Skip to content

Tag: value

Don’t be a Cheap Food Family

Posted in Food for Thought

When you buy food, what is your number one concern? Is it how healthy the food is? What chemicals might be in it? Or is your number one concern how cheap the food is? Buying cheap isn’t limited to buying the cheaper off brands at the supermarket. I would consider anything you buy at the supermarket to be cheap food. 

I know what some of you are thinking: “It costs so much to feed my family.” That’s true, but it’s not as expensive as it used to be. In 1950 the average family spent about 30% of their income on food. Today we spend less that 13% of our income on food.[3] That’s not because we’ve suddenly started eating less, if anything, we’re eating more. No, the reason is that food has gotten cheaper. 

The price of basic food items has risen only 3-5x in the last 60 years. However, the price of processed food has increased 10-15x. A small bag of potato chips costs you over $8.00 a pound.[1] Meanwhile, potatoes run about $1 a pound. A 20oz soda also costs about $8.32 a gallon.[2] Suddenly, raw milk at $7.00 a gallon doesn’t sound so bad. I explain this in more detail in my article, Local Food isn’t too Expensive, Conventional Food is too Cheap.

How much Effort do You Put into the Food Your Family Eats?

If you want to show someone how much you appreciate them, the best way is to spend some effort on them. Wives care more about effort than how much their husband spends on them. Kids would much rather their parents spend time with them than get more presents. Remember the last time you were really impressed at a restaurant or other business? Chances are, it had to do with effort. 

Going to the drive thru is about as little effort as you can put out. Conversely, going to the farmers market, joining a co-op, and visiting a local farm shows that you really care about the quality of the food you eat. Local food takes more effort to buy and more effort to cook. This effort shows your family that you care about them. 

When the De Beers diamond company came up with the idea that men should spend about 2 months salary on an engagement ring, they understood something important. Not that diamonds should be expensive, but that women care about effort. It takes effort to buy a ring that costs 2 months salary. 

If a millionaire bought the same ring as a truck driver, his fiance would be insulted. The millionaire could make that much in a few days, whereas the truck driver’s fiance is overjoyed. He spent a good six months saving up for that ring. That’s effort. 

But by all means, go get drive thru, or pick up some microwave meals. That will show your family how much you care. 

 

Your Family Deserves Better Food

You know the old saying, You Are What You Eat. Well, it’s true. Where do you think your body’s cells come from? From thin air? No, you body is constantly replacing old cells with new ones, and to do that, it needs nutrients from the food you eat. That’s why eating quality food is so important. Quality counts.

Eating cheap food is like building a house using rotted wood. You may have gotten a good deal on it. But it’ll cost you later. Every time your child eats, their body uses that food as building material. Is that building material quality? Or is it the cheap rotted wood that cost half as much? 

Look at the pizza rolls in your freezer or the sugary cereal in your pantry. Do you seriously believe that this food is healthy? Are you confident that it is providing quality building materials for you child’s growing body? Are you satisfied with the synthetic vitamins listed on the nutritional guidelines label? 

Sustainably raised food has been proven to be more nutrient dense than conventionally raised food. Buying sustainable food is easier than you think. There are farmers markets, where the farmers come to your area.  Likewise, buyers clubs and coops will usually deliver to your neighborhood. It’s true that it’s more expensive, but you’re worth it, and so is your family. 

 

References

  1. 1.85 oz bag of chips at $.99 x 8.65 = $8.56
  2. 20 oz bottle of soda at $1.30 x 6.4 = $8.32
  3. www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/how-america-spends-money-100-years-in-the-life-of-the-family-budget/255475/ 
  4. www.thepeoplehistory.com/1950s.html 
  5. www.bls.gov/opub/uscs/1950.pdf 

We Don’t Eat Calories, We Eat Food

Posted in Food for Thought

Counting calories, it’s the basis for so many diets. If we cut calories, surely we’ll lose weight. Nutrition guidelines are based on how many calories we should eat per day. We focus so much on calories that we forget that there’s more to food than just calories.

The price of basic food items has risen only 3-5x in the last 60 years. However, the price of processed food has increased 10-15x. A small bag of potato chips costs you over $8.00 a pound.[4] Meanwhile, potatoes run about $1-$2 a pound. A 20oz soda also costs about $8.00 a gallon.[5] Suddenly, raw milk at $7.00 a gallon doesn’t sound so bad.

The calories per serving in modern processed food has gone up as well. But simply measuring how many calories a meal contains is not a good way to gauge how healthy it is. That’s like buying a car based only on how many horsepower it has. Is 350 horsepower enough? How about 600? At some point it becomes ridiculous when all you need is to get the kids to soccer practice.

