Making sense of Meat-Label Lingo

Are you as mystified by the variety of labels out there today?  What they do and do NOT mean?  The Food Industry’s desire to make the labeling system more user friendly, has gotten more complicated than ever to most consumers.  Here’s a little help decoding the mystery of the labels on meats sold in the USA to start. 

No Antibiotics or Used Routinely Category:

Animal Welfare Approved: No antibiotics are used for growth promotion or disease prevention.  Sick animals can be treated with antibiotics.  Animal welfare and hygiene practices are fully addressed.

Certified Humane: No antibiotics are used for growth promotion or disease prevention.  Some animal welfare and hygiene practices are addressed.

Gap Steps 1-5+: (i.e.sold at Whole Foods) No antibiotics are used.  Animal welfare and hygiene practices are addressed to varying degrees (sometimes?).

USDA Processed.jpgNo Antibiotics/Raised without Antibiotics: Antibiotics are not used for ANY purpose.  The labels accompanied by the USDA Process Verified shield are more reliable.

USDA Organic.gifOrganic: Animals cannot be given antibiotics.  Sick animals treated with antibiotics can’t be labeled organic.  The exception is chickens:  They can be given antibiotics in the egg or on the day they hatch but no afterwards.

Antibiotics May Be Used Category:

american-humane-certified.pngAmerican Humane Association: Neither animal nor human antibiotics are used for growth promotion, but both may be used for disease prevention.  Some animal welfare and hygiene practices are addressed.

 American Grassfed.gifGrassfed: Not all grass-fed beef is raised without routine antibiotics.  Look for a no-antibiotic or organic label as well.  The American Grassfed Association seal means no antibiotics, and the claim is verified.

Natural/All Natural: This label is not related to antibiotic, hormone, or other drugs administration or how the animal was raised.  “Natural” on meat and poultry only means that it contains no artificial ingredients or added color and is minimally processed.

NO Hormones:  Simply put, this means no hormones administered.  It doesn’t mean no antibiotics or other growth promotants.  By law hormones cannot be used in poultry or hogs, so packages of meat from those animals with this claim are no different from those without it.


All clear now?  Not really, right?  Since new labels are popping up all over the place (some only marketing to make their product look more inviting) it is best to re-read those above.  Then make a decision about what are the best  quality products that fit into your budget and are the best for your family.  Once that is decided, you will know what to look for in the store every time you grocery shop.  Atleast, for now.  

(Source – Consumer Reports, January 2016)

That much water? Really?

Okay, so now you know you need water throughout the day, everyday from my last post

But, did you know that drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body?

  • 2 glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs
  • 1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal – helps digestion
  • 1 glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure
  • 1 glass of water before going to bed – avoids stroke or heart attack I can also add to this… My Physician told me that water at bed time will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.

Your are still short several glasses even after adding all these to your agenda.  Here are a few more hints to get you to optimum hydration each and every day:

  • Drink only water with meals.  You want to taste your food and drinking other liquids will mask your tastebuds and in turn influence the taste of the food you are eating.  Save other liquids for in between meals.
  • Aim to drink 3/4 of your water intake for the day before 3 pm so that you do not end up getting up in the night to go to the bathroom.  Yes, initially you will have to go more often, but within a week, your body will adjust that and you will be able to go longer between bathroom breaks.
  • Take your water bottle wherever you roam!  Keep it with you,
  • Take a sip at every water fountain you pass, or from your bottle since you have that handy anyway, right?  Let the visual cue of a water fountain serve as a reminder to drink some now.

Finally, here is a quick chart to give you an idea of how much water you should take in each day personally.  This is general because it doesn’t take into account any medications/supplements taken, exercise frequency, duration and intensity, and/or your current level of hydration.  Let it be a “good rule of thumb” tool to use as a Minimum amount of water to drink. (8 oz. equals one glass)

Body Weight Ounces of Water Daily
100 pounds 67 ounces
110 pounds 74 ounces
120 pounds 80 ounces
130 pounds 87 ounces
140 pounds 94 ounces
150 pounds 100 ounces
160 pounds 107 ounces
170 pounds 114 ounces
180 pounds 121 ounces
190 pounds 127 ounces
200 pounds 134 ounces
210 pounds 141 ounces
220 pounds 148 ounces
230 pounds 154 ounces
240 pounds 161 ounces
250 pounds 168 ounces

Don’t be fooled by the “drink when you are thirsty” recent claims in the media, if your lips are chapped or you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

As always, I am here to help just an email away at

The dreaded BLOAT – a natural solution

thHow many of you have suffered from bloating at one time or another for one reason or another?  Next time instead of reaching for an over the counter remedy, open your spice cabinet and pull out the fennel seeds.  Dry whole fennel seeds work the best because they contain all the natural ingredients to calm your stomach and reduce the bloating.  Simply chew or grind 1 TBS of dry fennel seeds and swallow.  Follow with 8 oz. of water to allow the fennel to breakdown faster in your stomach.  Not sounding appealing?  Another option is to use the freshly ground fennel to brew hot or iced tea.  Simply pour 8 oz of hot water over the ground fennel seeds and let steep for 6 minutes.  Discard the seed shells and sip tea to relieve symptoms.  Because it is a naturalth solution, it can be repeated every 30 minutes until the bloating and stomach pain subsides.  Works really well so next time give it a try.