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Understanding Food Jargon Cheat Sheet by

A guide to some common terms used in the food industry


Organic - Raised without chemical herbic­ides, pestic­ides, and fertil­izers. This eliminates the need for GMOs.
The Dirty Dozen - whenever possible buy these organic: Apples, Peaches, Nectar­ines, Strawb­erries, Grapes, Celery, Cucumber, Bell Peppers, Spinach, Snap Peas, Cherry Tomatoes, Potatoes

Free Range

Chicken, Eggs and Meat

Cage Free - These chickens live in big warehouses without cages. This does not mean they are free from over crowding.
No Antibi­otics or Hormones - The chickens have not been fed antibi­otics (used because of crowded living condit­ions) or growth hormones (think big chicken breasts).
Free Range - Chickens with this label have been allowed for at least part of the day to roam outside to eat bugs, have access to sunlight, and much more freedom of movement.
Grass Fed - Fed a diet of fresh or dry grass (like hay). As opposed to a typical grain fed diet. The meat from all animals with this design­ation have more healthy Omega 3 essential fatty acids.
Organic All meats with this label have no antibi­otics or hormones, and have been fed an organic diet.
Nitrites and Nitrates - Used to process ham, deli and lunch meats. They are classified by the World Health Organi­zation as carcin­ogenic. Look for labels that indicate they are free of these chemicals.


Packaged Foods

Organic - Raised without chemical herbic­ides, pestic­ides, and fertil­izers. This eliminates the need for GMOs.
Non GMO - GMO = Geneti­cally Modified Organism. There is research both pro and con, concerning GMOs. They have only been available since 1996. Long term health conseq­uences unknown. Corn, Soy, Zucchini and Summer Squash, as well as Sugar Beets are largely GMOs. Look for these ingred­ients on labels.
5 Ingredient Limit - Don't buy packaged foods with a ton of ingred­ients, partic­ularly ones that don't look or sound like food.
Trans Fats - Hydrog­enated or partially hydrog­enated oils. These creamy altered fats have a long shelf life, but are directly associated with heart disease.

Gluten Free

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt.
Many Gluten Free products contain empty carboh­ydr­ates.
Possibly 29% of the population has issues with gluten.

Alaska Salmon


Canned Vegetables and Seafood

BPA Free - Bisphenol A is a plastic that is used in food products, such as water bottles and the lining of cans. It has adverse effects on thyroid hormones, and is possibly linked to endocrine disruption and obesity. Look for the BPA Free label.

Grass Fed


2% or 0% Fat - Check the label and make sure that artificial stabil­izers or sugars haven't been added.
Organic - Milk from cows that have been fed an organic diet, without antibi­otics and hormones. They are raised humanely.
Grass Fed - Cows have been fed fresh or dried grasses, like hay. This milk has more Omega 3 fatty acids and CLA (conju­gated linoleic acid) than conven­tional milk.

Super Foods

An unregu­lated term.
A nutrient rich food that is especially good for health and well being.
Some common superfoods are: Kale and all other vegetables in the brocco­li/­cabbage family, bluebe­rries, tomatoes, avocado, beans, salmon and dark chocolate.

Seafood - Fresh or Frozen

Buy wild caught whenever possible.
Look for sustai­nable harvest label on tuna packaging.
Atlantic Salmon is farmed salmon. Avoid or eat sparingly.


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