Mythbusters did an episode on the myth that “There’s as much nutrients in the cardboard box cereal comes in than the cereal itself.” How did they test this? By counting calories. Not vitamins. Not minerals. Only calories. I’ll agree that there’s probably more nutrients in the cereal than the box. As long as you’re okay with synthetic vitamins.

There’s More to Healthy Food than Calories

Processed food contains more calories per dollar than ever before. Yet it makes us fatter than ever before. Is that healthy? Calories are cheaper now than they have ever been in history. These cheap calories are empty calories. This emptiness stems from the raw materials used to make them.

When you grow crops in soil that is deficient in nutrients, those crops are going to be deficient in nutrients. Chemical fertilizer contains Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. What they don’t contain is the hundreds or thousands of trace minerals and nutrients present in healthy living soil. Healthy soil contains millions of microorganisms that take organic material, rock, and other minerals and transform them into nutrients that a plant can use to grow. These are the same microorganisms that make compost work.

Eating nutrient free food is like building a house using rotted wood. You may have gotten a good deal on it. But it’ll cost you later.

Every time your child eats, their body uses that food as building material. Is that building material quality? Or is it the cheap rotted wood that cost half as much? Look at the pizza rolls in your freezer or the sugary cereal in your pantry. Do you seriously believe that this food is healthy? Are you confident that it is providing quality building materials for you child’s growing body? Are you satisfied with the synthetic vitamins listed on the nutritional guidelines label?

Build Your Body with Quality Materials

Local pasture raised meat and eggs are an excellent example of nutrient dense food. Grass finished beef has up to six times the Omega 3 fatty acids as feedlot beef. Grass finished beef has over four times the Vitamin E as feedlot beef.[1] The list goes on and on. But it boils down to one thing. You get more nutrients for your money with local pasture raised food.  

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial for Total cereal. You’d have to eat six bowls of one cereal or ten bowls of another cereal to get the same amount of vitamins as one bowl of Total. The same goes for pasture raised meats and compost grown vegetables. Properly raised local food is two or three times as nutrient dense as their supermarket counterparts. But that’s okay, you can just eat more, right? It’s cheap.

Overeating has become an epidemic. Eating disorders are now considered a mental disorder. It’s true than many people overeat or undereat due to negative feelings and thought patterns. But not everyone overeats due to an eating disorder. Sometimes we eat too much because we’re just plain hungry. Too hungry.

When you eat food lacking in nutrients, your body continues to crave more in the hopes that eventually you’ll eat enough food to satisfy the minimum amount of nutrients. If your body needs more calcium, you might crave ice cream or chocolate. If you need more salt, you’ll crave potato chips or some other salty food.

I think we can all agree that potato chips are not healthy. Sure they have more calories than raw potatoes. But most of those calories comes from the refined vegetable oil the chips are cooked in, not the potatoes. If theses oils are partially hydrogenated, they contain trans fat. Consumption of trans fats is associated with increased rates of cancer. Trans fats can also interfere with insulin receptors, thus triggering Type II diabetes. So much for merely being an empty calorie.

“But my chips are trans fat free.” That may be true, but in order to do that, industry had to replace partially hydrogenated oil with regular vegetable oil. When heated to frying temperature, the linoleic acid in vegetable oil breaks down into toxic substances such as hydroxynonenals. These include aldehydes, which interfere with DNA. Fnd formaldehyde, you know, the stuff morticians use to embalm dead people.[2, 3] It’s very toxic. That’s why they only use it on dead people

Sugar is another favorite food to crave. Sugar is highly addictive.[3] Why is that? Because, for thousands of years, when a human encountered a fruit or berry with fructose in it, that meant that the food was healthy. Berries and fruit that taste bitter are poisonous, sweet ones are not. Fructose in small amounts is healthy. Unfortunately, most Americans eat way more fructose than what’s healthy.

In the 1900s, the average person consumed about 15 grams of fructose a day. Today, people are consuming as much as 150 grams of fructose every day. Usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Altogether, the average person is consuming 22 teaspoons of sweeteners every day.[3] These sugars are even more likely to make you fat than, well, fat. Tootsie Rolls may be 100% fat free, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get fat if you eat a bag a day.

Eating nutrient dense food from local farms will leave you more satisfied. You may find yourself eating smaller portions or eating less often. This is because your body has received the nutrients it needs. All while consuming less calories. That’s the beauty of nutrient dense food. There’s more nutrients per calorie.

