March 31, 2020
For those of you out grocery shopping and filling your pantry with healthy items like this, I've got a good article for you today. It's by Eugene Trufkin, author of the Anti-Factory Farm Shopping Guide. This impressive, short, handy guide is meant for anyone who is interested in transitioning from factory-farmed food to organic and hopefully, one day, biodynamic food—but at the same time feels confused by all the labels, and even whether organic food is any better than factory-farmed food.
With entertaining illustrations, videos, and very light reading, the Anti-Factory Farm Shopping Guide covers…
- Differences between caged, cage-free, free-range, and pasture-raised meats and eggs
- How to easily identify genetically-modified foods
- Why factory-farmed meats cause inflammation
- The myth of safe pesticides
- Differences between factory-farmed, organic, and biodynamic fruits and vegetables
- Why seeing “vegetarian-fed” on a label is actually a bad thing, even if it’s organic
- Importance of staying away from farmed fish
- How to source quality water and supplements
- And much more.
You can pick up the book here, but continue reading today's article, a guest post by Eugene, for an eye-opening glimpse into the Anti-Factory Farm Shopping Guide that will change the way you think about food forever and better prepare you to make wise decisions during your next trip to the grocery store.
Is There Any More Healthy Food Left In America?
This is certainly a good question and an important one to answer. For the most part, people don’t care about their health and prioritize pretty much everything over it—typically buying the cheapest food out there without even thinking twice about it.
However, even for those seeking to optimize their health, it’s still actually extremely difficult and confusing to source high quality, health-promoting food.
And by high quality, I don’t just mean chemical-free and organic. I mean a food product that actually has a respectable nutritional profile… That actually has a bunch of vitamins and minerals and other health-promoting compounds… Food that can actually help you prevent disease, help you recover from workouts, and help you look your best.
Here is where it gets really confusing, and almost everyone who is trying to optimize their health runs into this very serious issue—even expert fitness professionals. I was one of them.
Let's say you’re looking to improve your health and decide to hire a nutritionist. Among a variety of things, the nutritionist tells you to buy organic fruits and vegetables, free-range organic eggs, and eat grass-fed meats. Now, that all sounds good and everything, but follow along and you’ll quickly see where the disconnect is. There is a 99% chance this applies to you as well, especially if you’re shopping at the supermarket, even Whole Foods.
So… You listen to the nutritionist, and like the bulk majority of people, you will go to the supermarket searching for organic fruits and vegetables.
But did you know on average fruits and vegetables found at Walmart are MORE nutritionally dense than the fruits and vegetables found at Whole Foods? Before I explain why, it's important to understand how overall food quality is determined by the quality of the soil it's grown in.
The Relationship Between Your Food And The Soil It Grows In
Soil that has a rich food web (an abundance of worms, insects, fungi, and bacteria) produces nutritionally superior fruits and vegetables. All of those bugs are essential for providing nutrients to the plants.
Today, pretty much all organic crops sold at the supermarket, even at high-end places like Whole Foods, come from single-crop farming systems. This means that just a single crop is grown on acre after acre after acre. It’s basically factory farming with organic pesticides. What's the problem with that?
The problem with that is if you have a single crop system, the soil doesn’t have the biodiversity needed to sustain a rich, healthy soil food web. Basically, biodiversity equals healthy soil. Nutrients are soaked up by the roots of the plants, and before you know it you're left with soil that is completely void of nutrient content. Crops that don’t have the nutrients to be healthy can’t provide those nutrients for you to be healthy, for you to look your best, and for you to properly recover from workouts. And crops that aren’t healthy, end up being sick. When crops are sick, pests come around. Pests are nature’s way of getting rid of weak crops. If your crops aren’t weak, pests don’t come around. It’s that simple. Pests are simply nature’s way of getting rid of sick, weak crops. No sick, weak crops, no pests and thus no need for chemical pesticides.
So basically when pests come around, farmers have to resort to using pesticides, which destroy that important soil food web even more, causing a nasty downward cycle. Even if these farms are organic, the organic biocides used in industrial organic operations (which supply the bulk majority of supermarket produce) still damage that soil food web that provides the plants with nutrients. And this cycle gets worse and worse with every planting season—more pesticides used equals weaker plants equals more pests equals the need to use more pesticides. You see my point.
This is extremely troubling for vegetarians especially.
See, vegetarians rely heavily on beans and various grains for pretty much all of their calories. Beans, lentils, soy, wheat, other grains, etc. are all grown in single crop systems. Literally 99% of those crops I just mentioned are grown in single crop systems. Thus, all that food is grown in a way that doesn’t help maximize the nutritional density of the crop in question. This adds a really big roadblock to those looking to transition out of animal products. Not saying you can’t have a nutritious, vegetarian diet, but under the current industrial, single-crop system, it’s extremely difficult. You’re definitely fighting an uphill battle on that one. Crops found in the wild might be a different story but that’s a different topic and most will always shop at the supermarket.
Aging Apples & Conventional Carrots
Another big obstacle to finding nutritious fruits and vegetables at the supermarket is the age factor of the crop. It’s important to remember that after the crop is picked from the root, the nutritional profile of that crop begins to decay day after day.
The crop you’re buying at the supermarket could be a few days or a few weeks old. (Some produce, like apples for example, can even be MONTHS old by the time it makes its way to your grocery store's shelves.)
Combine all this with the fact that most crops don't have that much nutrition to begin with because they’re grown in a single crop system (and because most of the time they’re picked prematurely as well so they can ripen in the store) and you can begin to see the troubling signs. All of those practices just equate to a low nutritional profile. They're just empty calories basically, and yes, even if it’s certified organic.
