If you read the labels found on items in the produce, meat, and dairy sections of a supermarket, you might be stumped about the different terminology. I know I was when I began my resolution to eat whole foods and started to think more about where my food came from. Be aware that "natural", "organic", "cage-free", "free range", etc. are simply marketing tools. My favorite marketing vocabulary that I recently noticed in a QFC advertisement for poultry was "vegetarian fed" (I actually laughed when I read this). Although "vegetarian fed" sounds healthy, the chickens may still be housed in feed lots eating mushed corn by the billions of bushels. These chickens may not even be consuming organic feed, but by putting a "vegetarian fed" label on it, many of us are fooled into believing this chicken is a lot better than a chicken without the same label.
All I can stress is that we need to do a little research on our food. Yesterday I spent several hours doing just that, and after a long discussion with my husband, I came up with a step-by-step process of changes we can make to our diet that will lead us to better health and a better environment:
Step 1: Eliminate all processed foods so our diet consists of only whole foods
Step 2: Reduce our consumption of animal products
Step 3: Make the switch to organic produce or, better yet, buy from a local farm/farmer's market (Don't worry about these small farms not having an "organic" label. Many small farms are doing more than what's required to get that "organic" label; they are practicing sustainable farming.)
Step 4: Make the switch to local dairy products that come from grass-fed animals
Step 5: Purchase wild seafood that is not endangered
Step 6: Start purchasing grass-fed meat from a local butcher
Achieving all these steps may be difficult (our family is still working on steps 3 through 6) so start small. Even if you just get through step 1, you're making a HUGE difference in your life; and if we all made it through step 1, we'd change the food industry for the better! Good luck, and if you're interested in grass-fed food, check out http://www.eatwild.com/.