A small deep purple, edible berry from a tall slender Palm Tree found in Central and South America. The berry is typically used in smoothies or eaten raw.
American Grassfed Association
Strict standards include the following: animals are fed only grass and forage from weaning to harvest, raised on pasture without confinement, are never treated with antibiotics or added growth hormones, and the animals are born and raised on American family farms.
Animal Welfare Approved
The most stringent animal welfare certification for all major farmed livestock and poultry, overseen by the nonprofit, A Greener World (AGW). Standards include continuous outdoor pasture access, without the use of cages or crates and transportation time limits. This certification is only awarded to independent farmers.
Raised without the routine use of antibiotics, no antibiotics administered, raised without antibiotics. An animal raised without the use of antibiotics.
When bacteria builds resistance to a specific antibiotic and therefore renders that antibiotic useless in fighting an infection. This can result from overuse of antibiotics.
An artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute often added to foods and beverages, especially sodas. Several studies show that it can be harmful to humans, causing negative metabolic effects among other issues. Avoid when possible.
A for-profit business that makes positive social and environmental mission-related endeavors the primary
business objective. Benefit corporations are required to create a material positive impact on society and the environment, and must consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but all stakeholders including workers, community, and the environment.
Beyond or Better Than Organic
An unregulated definition of food grown or raised using methods that exceed the requirements for USDA Organic. USDA Organic allows for certain chemical pesticides to be used with only 95% having to be organically grown to qualify as organic. Beyond Organic is frequently used by Local Farmers who go above and beyond and exceed the minimum requirements of “Certified Organic” in their growing or raising methods.
Refers to the ability of nutrients to be absorbed by our digestive system and made ready for use throughout the body.
BiodynamicBiodynamic farmers bring all elements of the farm including soil, people, plants, animals etc together to work in harmony via holistic and humane practices that supports and nurtures the farm as a whole.
Poultry raised without confinement to a cage. However, this does not address whether or not they were raised free to roam in pastures, restricted to indoor crowded conditions or had access to the outside.
When no emissions are expelled during a product’s use or production either by using renewable energy or by balancing emissions through carbon removal.
A substance extracted from red seaweeds, consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides. Used as a thickening agent in food products, it does not have any nutritional value and is not digestible in humans. Studies have shown it to be destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response often resulting in inflammation. Avoid when possible.
Is a disease in which people develop an immune response when gluten is consumed. The small intestine is affected which leads to damage inside the intestine and results in malabsorption of nutrients.
Operated by a nonprofit, Certified Humane has set welfare standards for each species which include outdoor access, shorter transport times, and better lighting.
Certified Naturally Grown
CNG is a grassroots non-profit alternative certification created specifically for farmers who sell directly to consumers. This provides a transparent and affordable option for farmers practicing organic growing methods.
A tiny black seed that comes from the Mexican desert plant Salvia Hispanica. Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse and are absorbed better when soaked before consuming.
Real Food in it’s purest unadulterated whole food state, with the least amount of human intervention as possible. It is food that is not processed, non-GMO, without pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, animal by-products, growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners to name a few.
Grown or raised using standard agricultural practices. There are no rules or regulations pertaining to the use GMOs, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, or hormones. The same is true for field practices such as feedlots or confinement.
COOL (Country of Origin Label)
A law that requires retailers to label beef, lamb, goat, chicken, pork, seafood, produce, macadamia nuts, pecans, and peanuts indicating the country of origin. Restaurants, food servers and processed foods are exempt from this labeling requirement.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
A membership program that supports local farms by consumers paying in advance for crops or farm products. Typically CSA members receive a portion of the farms’ harvest each week.
Another unregulated term that refers to the supply chain and the sourcing of those materials in a responsible and sustainable way.
Fair Trade Certified
Protects against the potential injustices of conventional trade regarding working conditions and fair trade and pay for farmers and workers.
Farmed (Farm Raised)
Raising fish commercially in tanks, irrigation ditches, ponds, or enclosures primarily for food. They are typically fed GMO corn, GMO soy, are often given antibiotics.
Farm to Table
Generally speaking, “Farm-to-Table” means that the food on the table came directly from a specific farm, without going through a store or distributor. It is a social movement which promotes serving local food at restaurants and food service entities, with food sourced directly from its origin.
A type of animal feeding operation often referred to as Factory Farming. An area where livestock are gathered to be fattened with grains before slaughter. This type of feeding is typically thought to be inhumane.
