The Role of Nutrition In Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Disease

Listen to the full episode 10.

Doctors+ | Show Notes | Interview with Dr. Mel Litman, MD

In this Alternative Food Network interview with Dr. Mel Litman, MD, a family physician whose practice follows the principles of orthomolecular medicine, listeners will learn about the connection between mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic disease, and the importance of choosing clean and nutrient dense foods that help us “get the good stuff in and the bad stuff out”.

 What is orthomolecular medicine?

“Nutrition comes first in medical diagnosis and treatment.” This is the first cardinal rule of orthomolecular medicine, first coined by bio-chemist Linus Pauling. Orthomolecular means the correct molecule or in other words, treating diseases using substances that are a normal part of the functioning of the body such as using vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and hormone balance which are involved in our normal biochemistry and physiology.

How nutrition is used to affect our whole functioning is the foundation of the whole approach. Nutrients are the materials that our biochemistry needs in order to do what it needs to do. So nutrition is first in terms of getting the nutrients you need and also not getting toxins that you don’t need.

Another cardinal principle of orthomolecular medicine is “Hope is an indispensable ally of the physician and an absolute right of the patient.”  Normally one does not think of hope as a biochemical treatment. But, there is a lot of work being done on the effects of what’s going on in your head on your physiology. Dr. Litman goes on to give an example of the placebo effect where a person gets better because of the belief they’re going to get better. The other side of this is the ‘nocebo’ effect; a person believes a treatment won’t work and that person makes themselves sick because of the belief that he or she will be sick. These beliefs can actually affect one’s biochemistry. According to Dr. Litman, “we can actually be negatively affecting people by the kind of hope that we give or destroy”.

Is orthomolecular medicine the same as functional medicine?
There is a lot of overlap. The person who started functional medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Bland, was a student of Linus Pauling. According to Dr. Litman, the thinking that when we look at diseases we’re looking at the underlying processes, is similar in both orthomolecular medicine and functional medicine.

What are mitochondria?
Mitochondria are the parts of our cells that produce most of the energy for the cells to function. They are also involved in regulating gene expression, cell communication, some hormone production and apoptosis or cell death.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction & Chronic Disease
If the mitochondria aren’t doing their job properly, we see things breaking down. Mitochondrial dysfunction underlies many chronic diseases according to Dr. Litman such as neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular problems, auto-immune diseases and psychiatric problems.

Nutrient Deficiencies and Toxins
Nutrients are what the mitochondria use in order to do their job. Nutrient deficiencies due to poor diets plus the toxins in our world today are damaging to the mitochondria. According to Dr. Litman we need to eat food to provide the nutrients and to be as clean as possible so that we’re not picking up the toxins that will mess with our health.

In addition to nutrition and reduction in toxins, other factors that support the functioning of the mitochondria are exercise, sleep and stress.

What is Toxic to the Mitochondria?
According to Dr. Litman, we are getting exposed to a lot of toxins including heavy metals, pesticides, plastics and certain medications.

Can we get the recommended nutrients from diet alone?
The nutrients in our food supply have gone down a fair bit according to Dr. Litman. “What we had 100 years ago is not what we have now.” When asked the reason, Dr. Litman stated today’s farming methods, the shipping of food long distances and pesticides as reasons why our food lacks critical nutrients.  To compensate for some of the toxic exposure, Dr. Litman says we need even more (nutrients) and we’re getting less. This is where supplements come into play such as a good multivitamin, CoQ10, PQQ, L-Carnitine, NAC and Alpha-Lipoic Acid. The combination of CoQ10 and PQQ is currently being studied mostly for the brain and memory function. Some of these supplements are in formal clinical trials and some information is from informal case studies according to Dr. Litman. It is important to get guidance from healthcare professionals with experience in this field as it can get complicated suggests Dr. Litman.

Mitochondria and Cancer
In episode 10 of the Doctors+ podcast, Dr. Litman mentions a new and active area of work which is looking at mitochondrial damage as a large component in cancer.

Additional Resources
Dr. Mel Litman Website:

Linus Pauling Institute:


All content provided or opinions expressed are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please see advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Episode 8 – Backyard Vegetable Garden Tips

Episode 8 – Backyard Vegetable Garden Tips

Listen to “Backyard Vegetable Garden Tips” on Spreaker.

