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Why Grass Fed Beef is Better

Posted in Food for Thought

Beef is one of the most vilified foods on the market. It’s blamed for global warming, contributing to heart disease, and using up to a million gallons of water per cow. Some of these accusations may contain grains of truth, but only when regarding industrial beef. Also known as feedlot beef. 100% grass fed beef is not guilty of any of these problems.

“Grass-Fed” Beef is not the same as 100% grass fed.

The meat industry has been calling beef “grass-fed” despite being fed in a feedlot for the last several months before slaughter. You can read more about this scam in my article Grass-Fed Feedlot Beef. For simplicity, I’m going to use the term grass-fed to refer to 100% grass-fed and finished beef in this article.

100% Grass Fed Beef is Healthier

Meat from grass-fed animals have up to four times as much omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain-fed animals. As soon as cattle are taken off grass and fed grain, the omega-3s begin to diminish. This is because grain tends to be low in omega-3s and high in omega-6s. Grass is the opposite. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s.[1]

Grass fed beef also contains up to four times as much vitamin E as feedlot beef.[1] Even feedlot beef fed high doses of synthetic vitamin E only contained half as much vitamin E as grass fed beef given no supplements. Interestingly, most Americans are deficient in vitamin E. I wonder why.

Grass fed beef also contains less fat than feedlot beef. Grain makes cattle gain weight fast, that includes gaining much more fat. This fat is different from the fat of grass-fed cows. As i mentioned earlier, there is more omega-3s. There is also three to five times more conjugated linoleic acid or CLA in grass fed beef.[1]

Many of the nutrients in grass fed beef have been proven to protect us from disease. Omega-3s, vitamin E, and CLA have been shown to reduce our risk of cancer.[1] Grass fed beef has also been shown to be higher in beta-carotene, the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium.[3]

100% Grass Fed Beef is Safer

In a study done by Consumer Reports, they tested beef from various sources. They found that conventionally raised beef was more likely to have bacteria overall. Three times as many samples of conventional beef tested positive for drug-resistant bacteria as did the grass fed pasture-raised samples.[2]

When cattle are fed grains, their rumen goes from alkaline to acid. This allows bacteria to become acid resistant. Once they are acid resistant, they can survive in our digestive tracts. E-Coli O157, the most notorious, is acid resistant. It flourishes in the acid rumens of feedlot cattle.  

According to a study published in the April 2011 edition of Clinical Infectious Disease, nearly half of us meat and poultry is likely contaminated with Staph. This despite the widespread use of antibiotics in the raising of livestock.

Ammonia in Your Beef?

In 2001 Beef Products Inc. (BPI) began taking low-quality trimmings usually relegated to pet foods and began injecting this beef with ammonia. The ammonia effectively killed e-coli and salmonella, but it had side effects. Namely the odor and taste. The USDA accepted BPI’s own study as evidence that the treatment was effective, no testing required. This created tension inside the USDA, leading a USDA microbiologist to call it “pink slime”. Interestingly, beef prepared using ammonia is banned for human consumption in the European Union and Canada.[5, 6]

In an effort to make their product appear more palatable, BPI requested the ammonia be listed as a processing agent, this means that they no not have to list it as an ingredient. It’s known as lean finely textured beef, ammonia is not mentioned. Chances are, you’ve eaten finely textured beef recently. In 2012, up to 70% of ground beef  sold in the US contained finely textured beef. That number dropped off for awhile after the “Pink slime” scare, but has recovered. Meat containing 15% or less finely textured beef is called simply, ground beef.

School lunch officials used finely textured beef in order to save money, approx. 3% over regular ground beef. However, school lunch officials reported that BPI products began failing tests for salmonella. Up to three times as often as suppliers which didn’t ammoniate their meat. The contamination was not a failure in the ammonia treatment. Pathogens die when treated with enough ammonia. The problems showed up when BPI began lowering the ammonia content. This came in response to complaints by customers about the taste and smell of the beef.

