Meal Prep 101

 

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So I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking me how to meal prep…. therefore! I’m going to show you how easy it is, the trick is to do it all at once.

Meal Prepping is a great way to stay on track, especially when you are low on time and just want to grab something fast. Our first instinct is to go to fast food or something simple when were in a rush right? … So this way, you’ll already have it made and set to go so therefore your diet and all the hard work you’ve already put in with trying to eat clean and workout doesn’t go down the drain.

So what it basically is, is preparing everything you’re going to eat for either that week or more (depending on how much you cook). I like to do my meal preps about every week or even twice a week depending on what days I have off work.  In a nutshell- its cooking in bulk and eating left overs….

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First things first though, you’re going to need a good variety of Tupperware.

Then, you may be asking…. “but what do I cook???”

Well pretty much anything that your diet calls for… My meal preps usually consist of these things:

– LEAN PROTEIN ( chicken,  catfish, tuna, tilapia, salmon, shrimp, beef (shoot for the leanest you can find) , turkey, game meat(deer, elk) protein powders … eggs and egg whites would be good too. Hard boil them, it will make it easier too. )

– VEGGIES ( pretty much all is accepted. I like salads with different green blends, mixed veggies (frozen or fresh) zucchini, squash, carrots, celery, broccoli, asparagus…. you get the drift…)

– COMPLEX CARBS – Yams, sweet potatoes, brown and wild rice, quinoa, couscous, Oats, Whole wheat bread, beans.

– FATS (almonds, cashews, pistachios, avocado, coconut, walnuts, peanut and almond butters, flax, chia, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and oils and oil based dressings. )

– FRUIT – obviously you don’t have to “cook” these..  (pretty much any, Berries, apples, banana, peach, pear, orange, strawberries …etc. )

DAIRY- I don’t eat dairy for the most part, it makes me sick… every once in a while Ill have a Quest bar which has Whey protein isolate in it and I seem to do fine. If your going to add dairy, pick these! ( Low fat mozzarella, low fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt (shoot for plain and add your own goodies!), low-fat milk and creamers for coffee and whatnot  )

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Now that we’ve got the basis of whats pretty much “healthy” and whatnot, how much do you cook? ? ?

Well that all depends on how many days your prepping for. You can do an entire week or a few days. Up to you. Best part of this way of eating (notice I didn’t say diet) is that you DONT STARVE and your constantly eating to rev up that metabolism to ultimately .. lose weight or gain muscle. You ideally want to eat every 3 to 4 hours so that makes about 5-6 meals a day. Now these meals .. since there are more than your average three, are going to be smaller in size, but that’s ok because every 3 hours your going to eat more.

Here is a basic every day meal plan for me currently.

Meal 1: Oats with 1 banana

(this is the time I workout usually)

Meal2: Protein Shake with a piece of fruit

Meal 3: 4oz grilled chicken, 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup mixed veggies

Meal4: 4 oz fish, Big salad with as much veggies as I want. 2 tbsp. oil based dressing  (you can add in a complex carb here if you’d like )

Meal5 : 4 oz turkey, 1 cup veggies (add carb if wanted)

M6: Protein Shake

SO in example I really only need to “prep” 3 meals per day. The oats and shakes take like 2 minutes for me to make on the spot … So when prepping keep in mind how much you actually need to make. Now I’m not saying to follow THIS plan, this is just an example .. Do what you want, make it fun, add in some fricken cottage cheese ( man I miss that stuff haha) and make it YOUR meal plan and make the food towards Your Goals!!

So basically cook like your having a party or barbeque haha. Light up the grill and grill up some chicken and turkey burgers, meanwhile while that’s going, cut up salad and veggies and also have either some rice on the stove or a few sweet potatoes in the oven. Its really quite simple, just start cooking and see how it ends up. Use different spices so things don’t always taste the same or seem bland. (I like Mrs Dash a lot because its salt-free yay!)

Put it all in Tupperware and you can even mark what day they are for on the containers if you want. The more organized you are the easier it gets. Preps usually only take me an hour (that’s 4% of my day) .. You have time, just find or make the time =)

Also, get creative, find new recipes and learn to have fun with it =)

HAPPY PREPPING!

