PRODUCT LABEL TERMS
Clients always ask me “What is the most important thing to buy organic?” I always respond with meat, fish and eggs. Hormones and antibiotics should have never found their way into our food supply. They are causing catastrophic harm to our collective health – unbalancing our hormones, weakening our immune systems and ruining our digestion. The simplest, most important change you can make right away is to seek out products with the words listed below.
Free-Range, Antibiotic & Hormone-free (poultry and eggs)
While there is no universal definition for this term, free-range implies that the animal was able to roam throughout its life rather than being confined in a tight enclosure. It is highly likely that any poultry product that is not labeled free-range comes from a factory farm where the animal had no room to even stand upright or stretch its limbs. A majority of the animals that are raised for food live miserable lives in intensive confinement in dark, overcrowded facilities, commonly called “factory farms.” They are injected with antibiotics to ward off disease and growth hormones for unnaturally rapid development. Those unhealthful components are then passed down to us upon consumption.
For more info: http://www.idausa.org/facts/factoryfarmfacts.html
Grain vs. Grass Fed
What animals eat is ultimately what we eat upon consuming them so we should make sure they are fed well. Cows fare of choice is grass, and when they eat what they would naturally choose then their flesh is high in vitamins and minerals and important essential fatty acids – which perform myriad of functions essential to human health. When we alter their diet, we alter our own. We need the appropriate Omega 3 to 6 balance in our bodies for our brains to function properly and to ward off a host of degenerative diseases. For cows, grass fed is best. For poultry, you can find a mix of grain and grass fed because chickens and turkeys cannot live on grass alone. Try to shy away from corn-fed poultry as most of it is genetically modified and corn is higher in sugar than other grains.
When fish is farm-raised (namely salmon), they are raised in a net without much room to swim. They are fed pellets instead of their normal chosen diet of other fish and are colored to look like the fish we are accustomed to seeing. Essentially it is a completely different fish without the essential nutrients that have sustained us for so long. Wild caught fish are just that; fish caught out in the open ocean living in their natural environment, eating what it is they were meant to eat which means they contain those valuable nutrients we all benefit from by eating fish.
Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. It includes a system of production, processing, distribution and sales that assures consumers that the products maintain the organic integrity that begins on the farm. As defined by the USDA Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony. Beware of “Organic” products coming from Mexico as there are no known standards and processes in place yet.
Eating local produce is one of the healthiest choices we can make. It is usually less expensive because when we are eating foods that are in-season and grown locally, they are abundant. Locally grown produce will have a higher nutrient content than produce that has to be picked and preserved for long travel. This is a great way to stay in harmony with nature and balanced throughout the seasons.