Regardless of whether beef treated with ammonia is safer than beef not treated, I would rather not eat ammoniated meat. You can be reasonably sure that local 100% grass fed beef is free of ammonia. I don’t mind cooking my beef, and i’ll take my chances. After all, I know my farmer. I don’t know BPI.

100% Grass Fed Beef is More Sustainable

From an energy standpoint, grass-fed animals are cheaper to raise. Properly managed pasture requires only 1 calorie of fossil fuel to produce 2 calories of food.[7] Herbivores can eat these plants, humans cannot eat them. Raising grass fed beef does not require a lot of energy, the cows are harvesting their own food. The cost is in management, not fossil fuels.

Grass will grow in drier climates where crops and even trees do not grow well. Grass can survive on less water than crops and trees. This is because healthy grassland absorbs much more water. Instead of running off to the nearest stream, this water is used by plants or seeps down to refill aquifers. Soil with more organic matter has the ability to hold water from rainfall and slowly release it, reducing the severity of floods.[7]

Grazing land soils in the Great Plains contain over 40 tons of carbon per acre, while cultivated soils contain only about 26, on average.[7] I would not consider most of those grazing lands to be well managed. Yet they still contain nearly twice the soil carbon. This carbon is captured by grasses, legumes, and shrubs then stored in the soil when the roots are shed after grazing.

Once an herbivore eats grass down the process begins again. The grass goes into fast growth, breathing in carbon dioxide(CO2), breaking the carbon atom off and exhaling oxygen(O2). It does this until it’s either eaten again, or reaches full potential and goes dormant. Grasses going dormant is why undergrazing is just as bad for grasslands as over grazing.

Corn-Fed Beef is not Sustainable

While grass requires only 1 calorie to produce 2 calories of food, many crops, such as corn, require from 5 to 10 calories of fossil fuel for every 1 calorie of food produced.[7] The only reason this is even remotely feasible is because fossil fuel is cheap.

Corn is amongst the greediest of plants. It uses more fertilizer than any other crop grown on earth.[8] One reason is over-fertilization. Farmers apply up to twice the needed amount as a form of crop insurance. Sometimes this is necessary because the volatile nitrogen can be washed away by rain, evaporate into the air, or seep into the groundwater.

Cows are among the most inefficient at turning corn into meat. It takes on average 8 pounds of grain to put on 1 pound of weight.[8, 9] Pigs need only 3-4 pounds and chickens only need 2-2.5 pounds.[9] This is one reason for the rise in consumption of chicken.

Corn is not a natural food for cows. A cow digests food using fermentation. This is fine when the food is grass, but when a cow ingests corn, that fermentation becomes acidic. This can lead to acidosis, like heartburn. Feedlots have to give their animals special antibiotics to buffer the acidity. They also have to routinely use antibiotics to treat sick animals that probably wouldn’t be sick if they were still out on pasture.

Bloat is serious condition where the fermentation process is hindered by too much grain and not enough roughage. A layer of foamy slime forms in the rumen, which stops cows from burping. This gas continues to build up until pressure on the lungs suffocates the animal. Treatment requires shoving a tube down the animal’s throat to expel the gas. Does this sound humane to you?

100% Grass Fed Beef is More Humane

A calf born on a sustainable farm had a pretty good life. Farmers raising 100% grass-fed cows are focused on keeping their animals calm. Calm animals grow better, and taste better. This focus guides every part of the operation.

Most farmers aim to have their calves in spring. This is when the grass is at its best quality. If it’s a nice day, the cows can have their calve out on pasture. Out there the warm sun dries the calf gently and sanitizes the pasture.

Spring calving is also better for the mother. Spring grass is the most nutrient dense. That’s exactly what a newly lactating cow needs. Once she gives birth, her nutritional needs accelerate. But that’s why spring calving is so appropriate, her need accelerate at the same time that the grass is most ready to meet those needs.