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ps. I do a lot more “prepping” and what not on my instagram! FOLLOW ME! @amanda_fit_

 

 

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UPDATE: OMG Life is Hectic!

Hey guys! Just a little update because I feel like I’ve been slacking on my blog (sorry about that). . . . But A LOT has been happening! In the midst of all the holidays to boot, here is what’s been going on ….. about a month ago I got a part time job at The Vitamin Shoppe (whooo! right up my ally right?!?) Super excited about that. And within that first month I got promoted to a full time position and as a mini manager basically. (go me)…

So I’m in the middle of leaving/ or basically stepping down at my other job (Bath and Body Works)  and still holding 2 jobs without driving myself nuts and wearing myself out.  With 12 hour days sometimes, 45- 55 hours a week can kill ya when you don’t have a day off for 2 weeks straight and your trying to keep a gym and blog schedule in tact.. as you can see a few things may have fallen off the wagon. . .

ALSO…..my trainer got transferred to another location, so therefore I have no trainer anymore and have been trying to do this competition training on my own. (been slacking at making it to the gym all the time … not even going to lie) Just the exhaustion from both jobs and running back and forth to the both of them has messed up my gym schedule for sure. I didn’t completely fall off the wagon with this but I have definitely pushed snooze a few times when my alarm goes off for me to go to the gym … haha. But another exciting thing … haven’t messed up on my eating and diet plans… … I actually decided to try out veganism for a while, and so far I feel amazing! I fall asleep better, wake up easier (usually right before my alarm now), my skin is practically clear again, my hair is shinier, my nails are actually growing?!?! (they never grow!) So that’s an awesome thing in my opinion. Cant wait to see how I feel after a month…

Evan (my boyfriend) is a hunter and eats meat like its his job.. haha but he is very supportive and is supportive of me with whatever I decide to do, which is helpful. I’m lucky to have him… =) We kinda complete each other with his manly man grilling and I’m over here with my “hippy salad” as he would call it hahah.  But all in all things are going good, just SUUUUUUUUUUPER BUSY!

So with that said, Ill try to get back to posting as often as I was. and I hope ya’ll are doing good as well!

Clean Eating 101 – Its a Lifestyle not a Diet!

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to tha...

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to that of the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. Temporary image as original is non-commercial use only. If you have a better image please replace this. Thanks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So some of you might not know what I mean when I speak of “clean eating”, so here I’m going to kind of go through what it entails and what it all means to “eat a clean diet”. (basically my diet- give or take some cheats here and their =))

What is Clean Eating??

  • Clean Eating is based off of eating whole and natural foods. It cuts out all processes man made products for the most part and focuses eating mainly things that come from the Earth to feed your body. (Nuts, Fruit, Veggies, Lean cuts of meat, and Legumes). It gives your optimal nutrition to function property and when done correctly can leave your feeling amazing!
  • Realistically there really isn’t fitness or weight loss goals that can be achieved without it. Its the basics of most nutrition and diets (with out cutting out natural sources) and it doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or hungry.
  • Feeling health, being healthy and loosing weight or maintaining a good weight is mainly based around nutrition. People seem to think that weight loss ideally comes from working out and spending hours at the gym, yes it does help but nutrition is about 80% of the battle, whereas, fitness and physical activity is 20%

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What are the basic Principles?