 

References

  1. www.eatwild.com
  2. The Big Fat Surprise, Nina Teicholz, 2014
  3. www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/our-broken-food-system/
  4. 1.85oz bag for $1.00 = $8.64 for 16oz
  5. 20oz bottle for 1.29 = $8.25 for 128oz

Quality Counts

Posted in Food for Thought

One of the most common complaints about organic and local pasture raised food is that it costs more. There are several reasons for this. The number one reason is quality. Food from local farms are more nutrient dense pound for pound than food from the supermarket. Industrial agriculture’s main focus is how to grow more and more food cheaper. You cannot have quality when your primary concern is how to make a product cheaper.

When someone buys a Mercedes, they aren’t looking at the price first. They’re looking at the interior, the high-end leather, the real wood veneer. They’re looking at reliability. They want to know that this car will not break down on the side of the road, even years from now. They are willing to pay more for this piece of mind.

When you grow crops in soil that is deficient in nutrients, those crops are going to be deficient in nutrients. Chemical fertilizer contains Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. There may be a few other minerals thrown in depending on the brand you buy. What they don’t contain is the hundreds or thousands of trace minerals and nutrients present in living healthy soil.

Eating nutrient deficient food is like building a house using rotted wood. Sure you may have gotten a good deal on it. But it’ll cost you later. If you’ve ever built a house, you’ve probably found that certain contractors are always busy. They’re booked up months in advance. These contractors are not the cheapest. In fact, they are usually among the most expensive. That’s because they offer quality. Quality costs money.

Every time your child eats, their body uses that food as building material. Is that building material quality? Or is it the cheap rotted wood that cost half as much? Look at the pizza rolls in your freezer or the sugary cereal in your pantry. Do you seriously believe that this food is healthy? Are you confident that it is providing quality building materials for you child’s growing body?

The difference in nutrient density can be seen most prominently in pasture-raised meat and eggs. Grass-finished beef has up to six times the Omega 3 fatty acids as feedlot beef. This is the one modern diets are lacking. Grass finished beef also has over four times the Vitamin E as feedlot beef. This difference in nutrient density is similar across all the nutrients.

Local pasture raised food may be more expensive, but you get more for your money. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial for Total cereal. You’d have to eat six bowls of one cereal or ten bowls of another cereal to get the same amount of vitamins as one bowl of Total. The same goes for pasture raised meats and compost-grown vegetables. Much of the food you buy at local farms is two or three times as nutrient dense as their supermarket counterparts.

This problem of nutrient deficiency in supermarket food comes from the industrial mindset. Industrial agriculture focuses on grown more and more of less types of food. There are more than 7,500 known varieties of apples. Yet at any given supermarket you’ll find maybe 10 different varieties.

Over the course of human history, we’ve eaten over 80,000 different plants. More than 3,000 of those we eat consistently. However, our industrial agriculture system now grows only 8 crops to make 75% of the world’s food. Why is that? Because it’s cheaper to grow these 8 plants in giant monocultures using cheap fossil fuels. Economies of scale favor only having to process 8 different foods. These 8 foods are turned into hundreds of different food additives used to make all of the processed crap you find in a supermarket.

My dad used to joke that mexican food is just the same 6 or 7 ingredients rearranged to make each dish. Well, most of what you find in the supermarket is simply different arrangements of the same 8 basic foods.

The US has the highest rates of obesity and obesity-related conditions than any other country. Why? Because we eat more processed food than any other country. If food companies made processed food with nutritionally dense and sustainably grown grains and produce, it would cost twice as much. Ezekial bread costs $4.00 a loaf, not because they’re selling to elites, but because that’s what it costs to source quality ingredients.

The main reason corn syrup is cheaper than sugar is because corn is grown, transported, and processed using cheap fossil fuels. You cannot have quality when your primary concern is how to make a product cheaper.

I’ve seen this quality issue in the essential oil business. Health food stores have been selling cheap essential oils for years. I’ve heard many people say they’ve tried essential oils, and they didn’t work. I then have to explain to them that there’s a big difference between cheap oils and quality oils. There are several reasons for this. Cheap oils are frequently extracted using high heat and solvents to get as much oil as possible. This adulterates the oil, making it less effective and sometimes dangerous.