Another important note is that the USDA’s nutrition database is comprised mainly of comparisons of crops that are from supermarkets (which again, come from single-crop systems), are most likely picked prematurely so they can ripen in the store and look good on the shelves (thus, losing the bulk of the nutrients), and are grown in dirt—not actually healthy soil with a rich soil food web. So the numbers you see online are typically a poor representation of the nutritional density you’ll find from produce that’s picked fresh from, let's say, a well-managed biodynamic farm and eaten that same day. The difference could be staggering. One carrot that’s grown in a well-managed biodynamic farm eaten hours after being picked could have has much nutrition as that whole entire bag of carrots grown in a single crop, conventional farm that you'd find at the supermarket. It’s not just a few percentage points better. It's often a massive difference.
Oh yes. I didn’t forget. Why is Whole Foods produce typically nutritionally inferior to Walmart?
Well, according to my interview with Dan Kittredge, executive director of Bionutrient Food Association, and various suppliers for Whole Foods and Walmart, the supply chain at Whole Foods is slower, and the produce you see sold at Whole Foods typically comes from the same exact farms sold at Walmart. In my area, both stores are supplied by Cals Organics. However, since the supply chain at Whole Foods is slower, the produce you see there might be 5-10 days old when it hits the shelves. Whereas, at Walmart (since the supply chain is faster) it might be just 2-3 days old.
The takeaway here is you can’t become healthy eating sick, decayed, weak plants. End of story. And yes, even if it’s certified organic.
Why Hydroponics Isn't The Answer
Another issue in America's crop production system is that it is the only country in the world that allows the sale of hydroponic crops to be certified and sold as organic.
Why is this an issue?
To begin with, hydroponics doesn't even use soil. Instead, the crops are grown in containers and fed nutrients through an IV drip system. That’s like me telling you to drink protein shakes for 100% of your calories and you’ll be healthy. You might be able to continue to show up to work for a while, but you definitely will not be healthy and probably not looking that great after a few weeks. The same thing goes for the crops being grown in a hydroponics system. In fact, chances are, the tomatoes, blueberries, and bell peppers sold at your grocery store are probably hydroponically grown, even the organic ones.
The important takeaway here is that the earth has gone through 4.5 billion years of extremely complicated evolution to form the type of soil we have today that allows the growth of certain crops. There is still so much we don’t know about the soil, so bypassing that step is extremely risky in my opinion. A good friend of mine, Jator Pierre, would always say, “When it comes to your health, best to presume guilty until proven innocent.” I think it applies to this situation perfectly.
What About Farmer's Markets?
It’s safe to say, in my opinion, that most supermarket produce sucks—even if it’s certified organic. Not all, but most. And when it comes to small farms and produce from farmer's markets? I say it's still hit or miss. Some small farmers are great, but some are not so great.
And honestly, unless you understand soil science, it’ll be tough for you to go to a farm and even know if you’re dealing with a good, knowledgeable farmer.
With that said, there are solutions for figuring out the nutritional quality of your produce (2 easy solutions and 1 somewhat easy solution).
Solution 1: Purchase a refractometer. This is a fairly inexpensive device that can be purchased on Amazon. With a refractometer, you simply squeeze the juice of a certain crop, and the reading will give you a good, general indication if you’re dealing with a crop that has high nutrition density. Pretty simple. But you do have to destroy a portion of the crop, which is a slight negative. Also, another negative is you have to buy the produce before you test it. You might find out it sucks after you buy it, but at that point there is not much you can do. You already bought the produce. At least you'll know next time to maybe avoid this farm or distributor.
Solution 2: Another, slightly more expensive solution, is to purchase a spectrometer supplied by bionutrient.org (they are currently sold out, but you can get on the waitlist by clicking this link.) I don’t get a single penny from this plug and am not associated with the company in any way. I just think the device is really cool and being developed by some really intelligent people in the farming sector. With the spectrometer, you can scan the crop and be provided with the nutritional profile of that crop, at that specific time, on-demand, right at the store. Now that’s cool!! I think this device is the most reasonable option for most seeking to optimize their health. You can use it at the supermarket or even the farmers market before you make the purchase.
Solution 3: For those really wanting to do it the old school way, you can purchase a microscope, go to the farm you’re interested in, ask to pick some soil, and test that soil at home. Dr. Elaine Ingham offers a course you can take where you can learn how to do this. However, keep in mind that soil quality changes throughout the year and what rates as quality soil is different depending on the type of crop being grown. So this step is an option, but it’s not practical for most. Try the two steps above first. Just throwing this one in there for the few that may be interested.
What About Eggs?
So you've listened to your nutritionist (or got some advice online) and went out and bought free-range, organic chicken eggs.
That’s great. But let’s go ahead and break down why that’s actually an inferior source of nutrition under the current agricultural food production model and how confusing it’s really gotten.
First and foremost, the phrase “free-range” means close to nothing. When you see “free-range,” especially at the supermarket, it basically means factory farmed. Here, you’re dealing with an operation that houses 50,000 or more hens where they get to roam “free” on a little concrete patio for “x” amount of hours daily. That’s what industry free-range is, even if it’s certified organic.
Check out this undercover investigation done by Direct Action Everywhere and you’ll see what I mean. This isn't an anomaly, it's literally industry norm. As sad as it is, I’m not exaggerating. I promise you. In fact, when I visited these operations personally, you would typically see about 99% of the hens stuck inside and maybe just a handful walking around on that small concrete patio outside—not really the “free-range” you saw in your mind's eyes, I know. I fell for that scam phrase for the longest time as well.