  • Avoid all processed food. Whole grain bread and natural cheeses are ok, its the stuff with 80 ingredients that you cant even pronounce.
  • Eat Whole Foods. Things that haven’t been messed with like veggies, fruits, grass-fed meats, natural nut butters and milk, and unsalted and processed nuts and seeds. Herbs and Spices will become your best friend, so will natural oils.
  • Get used to cooking your own food! This way you know what’s in it, how it was prepared and you don’t have to second guess whether or not its healthy or not. Makes it SO much easier! Pre-made meals does not count as “clean eating” even if its a lean cuisine meal haha.
  • Eliminate the sugar! sugar and fake sugar really isn’t good for us. You will use very little natural sugars in  this diet because you wont need them! (stevia, honey and agave nectar are some you can use)
  • Include Protein, Carbohydrate and fat within every meal- Your diet will mainly consist of lean meats, a healthy starch (such as a sweet potatoes or brown rice), a ton of veggies and fruit here and there. You’ll fell more satisfied with this way of eating because you will be eating for optimum nutrition. You’re giving your body what it needs and once you get past the food addictions (things like craving sugar and bad carbs) you wont really have any trouble eating this way for the rest of your life.
  • Eating 6 smaller meals a day! – eating 6 smaller meals revs up your metabolism because your constantly giving it healthy foods, therefore its receiving its proper nutrition, but then again your pretty much eating every 3 hours so there is either no time to even get hungry or have your body “feel” hungry because you wont be going hors without eating.
  • Drinking Calories is a Big Fat NO- sugary drinks are obviously a no-go. Make water your first choice by far (if it get boring you can add fruits to it) but you can also have unsweetened tea, and coffee with little skin milk and stevia, low-fat milk, and nut milks.
  • Physical Activity becomes apart of your day- yes just like any other diet you read or see, you have to ideally get moving. No it doesn’t have to be 3 hours at the gym everyday but even a walk around the block is better than nothing.

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What to Expect from Eating Clean:

  • More energy and alertness
  • Clearer skin, whiter eyes, and stronger hair and nails
  • Provides a natural detox
  • Weight loss (if there is weight to loose)
  • Leaner body
  • Motivation and a sped up metabolism
  • Feeling more healthy all around and more happy as well.

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Tip of the Week #12 Eat 6 Smaller meals a day!

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So some people swore by it, some people are totally against it. So let me tell you how it can be amazing and work and you will never be hungry again and then I’m going to tell you in return, how it can have a negative effect and honestly probably hurt you.

The Good :

It is known that frequent smaller meals can not only curb those hunger pains we often get in between our average “3 meals a day” but also speed up your metabolism. Eating more foods (ideally cleaner foods) helps get you the nutrients you need and keeps your energy levels up as well . Here are some examples of how to do this correctly, and what is considered a “small meal”. Each meal (of the 6) should consist of a lean protein, Lower carbohydrate, high fiber, and low fat snack/meal. Always include veggies and fruits in at least 4 if not all your meals.

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Some examples:

  • Half of turkey sandwich on 100% Whole Wheat bread with light mayo or mustard. Side of Veggies and hummus.
  • Big Spinach Salad with fruit and a tablespoon of almond butter on the side.
  • Grilled chicken breast with steamed veggies
  • Protein shake
  • Lean meat with sweet potato and veggie
  • Medium apple with string cheese
  • Hardboiled egg on a slice of whole wheat bread. 1 half of grapefruit
  • Lean meat with 1 cup brown rice and steamed broccoli and cauliflower

Key pointers: Make sure you keep your portion control in check and make sure you aren’t only eating a lot of one key nutrient (i.e.. Grains)

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The Bad:

Eating 6 smaller meals can go back when you either don’t watch your portions (this isn’t grazing all day kind of diet its a cut your meals in half and eat them every 3 hours). Also, it can go back when you aren’t getting a balanced meal every time you eat. Make sure your getting the cleanest forms of foods ideally. You don’t want to have every snack you have to be a protein or granola bar, you need to mix it up.

Also if your eating out all the time. (cheeseburgers, fast foods and processed foods, ) these are not considered cleaner foods… If your eating these at every 3 hours, this will not work either.

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Some examples of how this Wont work:

  • Cheeseburgers all the time. With fries
  • Granola bars and fruit bars for every snack
  • Foods with too much sugar constantly throughout the day (gummy snacks, too much fruits with added sugar)
  • Not a balance of nutrients  (of anything)
  • Too many sandwiches throughout the day or week. (mix it up!)
  • Prepared Salads and meals at fast food chains (sorry but they are ideally not the best but ok when only in a time crunch or you drop your prepared meal or something.)
  • Energy bars and drinks. Some are ok, but usually the ones everyone likes have more sugar than a snickers bar!
  • Pre-made smoothies – your better off making your own.

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Tip of the week #9 Prep the week Ahead of time

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When wanting to loose weight or even practice clean eating prepping meals ahead of time can make it soooo much easier to stick to your goals. So next day you have (for most people its Sunday) take a couple hours out of that day off work to prep all your meals for that week.