Chemicals added to food such as preservatives, artificial colors, flavorings, texture enhancers, and synthetic vitamins.
The distance food travels from where it is grown to where it is consumed.
Free Range (Free Roaming)
Birds have some access to the outdoors. The USDA requires only 5 minutes a day outside to be considered Free Range. Free Range is regulated by the USDA for poultry ONLY, not for beef or eggs. Claims on eggs and beef are not regulated at all and there are no third party verifications.
Is a type of clarified butter. Butterfat is melted down and the milk solids and water are removed. This results in a butter without any lactose or casein.
Global Animal Partnership (GAP)
A nonprofit that uses a 5-step program to rate the welfare of cattle and other animals raised for human consumption. Gap standards do not address what the animals are fed. Whole Foods Market uses this rating system at their butcher stations.
Is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. It gives dough its elasticity which helps it rise and provides a chewy texture, such as in bread, cake or cookies. Gluten causes health problems for those with gluten-related disorders like celiac disease.
A strict diet that excludes gluten or a food that does not contain Gluten.
GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)
When a plant or animal’s DNA has been changed by genetic engineering, resulting in a food that is not created by nature. The predominant purpose for genetically engineered food is to either create its own insecticide from within or to resist man-made weed killer. There is growing evidence that GMO food is disruptive to humans, but long term research is lacking. Avoid when possible.
Grown without genetically modified organisms, or a product that does not contain GMO ingredients.
Typically a mix of non-dairy milk with Turmeric added.
Animals that are fed grains throughout their life. Grains could contain additives such as wood pulp, cement or euthanized animals. Also, unless organic, the grain most likely contains GMOs.
When cattle are fed grains during the last portion of their lives to increase the marbling and fat which results in a tastier meat. Unless labeled as non-GMO or organic, it’s safe to assume these grains have been genetically modified (GMO).
The USDA has dropped its definition of Grass Fed and the label is not tightly regulated. This is quite a controversial term that is often used to label beef, resulting in a misleading perception that the animal has only eaten grass. This is a perfect example of how creative marketing is used to greenwash consumers. Fact: all cows, bison, buffalo etc. eat grass at some point.
100% Grass Fed
When animals are fed grass or hay for their entire life. This claim, though on labels, is not regulated. These animals are typically pasture raised.
Green Restaurant Certification
The Green Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization offering a green certification for a fee to restauranteurs that meet a set of minimum requirements. The requirements are based on environmental sustainability such as recycling, water efficiency, and energy consumption to name a few.
Misleading claims about the environmental or “Green” benefits of a food or product marketed by an organization which makes the company appear to be healthier or more environmentally friendly than it actually is.
Meat products labeled Halal must be handled according to Islamic law. The USDA does not audit Halal practices. There are a few third-party organizations who certify and audit but the standards vary from group to group.
Harm Free Food
Food that is grown or raised without using any substances such as GMOs, pesticides, or chemicals that could potentially be harmful to humans or animals.
Hemp seeds are a complete protein and one of the most nutritious seeds in the world. They come from the hemp plant and are the same species as cannabis (marijuana), but only contain trace amounts of THC.
Livestock breeds that have adapted to their environment through a lengthy existence in a single area. It does not necessarily mean they were humanely raised or raised outdoors. No third party verification exists.
HFAC (Humane Farm Animal Care)
Is a non-profit third-party certification organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production. Their goal is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices.
Synthetic hormones are sometimes administered to animals to increase their growth rate.
A ketogenic diet is high in fat, low in carbs, with adequate amounts of protein that causes your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates.
Labels found on meat and poultry products that were prepared to satisfy the requirements of Jewish law. To qualify as Kosher, the animals must be slaughtered without being pre-stunned.
A practice of eating foods that are grown close to the place of consumption.
A nutritious alternative sweetener grown natively in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Typically consumed in powder form.
Native to Peru, it is high in nutrients, an adaptogen and a member of the cruciferous family. Maca is typically consumed in powder form and has a nutty/earthy taste.
A small green gourd that is grown in Southeast Asia. Monk Fruit extract is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar and contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sodium, and zero fat.
This results from the constant growing of a single species without introducing a variety of crops. This depletes the soil making it an easy target for invaders such as disease.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
A food additive used for flavor enhancement, typically added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups, processed meats, and foods to name a few. Studies have shown that MSG could have adverse effects in humans. Avoid when possible.