When it comes time to wean, the farmer reduces stress by keeping as many things the same as they can. Once separated, they put the calves and mothers back in the same field as before, separated only by an electric fence. This allows them to see each other, but the calves can’t nurse. After a few days, the calves can be moved to another field and will hardly notice that their mothers are gone.

These cows stay on pasture right up until the day they’re shipped to the butcher. This is probably the only time they’re transported by truck, unless they were bought at a sale barn. They’re driven to the local processor, usually up to an hour or two away.

Many processors will take animals the day before butcher, to be kept overnight in tiny concrete stalls. This makes it easier on the farmer, but not the animals. Sustainable farmers like to bring their animals the same morning as they will be butchered. This is less stressful for the animal and more sanitary. Infact, one of the processors I used years ago insisted that we bring animal on the day of butcher instead of the night before. This was to prevent them from laying down in their own poop.

  This part might be a little stressful, but not nearly as stressful as conventional cows going to a massive slaughterhouse. Remember, grass-fed cows are used to people. They’ve been moved everyday. All of their experiences with humans have been positive. Unlike conventional cows. Cattle prods were made to move cows.

Feedlot Beef is Not Humane

A cow destined for a feedlot has a much rougher life. Conventional calves are born all year round. Feedlots need a steady supply of feeder calves all year. Some lucky calves are born during spring, others are born in the hot summer or during the cold of winter. Maybe the barn is heated, or maybe not. During winter, there is no fresh grass to be had for a couple months. Only dry hay. Not the most palatable thing to start off on.

Once the calves are born, life is pretty good, for about six months. Then it’s time for weaning. Most cattle ranchers accomplish this by separating the calves and locking them in a weaning barn. This sudden separation and change in location causes much stress for the calves and their mothers. You can always tell it’s weaning time by all the mooing and racket. Imagine if someone kidnapped your child. This is how the mother cows feel. One minute their calf is with them, the next minute it’s gone. That’s stressful.

Weaning is perhaps even more stressful for the calves. Weaning is a series of new and scary experiences, all at the same time. For the first time in their lives they are separated from their mothers, locked in a barn stall, taught to eat from a trough, and fed a new diet of corn. The stress of weaning and the change in diet make the calves prone to getting sick. This is when the medications begin.

Shipping fever, a viral infection common in feedlots, is the biggest killer of beef cattle. It’s caused by the stress of shipping calves long distances, which weakens their immune systems. Immune systems that were already weakened from weaning and their new diet. Then they are crowded together in large pens with cattle from other ranches. This exposes them to a host of new viruses.[10] Considering their living conditions, can anyone be surprised that feedlot cattle get sick?

Life in the feedlot is the real tragedy. Cows are herded into pens with around 90 others. When i say herded, i don’t mean gently prodded along. The aforementioned cattle prods are used on any cows who don’t cooperate. Ranchers are not asking permission. They’re not interested in what the cow wants to do, only what they need to do to grow the cows as fast as possible.

Once the cows are securely in their pens, they stay there for the next several months. These pens are about the size of a hockey rink. That may sound big, but when you have 90 cows, each dropping up to 50 pounds of excrement every day, that pen gets filthy in no time. You may have seen pictures of cows in feedlots standing on small hills, those hills aren’t made of dirt. While some feedlots try to clean their pens as often as every week, that still can’t keep up with 90 cows dropping manure every day.

Choose Local Beef

When you buy from a small local farm, you can be sure what you’re getting. Ask the farmer how they raise their beef. Do they feed any grain? Do they move their cows every day? Do they give them antibiotics or hormones? Can you come visit any time?

Go visit the farm. See the animals out on pasture. Get to know your farmer. Only by knowing them personally will you be able to trust them. You don’t need a fancy label or expensive certification to know your meat is good. Certifications aren’t guarantees. They may send an inspector out once a year, but who knows what the farmer does the other 364 days of the year. Not someone relying on that certification. Customer inspection is the best inspection.