Whether it be for just you, you and a significant other or even a big family, meal prepping can be easy and effective. Plus it makes it super easy when you get off work and don’t really feel like preparing a meal for the family. haha.

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There are tons of resources out there (blogs, pinterist, Google, you name it) to find clean eating recipes and frozen dishes. Ideally you’ll want to do foods that don’t go bad fast and eat the ones that do sooner in the week rather than later.

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I usually just prep my dinners because that’s the hardest. (usually some form of lean meat, veggies and a sweet potato or brown rice). For breakfast its usually something simple and quick like oatmeal (I can even put that in Tupperware and eat it on the drive to work) or sometimes I’ll prepare some scrambled egg whites with mixed veggies when I’m doing the meal prep too so then ill have a little bit of a mix for my mornings.

Usually prepare my lunch (usually a salad) the night before, throw some lettuce mix in a bowl, add a shit ton of veggie and viola!

But I mean you can find healthy options that you could probably freeze (like a lasagna) and be fine too. Find out what the family would like to eat, make a plan and stick to it! =)

Happy preparing!

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The Paleo Diet- Why I LOVE it – And all about it!

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So if you ask me what’s my favorite diet and/or way of eating this is definitely in my top #3 (along with clean eating and veganism) I truly believe that this is the way we were meant to eat, along with a few splurges every once in a while ;). So throughout my weight loss journey, back when I was 210, I was always having stomach aches and wasn’t sleeping well and just all around feeling like shit. The  Dr. said I might have an intolerance to gluten or dairy and I was looking for a diet that basically knocked out those two things. I kept finding vegan books but nothing that still included meat… So I pondered with veganism for a while, I worked with the clean eating stuff, but it was Paleo that kinda set off the light bulb for me. I was able to eat all these healthy foods, without getting sick every time I ate, and I was able to stuff my face until I was full without having to count any fricken calories! What’s better than that?!?! ps. I loath counting calories.

So enough about me. You may be asking well what is Paleo? Let me tell you!

So when I say Paleo, I’m talking about WAY back in the day with what our ancestors ate during the olden age (hunter- gatherer diet) . And if they couldn’t eat it.. neither can you! So say to-da-loo to cereal, bread, pastas, dairy and processed crap! But also say adios to counting calories!!! (sorry count Dracula – ah ah ah )

So when looking at us as humans… we haven’t changed since then. Back then we were lean, fit, happy, energetic and athletic. We had to hunt and gather our foods to be able to survive. Now, look at us now….were tiered, “too busy”, unhappy and possibly depressed, overweight and lethargic.. and all we have to do to get our food is either run to a grocery store where everything is laid out conveniently or pull our happy asses through the drive through that’s closest to home. Sad but true. So what the hell happened? One word: Agriculture! .. YUP… We started farming, and making foods out of other foods, finding fake foods that didn’t cost much to put into other foods and the chaos began! We went from being hunters to farmers.

So lets talk about grains…. they weren’t a part of our diet back then, but they are a majority of our diet now??? Something’s wrong here. The government is still recommending we get 6-11 servings of grains a day… really? Even not eating the paleo way that sounds like a lot. I don’t know about you but I think fruits and veggies should be what we mostly should be consuming because .. well have you ever heard I diet that bans fruits and veggies? Nope!

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So when we look at grains, out bodies aren’t really able to digest them. When we eat grains (carbohydrates), our body’s turn that into glucose, which is a form of sugar that gives us energy to perform throughout the day and in our lives. But here’s the kicker– any glucose that’s NOT used or excreted tough things like exercise or physical activity gets stored as fat. So think about all those times your eating your carb loaded breakfast and then go to work to sit at a desk all day….. No wonder your tiered (sugar high or about an hour and then you experience the crash) and no wonder the pounds started creeping on.

So I’m sure you have heard of gluten by now with all the craze of “gluten free” products out there. Most grains contain either gluten or lectins.. or both. Gluten is most commonly found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Lectins are natural toxins that exist within those grains and that your consuming every time you eat a form of grain,… can anyone say .. yummm?

