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"Each patient carries his own doctor inside him."

– Norman Cousins

The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even _ lol _on occasion.

Tuesday. Grocery shopping for optimal health is not easy. You walk down the aisles of your grocery store and it seems like almost everything these days is natural, organic, or has some other label claim that would make it seem as though that product is good for you. But deep down, as an educated and cynical consumer, you know that can’t always be the case. So how do you know what label claims to trust and which label claims are full of it? Let’s dive in.

Organic, Natural, Non-GMO, Clean, blah blah blah...

Alright. Let’s try our best to unconfuse the very confusing world of health label claims. I am not even sure unconfuse is a word but you know what I mean. Before we get to the solution, let’s give the crux of the problem a label (see what I did there?)—cleanwashing. Described by our friends over at Merryfield (more on them in a second) in this post, cleanwashing occurs when a brand uses clean label terms to make you think a product is cleaner, healthier, or better than it really is. An example of this would be Kraft Mac and Cheese highlighting on the front of their package that their product is now free of artificial colors and flavors. They even have a gluten free version! You almost had me there, Kraft, but despite all those claims, packaged Mac and Cheese is a heavily processed food. No bueno. Ok, that example was a little obvious. Here is a more deceiving one. Next time you shop for chicken, turkey, or ham, pay attention to how many brands label these products as “hormone-free.” Sounds good right? You don’t want meat from animals given growth hormones. Well, it turns out growth hormones are generally only used on beef. The claim means virtually nothing on poultry. Yet, the label claim is a common practice in the space as a marketing tool to trick you into thinking conventionally raised poultry products are healthier than they really are. Another infuriating example is the label claim,”natural” used on meat products. The USDA allows meat producers to label their products as natural as long as there are no artificial preservatives added after slaughter. The claim has nothing to do with how the animal is raised prior to slaughter. That’s right. Your grain fed, antibiotic treated beef raised in a feedlot can be labeled as natural, even though the way it was raised couldn’t be further from the way nature intended. The solution? There are some labels that carry more weight than others. USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project are good labels to look for. Despite their loopholes and there being plenty of room for improvement, they are leaps and bounds ahead of the empty promises behind labels like “natural.” You should also check out Merryfield and let them take the guesswork out of untangling the food label claim mess you’ll find when you go grocery shopping. Merryfield is an App that allows you to earn rewards when you shop from verified better-for-you brands that have products that can actually back up their health claims. Want to deep dive? Here is a great piece with more information on the problem Merryfield and cofounder Joe Dickson are looking to solve. You can also catch Joe and hear all about his Central Texas goat ranch on this podcast.

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Are You Tired Of Elon News Yet?

Elon this, Elon that… Dogecoin, Bitcoin, space travel, Tesla, Twitter, SNL… We get it. The guy is everywhere and it seems everyone has Elon-related news to share. So why should the Daily Tonic be any exception? We will keep this one brief though. Tesla filed for a new trademark under restaurant services. That’s right. Elon wants to turn Tesla charging stations into Sonic-like restaurants that serve food while you juice up your electric vehicle. So what is the health-related angle to this story? It will be interesting to see what type of food such a forward thinking company will serve. Will they serve regenerative bison burgers that are good for our health and the health of our planet or will these new charging stations serve canola oil and GMO soy patties covered in glyphosate? Don’t let us down, Elon.

Tonic Shots

  • Maybe just pack a snack from Epic Provisions for your next trip to a Tesla charging station.
  • Heavy metals are another big red flag that won’t show up on label claims. Check out the Clean Label Project to find the best brands low in environmental toxins before your next trip to the store!
  • Speaking of better-for-you brands with products to back it up, here’s your reminder to restock on some bone broth!
  • Have you tried this bedtime cocoa drink yet? You’ll never go back once you get a night of Zzzz with Beam.

Health isn’t just about _ food, movement, and mindset . It is also about the_ _ interactions _we have and what we _ share with our fellow humans._

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