The USDA guidelines for “Natural” ONLY pertain to meat and poultry. The meat or poultry products cannot contain preservatives or artificial ingredients such as colors or flavors and must be minimally processed. This does not mean they are organic, humanely raised or raised without antibiotics. There are no standards in existence when the term “Natural” is used on any other products.
A term often used interchangeably with “Organically Grown,” typically means a grower practices organic methods of growing but has chosen not to pursue the official designation.
A USDA verified claim pertaining to meat from animals that means raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, or fed animal by-products.
Nondairy milk made from a base of nuts or seeds such as almond, cashew, sunflower, flaxseed, or hemp.
A human or animal that consumes both plants and animals.
A term often used interchangeably with “Naturally Grown,” typically means the grower practices organic methods of growing but has chosen not to pursue the official “Certified Organic” designation.
Organic, Certified USDA
Foods grown without antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering, sewage sludge, radiation, illegal and most synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Requires certification by third party, government-accredited organizations.
Eating only what we could hunt or gather in caveman days– meats, dairy, fish, nuts, greens, veggies, and seeds. Processed foods, grains, sugars and legumes are not allowed.
Raised free to roam in the pasture. An enforceable definition does not exist and the term is unregulated.
Basically those who eat a vegetarian diet with the addition of fish and other seafoods. Typically, pescatarians eat
A third party label used by farmers who do not use any synthetic herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides on their crops. The label is not regulated by the USDA. This does not mean that GMO plants and seeds, as well as synthetic fertilizers, were not used.
Pesticide Residue Free
A third party approved label that means pesticide residue was not found on the produce that is ready for sale or consumption. But, does not mean pesticides were not used during the growing process.
The focus is on eating whole foods that mostly come from plant sources, while not necessarily eliminating animal products.
A food that has gone through a process. A processed food can be a refined food. However, it can also be a healthy whole food that has simply been chopped, rolled or grown.
Native to South America, this seed is low glycemic, high in protein and naturally gluten-free. It resembles a grain and contains all 9 essential amino acids.
Raw food diets are composed entirely or mostly of food that is uncooked or cooked at low temperatures not above 104–120F.
A refined food is a food that is no longer a whole food and doesn’t contain all of its original nutrients. It has been processed in some way.
A system of farming that rehabilitates and enhances the entire ecosystem of the farm in terms of biodiversity, topsoil regeneration, and water management.
A starch that’s many health benefits and functions similar to fiber in the digestive tract. The starch resists digestion and survives through the stomach and small intestine until it reaches the colon where it feeds the good bacteria. Foods containing high amounts of resistant starch are legumes, boiled potatoes, raw potato starch, unripened or cooked bananas, and oats to name a few
A synthetic, genetically engineered hormone that is administered to dairy cows to increase their milk production. This substance has been banned in many countries but is currently allowed in the US, South Africa, and Mexico.
A sustainable seafood program created by chefs for chefs, which includes fished and farmed seafood.
Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked. It’s whole grains in the transition phase from seed to new plant. Sprouting enables us to more easily digest and absorb the nutrients.
A general term that pertains to preserving an ecological balance for future generations by avoiding depletion of natural resources. A third party certification or enforceable definition does not exist.
Third Party Certified
Verification by an independent company that confirms or denies claims made or labels displayed by producers such as Organic by the USDA.
The transitional period for a farmer or grower who is transitioning from conventional to organic practices. Becoming certified Organic is typically a lengthy and costly process.
A vegetarian taking it 1 step further. Avoiding foods produced using animals or animal products in any way, including honey, typically for ethical or environmental reasons.
A diet that abstains from the consumption of meat, poultry, seafood, or the flesh of an animal. They may still consume eggs, dairy, and honey.
100% Vegetarian Diet
Animals that have consumed feed void of animal byproducts. In the case of chickens, unless labeled organic, assume they are consuming GMO corn and/or soy. Since chickens are omnivore’s, “100% Vegetarian Diet” typically means they are not pasture raised and are indoors or confined to a cage.
Caught in the wild or it’s natural habitat rather than bred from captive stock.
Harvesting plants from their natural or wild habitat without damaging the current or future production of that uncultivated plant.
When a product decomposes back into the earth from which it came, causing no harm to the earth or environment. This is an unregulated term.