So basically there is no sugar in this diet either, as our ancestors didn’t drink tea with sweet N low in it, nor did they eat any processed foods like a twinkie….. So the only form of sugar you will be consuming of from fruits mainly and veggies sometimes.

This is not a “low carb diet” where you basically eat no carbs at all (like Adkins) you’ll still get a good amount of carbs if your eating fruits and veggies still. Yes, our body needs some carbohydrates to function and its a main source of energy (but high carb diets aren’t the answer – which is what the average American is used to). See, with the absence of a crap ton of carbs, our body will take stored fat and burn that INSTEAD of carbs. YAY (Which is called ketogenisis.. if you wanted to know haha) So if your reading right, lower carbs (no grains) = no glucose( sugar) makes the body burn stored fat instead YAY! So when you think of carbs, the obvious fruit comes to mind, but there are things like sweet potatoes too that can curb that “I need starch” feeling. Most of your carbs are going to come from veggies and fruit though.

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Enough about grains, onto the dairy! – I love this topic! Dairy never really phased me as an “unhealthy” food option until I read the book “Skinny Bitch” (I have a review here :  Skinny Bitch )  Never did I think that I would be able to give up things like cheese, ice-cream, Greek yogurt and chocolate! But I did! It was fricken difficult, I will say that, and it did take time but I feel SOOO much better now that I did. OK- enough about me. So what’s wrong with dairy you’re probably asking?? So when looking at dairy, we are the only species in this world that continues to consume dairy through adulthood, every other species only drinks it as a baby and naturally, they wean off of it as toddler ages come along. Also, were the only species that consumes another species milk! …. (hopefully the wheels are turning in your head right now)…. So why are we drinking cows milk? Are we cows? Cows milk is meant for baby cows, not humans. Just like giraffe milk is meant for baby giraffes, cat milk is meant for baby cats. Get where I’m going with this? (hopefully you are). So when a woman gives birth, she naturally produces milk to feed to her young, its full of the vital nutrients that the baby needs to grow into a strong and healthy toddler yes? Its known to be the biggest growth spurt in a persons life… The mother stop breast feeding and her milk glands dry up (hence this is where the weaning is supposed to take place) But nope! We don’t stop there, we feed our kids and even as adults we continue to drink milk. But is it milk that were supposed to be consuming? Is it from humans? nope! Were gonna consume milk from cows….

When a cow is nursing (much like humans, after birth to give her baby calf the nutrients it needs to grow from a 100 lbs calf into a 2000 lb cow) her milk ducts dry up too, and the weaning begins! SO … lets see… mothers milk takes a baby from around 5lbs to 25 lbs where as a cows milk takes a 100lbs calf to 2000lb cow… this doesn’t seem fattening at all right???? Common people! You’d think that if we were consuming milk from another species, we’d be consuming gorilla milk or something (since they are supposed to be the closest thing to us right?!

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NO legumes no beans- why? Because beans ideally need to be “processed” before they are edible. Simple as that, so when looking at a bean, can you just eat a bag of dried beans? ha-ha no. Neither could our ancestors so beans and legumes fall under that category of “processed foods”. You cant eat beans right off the stalk because some of them are toxic too (like soy). They are known for causing inflammation and can throw off your hormonal balance as well. Also beans you have to soak the little sucker, rinse and switch the water, cook the crap out of them for forever for them to be edible… I don’t think our ancestors did all that work for a few beans …

So now your probably thinking well that the hell do I get to eat if your taking away all my pasta, cereal, cheese and milk?!? Well now that we’ve cut out all man-made products and processed crap, lets take a look at what’s left, Oh natural things that were put on this earth to eat. YAY!  And good news! You basically can eat as much as you’d like (my favorite part!)

Ps. I’m not adding everything but I’m sure you can Google different options!