 

References

  1. eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm
  2. www.consumerreports.org/cro/food/how-safe-is-your-ground-beef
  3. www.animalsciencepublications.org/publications/jas/articles/87/9/2961
  4. www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html
  5. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_slime
  6. agrifoodscience.com/index.php/TURJAF/article/view/148
  7. www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/technical/nra/rca/?cid=nrcs143_014209
  8. The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan, 2016
  9. alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=29892
  10. eatwild.com/animals.html

Everything I Know About Food I Learned from PR Companies

Posted in Food for Thought

Coffee is good, now it’s bad, but it’s good again. No wait, it’s bad, we’re sure this time.

I’m confused. Can we make up our minds?

No, we cannot. Because Public Relations(PR) companies are responsible for most of the promotion these studies get. A Public Relations company working for the coffee industry is going to look for studies that lean toward coffee being good for us. A PR company working for someone else, say a tea or water company want the studies that say the opposite.

There are many food myths that have been propagated by means of PR.

  • Saturated Fat consumption is linked to heart disease
  • Red meat causes cancer
  • Raw milk is dangerous

These are just a few myths based on biased scientific studies and propagated by PR companies working for industries that will benefit. Once they find a study they like, it’s time for another useful tool, repetition. If you repeat something over and over again through enough different channels, people will begin to believe it. The tobacco companies used this tactic for years to stall regulations and judgements against them.  

Most of the studies we hear about are short term. A PR company finds one thing that proves a point they like, then they publish it. So why would the news media report such questionable studies? It comes down to money. Budgets are tight. Newspapers and networks do not have the staff to fact check everything.

The news media these days are busy, strapped for cash, and looking for stories. With the advent of 24 hour news channels networks suddenly have a lot of time to fill. It’s expensive to produce all these packages. So when a PR company calls offering a free news package, the channels scoop them up.

Newspapers are especially susceptible to this. With the rise of the internet, newspapers everywhere are in decline. They can’t afford to have a full staff anymore. They’re looking for way to cut costs and generate revenue. PR companies are more than happy to provide pre-written articles for free, or even paid for.

Native Advertising companies like Sharethrough or Outbrain proudly boast how they can get your ads posted on sites like: CNN, Fox News, fortune, New York Times, etc. Native Advertising has been shown to be much more effective than traditional advertising. They are piggybacking off the hard earned trust built by the publisher.

The next time you’re watching the local news, keep an eye out for a random feel good story. Probably something that happened in another city. Listen closely. Are they frequently naming one specific company throughout the piece? This is native advertising.

You can do the same thing with a newspaper or online news site. If you see an article touting the benefits of a certain product or company, you can be reasonably sure that it was paid for or written by a PR company.

Native advertising isn’t inherently evil. I’ve found many useful products through articles in magazines or on a website. It all comes down to trust. I knew these articles were probably native ads, but I trusted the publisher to vet the product before they promoted it. Companies have to advertise. Otherwise they will go out of business.

The next time you’re reading an article claiming scientific studies show that such and such food is bad for you, stop and ask yourself. Who benefits? When raw milk is called a health risk, the industrial dairy industry benefits. When claims are made that all milk is bad, who benefits? Soy milk, almond milk, or other alternative milk companies.

Big corporations have been using PR for years to sway public opinion. Let’s go over a few examples.

Myth #1: Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease

For years we’ve been told by our doctors and the government to eat less red meat, not eat butter or eggs. Eat fat-free foods (which tend to be high in sugar). We now know that these recommendations are wrong, but where did they come from?

In the late fifties, Ancel Keys gathered data on over 12,000 middle-aged men in 7 countries in Europe, Japan, and the United States. The study showed a correlation between intake of saturated fats and deaths from heart disease. Thus beginning the decades long vilification of fat.

