Organic? Free Range?

Our last post included all the color fruits & veggies and why they are good for you.  The next quiet debate you are going to have with yourself is spending a little extra on smaller, misshapen food.  What’s the hype with organic?  Free Range? Wild Caught? Three major categories that affect quality are growing methods, nutritional value, and risk of pesticide exposure.


Organic fruits are 10x richer in key micronutrients than their conventional counterparts. Why?  Plants need to defend themselves just as humans do.  Their high levels of antioxidants keep the fruit healthy.  Due to modern cultivation and chemical treatments to keep pests away, fruits no longer need to defend themselves, therefore manufacture less antioxidants.

Where to get it

  • Farmer’s Market. We are fortunate to live in Bloomington where we can take advantage of the Farmer’s Market.  Organic fruit from far away lands are typically less tasty and less nutritious because they were prematurely picked.  Even if local fruit is not certified as organic, our local farmers are most likely using less offensive growing methods than a large, commericial operation, plus, the fruit was most likely picked on time. Consider this: if it’s out of season, don’t eat it.
  • Bloomingfoods. In my opinion, this is your next best bet.  I trust that their selection comes from quality sources that are honest in their fruit and veggie production.

Free Range: The lowdown on Mass Produced Animals

  • Hormones help the animal grow bigger and more quickly to increase profits
  • pesticides are consumed with their feed, just like our conventionally grown fruits and veggies.
  • antibiotics prevent wide-spread illness.  Why are they sick?  Think about their conditions, cramped, filthy, and artificial living space.  Think about their diet.  Their “all vegetarian” diet filled with grains continue to suppress their immune system.  Grains have a similar affect on their bodies as on humans.
  • Their meat is higher in omega-6 fat, the kind you should stay away from. You are looking for Omega-3

Labels to Look for and purchase

  • Firstly, wild animal meat contains lean mass, little fat, and high omega-3, natural diet.
  • USDA- certified organic meat is the premier choice.  These animals are grass or grain fed without antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering, irragation, sewage sludge, or artificial ingredients. They are also allowed conditions for exercise, freedom of movement, and reduction of stress appropriate to the species.
  • 100% grass fed or 100% grass finished

Labels to watch out for!!

  • Free Range applies to only poultry and indicates “access” to outdoors.  There is no legal definition or distinction of the term “outdoors” for any particular amount of time.  This label does not indicate the meat is free of hormones or antibiotics.
  • Grass Fed requires access to grass in their diet, but does not guarantee their diet is free of grains unless you see “100%” in the description
  • Chemical Free is a vague term not defined or recognized by the USDA and has virtually no significant meaning on a package.
  • Hormone/antibiotic Free carries no official meaning from the USDA.  Growers provide documentation  to make the claim on the product, but they are not verified by a 3rd party.  USDA organic is superior to this lable.
  • Natural is a term that means the meat is free of artificial flavors (like meat flavoring? ew), colorings, and preservatives.  It is not relevant to how it was raised, fed, or slaughtered and not verified by a 3rd party.

Wild Caught

Firstly, lets talk about farmed fish.  Rember where your conventional beef comes from? Lets take it to the water.  Fish are also farmed in cramped, unsanitary swimming-in-their-own-waste conditions, exposed to high levels of dangerous chemicals like dioxins (remember the pork recall in 2008?), dieldrin, toxaphene, and other pesitcides and toxic residue.  Salmon is also fed artificial dyes because their natural pink color is supposed to come from  healthy carotene in their natural diet.  It was recommended in the Science journal in 2004 to only eat salmon once every 5 months due to it’s toxicity and high risk for cancer.  What?!  THIS IS AN ALL TIME NEW LOW FOR “EAT IN MODERATION.” Did you know approximately 3 million salmon escape from their farms every year, diluting the pools of fresh salmon, forever genetically altering the wild caught population…interesting.

  • Wild caught Fish offer a host of nutritional benefits from exerting strong anti-inflammatory effects, reducing risk for heart disease, protecting against athsma in children, moderating chronic lung disease and reducing the risk of cancer and tumor growth. These fish are a rich source of omega-3 fats and include B complex vitamins, selenium, vitamin D & E, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, antioxidants…and more. Wild caught salmon, trout, and catfish offer 19-27% of their total fat in omega 3s


Organic Eggs offer 20x more omega -3 fats than factory-produced eggs. They are a healthy sources of protain, fat, B complex vitamins and folate.

  • Shouldn’t you moderate your egg consumption? The answer is no.There is no proof that egg consumption raises blood cholesterol or affects your risk of heart disease.  A Harvard Medical School study of 115,000 subjects over the span of eight to fourteen years demonstrated no correlation between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke.
  • Are egg whites better for me? The answer is no. Yolk is the most beneficial part of the egg!  Egg whites include healthy protein, but is lacking the other nutrients.  Please bring back the yolk.

About hcfchallenge

The Paleo diet is simple yet remarkably effective for fat loss and halting or preventing a number of degenerative diseases. To reap the benefits of the most effective nutritional strategy known, one need simply build meals from the following: * Lean proteins (ideally) grass fed meat, free range fowl and wild caught fish * Seasonal fruits and vegetables * Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil Our 6 week challenge will help you ease your way into the Paleo Diet. Regardless of your fitness or health goals, you WILL look, feel and perform your best on the Paleo diet. For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is enough. Improved blood lipids, weight loss and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny. View all posts by hcfchallenge

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