied, I just feel quite deceived. And disappointed. Really really disappointed. Kashi? You frolicked in the meadows and told us of how you don’t “mess with mother nature” . Larabar? Your bars have just two ingredientsand your slogan is "Pure and simple, just as nature intended"?? Naked. Your HOME PAGE says "Mother Nature's the boss, so we don't mess around". Really? Really? Really. Just disappointing.
There are over 50 countries in the world that require GMO labelling of food. The US and Canada are not in that group. I don't know enough to say I agree with or disagree with the use of GMO's in food (okay, that's a lie. I don't support it but its not a lie that I don't know enough about it yet) What I DO know as my truth is that I believe in choice and transparency. Neither of these are happening at our grocery stores right now.
So I made some granola bars to keep in the freezer in hopes of never having to buy (translate: support) Kashi, Lara or other natural sounding brands again.
“Again” may be harsh.
Life happens and I won’t proclaim to start sowing my own wheat, but I will proclaim to keep educating myself on this subject. I will no longer buy Kashi or Larabars. (FYI, Natures Path is pro-label and anti GMO so big shout out to them. Ironically THEIR home page says "We say no to GMO and we mean it" Gotta love the honesty) I don’t know enough yet to say GMO’s are harmful, evil or are they only way we will be able to feed people in an affordable way in the future. My gut (and probably moreso my heart) tells me there has to be a better way.
I just know I don’t glow in the dark when I am thirsty, and I don't think think my potatoes should either.
Sadly, I can’t promise my home made granola bars are GMO free. They are made with whole ingredients, but perhaps my baking powder was crossed with a Himalayan earth worm so it rises in half the time. Who can be sure? And while Kashi, Larabar and other big brands may have disappointed…
…these bars will not.
Homemade Granola Bars
2 cups rolled oats 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 1/2 cup almond meal 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 cup all-purpose flour ½ cup whole wheat flour 1 tsp salt 1/2 cup buckwheat honey 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/3 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 1/3 cup dried blueberries
Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, gently combine the first seven ingredients. Set aside. 3. In another small bowl combine the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. 4. Pour the wet into the dry and mix together, using your hands. Add in cranberries, blueberries & chocolate chips. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. 5. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden around the edges. For a softer bar, don’t over bake. Cool on wire rack for about 30 minutes before cutting, but cut them when they are warm so they don’t crumble. Enjoy!