USDA Free Range Chicken & Eggs

I always thought that a “Free-Range” chicken was allowed to roam freely around green pastures eating bugs and all kinds of other insects. However, what I discovered through doing some research (via internet and talking with local farmers that raise free-range chickens and sell their meat and eggs) threw me for a loop.

Photos of Free range chicken and eggs at in Raleigh, NC

What exactly is

USDA & Free Range Chicken

The USDA allows for any chicken raised with access to the outdoors to be labeled “free-range”. Nowhere does it state that the chickens have to actually go outdoors; ACCESS is the only legal binding verbiage of that rule. They may still be raised in the same overpopulated poultry house type production and be labeled “free-range”. Furthermore, those farmers can charge more for their “free-range” product. Certified organic chickens may also be raised like this. A trailer full of chickens, raised in coops stacked 3 tiers high on top of one another, can be labeled “free range” as long as there is a door on that confining facility. I bet you didn’t know that – I know I didn’t.

USDA Standards for Free Range Eggs

What’s even scarier is that the USDA has NO STANDARDS on free-range eggs and allows egg farmers to freely label any egg as a “free range” egg. This also means that chickens bearing “free-range” eggs have NOT necessarily been fed a better diet than those raised in a factory farm. In other words, the hens may still have been fed the same GMO or animal byproducts as in factory farming. It is mind-blowing that I have been spending more money on buying “free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free” eggs, when it really doesn’t mean anything.

Hormone Free Chicken

While we’re on this topic, one thing does require clarification. Hormones have not been approved for use in U.S. egg or poultry production by the FDA. So, there’s really no such thing as a chicken with hormones anyway. Those farmers labeling their chickens as “hormone-free” are either using that term out of ignorance of this fact (highly unlikely) or they’re simply trying to con you into thinking their chickens are better than anyone else’s. Either way, it makes no difference, so ignore that on the label. This applies to both organic and conventional.

Perhaps I sound like a broken record when advising people to talk to local farmers and find out about their food, but the reason I say this is that sometimes local farmers won’t go out and get organic certified. Most of their business comes from loyal customers who know about the true amount of labor and love that farmer is putting into that food. Why go out and become “organic certified” when it no longer means what it used to? It would appear that greed has taken hold where it hurts us the most; in our nutrition.

Marion Nestle in “What to Eat” – on Eggs

To sum up, let me leave you with a little of what the well-known nutritionist Marion Nestle states about eggs in her book “What to Eat” –

From a nutritional standpoint, eggs are eggs. Turning eggs into a “designer” food is a great way to get you to pay more for them but there are less expensive and easier ways to get vitamin E, selenium, lutein, and omega-3s from foods. If you do not give a hoot about how the eggs are produced, buy the cheapest ones you can find. The shell color makes no nutritional difference.

If you do care enough about how the hens are treated to pay more for eggs, buy Certified Humane (but not United Egg Producers Certified). If you also care about what the hens are fed, or just want to cast your food vote for the organic movement, buy eggs that are Certified Organic. Whatever eggs you decide to buy, don’t eat too many of them – or buy the smallest size. Small eggs still have a lot of cholesterol, but less than the extra-large and jumbo sizes.

Eat Whole Foods in Their Natural State

Whole Foods

Whole Foods are foods that are in their God-created, natural, unprocessed state. According to Wikipedia, “The term ‘Whole Food’ has been known to describe any food that offers a complete balance in nutritional value while in its natural state.” As Jack LaLanne says, “If God didn’t make it, don’t eat it.” That is great advice from the 94 year-old king of fitness. The body knows how to metabolize and use the whole foods made from our Creator. It has no clue how to use the chemicals and artificial derivatives in processed foods. When we eat those kinds of processed foods, we get our bodies into trouble.

Raw fruits and vegetables are some of the most nutrient dense and common whole foods. Fresh Juicing using Juicers or simply eating raw fruits and vegetables are the best ways to get your true daily value of vitamins and minerals. Some other whole foods are legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, meats, and grains like rice, barley and oats. And, no, cereal is not considered a whole food…it is made from processed grains. Also, most dairy products are processed (pasteurized and homogenized), which makes them damaging to most people who consume them regularly.

