Grass-fed, Free range, Wild Caught Labeling

As discussed in my previous post, the food labeling industry has all sorts of labels without offering explanations.  We go to the store and see organic, grass-fed, cage free, free range, wild caught labels, but many of us don’t exactly know what they all mean.  Because organic labeling was already discussed, today I will be touching up on grass-fed meats, Free Range/Cage Free eggs, and wild caught fish vs their counterpart.

Wild caught fish are simply fish that are found and caught in the wild.  Compared to farm raised fish they are a more natural source of omega 3s, have more calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium.  They also contain less fat and depending on the type of wild caught fish, they may also have less calories.

Farm raised fish are fed unnatural diets, including antibiotics to combat the diseases many of them obtain because of their enclosed, dirty environment.  The pink in farm raised salmon, for example is an artificial coloring.

Grass-fed meats come from pastor that was fed their natural diet of grass and contain more omega 3s, less fat, more vitamin E and conjugated linoleum acid (CLA) compared to conventional meats that are filled with steroids and pesticides.  PLEASE NOTE: Grass-fed meat is not the same as organic meat as organic meat can come from animals fed a grain diet (better than steroids, but not as clean as grass-fed meat).

Eggs are in my opinion one of the most complicated because you can have free range, cage free, vegetarian fed, or omega enriched eggs, and they do not necessarily mean the same thing.

vegetarian fed hens, while their diet is clean, their environment may not be. Below is a useful chart that helps you understand the labeling.

how-to-read-egg-label

conventional eggs for the most part come from hens that are not only fed unnatural diets, but are also kept in horrid living conditions.

Wether your an animal lover, health nut, or curious about what the different labels actually mean, the choice is up to you!

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Organic Vs Conventional Foods. What’s the difference?

The food labeling world has to be one of the most obscure industries in my opinion.  So many different labels and sub labels, but what do they all mean?  This post is geared towards organic labels, not free range, grass-fed, or wild caught labeling (Those will come later on).

What is organic?  When you go to the grocery store, I’m sure you’ve seen a little label that says “USDA Organic.” Keep in mind that when you go to a farmer’s market, although the produce is fresh, it is not necessarily considered organic because it has not gone through USDA regulations and certifications.  However, I personally love going to farmer’s markets and supporting local farmers.

Moving on, the USDA organic label simply means that the produce has been grown/produced without synthetic substances and growth modifications (other than what can be achieved under natural conditions).  They must also adhere to strict pest-management guidelines.  Under the organic label there are actually 4 different types:

  1. 100% organic
  2. Organic: which is made with 95% organic ingredients
  3. Made with organic: at least 70% organic ingredients
  4. <70% organic

Conventional Foods do not have as strict regulations and are often grown/produced with more chemicals, antibiotics, steroids (growth hormones), additives, fillers, fortifiers, and chemicals.

In terms of research stating which is more nutrient dense, it is still very vague.  The reason I choose to eat organic is simply because I would rather ingest lest pesticides, steroids, etc.

I am fully aware that organic foods are more expensive.  If you have the means to do so, I urge you to go organic.  If you think you do not have the means to go organic but spend a ton of money frivolously, I invite you to put your body first, but it’s up to you! If you do not have the means to do so, fruits and veggies are better than boxed forganic-or-naturalood!  If you preach organic, go green, all around holistic health and wellness and don’t purchase organic when you have the means to do so, shame on you (in my opinion).

Attached Is a 15 minute long youtube video going more in depth into organic vs conventional food items.  I definitely recommend watching it, especially because the Dietician does go into the most vs least chemically enhanced food items while remaining unbiased.  That list will come in handy when choosing where you should go organic.

Organic Vs. Nonorganic chicken video

Stay tuned for the next post on grass-fed vs non grass-fed meats and dairy.