Gluten This, GMO That: Your Grocery Shopping Cheat Sheet

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We've all heard the old adage, "You are what you eat."

In this day and age, however, it seems as though the more time passes, the more confused we become as to what should go into our bodies.

It's almost as bewildering as watching a "Dr. Oz" marathon.

We're no strangers to ditching the kitchen, and with the culinary industry using marketing and advertising now more than ever, we tend to indulge in fast food and dining out at a rapidly growing pace.

Restaurants these days are trying to grab the attention of consumers any which way they can, and will go to any lengths to please them in order to attain their business.

Most recently, the ever-so-popular Chipotle, known for its massive yet scrumptious burritos, has kept its ears open to the public regarding the controversial genetically modified organisms (GMOs for short) that can be found in foods, such as corn and soybeans.

Some say the halt of GMO inclusion is fear-driven more than anything, with no scientific explanation as to why they can be harmful to humans.

Others, however, see things from a generational perspective, saying they just want to appeal to Millennials, in particular.

So, what exactly are GMOs and why are they being hotly contested?

A genetically modified organism is a "living organism whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering."

Most notably, companies like Monsanto have been in the eye of this agricultural hurricane.

Perhaps, a good reason for that is because their GMOs have been banned practically everywhere in the world except for the United States.

A bigger red flag might be the fact that lobbyists for Monsanto have succeeded in keeping many food labels free and clear of any GMO notification.

A question you might be asking yourself is, if it is safe to eat, why do they have to hide it?

It's easy to walk into your local grocery store and be baffled at the amount of terminology in every single aisle; we already took the SATs once, man.

Being the good guy I am, I want to take this opportunity to clear the air as to what those eye-catching buzzwords on your favorite cereal boxes and snack foods really mean.

"Organic" is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit, used in reference to label any produce grown without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, GMOs, sludge or even radiation.

Products that are entirely organic contain a logo you might've seen on your favorite items. In all honesty, I buy organic as often as possible.

The food itself tastes much better, and, on a much more important aspect, we'd be helping small families with local farms, something America thrives on.

A term you might want to get familiar with is "local."

As you can probably tell, it has plenty to do with proximity.

Local foods "don’t travel long distances, so they can be ripened as nature intended, and picked when its nutritional value is highest."

Believe it or not, they can arrive at your store between 24 and 48 hours after being harvested, which is ideal when it comes to health and wellness.

I'd recommend hitting your favorite farmer's market; it makes for a great day out, too.

Next on the list is artisan. The word itself gives it away: Artisan foods do not experience the industrialized treatment most foods these days have to endure.

Instead, they're made with the hands through crafts that are being lost as a result of mass production in the industry.

Methods such as fermentation are popular in artisan foods, one that improves the quality and taste all throughout.

Last, and definitely not least, is gluten. This is, by far, the most debated topic within the food industry over the past five years.

Gluten is a protein commonly found in items such as wheat, rye and barley. It comes from the german word meaning, "glue." It literally helps hold food together.

Gluten has been making headlines recently because of its link to inflammation and the health risks it carries. Honestly, you'd be hard pressed to ignore videos like this.

Celiacs need to be very cautious of not eating gluten, due to the fact that it damages the lining of their small intestines, thus making it difficult to absorb nutrients in food.

The aforementioned fear of GMOs has made its way to the gluten-free craze, as well; non-celiac gluten sensitivity is now trending among the picky eaters, myself included.

As a result, I've adopted the paleo lifestyle for almost three years now (one that excludes gluten) and haven't looked back since.

If you feel as if you're lost in the gluten sea, Jimmy Kimmel made sure you're not the only one.

None of us can afford to be ignorant when it comes to grocery shopping, so the next time you're hitting up Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, make sure you know your role and stuff your mouth.