Who benefits from this myth?  The sugar industry.

A recent article1 in the New York Times reveals that the sugar industry paid scientists up a year’s wage to publish handpicked studies that downplayed the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the cause. These studies became gospel and shaped the way we viewed fat for decades.

According to Nicole Hahn-Niman in her book Defending Beef, the Ancel Keys study is flawed. It shows a correlation between fat and heart disease. But what it fails to point out, is that there is an even bigger correlation between the consumption of sugar and heart disease.2

This study left out many countries in Europe, such as France and Germany, that did not show high signs of heart disease, despite high consumption of saturated fats. This study was clearly designed to shift the blame for heart disease away from sugar and blame it on saturated fat.

This myth has permeated every facet of traditional health advice. Suddenly anything with saturated fat or cholesterol was off limits. People were instructed to eat margarine instead of butter. Margarine is made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Let’s talk about vegetable oils.

Myth #2: Use Vegetable Oils Instead of Lard, Butter, or Beef Tallow

Eat margarine, not butter. Use vegetable oil for frying, not lard, not beef tallow. Vegetable oils do not contain saturated fats and therefore are heart healthy.

This advice has been promoted by the grain industry since the 1970s. These companies wanted americans to stop eating so much animal products and eat their products instead. It’s all about increasing market share.

Vegetable oils are produced by mechanical and solvent extraction. This leaves traces of solvents such as hexane in the oil. These oils go through a process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming–all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety.3

Hydrogenated vegetable oil products such as shortenings and margarine contain trans fat. Even canola oil, touted for being heart healthy due to its high levels of omega-3, is not good for you. This is due to the heavy processing that canola oil must go through to become edible. During the deodorization process most of the omega-3s in canola oil are transformed into trans fats.4 They managed to turn something healthy into something unhealthy.

In the 1940’s, researchers found a strong correlation between cancer and the consumption of fat—the fats used were hydrogenated fats although the results were presented as though the culprit were saturated fats. For years saturated fats were lumped in with trans fats in various US databases used by researchers to correlate dietary trends with disease conditions. Despite being frequently studied together, saturated fat always got the publicity, trans fat was rarely mentioned.5

Myth #3: All chickens live in sunny fields surrounded by happy cows and pigs.

Just drive by any commercial chicken farm. You’ll see the truth. You’ll smell it too.

Myth #4: Raw Milk is Dangerous

Government agencies, encouraged by the dairy industry, have been warning that raw milk will make us sick. They claim that raw milk may contain pathogens and contribute to foodborne illness. This despite the fact that pasteurized milk is by the same logic also unsafe because it also may contain pathogens.

This myth is being propagated by the dairy industry. They do not want competition from small dairies taking market share away from them. Milk consumption is already on the decline. Again, market share is the motivating factor. Not science.

The FDA and other government agencies like being in control. Raw milk is produced outside of their control. They don’t trust small farmers or businesses. They believe that they are the only ones qualified to say what’s safe to eat and what’s not. Consumers are dumb, we have to tell them what to eat. After all, if consumers we’re truly free to choose the food they eat, the these government agencies would be irrelevant.

Reports on the dangers of raw milk are greatly exaggerated.6 In an analysis of reports on 70 outbreaks attributed to raw milk, the Weston A Price Foundation found many examples of reporting bias, errors and poor analysis resulting in most outbreaks having either no valid positive milk sample or no valid statistical association.

A government document published in 2003 indicates that on a per-serving basis, deli meats are ten times more likely to cause foodborne illness than raw milk.6 Surely you’ve heard about this. No? Well, you can thank the dairy industry.

Myth #5: The Food Pyramid Promotes Healthy Eating

In 1992 the USDA created the food pyramid. The base of the pyramid was the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group. It recommended 7-11 servings of this group. More than twice that of any other group. All of these food items contain mostly carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar during digestion.