Outdoor vegetable gardening is gaining in popularity for many reasons including its mental and physical health benefits. What better way to increase the vegetable varieties in your plant-based diet than to plant them at home? In this episode about how to prepare a vegetable garden, horticulturist, professor and radio guest Paul Zammit offers tips for outdoor vegetable growing. From seeds to soil, this episode will help you plant a successful vegetable garden.

In this podcast you’ll hear:
1:20 – Bridging culinary and horticulture

3:15 – The high demand for seeds

3:40 – The importance of sunlight

4:10 – Understanding soil type

4:40 – Consider your water source

5:05 – In-ground, raised beds and container gardening

6:40 – Should people start planting seeds indoors or outdoors?

11:00 – Preparing the soil

14:15 – Fertilizing

15:50 – Best time to water

17:50 – Using mulch to conserve moisture

18:30 – Protecting the garden from insect pests and animals

25:00 – Dealing with weeds

26:50 – Top 10 easy-to-grow vegetables

Episode 6 – What is a Functional Food?

Episode 6 – What is a Functional Food?

Listen to “What is a Functional Food?” on Spreaker.

People are increasingly looking to be proactive in supporting their health and are seeking functional foods. But what are functional foods exactly? In this episode,
founder and CEO of functional food brand JOYA, Ruth Elnekave, along with Kate Taylor Martin, owner of superfood café nutbar, provide their insights on this rising product category.

In this podcast you’ll hear:
2:00 – Kate’s journey to opening superfood café nutbar
6:30 – Ruth’s path to founding functional food brand JOYA
10:45 – What are functional foods?
12:45 – Functional foods you already have at home
14:45 – Medicinal mushrooms
16:30 – Matcha
17:00 – Fermented foods
17:50 – Can collagen be vegan?
19:00 – Are functional foods expensive?
26:20 – Misleading information about functional foods
32:00 – What are adaptogens?
36:30 – Is chocolate a functional food?
44:45 – Ruth and Kate’s top 3 functional foods

Fermented Foods

All content or opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Alternative Food Network Inc. is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a reader based on the content of this site. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner if you’re in any way concerned about your health.

Fermented foods have gained attention due to their possible health benefits, with more studies being conducted to determine their role in healthy diets. As discussed in an episode of AFN’s Doctors+ podcast series titled The Gut-Brain Axis , the following are examples of fermented foods:

  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Kimchi
  • Sourdough bread
  • Miso Soup
  • Tempeh
  • Pickles – make sure jar says “naturally fermented” or brined in water and salt instead of vinegar. Watch that salt intake though!
  • Sauerkraut – Again, be mindful of the salt.
  • Yogurt– look for “live and live cultures” on the packaging.

Infused: Cannabis & Your Health with Russell Bennett

Infused: Cannabis & Your Health with Russell Bennett

Listen to “Infused: Cannabis and Your Health” on Spreaker.

Cannabis lawyer and author Russell Bennett sits down with Chef JJ Witherspoon and Tricia Ryan, VP Marketing at CannTx Life Sciences, to discuss health and safety issues surrounding cannabis infused foods and beverages. Hear how JJ treated her cancer and get some commonly asked questions answered like: What does 10 mg of THC in an edible mean? Does body type affect a person’s reaction to edibles? How does a person find their optimal dose? What marketing claims can be made on packaging? How do you cook with cannabis? Whether you’re a recreational user, a medical user or part of the growing canna-curious segment, there’s something here for you. Plus, host Russell Bennett takes it upon himself to eat an edible to see what happens to his aches and pains over the course of the podcast.

In this podcast you’ll also hear:
02:30 – Tricia’s professional path to becoming a cannabis marketer
03:15 – JJ’s path to becoming a vegan and gluten-free chef
03:45 – JJ’s stage 3 cancer diagnosis
07:00 – Cannabis health claims and promotion
11:05 – CBD claims
13:10 – Dose – what is 10mg of THC?
16:00 – How different people respond to THC
23:45 – What is THC, CBD, terpenes and ratios?
26:45 – How to get cannabis for medical purposes with a prescription in Canada
34:20 – How to find your optimal dose in edibles
34:35 – How long does the effect last?
35:20 – Product quality, use of pesticides & irradiation
49:15 – US experience
50:30 – Edibles packaging
53:20 – Edibles and beverage dosage: Canada v. U.S.
56:15 – Cooking and baking with cannabis; how she makes her caramels
57:35 – What is decarboxylation?

The Gut-Brain Axis

The Gut-Brain Axis

Listen to “Gut-Brain Axis” on Spreaker. The connection between the gut and the brain is fascinating! In this episode of Doctors+, Dr. Simran Rattan, MD, integrative medicine physician, integrative health coach, meditation coach and certified tai chi instructor, explains the gut-brain axis and how inflammation, mental health and chronic disease fit in.  You’ll learn about leaky gut, our microbiome and what causes gut imbalance.  Plus, discover what foods can help restore gut balance, including a discussion about prebiotics, probiotics and fermented foods. In this podcast you’ll hear: 5:45 – Gut-brain axis: a 2 way street 8:15 – Microbiome and leaky gut 10:15 – Gluten sensitivity and leaky gut 11:15 – The connection between gut imbalance and eczema 12:47 – Signs of leaky gut (bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, mood changes, abdominal pain) 13:20 – Stomach aches & migraines in children 17:00 – Mind body therapy 17:35 – What causes gut imbalance? 19:00 – Relationship between gut health, nutrition and mental health 19:20 – Whole foods 19:40 – Anti-inflammatory foods & Mediterranean diet 22:50 – Fermented foods, prebiotics & probiotics 27:55 – Mental health and mind-body therapy

From Barely Surviving to Happily Thriving: Anorexia and My Relationship with Food

By Kenzie Osborne

Food – the one thing that is supposed to keep us alive is the one thing we’re convinced to avoid… Seems a little odd, doesn’t it? Why does the media constantly encourage us to fear food, and to feel guilty when we fuel our bodies with calories? Why do big, corporate, supposedly “healthy” companies like Weight Watchers encourage us to count every darn “point” or calorie” that we consume? It’s like food has become an enemy to society – and in order to be “our best self” we must carefully monitor every little crumb we put into our body.

Even just thinking about the word “point” or “calorie” probably made a few of you cringe… For some reason, the amount of energy a food provides (a calorie) has been morphed into something so negative. To go one step further, in my opinion, this whole “point” system that has developed is completely ridiculous! Really? We’re giving “points” to food now? That’s like saying “three strikes and you’re suddenly unhealthy.” Just look around – low calorie this, low fat that, zero calorie this, negative calorie that! The messaging we hear is that the more energy a food has (or the more “points” it gets), the more reasons there are to avoid it. How does that make any sense? I guess it doesn’t matter if it makes logical sense. It only matters that society believes it.

Growing up, I was certainly no exception… Unfortunately, I believed the media and the hype, and I fell victim to an eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa. It all began with this irrational fear of calories. I started by avoiding “indulgent”, high calorie treats: cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, chips, etc. Then, I eliminated fatty foods: nuts, seeds, cheese, whole milk, most meats, etc. Next, I restricted carbohydrates (when the media jumped on the “low-carb” train): bread, pasta, rice, corn, potatoes, etc. Lastly, I got rid of any food that was processed or prepared by someone else: anything in a box, anything from a restaurant, anything in packaging, etc. Pretty much all I was left with were a few leaves of lettuce… And if I was lucky, maybe a cherry tomato on top.

Of course, I can’t blame everything on the media and society. There were other factors – athletics and school. I was officially diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at age 16, but I had struggled with body insecurities since I was 10. Around this time, I was starting to participate in gymnastics competitions. I trained 5 days a week for at least 4 hours at a time (yup, it was a lot for a 10 year old!). I loved the sport, but I always hated being in my skin-tight gym suit. Our group of athletes would talk about how thin some of the girls were, and how big others were (yup, kids can be brutally honest, and not aware of the impact of their words). To make matters worse, our coaches always encouraged us to watch what we ate, and would scold us for having a cookie or a bag of chips – those were “bad” foods. Mind you, there was SOME truth to this… Having a bag of chips prior to a four-hour training session isn’t exactly the best fuel for your body. BUT, that isn’t to say you can never have a bag of chips or you can never indulge in an ooey gooey cookie! The problem is, no one ever really made this clear to us. Instead, coaches just scolded us for eating processed and high-calorie foods, and praised us for eating lower-calorie snacks! Little did they know, the coaches’ attitude towards high-calorie foods was making their athletes WEAKER and more insecure about their bodies.

In addition to the “food rules” from gymnastics, there were more “do’s and don’ts” coming from another source – elementary school. Each day, I’d head off to school with a lunch box filled with nutritious foods (props to mom and dad, killing it with the healthy foods!). Now, let’s just remember that kids have no filter, and they tend to say whatever is on their minds. I was always the healthy one (and there was truth to this –  I was active, and my parents were amazing at feeding me with healthy, wholesome foods). The problem was that I established my identity as an athlete, and as an athlete, I was supposed to be “the healthy one”. Therefore, when I hit high school (and was packing my own lunches), I wanted to keep the same image. To be honest, I liked being a fit and athletic girl at school. It was a good identity to have, and people seemed to treat me positively for it. The problem was that everyone expected me to ALWAYS eat healthily – and if I even had a bite of a cookie, people would gasp – you’re actually eating a cookie!? I hated being singled out, and I didn’t want the attention… Bye bye cookies.

Eventually, I had to make sure that everything I ate was 100% healthy (and couldn’t be challenged as “unhealthy” by anyone). I eliminated wayyy too many foods that I enjoyed (and that were healthy) simply because someone, somewhere said they were “bad”. I thought if I was supposed to be the healthy one, I definitely couldn’t be caught dead eating something that was considered to someone as a “bad” food. So I eliminated:

  • Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, corn, bananas – too many carbs
  • Cheese, milk, whole yogurt – too many saturated fats
  • Red meat, eggs, any meat that wasn’t “extra lean” – too many fats, too much cholesterol
  • Nuts, seeds, oil, butter, cream cheese – too many fats, too many calories
  • Cookies, cheesecake, brownies, cupcakes – too many calories, too much sugar, too many fats
  • Condiments – too much salt, too much sugar
Now I was left with just a few options: low-calorie vegetables, low-fat cottage cheese, 0% Greek yogurt, extra lean chicken and oats. I’d developed a full blown eating disorder. The funny thing was, I knew what I was doing was unhealthy. I knew I was hurting my body. I knew my liver was breaking down. I knew my body was losing vitamins and minerals, and I knew I was getting close to “falling off the edge”. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but my eating disorder had grabbed hold of me, and I was no longer in control…

I referred to my eating disorder as “ED”. I thought of ED like another person – because he kind of was. He had different morals – he wanted to be thin regardless of my health status, he prioritized food over family (if there was food at a family event, he didn’t care, I wasn’t going), he lied (saying I was allergic to something or telling people I’d eaten when I hadn’t), and he was a straight up (bleep) (he made fun of me, put me down, discouraged me, and always ensured I was 100% miserable). He also had a VERY different agenda – to eat less and less and less (it was his way of feeling in control, and he LOVED to be in control).

ED knew EXACTLY how to control me. He knew my weaknesses and he knew how to attack. He constantly told me I was worthless, ugly, unhealthy, and not worthy of a joyful life. Every time I took a bite of food, he reminded me I didn’t deserve it. He reminded me that others would disapprove. He reminded me that I didn’t deserve to eat unless I worked out to exhaustion. He reminded me that I wasn’t supposed to eat “bad” foods – no matter how much I wanted or how much my body suffered.

Soon enough, ED had gained so much control that I no longer had a say in my life. ED wouldn’t let me think of anything other than food… I was starving, but ED didn’t care. I couldn’t eat with friends or family – instead, I had to eat in isolation, hiding the fact that I was eating food. If someone gave me food, I had to throw it away (even if it meant going to the washroom and flushing it away). I couldn’t go to restaurants or cafes, I couldn’t eat my grandpa’s homemade lemon meringue pie (which is probably the single best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life), and I certainly couldn’t eat if I didn’t exercise before – period. Day in, day out I’d spend hours just laying in my bed. I couldn’t concentrate, my brain was cloudy, my muscles ached from the lack of nutrients, my bones banged together and bruised, my skin became dry and flaky, my eyes struggled to stay open, my butt couldn’t sit on a wooden chair because it hurt too bad, the insides of my mouth were ripped up from biting on my cheeks out of hunger, and my liver was in SERIOUS trouble. It wasn’t until my dad sat me down and told me I had a few months to live before I finally found some sort of strength to tackle ED and get him the (bleep) out of my life.

With a TON of encouragement and support from friends and family, I began reincorporating my feared foods back into my life. It started with my parents preparing my meals for me – I’d sit down with them and they’d watch as I ate my food. They’d sit there for hours as I struggled to get the food down, and they’d encourage me when I didn’t think I could take another bite. I’d cry, yell, and scream but they stuck right by my side. We all knew it was ED who was the one getting upset, and we all just had to power our way through and keep on fighting.

When I wasn’t eating, I had to complete a little “homework” that my mom and dad planned out for me. My parents covered all of the mirrors in our house in brown paper (there was NO WAY to look at my body in my whole house!). I was tasked to go to each mirror and write something I loved about myself, or something I did that day that I was proud of. I loved this task – finally it was a mirror I actually liked going to. Instead of staring back at myself and judging my body, I saw who I truly was. I read the things I liked about myself and the things I was proud of myself for achieving. I finally saw myself in the ways that my parents and friends and family saw me – and I finally LOVED what I saw. I knew that in order to continue to be myself, I had to tackle ED, and looking in those “mirrors” gave me some of the motivation to do it!

As I continued to move through recovery, my parents started slowly adding more and more flavours to my food. I had avoided salt, sugar, condiments and flavour from my diet for so long that even a sprinkle of salt tasted like the saltiest dish in the world. Nevertheless, they started adding more flavour, more colour, and more variety to my meals. For once in a longggg time, I actually found some sort of enjoyment in tasting my food. Although the thought of eating the food was terrifying, the taste was good, and I could draw my attention towards flavours and away from the specific ingredients. I began spending time day-dreaming about my own recipes – I thought of different flavours that I might enjoy, and I wanted to start experimenting in the kitchen. I spoke to my parents, and they agreed that I could start cooking for myself – the only rule was that I had to use whole ingredients (no “fat-free” crap)! My parents supervised me for the first little while to ensure I was using whole ingredients, but after a month or so, I was on my own. By this time, I was truly looking forward to making food (and I was actually excited to taste it!). Sure, I was still afraid of some ingredients, but I was excited about trying out the dishes I’d envisioned in my mind. In short, I found relaxation by working with the exact same thing that terrified me the most…. Sounds weird, but hey, it worked, so I’m not complaining!

When I was well into recovery, I spent a TON of time watching cooking shows, and discovering the WHOLE nutrition behind the food I was eating. I looked back at my experiences with my eating disorder, and I compared how I felt then to how I felt as a survivor of anorexia nervosa. After comparing, it is CLEAR to me that using full fat ingredients, eating high calorie/nutrient dense foods, and incorporating condiments into meals is the BEST way to live a healthy lifestyle! Using full fat ingredients allowed my body to hydrate its skin (that had turned brown from being deprived of nutrients), and finally protected my bones from banging together and bruising. Plus, I was finally able to sit down on a wooden chair without having to pile up a bunch of pillows to cushion my butt! Eating high calorie/nutrient dense foods allowed me to spend less time eating while still getting a ton of nutrients (instead of eating pounds and pounds of salad, I could eat one bowl of vegetarian coconut curry – a lot less food and a much wider variety of nutrients!). Finally, incorporating condiments into my meals allowed me to actually ENJOY what I was eating – I could finally look forward to my meals, and not dread having to eat them. Eating a variety of foods allowed my body to thrive! I had so much energy, I built back my muscles, my blood work was finally in normal ranges, my heart rate and blood pressure returned to a stable state, and most importantly I was AT PEACE with my body and life.

My experiences with my eating disorder makes it clear to me that the media has it ALL WRONG. It’s not about being thin: being thin doesn’t determine your self worth, beauty, or capabilities. It’s not about calories. Calories are simply a measure of energy, the more there are, the more energy the food has to offer. That’s IT. It’s not about the fat and carbs. Everyone needs different ratios of macronutrients. What works for you is what your body needs (in short, listen to your body, not to the magazine that claims it knows more about you than you do…). Instead, it IS about loving your food. Enjoy the social activities that are usually paired with food. Savour the tastes and flavours that you love, and indulge in those ooey gooey decadent treats! It IS about getting a wide variety of nutrients, and incorporating many foods into your diet: eat veggies, fruits, whole grains, whole milk products, meats, alternatives, oils, and of course, don’t forget those sweets and treats! Finally (and most importantly), it IS about living an enjoyable life. Life is too short to stress about every little thing you eat. Eat whatever makes you feel good. Eat whatever allows your body, mind, and soul to be happy. Eat whatever puts a smile on your face, and share good food with the people you love. Eat to thrive, not just survive.