But, that’s not even the most important takeaway.
The most important takeaway is regardless of the living conditions of the hens, which some might or might not care about, here is what’s super important to understand and what will impact your health at the end of the day—and it doesn’t have anything to do with antibiotics, hormones, or whatever.
My point is that when you raise hens indoors and don’t move them onto fresh pasture daily, the farmer is forced to bring the food to the hens. Hens eat a tremendous amount of food daily, and in fact, the feed to raise the animals comprises about 75% of the total cost of production. And what do you think is in this food the farmers fed to the “free-range” chicken?
Grains!! Mainly a lot of corn and soy. It’s these grains that are destroying the nutritional profile of the egg. In this example, it’s organic corn and soy and other grains, but it’s all grains nonetheless. The problem with this is that chickens aren’t vegetarians. They’re omnivores. They love to eat bugs and other insects, and that’s always going to be their preferred food of choice.
In fact, when you see “vegetarian-fed” on labels, that’s actually not a good thing, even if it’s certified organic. Vegetarian-fed basically means GRAIN-fed!
It’s another marketing gimmick the industry uses to deceive customers looking to make the right choice. If you see “vegetarian-fed,” that instantly screams confined, factory farm operation. If chickens are allowed to roam free outside, as claimed with the “free-range” label which is typically seen side-by-side with the phrase “vegetarian-fed,” how is it also possible to claim “vegetarian-fed” at the same time? If they were outside they would be exposed to worms, other insects and eating them; thus, can’t be labeled “vegetarian-fed.” Anyways, just look out for that “vegetarian-fed” label. If you see it—run! If you’re more visual, check out this YouTube video. I know it’s probably getting confusing.
But what’s the big deal with grains? Why are they so bad?
When you feed chickens grains, it shoots the omega-6 content of their meat way up, which then causes inflammation in those who consume it. Check out the inflammation theory of disease, and you’ll see 90-plus percent of all diseases arise from chronic inflammation. Remember that you’re buying this chicken thinking it’s health-promoting. Really all it’s promoting is inflammation in your body. Omega 6 is a pro-inflammatory macronutrient. Grain-fed meats equal high amounts of omega 6, which translates to high amounts of inflammation in your body.
This alone should make you think twice, but to add insult to injury, Joel Salatin—a biodynamic farmer and probably one of the most credible, accomplished, truly pasture-raised egg farmers in America—had his eggs tested by an accredited laboratory in Portland Oregon and compared them to factory-farmed eggs that are heavily grain-fed. The 14 pasture-raised operations tested had eggs that had 200% more Omega-3 fatty acids, 300% more vitamin D, and 700% more beta carotene than the factory-farmed eggs.
Truly pasture-raised hens roam outside 365 days a year AND are rotated onto fresh, well-managed land daily. This gives them access to worms and other insects as well as nutrients in the ground. These are all key nutrients the chicken needs to produce the nutrient-rich eggs which you need to be healthy. On top of that, they’re living a healthy, peaceful life. Not to get too spiritual on you, but there is an old native American saying that’s claims if you eat the flesh of miserable animals, you yourself will inherit the misery of those animals. Guess how happy those factory farm animals are living in their own fecal matter all of their lives?
The basic takeaway is, the closer an animal is fed a species-specific diet, the better the nutritional profile of that food group will be. In this case, chickens are omnivores. If you feed them an omnivore diet, the nutritional profile of the egg will be great. Chickens aren’t vegetarians. They shouldn’t be fed a “vegetarian diet.” When fed a vegetarian diet (grains) the nutritional profile of the egg ends up being poor. The difference is staggering too, such as shown in the example above. 700% more beta carotene in pasture-raised eggs vs factory-farmed eggs. Come on! No competition there.
So Where Does One Buy Truly Pasture-Raised Eggs?
This one can be a little tricky. Small farms don’t always equate to very good farmers, even if it’s a pasture-raised operation.
Here are some key takeaways to ask your local small farmer to know they’re a legit pasture-raised egg operation.
- Do you rotate your hens onto fresh pasture daily?
- How does the pasture look? Is it a desert landscape? That’s probably not a good sign. Or is it a lush, green pasture? That’s probably a great sign. Also, if you see worms in the soil, that’s the absolute best sign that the soil is rich in life and can support the nutritional requirements of a flock of hens. The richer the nutrition of what the hens are eating, the better the nutrition of the eggs they produce. Worms also indicate that excessive biocides haven’t been used or used at all. But just to be safe, ask if any synthetic chemicals or fertilizers have been used on the pasture where the hens roam. The answer should be “no.” Or “no” for at least the past 2-3 years.
- Does each hen have at least 100 sq-ft per hen? I like to see 200+, but 100 sq-ft is a good place. This matters a lot because if you have a bunch of hens on pasture, there won't be enough insects/worms for each hen to eat; thus, the farmer will have to bring in more grains to supplement the food. And most likely, to keep the costs low, the farmer will use corn and soy feed (remember that the bulk majority of farmer’s expenses is the feed to the animal, in any operation). This feed might or might not be organic. You should definitely inquire and ask. If their supplemental feed is corn and soy-free, that’s a huge plus. Not a huge deal if it’s not though.
