Green Terminology? What Do All of Those Food Labels Really Mean?

If you are just starting to consider living a greener lifestyle – you may be stumped by all of the the different terminology that is floating around out there on food packaging. Organic? All-Natural? Eco-friendly? Vegetarian? Vegan? What does it all mean? Here is a quick breakdown of these terms to help you make the best choices when grocery shopping for your family.

Organics are produced without any type of synthetic chemicals including; herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides. Organic meat, poultry, fish and dairy have zero antibiotics, hormones and are organically raised and feed. You do not need to worry about your food being genetically modified if you are purchasing organic. Organic farming practices promote healthy soil and conservation of water and all ecological systems. Organic farmers use zero chemicals and focus on renewable resources.

This one is a little trickier. All-Natural means that foods contain no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners. All-Natural products are minimally processed. When a product is labeled all natural, I highly recommend reading all of the ingredients and consider that these items may still contain herbicides, fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and GMO’s.

Free-Range: Free-Range indicates that the chickens were allowed access to the outdoors – however, they are not raised outdoors. (When, it comes to eggs, the best option is to purchase eggs from a local farmer that you know raised the chicken organically, outdoors.)

While this term doesn’t usually refer to food items, it can refer to the packaging that your food comes in. Items that are labeled eco-friendly have been produced in a way that minimizes any negative impact on the environment. Eco-friendly products should be bio-degradable, chemical free, and/or made of recycled, compostable or upcycled post-consumer waste. Once again, I recommend reading all of the ingredients, especially in personal care products.

Vegetarians only eat foods derived from plant sources and some foods containing egg and dairy. Vegetarians do not eat any type of meat, poultry, fish, crustaceans or any product that contains them – so items labeled vegetarian should contain none of these ingredients. 

Vegan: Vegans only eat food that is of plant origin, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts. They do not consume any type of animal or animal byproduct including; eggs, dairy, or honey. They usually do not use any type of product or personal care product made with these ingredients either including; leather, beeswax or down. Once again, items labeled vegan should contain none of these ingredients.

What others terminology have you come upon in your green journey?
Do you need help defining these terms? Drop me a note, I would love to help!

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