Want to Eat Better? Here's How to Start

Photo: cleber

With all of the amazing chefs, restaurants, food carts, and everything delicious in between, it's hard to keep a complete healthy diet. Everyday, a new chef is born, a new meal is created, and a new dining option is widely available. It gets to be a bit much sometimes, keeping up with not only the Joneses, but also keeping up with everything the food world has to offer. Now more than ever, it's important to not only know where our food source is coming from but to also know key factors when it comes to feeding ourselves and our families.  You always hear words like "grassfeed"  and "sustainability" but do we really know what any of these words mean? Here are a few key definitions to help you eat better.

Organic: Refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Soil and land is minimally processed with out any artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation. Foods cannot be irradiated, genetically modified or grown using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or sewage sludge. Organic meat and poultry cannot be treated with hormones or antibiotics, and organic meat animals must have access to the outdoors.

Locavore: Someone who exclusively or at least primarily eats foods from their local or regional food shed, or a determined radius from there home. Commonly 100-250 miles in radius from where they live depending on the location of where they live.

Free Range: A method in farming, where animals are allowed to roam freely instead of being detained in any matter.

Grass Feed: Animals who eat  a diet of natural grass and other forage in there natural environment instead of cheap feed.

Cheap Feed: Food for animal consumption condensed of meat from other animals or the same species of animal (meat from diseased animals;feathers; hair; skin; hooves; blood; animal waste; plastic; antibiotics)

Sustainable Agriculture: Food production methods that are healthy, don't harm the environment, respect workers, are humane to animals, provide fare wages to farm workers and support farming communities. This can pertain to produce, meat, seafood, etc.

Cage Free: Refers to hens that are not raised in cages. There is no standard definition for "cage free" and cage free also means that animals aren't in cages but may also not be outdoors either.

Hormone Free: Animals that are and were never given hormone treatments

Natural: Nothing is grown with artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed. If processed, it must not fundamentally alter the the product. If the product is labeled, the label must include a specific explanation.

Pasture Raised: Animals that are naturally raised in a pasture that can roam freely in their natural environment. They are able to eat nutritious grasses and other plants that their bodies are adapted to digest.

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