The food pyramid lumps fats in with sweets. This is just another example of fat being considered as unhealthy as sugar. Meanwhile carbohydrates and sugar have been shown to be more likely to cause weight gain than animal fats.7

The food pyramid was developed using input and questionable science from industry funded experts. One such study fed mice soybean oil, hydrogenated coconut oil, sugar, and maltodextrin to make them obese. Only then did they study the effects of that obesity. Of course, no one talks about what caused the obesity, only what happened once the mice were obese.8

The takeaway you need to remember is that the government and news media do not perform their own studies. They merely review studies done at the behest of industry or independent groups. The government is highly influenced by industry by means of campaign donations, lobbying, and hiring of officials that have ties to the industry they are regulating.

The news media is likewise influenced by industry by means of large advertising campaigns and scientific studies that may or may not be biased. If a large corporation is spending many millions of dollars advertising with a single news company, that is going to have an effect on the news coverage. The writers, editors, and producers do not want to risk upsetting a major advertiser. They cannot afford to lose them as an advertiser.

Large companies have a lot to lose and a lot to gain, depending on what the public thinks about them. They have a lot of money to use to sway public opinion, and they do so every day.

On the other hand, small local farms do not have a lot of money. They don’t hide behind lawyers, no trespassing signs, and pretty packaging. They cant afford expensive PR companies, but that’s okay. They don’t need them. The truth is on their side, as is their army of happy customers.

 

References

  1. www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html
  2. Defending Beef, Nicolette Hahn Niman, 2014
  3. www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/dirty-secrets-of-the-food-processing-industry/
  4. www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/the-skinny-on-fats/
  5. Defending Beef, Nicolette Hahn Niman, 2014
  6. www.realmilk.com
  7. www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/our-broken-food-system/
  8. Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger

Are You a Plant Murderer?

Posted in Food for Thought

Are you a plant murderer? Do you systematically chop plants up and eat them? Never thinking about how the plant may feel about this? You always hear people claiming that meat is murder. Did you ever stop to consider that salad is also murder? How do you think that lettuce feels? Or the onions? Well they don’t feel anything anymore, because they’re dead now.

A continuous genocide happens every year in this country and all over the world. Billions of plants are grown then viciously chopped down in the prime of their lives. We commit this grievous crime in the name of survival. “We cannot live without food.” proponents claim.

But we are also biased in our consumption. We only eat certain plants which we have arbitrarily deemed fit for consumption. There are thousands of domesticated plants that are now nearly extinct because of our biased consumption. We no longer eat them. In 1910 there were 15,000 different types of apples growing in the United States. 100 years later, it has been whittled down to about 500. Most supermarkets carry less than 12 varieties.9

We import 20 million tons of bananas each year. Supermarkets buy them by the pallet. Walmart reported that bananas were the best selling item they carry. Yet bananas are one of the least nutritious foods you’ll find in the produce section. There are about 12,000 varieties of bananas grown across the world, yet Americans have chosen one banana, the cavendish, as the one they like best. 

Meanwhile, the pretty plants get a pass. How is that fair? Have you ever seen anyone eat a rose or a daylily? No, they get to live in our gardens for years to grow old and die.

“But, we can’t eat flowers.” apologists claim. Not true. Dandelions are very nutritious. But we don’t eat them. Why? Because they’re a weed. Here’s is another bigoted attitude that favors the killing of certain types of plants over others. If it’s too pretty, we don’t eat it. But we also won’t eat it if it’s too ugly. Just look at kale, who eats that?

Much of our eating habits as Americans is based on emotions. “I don’t eat meat, those poor animals.” So you’re saying you don’t eat meat because you feel bad. That’s fine, as long as you admit that. But most of us don’t feel bad.

The Vegetarian Argument

“But aren’t we, as humans, better that that? We don’t have to eat meat.” That’s an emotional argument. It’s an opinion. If it makes you feel better, that’s fine. You can point your nose at the sky and feel superior to the rest of us barbarians all you like. But you’re opinion doesn’t make you better than me.