“If God didn’t make it, don’t eat it!”
– Jack LaLanne

Most processed foods have additives like refined sugar, dairy, salt, soy, corn, MSG, and other preservatives. These additives are included in synthetic, unnatural states, and so may cause damage to the systems of your body. Beware of the marketing and sales ploys behind food companies’ products that say ‘All-Natural,’ or ‘Fortified with Vitamins and Minerals’. Remember, they also consider the brain toxin MSG (among others), natural. Also, if the food were truly in its whole, natural state, it wouldn’t need to be fortified with anything or packaged.

The results of eating a whole food based diet often reduces body fat, gives you more energy, better focus, and better overall health. Whereas, processed foods often make our bodies fat, sluggish, unhealthy, and/or toxic. The choice is yours. Live well.

Michael Phelps, Aging & an Athletic Legend

Jack LaLanne and Michael Phelps

Yes…Michael Phelps is a phenom. Yes. Michael Phelps has recently made Olympic History by winning an unprecedented 8 Gold Medals. Go U-S-A! As a health & fitness professional, I can appreciate the performance feats, but I also appreciate regard for long-term health and wellness. And, from our last blog on Phelps’ diet, most can clearly see a lot of food and calories, but a real lack of quality. We dared to ask the question, ‘Could he possibly perform any better than he did if he had eaten better foods?’

We believe so! We also dared to compare the feats of Michael Phelps with an individual that has had an equally remarkable performance record, yet has also been able to keep himself at peak health and inspire millions for decades.

“Who is this amazing person?,” you ask. He certainly needs no introduction…

Jack LaLanne – Amazing!

Jack LaLanne is America’s Number 1 Physical Fitness Expert and Guru, and is often called the “Godfather of Fitness”. The 93-year-old LaLanne admits it was not always this way. “As a kid,” he flatly states, “I was a sugarholic and a junk food junkie! It made me weak and it made me mean. It made me so sick I had boils, pimples and suffered from nearsightedness. Little girls used to beat me up. My mom prayed… the Church prayed.”

It was at the age of 15, when he heard pioneer nutritionist Paul Bragg speak at the Oakland City Women’s Club in San Francisco Bay Area, Jack finally realized that he was addicted to sugar. Bragg promised Jack if he would exercise and eat a proper diet he could regain good health. Jack listened attentively and was fiercely determined to walk away from that lecture ready to build a totally new Jack LaLanne.

Zach M. found success with the Transformation Team

Age is no limitation for Jack LaLanne . . .

For those of you that may initially scoff that LaLanne’s performance achievements in comparison to Phelps’, lets take a look at his laundry list of accomplishments while noting his corresponding age:

1954 Age 40:
Swam the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks… an undisputed world record.
1955 Age 41:
Swam, handcuffed, from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA.
1956 Age 42:
Set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes on “You Asked for It, a TV Show with Art Baker.
1957 Age 43:
Swam the treacherous Golden Gate Channel, towing a 2,500-pound cabin cruiser. This involved fighting the cold, swift ocean currents that made the 1 mile swim a 6 ½ mile test of strength and endurance.
1958 Age 44:
Maneuvered a paddleboard 30 miles, 9-½ hours non-stop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore.
1959 Age 45:
Completed 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22 minutes. “Happy” is born and The Jack LaLanne Show goes nationwide.
1974 Age 60:
Swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
1975 Age 61:
Swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
1976 Age 62:
Commemorating the “Spirit of ’76”, swam 1 mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
1979 Age 65:
Towed 65 boats filled with 6,500-pounds of Lousiana Pacific wood pulp while handcuffed and shackled in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan.
1980 Age 66:
Towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida filled with 77 people for over a mile in less than 1 hour.
1984 Age 70:
Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 ½ miles.

Jack LaLanne believes in daily, vigorous, systematic exercise and proper diet. “My top priority in life is my workout each day.” Jack exercises 2 hours each day: 1 hour of strength training, followed by 1 hour of swimming. He lives by what he says to others, and has been doing it for over 75 years. Much of what Jack LaLanne has advocated through his teaching and beliefs has become common knowledge today. Today’s doctors and fitness experts all acknowledge daily systematic and proper diet as the principle keys to a longer healthier life.

In our next blog, we discuss how we “ordinary mortals” can learn, benefit and apply Jack’s healthy life practices, eating and exercise to our own.

Read Part 1 of this article.

Read Part 3 of this article.