  • Lean meats (grass- fed obviously … remember you are what you eat ate! – meaning if your eating grain fed cattle, your eating grains- and there is study that shows that’s hard for them to digest too…. )
  • Lean Beef- Flank steak, top sirloin, London broil, lean veal,
  • Lean pork, poultry (white meats), organ meats (liver and tongue), turkey, game hen, chicken, duck, goose.
  • Game meats- Bison, elk, deer, bear, pheasant, quail…
  • Fish- bass, trout, salmon, tuna, tilapia, red snapper….
  • Shellfish- shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, clams…
  • Pretty much any fruits and veggies you want. Limiting starchy veggies like potatoes and legumes.
  • Healthy fats- almonds, cashews, seeds, pine nuts..

Foods you can eat in moderation –

  • Avocados, walnuts, olive, flax seeds, coffee, teas, wine and beer, dried fruits…
  • The reason they are in moderation is because did you see our ancestors lugging around a food dehydrator for their fruit or a beer. No. but its ok to live a little too..

Foods you avoid on Paleo:

  • (DAIRY) All processed foods with/without dairy
  • Butter, cheese, cream, frozen yogurt, milk, powdered milk,
  • (GRAINS) Barley, Corn, Millet, Oats, Rice, Rye, Wild Rice, Wheat, Buckwheat, Quinoa
  • (LEGUMES) All beans, Black eye peas, lentils, miso, snow peas, peanuts, soybeans and soy products, peanut butter
  • (STARCHY VEGGIES) Potatoes and potato products (fries, chips ect..) Limit your sweet potatoes and yams to a minimum.
  • (HIGH SALTED FOODS) – Bacon, pork rinds, cheese, deli meat, pickled foods, sausage, salted nuts, salami, hot dogs, ham, Ketchup…
  • (FATTY MEATS) – Beef Tips, Bacon, Lamb chop, fatty ground beef, skin of turkey and chicken…
  • Soft drink and juices
  • (SWEETS) – doughnuts, cakes, candy, honey, sugar (real and fake)

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Now, Paleo is kind of what set it all off for me personally, but if its not for you, its not for you. Plain and simple, you have to find something that works for you as a person because if you feel like your in a “diet” your most likely going to be miserable. Did I follow Paleo 100% when I was on  it ? nope! I had some beans here and there, I slowly weaned myself off dairy too (which was hard to do) but I made it work for me without messing it up too much.  I also started off with cutting out only gluten in the beginning and I found some “gluten free cereals” and I had oats still…. so I was more of a 80% Paleo do-er.

Try it for 30 days, see if you notice any difference? Are you sleeping better? Are you loosing weight or feeling more energetic? You never know unless you try it.

What do the Terms Mean on your Meats??? (Grass-Fed, Free-Range, Organic…)

Free range hens, near their coop and surrounde...

Free range hens, near their coop and surrounded by electrified poultry netting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’m sure you’ve hear the saying  “you are what you eat”…. Well guess what?! You are what you eat eats too! Meaning say you’re enjoying a nice piece of steak. Well whatever that cow digested ad lived off of is going into your body as well…. Makes ya think huh?! This is why there is a huge thing with things being organic and grass-fed is everywhere right now because people are wising up and realizing all the crap they put into our foods! So were going to talk about what some of those meanings actually mean, what’s the truth, what you can trust and what sounds healthy but .. in all honesty isn’t as healthy as you may think!

Grass- Fed : Meaning the animal was fed maybe only grass or its free to roam and feed as it would naturally if they weren’t caged. No grains when into feeding them.( i.e. corn, wheat, gluten)

Free-Range: Usually on chicken and eggs. Meaning it has access to the outside and is not trapped in a cage. Although living areas may be small. And sadly, they may have access to the outside, but the door to the outside could have only been opened for maybe 20 min, and then shut again. They can label that “free range” whether or not the chickens went outside or not. Sad but true.

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Natural: natural doesn’t mean organic. Meats that are labeled “natural” aren’t inspected by a third party where as organic is. It is unknown if the animal is treated humanely, if they consume animal byproducts in their food, if they are given antibiotics, hormones or if they have access to the outside. Natural is about one of the most misleading labels there is out there. Better off looking for the Organic label!

Organic: Meaning they have no antibiotics, growth hormones or genetically modified organisms in their feed but it doesn’t address how the animals are treated throughout growing up but they usually are on family owned farms and NOT factory feed lots. So that’s a plus. =)  Within their farm production they do have a annual third party inspection as well as access to pasture.

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