It’s true that we can survive without eating meat, but that doesn’t mean we’re better off. Pound for pound, meat contains many times the nutrients of plants.1 In addition, many of the nutrients in plants cannot be efficiently used by the human body.2

Vegans and vegetarians point to soy as their savior. Processed soy, to be exact. Soy contains protein, which vegetarians are lacking due to not eating meat. Soy may contain protein, but it also contains trypsin inhibitors which hinder protein digestion.2 Soy contains anti-nutrients which can lead to deficiencies in other minerals and nutrients.2

In order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins from our food, we need to eat fat. Namely, animal fats. Studies have shown that consuming beta-carotene with beef tallow instead of sunflower oil increased the amount absorbed from 11 to 17 percent.

The American diet is laden with trans fats and refined vegetable oils as replacements to saturated fats. These vegetable based oils are vegetarian in nature, but they are poison to your body. The trans fats created by partially hydrogenating these oils have been linked to various conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc. Vegetable oil is no better. When vegetable oil is heated, like in deep fryers, toxic byproducts are created. Aldehyde and formaldehyde are two. These chemicals are normally used to preserve dead bodies.3

Research shows that eating animal fat raises your HDL-cholesterol – the good kind. HDL-cholesterol has a larger indicator of heart disease risk than LDL-cholesterol. The Framingham study showed that people with low HDL-cholesterol have a rate of heart attacks eight times higher than people with high HDL-cholesterol. Only animal fat has been found to raise HDL-cholesterol.3

A Confession

I must admit, I am also a plant murderer. But I don’t limit myself to plants. I also consume meat. And since meat is murder, i therefore, must be an animal murderer. But like many of you, i only eat the ugly animals. You know, “those” animals. The ones mankind has arbitrarily deemed okay to eat.

I eat chicken, not dog. I eat beef, not horse. Again, we’re letting our emotions dictate our food. Dogs and horses are cuter and prettier than chickens and cows. I understand why we don’t eat dogs, carnivore meat isn’t very healthy and it just doesn’t taste very good. But horses are herbivores, like cows. They taste very similar. I’ve heard.

“But horses are noble creatures. We ride them.” you’re probably saying. That may be true, but you can ride a cow also. My mom tells us stories of how she used to ride the family milk cow when she was a kid. Sure, she wasn’t winning any races, but she had fun. And when that cow got too old, they butchered it and ate it.

 

We need to refrain from demonizing and eliminating any one type of food. I am not advocating a plant-free diet. We should all eat plenty of meat, plenty of fruits and vegetables. Even grain has its place, namely sprouted grains. Don’t blindly follow the same shoddy science that demonized fat and promoted carbohydrates and vegetable oils as the replacement.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Anytime you hear some news story demonizing meat, fat, or some other type of food, be skeptical. Chances are, that story was promoted by some industry looking to gain market share. And before you accuse me or my references of being shills for the meat industry, stop and ask yourself something. Who has more money, the processed food industry or a small group of local farmers? I’m telling you to stay away from industrial food. Truth doesn’t need millions of dollars in PR.

 

References

  1. www.westonaprice.org/vegetarianism-and-plant-foods/
  2. www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/vegetarianism-and-plant-foods/myths-of-vegetarianism/
  3. The Big Fat Surprise, Nina Teicholz, 2014
  4. Defending Beef, Nicolette Hahn Niman, 2014
  5. Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, 2010
  6. Death by Food Pyramid, by Denise Minger
  7. Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, 2001
  8. www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/know-your-fats/the-skinny-on-fats/
  9. Eating on the Wild Side, Jo Robinson, 2013
  10. www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/nutritional-adjuncts-to-the-fat-soluble-vitamins

Don’t Throw Out the Yolks!

Posted in Food for Thought

No Yolks, egg beaters, yolk free omelettes. These products are touted as a health revolution. Finally we’re free from those blasted yolks. So what’s wrong with yolk? Well, nothing really, but they contain Cholesterol and Saturated Fat. Two of the most vilified substances in food.

For years we’ve been told not to eat eggs. They can lead to heart disease, we’re told. The advice worked. Americans now eat approximately 41 fewer eggs per year than a century ago. According to Mary Enig PhD, American’s consumption of saturated fat has decreased by 21% over the course of the 21th century.

What hasn’t changed is the rates of stroke and heart disease. They have not gone down. At best they have merely remained the same. How can this be?

It’s very simple. The advice is wrong.

Saturated Fat and Cholesterol are not Your Enemy

Saturated fats play many important roles in the body. The lungs and kidneys cannot work without saturated fat. Saturated fats provide integrity to the cell walls, promote the use of essential fatty acids, enhance the immune system, protect the liver, and contribute to strong bones.

Our bodies need saturated fat. If we don’t have enough, our body will make it out of carbohydrates and excess protein. Breast milk contains saturated fat. Over half the fat in the brain is saturated fat. Humans have been consuming saturated fats for thousands of years. Heart disease, obesity, stroke, and diabetes are recent epidemics. A century ago they were rare, now they are commonplace.

Naturally occurring cholesterol contributes to the strength of the intestinal wall. Cholesterol helps babies and children develop a healthy brain and nervous system. Food that contains cholesterol also contain many other important nutrients. Only oxidized cholesterol, found in most powdered eggs and milk, contributes to heart disease.

Eggs are a Complete Food

Eggs are nature’s perfect food. Mankind has been eating eggs for millennia. An egg contains all the nutrients needed to grow a chick from embryo to a two day old chick. Egg yolks provide an excellent source of protein. They contain the gamut of vitamins and essential fatty acids that contribute to the health of the brain and nervous system. It’s no wonder that asian cultures value eggs as a brain food.

Most of these vitamins and nutrients are in the yolk. Egg yolks are the most concentrated source known of choline, a B vitamin, that is necessary for keeping cholesterol moving in the bloodstream.

Pastured Eggs are the Best Eggs

The eggs you buy in the supermarket are not the same as the ones you buy at the farmer’s market. It doesn’t matter how many certifications they have or how big they print “Free Range.” Even the organic eggs are raised in the same type of barns as the cheap eggs. Sure, some of them get to run free inside the barn, and they may even have access to outside. Hence the term free range. But having access to a small dirt yard does not make a healthy egg.

Pastured eggs are laid by hens out on pasture. They get to eat fresh grass and live bugs every day. This is how chickens are supposed to live. Not forced to walk across a floor layered in weeks old poop to get to their feed and water.

Properly produced eggs are rich in virtually every nutrient we’ve ever discovered. And many we haven’t yet discovered. Pastured eggs have both Omega-3 and Omega-6 in nearly equal proportions. CAFO eggs have as much as 19 times as much Omega-6 than Omega-3. Many other nutrients necessary for the development of brain are found in pastured eggs but are almost wholly absent in CAFO eggs.

Another problem with commercial organic eggs is freshness. The sell by date on organic eggs is based on the packing date, not the date they were laid. This means that organic eggs could be up to a month older than regular eggs. Certification is no guarantee of quality. If you don’t know where your eggs come from, then you don’t know if they’re any good.

Don’t Eat Powdered Eggs

Powdered eggs contain oxidized cholesterol. Dr. Fred Kummerow said in a new York Times interview: “Cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, except if it’s oxidized.” Oxidation happens in the drying process. In order to dry the eggs they must be exposed to air.

Powdered eggs come from industrial cracked eggs. These eggs can’t be sold in cartons so they are separated and sent to a grinder, shells and all. These shells may have manure or chlorine on them. The eggs get pushed through a screen to separate the egg from the shell. They are then dried to make powdered eggs.