Natural Living Glossary
Today there are so many words that we're expected to know in order to be a good consumer. It's hard to keep them all straight sometimes. Here's a list of the most common terms we hear that will hopefully help you choose what is important to you, when choosing your food.
Having a more basic pH in your body. This can be achieved by eating more leafy greens, roots vegetables and yes, even lemons. Having a more basic pH is thought to help your immune system, sleep cycle and over all health. Fats, grains and dairy are all very acidic and should be avoided in an alkaline diet.
Antibiotics are routinely used in conventional meat production (see conventional below) to avoid disease in the livestock or poultry. Some studies have shown that, when animals are routinely given antibiotics, after they are slaughtered, those same medicines can stay in muscles and tissues that we later consume. Too much exposure to these antibiotics can cause more resistant strands of various diseases for humans. Antibiotic-free means avoiding the use of antibiotics unless it is truly needed for the health of an animal.
Antioxidants are various vitamins, like vitamin C, that help keep our bodies healthy. The boost immunity and energy levels. While they may be found in many supplements, the best source is still eating dark leafy greens, bright fruits and vegetables. A good rule of thumb is, the darker the vegetable, the more antioxidants!
Food that is usually prepared in a traditional way by an experienced worker. It can also be seen to interchangeably with rustic on many products.
An alternative form of healthcare, traditionally used in India, dating back to ancient times. It is based on a constitutional type, with a different plan of wellness, that is geared at balancing your constitution.
Chickens that either lay eggs and/or are slaughtered and are not kept inside small cages, known as battery cages. Cage-Free does not require access to the outdoors.
Using modern methods of farming, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, GMOs, growth hormones and antibiotics.
The Dirty Dozen are the 12 most important foods to buy organic due to pesticide use and the clean 15 are the safest foods to buy conventionally.
Fair Trade means that the the producer of the product is getting a fair and living wage. Fair trade only applies to developing countries and helps people start and own sustainable businesses, Fair trade is commonly seen in beauty products, coffee, sweeteners, textiles, tea and more.
Similar to Cage-Free, but in order to be called "Free-Range," the USDA requires access to the outside.
Gluten is protein composite found in some grains, particularly wheat and barley. Some people have an allergy or intolerance to gluten and for those, it should be avoided. A Gluten-Free diet may seem daunting, but it is possible with the help of many new replacements for foods that traditionally contain gluten, such as bread or cookies.
Genetically Modified Organism. Plants or animals that are created through gene splicing techniques through biotechnology. It is also referred to as genetic engineering.
Similar to a gluten-free diet, but this one avoids ALL grains, including ones typically eaten in a gluten-free diet like rice and quinoa.
Beef and other livestock that has eaten all or mostly grass, hay included. Most grass-fed livestock is also pasture raised. Grass-fed beef contains omega-3 fatty acids, much like those in fish. Look to make sure that your beef is 100% grassfed. Many are finished on grains for the last month or so before slaughter.
Older varieties of many crops that come true from seed. Heirlooms are open-pollinated and have a wider variety of colors than are commonly seen in grocery stores.
Meat from traditional livestock breeds that were raised in the past. With an increase in breed selection, over 190 species of farm animals and livestock have become extinct in just the last 15 years.
A form of medicine and healing that focused on the physical, psychological and social needs. It is a hybrid of modern and natural medicine.
A treatment process that involves treating like with like in varying dosages.
Most livestock, poultry and dairy cows are injected with growth hormones to make them grow faster and larger or produce more milk. These hormones can stay in the muscles (meat) of the animal after slaughter. Hormone-free means that an animal was not injected and does not contain excess hormones.
A label for meat and dairy that requires high humane and enviromental standards
Food that is sourced near to our store. At People's Grocery, local means the item was grown or produced within 200 miles of our store.
Natural is hard to define. It should be a product that us unprocessed or less processed. However, since there are no standards for "Natural", it doesn't guarantee that a product was produced in a healthier, organic or "natural" environment.
Containing no Monosodium Glutamate (a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid. It increases umami flavors in food. MSG can cause problems with the heart, headaches and more, especially to those that had adverse effects to MSG.
Non-GMO verified is a certification through the non-GMO project. Companies can be checked by the Non-GMO Project and be verified as being safe and not including any GMO ingredients in their products.
A method of farming that does not use convention methods and pesticides. Organic food has less toxins and is typically produced more sustainably than other food. There is an extensive process to certify organic and in order to claim that something is organic, it MUST go through certification. There is lots of information regarding organic. The Mayo Clinic has some great information if you're just trying to learn more. Also, check out the USDA for more information regarding Organics.
A diet that is "based upon the fundamental concept that the optimal diet is the one to which we are genetically adapted". The Paleo Diet does not include grains, dairy and sugar.
Animals such pigs, chickens, cows and more that are raised on open pasture. While most of these animals will eat grass, their diet is supplemented with grains also. (Some animals, especially chickens and pigs cannot survive on just grass.)
Probiotics are living microscopic organisms, or microorganisms, that scientific research has shown to benefit your health. Most often, they are bacteria, but may also be other organisms such as yeasts. They usually are or are similar to the "good" bacteria that occurs naturally in your gut. While it's known they help with digestion, probiotics have also been linked to your improving immune system, helping with mental health, and more.
Uncooked. Followers of the Raw Food Diet believe that food is healthiest when uncooked because then enzymes become broken down before we eat them.
A marketing term used to describe foods that have high nutritional value and anti-toxin properties.
According to the EPA, sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which human and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.
Vegan is a diet that includes absolutely no animal products in order to promote a "cruelty-free lifestyle". This includes meat, dairy, eggs, gelatin & honey. There are options for certification.
Not just a grocery chain. It's food in its most pure form. The Whole Foods Diet is a less processed form of eating.
Fish and seafood that grew and developed in the wild and was caught there. They tend to be higher in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, low levels of PCBs and lower levels of disease.