“By selecting Free Range items the intent is to consume food products derived from animals raised in a ‘free-range’ environment. Here we look at some of the principles of choosing Free Range products, its potential benefits for both individuals and animal welfare, and provide practical tips for incorporating it into your lifestyle.
Understanding Free Range products
When choosing products that are labelled free range we are focused on selecting food products that come from animals raised in humane, free-range type conditions. The term "free range" generally refers to animals having access to the outdoors, the ability to engage in natural behaviors, and a diet primarily consisting of natural feed sources. There are, however, varying degrees of this happening especially with chickens and hens, so the idea is to try and find products which are certified as such.
By opting for free-range products, individuals following this diet aim to promote animal welfare and make more sustainable food choices.
Key principles of choosing Free Range
Free Range Animal Products: Choose food products derived from animals that have been raised in free-range environments. This includes free-range poultry, eggs, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, and wild-caught fish. Look for certification labels from reputable organizations to ensure the credibility of the free-range claim.
Look for organic and local options: Whenever possible, opt for organic and locally sourced free-range animal products. Organic farming practices prioritise the use of natural feed for the animals, avoid synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and promote sustainable land management.
Choosing more plant-based foods: Complement free-range animal products with a variety of plant-based foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds should constitute a significant portion of the diet to provide a wide range of essential nutrients.
Sustainability: Consider the environmental impact of your food choices. Choosing free-range animal products that promote sustainable farming practices can help minimise the carbon footprint associated with food production.
Benefits of Free Range
There can be many benefits of choosing predominantly free range products, some of which are listed below;
Animal Welfare: Supporting free-range farming practices helps promote animal welfare by allowing animals to exhibit natural behaviors, access outdoor spaces, and receive a more varied diet. By choosing free-range animal products, individuals contribute to a more ethical and compassionate food system.
Nutrient Profile: Free-range animal products may have a more favourable nutrient profile compared to conventionally raised counterparts. Some research has shown that free-range animal products contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, some vitamins, and minerals due to the animals' access to natural feed sources and outdoor grazing.
Environmental Impact: Free-range farming practices often align with sustainable and regenerative agriculture principles. By supporting free-range systems, individuals contribute to a more environmentally friendly food production system with reduced use of synthetic chemicals and improved soil health.
Incorporating Free Range products into your lifestyle
By looking for free-range animal products at local farmers' markets, specialty food stores, or through online sources you are more likely to be able to incorporate more Free Range items into your day to day. Familiarize yourself with reputable certification labels such as Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership, or USDA Organic.
Taking up home gardening can be another excellent way to have more control over the sourcing and quality of your produce, ensuring a more free-range plant component to your diet. Consider growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs in a home garden.
Preparing and cooking meals at home using Free Range animal products whilst incorporating a variety of plant-based ingredients can be another way of incorporating Free Range products into your lifestyle. Explore recipes that emphasize seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to support both the Free Range Diet and sustainable agriculture.
Staying informed about animal welfare issues and sustainable farming practices can be another great way of adopting Free Range products into your lifestyle. Engage with organisations, websites, and literature dedicated to promoting humane farming and the intentional choosing of Free Range products.
Intentionally selecting Free Range products offers a way to nourish your body whilst promoting animal welfare and sustainable food choices. By opting for Free Range animal products and incorporating plant-based foods, individuals can enjoy the benefits of this diet and contribute to a more ethical and environmentally friendly food system. Remember to support local farmers and seek out reputable certifications to ensure the credibility of Free Range claims.
To discover a wide variety of Free Range options, visit www.myWellabee.com.
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Phillips CJ, et al. (2012). The welfare impacts of free-range and confined housing alternatives for egg-laying hens. World's Poultry Science Journal, 68(4): 489-514.
Saba A, et al. (2021). Animal welfare and the environment: A comparison of organic, free-range, and conventional poultry production systems. Sustainability, 13(4): 1992.
Smith-Spangler CM, et al. (2012). Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives? Annals of Internal Medicine, 157(5): 348-366.
Van Elswyk ME, et al. (2006). Milk and dairy products in human nutrition: Production, composition and health. Wageningen Academic Publishers.