Glossary: Terms (P-S)


Glossary of Ingredients

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PESCETARIAN: is the practice of a diet that includes seafood and excludes mammals and birds. In addition to fish or shellfish, a pescetarian diet typically includes some or all of vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs, and dairy.

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PHYTONUTRIENT/PHYTOCHEMICAL: are natural bioactive compounds found in plant foods that works with nutrients and dietary fiber to protect against disease. Research suggests that phytochemicals, working together with nutrients found in fruits, vegetables and nuts, may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cataracts, osteoporosis, and urinary tract infections.

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POULTRY: is the category of domesticated birds that people keep for the purpose of collecting their eggs, or killing for their meat and/or feathers.

In the Western world, poultry is produced on an industrial scale in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The animals are fed diets that they aren’t designed to eat in an effort to get them from birth to processing as quickly and as unnaturally large as possible. The animals get sick from eating poor diets, living in confined, feces-caked spaces and to keep them alive they are given mass quantities of dangerous antibiotics.

The majority of consumers are disconnected from the horrific, cruel and unsanitary conditions birds are raised and processed (a.k.a slaughtered) in. The environmental damage and the hidden costs of CAFO agribusiness is something everyone should be aware of before they make their “vote” at the grocery store or restaurant.

Do your research. The poultry industry wants you to remain ignorant so you will buy their products packaged with that happy sunny farm logo on the front. If you choose to eat poultry or eggs, make sure that you are purchasing your products from farmers who not only can be transparent about their farming processes with you, but who grass feed their animals in truly free-range conditions. Farmers’ Markets are a great place to find grass-fed, truly free-range poultry and eggs directly from the farmer.

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PREBIOTICS: are the preferred foods of probiotics—a.k.a “friendly bacteria”. Prebiotics maintain and stimulate the growth of existing probiotic bacteria. The most effective prebiotics identified are FOS (fructooligosaccharides) which can be found naturally in foods like bananas, onions, chicory root, garlic, asparagus, barley, wheat, jícama, tomatoes, and leeks. The Jerusalem artichoke and its relative, yacón have been found to have the highest concentrations of FOS of cultured plants. Other effective growth enhancers are GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides) and inulin (not insulin) which can be found naturally in foods like yams, jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, jicama, onion, garlic, agave, artichokes, leeks, psyllium and yacón. When probiotics and prebiotics are mixed together, they form a synbiotic—a combination that has the ability to heal and regulate the intestinal flora, particularly after the destruction of microorganisms following antibiotic, chemotherapy, or radiation therapies. Without the beneficial microorganisms throughout the digestive system, proper digestion, absorption, and/or manufacture of nutrients cannot take place.

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PROBIOTICS: are a class of beneficial bacteria that promote health, balance and efficient functioning of the digestive system. These “friendly” bacteria are normal inhabitants of the intestines and help to digest foods by breaking them down into fats, amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for absorption into the body. Probiotics also prevent or limit the growth of unwanted bacterial pathogens that can prevent proper nutrient absorption, create intestinal disturbances and eventually cause more serious illness. Probiotics regulate the intestinal flora, particularly after the destruction of important “friendly” microorganisms following antibiotic, chemotherapy, or radiation therapies. Without beneficial organisms throughout the digestive system, proper digestion, absorption, and/or manufacture of nutrients cannot take place. Probiotics are not the same thing as prebiotics—which are the preferred “food” of probiotics. When probiotics and prebiotics are mixed together, they form a synbiotic which is an ideal way to consume probiotics.

The health benefits of taking probiotics include managing lactose intolerance, prevention of colon cancer, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, improving immune function and preventing infections, reducing inflammation, relieving antibotic-associated diarrhea and other antibiotic side-effects, improving mineral absorption, preventing harmful bacteria growth due to stress, irritable bowel syndrome and colitis and managing urogenital health. Fermented foods like olives, sauerkraut, Nama Shoyu, kombucha, tamari and miso are great sources of probiotics. The best time to take a probiotic supplement is when the stomach is empty (an hour before a meal), but anytime is better than not at all. Look for probiotic and synbiotic formulas at your local health food store.

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is a lifestyle promoting the consumption of un-cooked, un-processed, whole and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet. Raw foodists believe that the greater the percentage of raw food, a.k.a “living food” in the diet, the greater the health benefits. Raw foodists believe that foods cooked above above 46°C (115°F) destroys beneficial enzymes and depletes the nutritional value of foods. Some foods, however, should be cooked as to avoid poisoning. Typical foods in a raw diet include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains and legumes. Benefits of this way of eating includes weight loss, more energy, clear skin, clear mind, positive mood, improved insulin tolerance and improved overall health.

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RAW FOODIST: a person who eats a highly raw food diet.

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S.A.D: is term specifically used to describe the stereotypical diet of Americans which is characterized by high intakes of red meat, sugary desserts, high fat, and refined grains. It also typically contains high-fat dairy products, high-sugar drinks, and eggs.

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: is a movement was founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy to combat fast food. It claims to preserve the cultural cuisine and the associated food plants and seeds, domestic animals, and farming within an ecoregion. The Slow Food movement incorporates a series of objectives within its mission, including: forming and sustaining seed banks to preserve heirloom varieties in cooperation with local food systems; developing an “Ark of Taste” for each ecoregion, where local culinary traditions and foods are celebrated; preserving and promoting local and traditional food products, along with their lore and preparation; organizing small-scale processing (including facilities for slaughtering and short run products); organizing celebrations of local cuisine within regions (for example, the Feast of Fields held in some cities in Canada); promoting “taste education”; educating consumers about the risks of fast food; educating citizens about the drawbacks of commercial agribusiness and factory farms; educating citizens about the risks of monoculture and reliance on too few genomes or varieties; developing various political programs to preserve family farms; lobbying for the inclusion of organic farming concerns within agricultural policy; lobbying against government funding of genetic engineering; lobbying against the use of pesticides; teaching gardening skills to students and prisoners; encouraging ethical buying in local marketplaces.

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: A food with a high phytonutrient content. Blueberries are considered a good example of a superfood because they are high in fiber, antioxidants, anthocyanins, Vitamin C and manganese. Other examples include: goji berries, hemp seeds, cacao beans, maca, spirulina and bee products like bee pollen.

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is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources. Sustainability has become a wide-ranging term that can be applied to almost every facet of life on Earth, from local to a global scale and over various time periods. There is now abundant scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably. A sustainable food system is one that provides healthy food to meet current food needs while maintaining healthy ecosystems that can also provide food for generations to come with minimal negative impact to the environment. A sustainable food system also encourages local production and distribution infrastructures and makes nutritious food available, accessible, and affordable to all. Further, it is humane and just, protecting farmers and other workers, consumers and communities.