By: Dr. John Bagnulo, Director of Nutrition

While there is an unprecedented abundance of cheap food available to many Americans, it comes with a different challenge not faced by previous generations. Ultimately, growing our own food and/or knowing our farmers are the gold standards. However, if these are not options for some of us, then it becomes very difficult to determine what companies are who and what they say they are. With respect to sourcing clean, chemical-free food, grown the right way, there may not be a more important investment with respect to your health.

This is a list of companies that we have great confidence in. Not simply because they are better than most or because they surpass the low standards set by others. We trust these companies because they set the bar where it should be: without compromise for the environment, the animals they raise, or the nutrients that belong in their products.

Nutritional Medicinals has no financial or other relationship with any of these companies. In our search for appropriate ingredients for recipes we are testing and that we hope to use in educational programs we will be teaching, these are the best, widely available products from companies of substantial size. There are of course countless small farms and companies that can be found locally who do an amazing job of raising great food. We highly recommend establishing a connection with these local farms – that is the true fabric of a sustainable food supply. As you strive towards building that web, consider this list a lead for where you can purchase quality food and real nourishment.

These companies are in no particular order:

  1. Eden Foods. Established out of a macrobiotic philosophy, this company produces a large variety of high quality, traditional Japanese foods as well as a top rated Spanish olive oil, and a variety of canned beans, soba noodles, and teas. Eden places an emphasis on being GMO-free with meticulous genetic tracking records. Check out the link below to learn more about where their products are grown and sourced.

  2. Tropical Traditions. A little over 20 years old now, this company does an amazing job of making sure that everything is grown, raised, and processed according to a very high set of standards. All animals are 100% grass-fed, the eggs that they offer are soy-free (it was their research at Ohio State which revealed how soy-fed chickens pass the soy protein into their eggs), and the coconut oils are the highest grades you can find with several hand-made, small batch oils available. This is the only company that we are aware of that has initiated glyphosate testing of all their products. They are years ahead of the curve!

  3. Lundberg Farms. This company offers high quality rice with a long-standing commitment to sustainability and ecologically-minded farming. Lundberg has taken the arsenic problem with rice head-on by launching its own testing and monitoring program and by initiating a widespread soil-remediation program. Their annual sustainability report is over 40 pages long and it speaks to the priority that ecology is within this family of farmers.

  4. Wild Planet Foods and Vital Choice Seafood. If you are looking for canned seafood with the most careful inspection and analysis for pollutants like mercury, these companies offer the best options. These products are sourced from single line fisherman, are wild, and are canned with both health and flavor in mind.

  5. Tierra Farm. Tierra Farm is a purveyor of organic nuts, seeds, cocoa, coffee, coconut products and more. Tierra Farm does a great job of disclosing their sources and the farming/harvesting methods involved, plus they put a great emphasis on Fair Trade, sustainability and organic throughout their entire company.

  6. Shepherd Song Farm. 100% grass-fed sheep and goat milk cheeses, as well as entirely grass-fed lamb and goat meat. In the US, these cheeses are almost impossible to find from 100% grass-fed animals. With more and more evidence illustrating the importance of A2 casein over A1, and grass-fed over grain-fed dairy products and meats, Shepherd Song Farm supplies Old World quality sheep and goat products to a growing number of people who appreciate the difference.

  7. Frontier Co-Op. The best large-scale grower and supplier of organically grown herbs in North America, Frontier has it all. This might sound like an area of the kitchen that doesn’t warrant as much emphasis on the word organic but don’t be fooled! Many herbs grown commercially are heavily sprayed and the concentrations can really add up. Use more herbs and spices daily, buy them in bulk to save some money, but always make them organic.

  8. Bionaturae. Bionaturae is an Italian-based company that offers high quality organic tomato products, jams, and olive oil. These tomato products and wild berry or bilberry jams are likely the best available on a large-scale basis. No additives, no added sugar, and the best agricultural methods make this company one of the best anywhere.

  9. Choice Organic Teas and Rishi Tea These two companies have a devotion to producing the healthiest and most traditionally flavorful teas. Both offer wide varieties of well-sourced and organically grown teas. Rishi specializes in authentic Japanese green teas. Choice was the first company in North America to produce tea bags without the chemical adhesive used by most manufacturers to seal the bags shut (the vast majority of tea producers unfortunately still use these adhesives!)

  10. Personal Care Products. The ingredients that we place on our skin are most likely going to contribute a significant percentage of their content into our bloodstream. Too often people choose organic foods but use skin moisturizers with parabens, antiperspirants with aluminum and other toxins, or sunscreens with nanoparticles. Stinky Girl Beauty, Weleda, Dr. Hauschka, and Jason are well established as pioneers in the area of chemical-free personal care products. Again, there are many more, smaller companies, but this is a start with those that are readily available no mater where you live. While Dr. Hauschka and Weleda are well known, higher priced products of European origins, and Jason is really well distributed throughout North America, Stinky Girl is lesser known but of great quality in an area where many people need help: an effective and healthy deodorant!

Dr. John Bagnulo is the Director of Nutrition at Functional Formularies and leads nutrition research and development initiatives. Learn more about Dr. Bagnulo here.