- If they do supplement with feed, is it organic? Some of them will say it’s non-GMO, but non-GMO doesn't mean it’s organic. Organic means it’s non-GMO and NOT grown with synthetic biocides. Non-GMO simply means the seed itself isn’t genetically modified, BUT that seed can and most likely is grown with synthetic chemicals. Then there is a corruption issue that’s well-recognized regarding grains. The U.S. gets around 50% of its grains from overseas. They get their grains from very corrupt countries like Ukraine and Turkey. Because of that, there is a tremendous amount of corruption that goes on at the broker level of the operation. Basically, chemically farmed grains are shipped out of Turkey, the paperwork is changed at the broker level, and imported as organic in the United States. Check out this story written by the Washington Post.
If you’re dead set on sticking to the supermarket, check out cornucopia.org. Click on the “scorecards” tab and then find the “eggs” tab. There you’ll find a rating system for pretty much every egg brand you’ll see at the supermarket. Their highest-ranking brand, Eden-Haezer’s Happy Hens, is actually an operation I personally worked at. I can tell you 100% they’re legit and they’re the rare few that offer corn and soy-free eggs that are truly pasture-raised and certified organic. You can find their eggs at happy-hens.com. They also sell at a decent amount of Whole Foods, at least in the Southern California area. If that’s not in your area, check out eatwild.com. Click on the “shop local grass-fed meat, dairy, and eggs,” select your state, and go from there.
Keep in mind that free-range, organic eggs are the BEST option you'll find 99% of supermarkets out there. That’s the best, and in my opinion, those are some shitty eggs. So you can imagine how bad “cage-free” and no label egg cartons are. They’re even worse, and this is what’s accessible to 99% of Americans. If you think these nutritional differences don’t matter, just step outside anywhere in America, and you’ll see the results of this poorly run, single crop, industrial agricultural system. I mean 9/10 people you run into are full of mental and physical pain. Full of disease and obesity. It’s rare to find a fully functional, healthy human being anymore—outside of Ben Greenfield that is (ha, had to throw that in there!).
Grass-Fed Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means
Now, let’s move on. Remember, the nutritionist also told you to buy grass-fed meats. Let’s breakdown where the disconnect happens here. You’ll be surprised.
First and foremost, did you know that all cattle are grass-fed? Yes, it’s impossible to feed grain to cattle their entire life. So when you see the grass-fed label, it literally means close to nothing.
Let's say it takes like 18 months to raise cattle from start to finish. Ninety-eight percent of cattle are raised the bulk majority of their life on pasture, being fed grass. However, 3-4 months before harvest, pretty much all are sent to a feedlot where they’re grain-finished. Finishing the cattle on grain shoots their omega 6 way up. Just like with the chicken example above, more omega 6 in relation to omega 3 equals way more inflammation in your body. Way more inflammation in your body equals way more disease in your body, joint pain, and all sorts of other negative stuff. And remember, your goal is to purchase this product in hopes of promoting your health. In reality, it’s doing the complete opposite. Are you starting to see the disconnect?
What about grass-fed, grass-finished beef?
Farmers can easily raise their cattle on grass for 8-10 months, then transition them to grains for 3-4 months, and finish them on grass for 1 week and still throw the grass-fed, grass-finished label on there.
In a way, they are telling the truth. Technically, it is grass-fed and grass-finished. Even if it says 100% grass-fed, ranchers can easily finish their cattle with grass pellets or hay in a feedlot and still claim 100% grass-fed. This happens A LOT. It happens a lot because the grass-fed label isn’t regulated by anyone. There is no onsite inspection whatsoever. It’s a free for all with the grass-fed label.
To add complexity to the issue, it’s important to understand that 90% of grass-fed meats sold in the USA are actually imported and in no way produced in the USA. Even when labels claim “product of the USA,” that doesn’t mean it was actually grown in the USA. I can import a carcass from say, Brazil, and package it in California and still label it a product of the USA. This practice is totally 100% legal and happens ALL THE TIME.
What’s the problem with imports?
Labeling something a product of the USA, when in fact it was never made in the USA, is extremely deceptive for one. It also puts local farmers who produce in the USA (and thus have higher labor costs as well as higher regulatory costs) at a huge disadvantage. Depending on where this beef is imported from, it’s important to understand most countries don’t even have the resources to combat serious crime in their countries, moreover go after farmers that have poor husbandry practices and don’t live up to their label's claims. If you’ve traveled overseas, especially to third world countries, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Check out this short clip from my interview on Paul Chek’s Living 4D Podcast, and watch the full interview here.
So where can you get high-quality meat these days that satisfied the criteria of grass-fed, grass-finished, grown in a regenerative, sustainable, ethical manner?
Opt for local grass-fed operations. A good example of a legit grass-fed operation would be 5 Bar Beef. They use zero grains, zero beta-agonists, zero GMOs, zero steroids, their cattle roam on pasture 24/7, and the farm is 100% solar powdered. If you're not in California, then I recommend checking out the American Grassfed Association. Scroll to the bottom of the site and click on the map. After, select your state and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
A few of Ben's favorite sources (including one for fish!) include:
- Thrive Market: 100% grass-fed, pasture-raised beef shipped right to your door. All of their beef comes from Osorno, Chile where grass is abundant and the climate is ideal for letting cows graze outdoors year-round. No chemicals, artificial fertilizers, or antibiotics are used. Low-density grazing methods are used to maintain the integrity of the precious land and soil.
- US Wellness Meats (use code GREENFIELD for a 15% store-wide discount): Tender and tasty, without all the excess fat of animals fed with grain in confinement. Full of nutrients that can only come from a fully grass-fed diet—omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, and CLA—and free of all the pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics that are found in grain-fed beef.
- White Oak Pastures: Grass-fed beef, goat, and lamb and pastured chicken, duck, goose and more. Animals are raised in a regenerative manner using humane animal management practices.
