A Guide to Non-GMO Baking Substitutes
Many people wish to enhance their organic eating habits by reducing the consumption of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Genetically modified food often has high levels of toxins and is more likely to trigger allergies. Furthermore, there are some potential negative biodiversity effects of growing GMOs.
While it may be simple enough to spot GMO-labeled meat or produce, other GMO ingredients can enter one’s diet in very subtle ways. One of the easiest ways that GMO foods infiltrate a diet is through cooking ingredients.
For example, while a brand may label a baking mix as “organic” or “gluten-free,” the ingredients within the kit or mix could come derived from GMO foods. Hidden GMO food sources or bases of frequently used ingredients may include the following:
- Genetically modified corn
- GMO soy
- GMO sugar beets
- GMO rice
- GMO potatoes
- GMO fructose
- GMO xanthan gum
Even if one does not immediately recognize the raw food source or base of a GMO product, anyone may recognize the risk by looking at telltale baking ingredients. Some of the most common hidden GMO baking ingredients include dry goods like flour (such as wheat, rice, barley, or potato flour), cornstarch, tapioca starch, corn syrup, sugar (sorghum), and various flavoring extracts. Households can also find GMO ingredients hidden in meal-prep baking items such as cake mix, pancake batter mix, “instant” baking kits, or pie crusts. Risky baking additives may also include non-organic refrigerated ingredients like eggs, milk, or fruit. Fortunately, a look at some of the best non-GMO alternatives can help any shopper to make an informed decision for organic baking habits.
Non-GMO Eggs and Egg Substitutes
Where GMOs hide: Whether white or brown, the eggs in the grocery store’s dairy section often come from commercial chickens. The standard practice in raising commercial chickens is to use GMO-based chicken feed. Even if a person opts to raise chickens privately, some of the most popular chicken feed or pellet brands are made of xanthan gum. Manufacturers and food processors often extract xanthan gum from GMO corn or soybeans. Another popular method for producing xanthan gum is to extract it from GMO milk. In addition, many wheat-based home chicken feeds come directly from GMO cereal harvests.
Substitute(s): When purchasing eggs directly, shoppers can opt for Non-GMO Project Verified or USDA-certified organic eggs. Nutritionists also recommend eggs from pasture-raised chickens over commercial (coop-raised) birds. Other protein-rich alternatives include eggs from different types of poultry (such as organic duck eggs or organic goose eggs).
There are also excellent plant-based alternatives to GMO eggs. Organic flaxseeds or organic chia seeds are both popular non-GMO egg substitutes. The natural gel released from flax and chia can act as the necessary binder for numerous recipes, thereby replacing the traditional role of eggs in baking. To prepare a flax or a chia “egg,” use the following recipe: