FOOD LABEL JARGON
It’s time to understand some important food label jargon! We’ve all heard the terms, Grain-Fed, Organic, Free Range, Conventional, Grass Fed, Vegetarian-Fed, Cage-Free, Pasture Raised but what do they all really mean?
Grass-fed meat has a higher nutritional content but for a while. These cows typically consume food that has a higher nutritional value due to grazing on a wide array of shrubs, herbs and grasses.
Certified organic beef is from commercial livestock that still is finished with grain. What does that mean? Calves and young cows are allowed to graze as they would naturally, but because it takes much, much longer for solely grass-fed cows to reach a respectable weight, most are eventually moved to feedlots to fatten up towards the end of their lives. The difference is certified organic grain is used as feed. Though it sounds better, it may be no healthier.
The term used for authentic grass-fed beef is pasture-raised beef. With pasture raised beef, the livestock is free to roam the pasture and graze on fresh grass. With this natural process of grazing, it takes longer for the cattle to gain weight compared to grain-finished cattle. Therefore, this type of beef is much leaner with a higher in nutritional value.
If you don’t see a label, you can almost be certain your poultry was raised with conventional farming methods. Unfortunately, that means they are fed processed plant/ animal contents and confined to cramped cages. This way of raising poultry is unnatural and stressful for the chickens which in turn produce lower nutritional meat and eggs as well as containing higher inflammatory amino acids.
Poultry labeled as being raised “cage-free” are not confined to cages which improves their quality of life, even if they are still consuming commercial feed. However even though the birds live on the floor of a large barn, they still share it with thousands others and the meat and eggs are still lower in nutritional value. Also note the term “cage-free” is not legally regulated.
Vegetarian feed is gaining popularity in industrial chicken farming, but this label can be very misleading. This simply indicates that there were no animal by-products, such as beef tallow or chicken feathers added to the feed. Sure, “vegetarian” sounds healthy but chickens are naturally omnivores that live outside digging for protein in the form of insect and worms, So the “vegetarian” label is really just another way of saying that the hens aren’t eating naturally. Since their health is comprised by eating an all-vegetarian diet, synthetic vitamin B-12 is added to their diet. So, in essence, the Vegetarian Fed Label is a warning sign that the hens did not get to spend any time on pasture nor eat their natural food of bugs and worms.
“Free-range” or “Free-roaming”
The phrase “free range” evokes the thought of open pasture and fresh air. However the term “cage-free,” means the chickens have access to the outdoors; it does not necessarily mean the birds actually go outdoors and how chickens are confined dictates their diet. Therefore, hens that are given space to forage are given a greater chance to eat a variety of foods — not just chicken feed. Remember when you eat the chicken or its egg, you eat what they ate. And chickens that are pastured eat better diets than ones that aren’t.
Unlike birds in over-crowded poultry factories, pastured poultry live the way nature intended and consume more natural foods. In addition, they get more exercise and are raised in a much healthier stress-free environment. That enables you to consume higher quality eggs and meat. Pastured birds are allowed to roam freely on their own, without confinement for the duration of their lives. They have access to land that is frequently rotated and have their natural food sources like worms, grass, and insects readily available.
As you can see by simply checking your beef or poultry label, you can significantly improve the nutritional content of your diet. Yes, the cost may be more, but they are a fraction of the expense compared to the cost of care from the degenerative diseases that result from low nutrition and chronic inflammation. So the next time you are at Publix, take a few extra seconds to read the labels and know that you are equipped with the knowledge to make a better choice.
While weight training is often synonymous with looking big and ripped, it’s not the only way to get there. Strategic use of body weight exercises can be just as effective, if not more, than the traditional stalwarts like the bench press and squat rack. Skeptics, since I know you’re out there, take a look at gymnasts. These athletes are some of the most ripped on the planet and they don’t use weights. Many modern programs make it both safe and effective to get ripped without adding weight.
Gravity and Resistance
Gravity, not weight, is what we use to build muscle. Gravity creates resistance within our atmosphere, and that resistance can also be termed weight. That’s why the technical term for weight training is “resistance training.” Weights are merely a tool that used in the process of resistance training. They are a good one, too. They allow you to do all sorts of resistance exercises easily, and in a confined space. They also allow you to choose an exact amount of resistance, making using them more versatile than if you were to just rely on body weight and gravity.
They can, however, be limiting and often are. Body weight resistance training uses more natural movement patterns. It forces your body to move functionally, or in a manner that helps your functionally in life. With a little bit of creativity, you can get all the effects of weight training as well as functionality advantages, and add “lack of equipment” to your pile of bad excuses. Let’s take a deeper look at how gravity is your friend.
The Push-up: The Perfect Example
Let’s begin with an example using an exercise everyone knows: the push-up. Invert a push-up, and add a bar with weight, and you have a bench press. Up until the point you can bench press your body weight, you have two very similar exercises, only one of which requires pumping iron.
For many people, a body weight push-up is completely adequate to build all the muscle you want. It won’t be for everyone, but you can increase the intensity of the push, by switching positions, taking away an arm, etc., to mimic the way you would add weight on a bench press.
Unless you’re in a space ship, there are body weight exercises that will force resistance and build muscle without using added weights.
3 Ways to Use Body Weight to Build Muscle
In order to continually get stronger, you need to progress over time. With weight, this is easy to do. You just add more. With body weight training it requires more thought and planning. Here are three ways you can force resistance so that your body will continually adapt, which is how it keeps the muscle growth happening:
1. Make Movements More Difficult
The simplest way to add resistance without weight is by finding more difficult movements. If you’ve done a Beachbody program, which hang their hat on both creativity and utilizing as little equipment as possible, you’ve seen a lot of these variations. From push-up and pull-up variations, to side-to-side yoga movements to almost anything done from the plank position, to hybrids of them all (push-up to side-arm balance anyone?) the possibilities are endless. With this strategy it’s not that hard to create exercises where you fail due to stress at about the same cadence (time under muscular contraction) that you would using added weight.
2. Reduce Stability
Instability is another way to add resistance without weight. This can be done using an unstable platform, like a stability ball, or simply by doing exercises in a balance-challenged position. For example, lifting a leg or an arm off the ground during almost any movement makes it tougher. Again, your goal for resistance training is that point of failure. If lifting a leg or an arm makes it harder to hold the position, you’re strength building.
Stability training forces loads onto more muscles in your body than, say, doing most old school isolation training does. Detractors might say that this takes away from the muscles you are attempting to make larger, which is true. But isolation training is also old school. Stability training has a better overall training effect on the body. And a stronger training effect means that you have a more solid fitness base and can thus push harder in other areas. That leads to muscle growth with a more functional effect and a reduced risk of being injured.
3. Do Plyometrics
Plyometric training uses gravity at its highest loading capacity by going airborne. It’s one most effective tools there is for building absolute strength and changing body composition. Often called jump training, it’s actually ballistic training of all types, upper, lower, or core: anything that force you to explode on takeoff and then land after a period of being airborne. This process greatly exceeds the training effect that can be done using static weight in almost any application by forcing eccentric muscular contractions, which tell your body to fire something called high threshold muscle cell motor units.
Plyometric training forces powerful and quick adaptations in the body that both add strength and build muscle much faster than traditional weight training. Because they are so stressful, it’s vital that this style of training be done strategically. Used correctly in conjunction with the above, as well as proper recovery modalities, they create a template for getting ripped quickly that cannot be matched, weight or no weight.
Admittedly, there are limitations to how large you can get with body weight training. Every bodybuilder, at least in the last 50 years, has used weight training to augment the size of their muscles. If getting huge is your be-all-end-all, it will, at some point, become limiting to avoid adding some iron to your program. But if you goals lie anywhere shy of an Olympic gymnast, a creative mind and good old gravity is all you need to reach your dreams.
Music playlist of 2015 to pump you up! Can be used for your running playlists, lifting playlists, cleaning the house (lol) and anything else you need to push through!
Results may vary. Exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss and muscle definition. Please consult with a physician before beginning any exercise program. © 2014 Positivley Diesel, LLC. All rights reserved.