- Eat Wild: The #1 clearinghouse for information about pasture-based farming and features a state-by-state plus Canada directory of local farmers who sell their pastured farm and ranch products directly to consumers.
- Seatopia: In my podcast Why Wild-Caught Fish Isn’t Necessarily Better, The Truth About Farmed Fish, How To Get Guilt-Free, Gourmet Seafood, Delicious DIY Sushi & Sashimi Recipes & Much More!, I teach you about “Seatopia”, which makes eating and exploring truly sustainable gourmet seafood easier and more fun. How? By delivering award-winning seafood direct from artisan regenerative farms, right to your doorstep, all in 100% plastic-free and styrofoam-free packaging—100% transparency, 100% sushi-grade, 100% antibiotic-free, certified sustainable, and mercury-free. Plus each shipment includes QR code scannable recipes from celebrity and Michelin Star chefs.
To conclude, the issues raised in this article are important, and every human being should be concerned with them. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a successful computer programmer, fitness guru, or the president of a country—mental and physical health always have to come first. How are you going to carry out your life goals and interests, whatever they may be, while dealing with something like mental depression or severe joint pain or lower back pain? It’s simple. You’re not. You have to be mentally and physically healthy and one of the best ways, some may argue THE best way, to optimize that mental and physical health is through sourcing high-quality food. And to do that, unfortunately, these days it is a bit tough.
Ben here again. If you want to learn more about how to find the most nutrient-dense produce, eggs, and truly grass-fed, grass-finished meats, I highly suggest you get a copy of Eugene's Anti-Factory Farm Shopping Guide.
I can't recommend it enough as a handy little guide to getting the biggest nutrient-packed bang for your buck while grocery shopping.
You can pick up the Kindle version at a steal on Amazon and keep it with you at all times to use as a reference.
Leave your thoughts, comments, or questions below, and Eugene or I will get back to you!
P.S. One last thing: as far as veggies go, you can also look into services like Willo for produce delivery or LettuceGrow for your own hydroponic growing system. I use both, and they're less expensive and difficult to setup than you'd think, and especially convenient if you don't have access to a garden. (You can get 20% off at Willo with code BEN20.)
115 thoughts on “How Factory Farming In America Is Producing Nutrient-Void Food (And How You Can Navigate Your Way To Healthier Options).”
Excellent article. Where do I access the videos that come with your book? I purchased the kindle version but don’t see any info on the videos? Thanks Eugene.
Just email me a receipt of the purchase, and I will forward your the video content.
Awesome read. Eugenes book is amaziy also. For all who have not heard him on paul cheks podcast I would invite you to look that up. Love and chi! Stay cool.
Very informative article. We have learned so much reading your book as well. Keep up the good work Eugene!
I think you’ve hit on the next big revolution in health. Stuff like this is going to change the face of the health sciences in the years to come.
With all our advances in science, it’s amazing that we are forgetting some of the fundamental lessons. You mention the “single crop” system and how it produces inferior plants. What’s wild is that farmers figured out that system was terrible back in the 9th century when they noticed that fields left fallow for a while produced better crops later. Fast forward hundreds of years and this eventually led to to things like the Norfolk 4 crop rotation system.
…And now we decided to ignore all those lessons and just supplement the inferior crops with pesticides and fertilizer? It’s like we’re building a pyramid higher by stealing the stones that make up the foundation. It’s going to fall eventually.
Great stuff! Can’t wait to see what you’re writing next!
Thank you, Eugene, for this article and for your book: easy to read and very informative! And thank you for helping us navigate the nuances of food labeling.
Great article Eugene! You provide very valuable, relevant, useful, and action-oriented information! Everything that comes out of you is serious, non-fluff, and you don’t waste the reader’s time! Thanks for all you do, and I will continue being a loyal reader to your content!
Great article and very informative. I’m definitely going to take some of these tips and knowledge and start eat some real food. Thanks for the write up!
Outstanding information Eugene. Thank you for the work you do. This is very helpful, practical, and educational.
Wow… this is incredibly helpful and I’ve learned so much. Thank you! Your knowledge and work to gain this information is so appreciated! Thanks for sharing with us!
Very thorough article. I have been in the fitness industry for over a decade but didn’t realize so much of this was going on. Thank you Ben for seeking out experts and letting them use your platform to show a balanced perspective of health.
Thanks Eugene. Such an informative article! However, I’m surprised you didn’t cite Butcherbox as a reliable source of grass-fed meats here. I know Ben and other influencers have recommended this in the past, and I personally get my meat from Butcherbox. Can you comment on this?
Thanks for sharing! A lot of old information. I will pick up Eugene book.
Excelelnt article Eugene. One thing that I nbecae aware of recently is the differences in different nations’ allowed practices in organic farms. Here in the UK, we tend to have fairly decent biodiversity due to the small farms that tend to be multi-crop, as well as other practices we do. Our land in general doesn’t support large, monocrop farms (other than in parts of East Anglia). But I discovered that in France, where we import some foods in late Winter/early spring from, they steam sterilise the top 12″ of their soil to kill off everything that could be harmful – obviously that kills all the good bacteria and life in the soil though. This saddened me. In the UK, organic farms aren’t allowed to do that due to the Soil Association’s regulations to improve the environment, especially biodiversity and biodynamic principles.
Thank you for the read and reply.
I am not sure where I can post a direct comment. Your book is amazing. It is substantial in its content and provides tremendous insight for those of us who want accuracy and facts related to attaining the healthiest foods we can. Great job and thank you for making this knowledge available to myself and so many others.
