Back in 2011 when I started on this journey I had no idea what it meant to eat clean. To put it simply, eating clean is eating food in it’s most natural state that has not been sprayed with chemicals, injected with hormones or given food to eat that has been genetically modified. I try to stay as close to what God intended for us to eat. If I am going to eat something processed I always opt for something that is organic or at the very least made with non-gmo ingredients. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. Yuck! I don’t know about you, but just thinking of some scientist trying to recreate a food in a lab sounds disturbing to me.Do you know someone with an auto-immune disease, inflammation, cancer, autism, sensory issues, ADHD, ADD, depression/anxiety, gut issues like Crohns, ulcerative colitis/microscopic colitis, Celiac, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome or GERD? The list goes on and on…So many of those things are what the members of my family have experienced.When an acquaintance of mine mentioned GMO to me for the first time I was beyond fascinated. I had no clue that the food I bought in my grocery store had ingredients that were made in a lab even though they were names I recognized. I’m talking sugar, corn, soybean oil and canola oil (rapeseed).Next time you’re in the grocery store take a peek at the ingredients on the labels of your favorite foods. You will notice that almost all of them have sugar in them which is not the cane sugar that we all knew. Nope, it’s sugar derived from GMO sugar beets. Soybean oil is another common ingredient you’ll find in most processed food. Once again, it’s made from soybeans that have been genectically modified. There are many studies that show the effects that GMO is having on the American population. We are sicker, more overweight, have more chronic issues and higher rates of depression/anxiety.So what can you do? Read labels!!! Anything that is processed unless it specifically says Organic or has the verified “Non-GMO” label on it, probably has genetically modified ingredients. The first thing you want to do is know the BIG 7 GMO ingredients to look out for when reading your labels. Discovering the genetically modified ingredients was my first step in clean eating. In a future blog post I’ll go into all the colorings and dyes that are unnecessarily added to our food and that happen to be banned in most other countries. But for now, back to the list!CORN: Corn is the No. 1 crop grown in the U.S. and nearly all of it — 88 percent — is genetically modified. In addition to being added to innumerable processed foods, genetically modified corn is a staple of animal feed.2. SOY: 93 percent of soy is genetically modified. Soy is a staple of processed foods under various names including hydrogenated oils, lecithin, emulsifiers, tocopherol (a vitamin E supplement) and proteins. 3. COTTON: According to the USDA, 94 percent of cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. Cottonseeds are culled from cotton, and then used for vegetable oil, margarine or shortening production, or frying foods, such as potato chips. 4. ALFALFA: Farmers feed alfalfa to dairy cows, the source of milk, butter, yogurt, meat and so much more. Alfalfa is the fourth largest crop grown in the U.S., behind corn, soybeans, and wheat (though there is no genetically engineered wheat on the market). 5. PAPAYA: 75 percent of the Hawaiian papaya crop is genetically modified to withstand the papaya ringspot virus. 6. CANOLA: About 90 percent of the U.S. canola crop is genetically modified. Canola oil is used in cooking, as well as biofuels. In North Dakota, genetically modified canola has been found growing far from any planted fields, raising questions about what will happen when “escaped” GE canola competes with wild plants. 7. SUGAR BEETS: More than half — 54 percent — of sugar sold in America comes from sugar beets. Genetically modified sugar beets account for 90 percent of the crop; however, that percentage is expected to increase after a USDA’s decision last year gave the green light to sugar beet planting before an environmental impact statement was completed. *credit Margie Kelly via HuffpostHere is a graphic to show some more GM “foods.” Courtesy of bestfoodfacts.orgI hope this has been a helpful start to understanding clean eating. I know it can seem a bit daunting in the beginning, but I can assure you that it’s worth it! Please let me know what you’ve been doing to work towards living a clean life.