Kenzie is a George Brown Culinary Nutrition student who suffered from anorexia nervosa throughout her childhood and teenage years. Since recovery, Kenzie has written her own personal blog that can be found at In her blog, she discusses popular nutritional fads and myths, and shares some of her favourite recipes. Throughout the summer, Kenzie spent time teaching children how to cook nutritious meals and launched her own catering business called Last Piece Sweets. Last Piece Sweets delivers pastries, hosts cooking classes, and provides personal chef services, all while donating to mental health and eating disorder charities around Toronto. For more information, visit  The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and/or contributor and do not necessarily reflect the position of Alternative Food Network Inc.

Understanding Health Food Terms: Organic, All Natural and More

By Natalee Goodman

Have you ever found yourself in your local grocery store, looking at products and thinking, “What do all of these labels mean?” In our podcast, Organic and Other Health Food Buzzwords Explained, Dr. Ashley Salomon, MD, highlights ten of the most common and confusing health food terms that her patients ask her about.

  1. Non-GMO Non-GMO means not a genetically modified organism. This means that parts of the DNA in the food have not undergone artificial genetic engineering in a lab and they have not been combined with any other genetic material from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria. Some of the most common genetically modified foods are corn, soy, canola oil and sugar beets.
  2. All Natural This term means nothing, as Dr. Salomon tells listeners in the podcast. It’s best to just ignore this term unless there are other certifications on the label.
  3. Superfood Superfood is not a scientifically defined or technical term, says Dr. Salomon. Generally, this broad term refers to foods that are nutrient dense and have properties that are potentially beneficial to one’s health. This term is associated with clean, whole foods. Dr. Salomon’s list of superfood examples that she mentions in the podcast includes hemp, chia and flax seeds, berries, avocados, cruciferous vegetables, olive oil, garlic and ginger.
  4. Grass fed This term refers to animals that started out on a diet of grass, but do not necessarily eat exclusively grass as they may have been introduced to grains as well. This term does not mean that the animal lives on a grass pasture. The term commonly refers to animals excluding poultry.
  5. Grass Finished Grass finished is the ideal label to look for when shopping for meat products, according to Dr. Salomon. Though hard to find and more expensive, this label means that animals have been fed exclusively grass or vegetables for their entire life. This is the ideal type of meat because animals that eat more grass and fewer grains have higher levels of omega-3’s.
  6. Whole Food Whole foods are foods that have been minimally processed, minimally refined, and are mostly free of artificial chemicals and additives. Dr. Salomon recommends these foods as it is the cleanest way to eat. Think of it as eating a potato versus eating a potato chip – the less additives and preservatives, the better. Foods containing high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and dyes, for example, are not whole foods.
  7.  Naturally Sweetened ‘Naturally sweetened’ is a very broad term, warns Dr. Salomon. It refers to any plant derived sweetener. The term includes “healthier” versions such as raw honey, molasses, or maple syrup, as well as sweeteners that are more like sugar such as agave or cane syrup. Naturally sweetened also refers to some sweeteners that are not technically sugar-based such as xylitol, erythritol or stevia. Dr. Salomon recommends reading actual ingredients rather than relying on the term ‘naturally sweetened’.
  8. Pasture Raised This term indicates the animal has spent a portion of their lives on a pasture. This broad term doesn’t define how long the animal has spent on a pasture and also doesn’t guarantee that the animal exclusively grazed on grass. It is often the term used for poultry and eggs, as opposed to ‘grass fed’ and ‘grass finished’ which usually refers to other meats.
  9. Organic In the United States, to be “certified organic” food must be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ( and labelled accordingly. A farm must have been free from all chemicals for 3 years before the food can be certified organic by the USDA. Any food with this label is inherently non-GMO, states Dr. Salomon. USDA certified organic must be 95% free of all pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes. Organic certification also means that the food is not processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or any genetic engineering. For organic meat products, the animal must not be given antibiotics or synthetic animal feed. Not only is the food cleaner but those working on the farm are not exposed to harsh chemicals.
  10. Macronutrients & Micronutrients Macronutrients are protein, carbs, and fat. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals in food. Vitamins are either water-soluble (e.g. vitamins B and C) or fat-soluble (vitamins A, V, E, or K). Minerals can be trace minerals (e.g. cobalt, iron, manganese, zinc) or macro minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, potassium).