Would love if there was someone who was doing this for products in Australia. Very interesting article – I am hoping our organic products, free range eggs and grass fed beef are true and not like the USA’s.
I’m not too familiar with the Australian market, but most developed countries are dependent on factory farming models. Companies can’t sell that image, so i presume because of that there will be a decent amount of marketing deception as well.
This documentary touches on the “free-range” label in Australia. It might provide you with the answers you’re seeking. You would need to fast forward to 1:08:46 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing. The documentary does show graphic images of factory farm operations, so please watch at your own risk:
Hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Awesome article! It’s really important to plan for proper nutrition when deciding how you’re going to shop.
Thank you for the read Dmitri!
Just crazy how people can be misled for profit and the ones doing it can legally get away with it. Working in the supplement industry, we see it all the time. Thanks Eugene for helping to keep people educated.. you can’t help them all but if a few listen, it’s worth the hard work.
This is a very good article!
Really great information here! I have to change the way I shop! Thanks for the article!
Thanks for the article Eugene. As you already know I’ve read your book a few times. This article is a great snapshot of what readers can expect without the amazing artwork.
I hope to hear a podcast with the both of you two soon!
Great work and very informative. Hope to see you posting more on here, people need the information you’re giving out and we need to share this information or else change will be very slow.
thank you SO ben and eugene! as always, delivering great information and sharing it to make ourselves, other and the planet better. you two rock! keep up the great work, and i will definitely buying your books when i open my doors back up for business.
Such great info! Shocking to learn some of these concepts. Thanks for sharing this.
Really great stuff here. Thanks for putting this together, Eugene!
Great Article. Very Informative. Thanks for sharing!
So much has changed since I was a teenager. If you look at movies from the 60s, 70s and 80s, there were very few overweight people. They had other bad habits but as Eugene mentions, food choice availability and market to table freshness has suffered.
Very informative and full of facts. Much like Eugene’s Book, where you can get here:
Very interesting information. As the world around shifts to focussing more on what we NEED vs. what we WANT during this global pandemic, the quality of our food sources will become more critical than ever.
Well researched and documented – up to the enlightened now to facilitate better outcomes
As someone who loves his eggs, this was an eye-opening read. Great stuff and thanks for sharing!
Finally, someone clarifies the small prints of all those healthy buzz-words used by the food industry. More importantly, the author proposes avenues to investigate on how to make better health conscious food choices.
Seems like you raise a lot of systemic issues here? What’s the best way to fix the system and get more biodynamic crops out there for everyone? How do we make sure our meat products are raised in a healthy way?
Finally someone gets the pen to paper and explains the intricacy‘s of the system and just how skewed it can be. I’m asked all of the time ‘how are cage free eggs different from pasture raised, and how are pasture raised different from organic’ Etc. After explaining over and over again I now have a direction to point them.
Thanks for this! Much respect.
The more I learn the more I fail..
This information teaches me how to shop wisely. Didn’t pay attention that fresh fruit/veggies are actually turn to nothing with the time. Thank you Eugen for such a useful information; I will definitely change my shopping hobbits!
Very informative! Useful details and great advice!
Thanks for sharing! :)
I think this article has some great information. However, it does make me sad about the current state of food in the US. The fact that you have to go to extremes in order to get good quality food is unreal. Learning about food labeling is the scariest. I honestly thought grass-fed was important. Now I see that it isn’t. Overall, great source of info.
Really good piece of info! Great knowledge being shared here.
This article is eye opening! It has changed the way I will be purchasing food. I had no idea the food industry was so deceiving on how they brand their products. I am guilty of spending extra to buy organic foods and foods that are vegetarian fed. I purchased these items thinking that I was getting a higher quality Product. Thank you for educating me on the facts!
Whoa!! A lot of great information here. Great article 👍🏽
Hello Eugene, very well written article. I think that the many people (me included) are under the impression that organic means healthy. Is there any benefits of buying organic compared to non organic produce?
So many people are unaware of what true health is and have no knowledge of what is healthy food. I really hope this article can reach as many people as possible because people do need to read this. We live in a world with too many health issues already and a clean diet can definitely help with many of those
Great article. So much information I never even thought about when buying food at a super market. Who knew how misleading all the advertisement could be.
Thank you Eugene for such an informative article. It’s true that the food in this country is so unhealthy. We all need to work together to change that and regulations are needed. We must fight to end factory farms!
As the Ancient Greeks say: We are what we eat.
What a great information and it’s hard to believe that we eat so bad and With very little or no nutrients at all just because it’s easier to get or cheaper.
What a wealth of information and research is here for all of us to benefit from. As ranchers ourselves we understand the misconceptions out there and how difficult it is for the consumer to actually know which are the truly healthiest choices. Thank you for all your hard work and this valuable information.
Such a great article – I always thought I knew what to buy until I read this. Very eye opening, informative and frustrating that we are mislead by companies by the verbiage used on their packaging. Thank you for doing the research so we can be educated consumers!!
Great read, very insightful! As a Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer, I am always looking for the latest evidence based information on nutrition. I was not aware of the alternatives to factory farming beyond “organic” as well as the significant nutritional benefits. Thanks for sharing!
Awesome article!! Thanks
Definitely a great article and such great information! Thank you very much for sharing!
Awesome post Eugene! Always good to learn more about these things. It’s interesting to find that real, quality food is very difficult to get at the supermarket level and that in today’s world “cutting edge” is actually the “old way”.
Wow! What am incredibly eye-opening article that speaks to how disconnected most people are and how confusing labeling can be even for industry professionals. Thank you for elucidating the vast differences in the food supply and exposing the veil of deception the labeling industry wants to keep in the dark. This article article is a must read and your book is a MUST have for anyone and everyone who is looking to optimize their health and well-being through the nourishment they consume. I have spent hours contacting different farms and ranchers to ask about their practices after reading your book to be a better informed patron and can make better recommendations as a functional medicine dietitian. Regenerative farming for the win!
For the record, I hate spelling errors 😂🤦🏻♀️
Really great article. With so much misinformation out there about the food we eat and large companies backing the spread of that information, it’s often hard to find the truth. Eugene does a great job of cutting through the marketing jargon and provides easy to understand and actionable advice. Would love to see more and definitely recommend his book.
This is truly a fascinating read. I consider myself to be a generally informed person when it comes to nutrition but these insights make me reconsider that notion. I do hope this information can be more widely shared within the broader population. Job well done, Eugene. Your depth of research And knowledge shines and is much appreciated.
Really interesting article. The piece about the nutritional aspect of Wholefoods vs Walmart produce was interesting. I suspect there are many examples like this… Brands that have a “health halo” that isn’t really representative of the product(s) they sell.
Thanks for some practical steps to follow.
Very insightful, informative, and well written article.
Great article. Holy shit I need to get the book. I feel like I’ll have to reference this information, because I definitely can’t remember all that in one read. This was so incredibly informative. My brain feels like it might explode.
Wow, eye opening article
Some great info. It is unfortunate that many of these stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts are a bit hypocritical. Maybe there will soon be a one stop shop that offers everything mentioned in this article in one place.
There is so much valuable information in this article. Thank you Eugene for making it that much easier for me to understand what changes I need to make in my grocery shopping habits for my health and that of my family.
I first started following Eugene Trufkin after I listened to his conversation with Paul Chek on the “Living 4D” podcast. It would be difficult for me to transfer the knowledge I’ve received about mass agricultural practices in the US to someone. That being said I recommend his book to anyone that can read!! Great article!!
This is a great article!
Thank you for all the information and for sharing it in a simple way.
PS: I highly recommend this book.
Thank you brotha!
What a wealth of information. So lucky to my friend and teacher Eugene to simplify the overwhelmingly complicated issue of EATING REAL FOOD! It shouldn’t be so hard! Thanks Eugene for your tireless research to help the people be more healthy and happy in these dark ages of factory farming and bogus labels!
I experienced the egg thing first hand when I traveled to the countryside in France and had the brightest yolks I’d ever seen because the chickens were just running around in someone’s backyard. Great article Eugene.
What an amazing read! Eugene has always been such a great resource for health! I’ve been following his fitness journey since 2004 and every year he always seems to learn more and impart that with others.
Game changer! I can’t wait to read your book, Eugene! You brought up so many things that I never even thought about, by taking “organic” and “pasture raised” labels at face value… THANK YOU!
This is serious knowledge right here. Great article. Eugene really knows his stuff. Health and fitness starts and ends in the kitchen with the food choices you make and the info here is a great guide. Thanks for putting this out there
It’s amazing how far from natural our means of raising animals and growing produce has become. Makes me wish I had a farm with animals and plants myself. Thanks for the tips and I feel better about being able to navigate the right ingredients into my home.
Great article. Had no idea about a lot of this. Very helpful.
This article truly touches on all key aspects of what is happening in the market. Feel much healthier eating abroad. Thank you for this thorough article. It takes multiple subjects and brings them together really nicely.
Keep them coming!
This is such an important conversation right now! Thank you for such insightful detail into the complexity of nutrient-dense food sourcing. It’s easy to get lost in marketing and trendy words like “organic” or “Grass-Fed” and think you’re getting something nutritious when in fact it’s just a well branded version of the same nutrient-void, often toxic, conventional food. I agree that regenerative farming and saving our soil should be GLOBAL priorities. The closer we can get to nature, the more we understand about ecology and the interconnectedness of food, the more empowered and healthy we can become. Thank you again for this resource – I’ll be sharing it with my network and clients. 🌱🙏🏼
Wow! This was such an amazing read! Thank you so much for providing this knowledge! I love that so many care about this! 💕
Wow, this is amazing! Honestly never knew how extensive factory farming plaid in our foods. This will be on my mind next time I go the supermarkets. Super informative!
Fascinating. I had no idea how distant supermarket food is from the diet our great-grandparents ate. This will definitely impact how I look at food. Thanks !
Eugene knows his stuff- thank you for keeping us informed to help us make the best food choices.
Thank you for this valuable information that is literally life saving. With Eugene Trufkin’s guidance I’ve lost 18 pounds since January 12. I was already training but was not eating right. This tells me that the road to fitness and happiness comes from the food we eat even more so than what we accomplish at the gym. Now I’ll research the links that Ben provided in this article to make sure I’m getting the most nutrient dense food possible.
Wow! Amazing research! A lot of priceless information! Mind blowing! Thanks for the useful links and the info!
Thank you for a transparent article that sheds light on our food supply. I am hopeful that these times of unrest may cause people to prioritize their health and resiliency more than they did before. Great read and thank you!
Indeed, this is a great article with a lot of good comments. The food industry is the problem. Thank you for your dedication, time and inspiration to research, summarize and educating us!!!
It is very important Information to know where your food comes from and on what kind of soil it grows. I am sure that many years ago the mass production food style came with a good intentions to feed the entire planet, and then it’s became a purely multi million money market that it’s hard to stop. But each of us have a choice! Thank you!!!
I do appreciate this topic being addressed! Eating fresh healthy food is so basic to life and something many Americans are not experiencing the benefits of in their life. Life and health can be so much better for so many, and Understanding topics like this are an important part of the How.
Good stuff man, good stuff. I wish the website format was a bit easier to read on a mobile, but it was worth it nonetheless.
Wow! Mind blowing! Lots to think about here. Thanks for the useful links and the info about the grass fed beef producers. Amazing research.
Excellent description of the concepts and farming system. Great work!
Great read with some interesting points to keep in mind when you see the buzzwords on labels. Thanks for also offering suggestions for some places to check out for truly healthy and nutrient rich foods.
Greate article! Excellent information. I appreciate your insight.
So much information it’s almost overwhelming. But the way you have broken each part down is extremely helpful. I’ve actually been looking to make a huge change in my nutrition and what goes in my body. I’m truly going to get Eugene’s ebook guide to help me get all of this sorted.
I do have a question for you Eugene. If you were to only have the selections of fruits and vegetables for the sources you mentioned above, what would be your choice to chose from over the others? I ask this because Walmart is usually easier to get to and find in most cities or towns, and I feel if they offer a more nutrient dense product I would go there first. But I just want to make sure I didn’t read that wrong or misinterpret what you said.
Great fun read, I even have the book. Really helps when we go shopping at the grocery store. Keep up the good work.
I appreciated the read. Nutrition profile is often-times a rarity to come upon, as it is always hindered in the mass markets – a lot of small-farm operations won’t give you the explicit details. It’s interesting how the FDA categorize and allow a myriad of misleading information, but it’s encouraging to know there are movements like yours to help tackle nutrition, animal inequality and, indirectly, the environment.
Thanks for the great Eugene Trufkin
Thank you for the informative and helpful article. This is information that is very useful.
Hands down for amazing content and info. 🙌🏻
Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
Great read! It’s so confusing how food is marketed and information like this is definitely vital to those who want to live a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for the info!
Awesome article. Very thorough and on point.
Great article, Eugene. Very informative and right on track. I’ll be sure to share with my network.
Basically the only meat we eat is venison, we harvest the animal ourselves on our land. I’ve been say for years it’s really the only truly “organic” meat to eat.
Personally, I think wild meat will always have an ideal nutritional profile because of the wide range of forage the animal has to choose from etc. Some pasture-raised operations can match the quality of wild meat, but the farmer has to be really good. As a general rule, nature is the best farmer around. No one can compete with her.
Amazing information. incredible research as well. We’ve got to continue to strive for better health in America and around the world.
I totally agree. Thank you for reading.
Some really good “food for thought”!!! Thanks Ben and team for always putting out there what is the what so we can make better decisions for our health journeys. Cheers!!
Thanks for the read.
Hi.. Just thought I’d say how awesome all of your articles I receive are. Keep up the incredible work man, respect!!
Thank you for the read
Great article! It’s both Informative and eye opening..a lot of helpful and useful information. I hope this wakes people up to realities of our food system and the impact it’s has on our health and environment.
Love how your team advocates for the welfare/non-suffering of animals, at the same time you provide useful info about health. Food choices aren’t always about ME. Would love to see more on environmental impact too
I totally agree. One’s actions always impact the entire world in more ways than people think. Thank you for reading.
This is a great article with a lot of good comments. Indeed, it is very important to find out where your food comes from and on what kind of soil it grows. And for sure, the biggest problem in the food industry is all of the deceptive marketing claims. However, there is no ‘free lunch’. Unfortunately, we can’t feed the entire planet with ‘non-factory farmed’ food, wild caught fish and free range and grass fed animal protein. A few examples:
1) If we all stopped eating farmed fish, global fish stocks would deplete very quickly.
2) If all chickens raised globally were roaming outside in the open air we’d very quickly have a pandemic of bird flu as they pick up viruses from bird droppings (the global biomass of poultry is larger than the global biomass of all other bird species combined! If we didn’t put them in buildings we’d get huge problems).
3) A lot of grass fed beef in the US comes from Australia. I’d take Australian beef any time over US beef. There’s no country that uses more hormones than the US in its animal protein sector.
4) Produce does loose nutrition when stored, but apples can be safely stored for a long time and eating an apple that’s six months old is still better than not eating that apple. Yes, we can ship them from New Zealand when they’re out of season in the US but that creates carbon emissions…
These are just a few examples. There is no way around intensive agriculture, but it can be done more sustainable.
Such a great response. Regenerative farming is amazing, i fully support it and currently source my meat from a local farmer with award winning practice. If we could convert a huge majority of farming over to these practices it would be fantastic, BUT the reality is locally sourced high quality produce will remain the exception rather than the rule.
There is no way around the fact that factory farming is going to play a vital role in food production and food security for the foreseeable future. The answers lie in vastly improved practices across the board that lead to better outcomes for the welfare of the animals and better products for the consumers.
Thats really cool. I’m sure the quality of the meat you’re getting is absolutely amazing.
Thank you for the review and good feed back. I would checkout the following resources and see if your opinion changes:
1: “Farmers Of 40 Centuries” by F.H. King,
2: “The Living Soil and the Haughley Experiment” by Lady Eve Balfour.
I would also highly recommend following the work of Dr. Elaine Ingram and Joel Salatin. Both have a tremendous amount of content on YouTube.
Thank you for the review and good feed back. I would checkout the following resources and see if your opinion changes:
1: “Farmers Of 40 Centuries” by F.H. King,
2: “The Living Soil and the Haughley Experiment” by Lady Eve Balfour.
I would also highly recommend following the work of Dr. Elaine Ingram and Joel Salatin. Both have a tremendous amount of content on YouTube.