Archive for March, 2015

Chickens and Eggs: Free Range vs. Cage Free vs….

March 19, 2015

Pasture Raised vs. Vegetarian Fed — hmmmmm

chicken and egg

The poor chicken egg — We can’t solve which came first, the chicken or the egg. We’ve debated whether they are extremely unhealthy or natures best health food. Now we have to decide, brown or white (or heaven forbid we start selling green ones), cage free or free range or vegetarian or …. Shew!

For this blog, lets break down what you most commonly see on the food label. First, (and probably easiest) is brown vs. white — there is no real difference, its basically genetics!

Now, cage free vs. free range (also seen as free roaming) vs. pasture raised. These buzz words make there way onto the food label all the time in todays grocery store packages. Cage free basically means they don’t live in a cage, it does not mean they live freely. They may be kept in jam packed barns, with cut beaks and don’t necessarily see sunlight or a pasture.

Free range (or free roaming) means they have to see a little daylight but not necessarily much and the amount of time is not regulated or consistent. They can be treated any way they want with regard to beak cutting and other conditions.

The pasture raised term is not yet approved by the USDA so you may not see it too often and there are no required standards to make the claim. Typically pasture raised chickens freely roam and spend most of their day outdoors with opportunities to engage in more natural behaviors. However, you may still see things such as beak cutting and starvation in these environments.

Finally, vegetarian fed. Great right? Well, often vegetarian fed means a diet of corn and soy. The problem here comes with the fact that chickens do not naturally consume a strict vegetarian diet, they eat bugs, worms and insects.

So, now that we’ve cleared up the egg issue for you — Okay okay, our suggestions start with first setting a priority for your own eating. Do you have the budget to afford the more expensive naturally, pasture raised eggs? If not, pick one of the other options as it’s at least a little better then the mass produced cage living chickens. If you are someone that has trouble with soy and/or corn, you may want to look for non vegetarian fed.

Thoughts + Action = Change

March 5, 2015

Did you know that your thoughts have a direct impact on your feelings which then influence your actions?

CBT cycle pic

If your thoughts are self -affirming, rational and positive then you feel capable and happy which leads to healthy and balanced life choices. If your thoughts are negative and self-defeating then you feel stunted even incapable which leads to unhealthy and self-defeating life choices.

If this negative thinking is not interrupted it can lead to a person being caught in a viscous negative cycle where the negative thoughts, feelings and actions feed continued negativity. This negative cycle applies to all areas of life including healthy living and exercise.

Here’s an example of negative thinking:

An individual gained weight over the holidays and has these thoughts. ” I am so fat and unattractive. I have no control over my eating. I’ll never reach my ideal weight”.

In this example you can see how the individual’s negative thoughts do nothing but make that person feel bad leading to self- defeating actions. If a person feels ugly and powerless will he/she go to the gym or eat healthier food/portions? No! This person will cancel plans to go to the gym and will head right to the ice cream container.

Here’s an example of healthier realistic thinking:

“Ok I gained some weight and I don’t feel great. I know I have the skills to manage this and I will get back on track. I am strong enough to do this and if I get stuck I will join that small group workout session that will help to motivate me.”

In this example the individual acknowledges reality and does not ignore that he/she is not thrilled about it, but instead of calling him/herself names the person has self-affirming and motivating thoughts that are realistic. This person is not only more likely to get back on track but will likely start right then and there.

The good news – taking things one step at a time, you can change your thoughts and practice new skills to influence your actions!

by Heidi Woods who owns a private practice in Ellicott City where she works with children, adolescents and adults using Cognitive Behavior Therapy to help create a balanced, healthy life.  If you’d like to contact Heidi, email her at or call her at (443) 791-2308.