Some oils are synthesized in a laboratory. Wintergreen oil is a good example. Cheap wintergreen oil comes from a lab, not from the tree. Because of this, cheap wintergreen oil is poisonous. If you ingest it, you will likely die. We’ve been using essential oils from Young Living for over 15 years. These oils cost more because their quality is second to none. Young Living’s wintergreen is genuine oil from the wintergreen tree. It is not poisonous. I know, because I have ingested full capsules of Young Living’s wintergreen and not even gotten sick.

Lavender is another good example. There are several types of lavender plants. Genuine Lavandula Angustifolia can soothe burns and help them heal. Cheap lavender oil from the health food store is frequently made from Lavandin, a lavender hybrid. Lavandin is high in canfor which will make burns worse. A higher standard of excellence makes a difference. Remember, quality counts.

10 Reasons to Eat Local Pasture Raised Meats

Posted in Food for Thought

You have a choice. You don’t have to support the industrial farming system anymore. There a plenty of local farms in your state producing pasture raised meat, ethically, while healing the environment instead of destroying it.

1. Pasture Based Farms are More Humane than Factory Farms

Conventional chickens and pigs live their entire life in a crowded building, stressed and desperate for fresh air. Even organic. Factory farms cut Chickens’ beaks off to reduce cannibalism in the crowded stressful environment. The same goes for pigs. A farmer will cut a pigs’ tail off to keep the others from chewing on them.

Even beef is not immune to the influence of the factory farm. Even though most cows spend a good portion of their early lives in the pasture, most are finished out in feedlots where they are forced to stand knee deep in manure. Feedlots feed the cheapest grains available mixed with various wastes from brewhouses, industrial food processors and even waste from slaughter facilities. So much for cows being herbivores.

This is not the case at pasture based farms. All animals live outside in the sunshine and fresh air. There is no need to feed animals antibiotics because they are not forced to live their lives wallowing in their own waste. Their beaks and tails can be left intact with no fear of fighting or cannibalism. This is accomplished by giving the animals plenty of room to move around.

Cows are kept in the pasture right up till the butcher date. As are chickens and pigs. This is where they want to be. All animals love grass, they also love sunshine. They get plenty of both on pasture based farms.

2. Pasture Raised Meats are Healthier than Conventional Meat

Animals were never meant to eat the same thing every day. Chickens are supposed to eat bugs, grass, and whatever it can scavenge. Pigs are meant to root in the dirt. Cows are meant to roam and eat grass. Many different varieties.

All of these things help pasture raised animals to have more nutrients and vitamins in their meat.

Wild animals don’t need antibiotics and synthetic vitamin supplements to survive. Why should livestock?

The only reason antibiotics are necessary is because conventional animals are raised in cramped conditions without moving. When animals are forced to live their life on top of manure that’s been there for days or weeks, can you expect anything other than disease?  Confined feeding operations are a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of disease and parasites.

Pasture raised animals can fight off disease just fine on their own. Their immune systems haven’t been torn down by constant antibiotics. Most of the antibiotics given to conventional livestock is given to animals that are not even sick.

All animals, including humans, have natural beneficial bacteria in their gut to help digest food. Antibiotics are designed to destroy all bacteria, including beneficial bacteria. This leads to animals that cannot digest their food properly. They can’t extract as many nutrients from it. Not that there is much to start with in the cheap grains they are fed.

Grass is very high in vitamins and other nutrients. When animals are allowed to graze on pasture, they are acquiring many times more nutrients than a conventional animal who may never see a blade of grass in their life.

Pasture raised eggs are a good example, they have: 1/3 less cholesterol, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and over 4 times as much vitamin D as the eggs you find in the supermarket. All because we put them out on a pasture. The chickens do the rest.

Pasture raised Chicken has twice as many omega 3’s, 50% more vitamin A, 20% less fat, and 30% less saturated fat than conventionally raised chickens.

Grass fed beef can have as much as six times the Omega 3 fatty acid and up to four times the vitamin E than feedlot beef. Grass fed beef also has less fat, and the fat it does have is good for you. Unlike the fat from feedlot beef.

3. Pasture Raised Meat Tastes Better

It’s hard to quantify better taste. You just know it when you taste it. When animals are allowed to move and eat foods that are natural for them, they develop deeper, richer-tasting meat. Meat that doesn’t need a bunch of seasonings, marinades, or chemicals to taste good.

Years ago, before I got into pastured poultry. I came up with a recipe for chicken soup that had 11 ingredients. One of which was, chicken broth because store bought chicken doesn’t have enough flavor by itself. The chicken soup I make with pasture raised chicken only needs 5 ingredients, plus whatever vegetables you want.

If for no other reason, do it for your taste buds.

4. You get More Value from Pasture Raised Meat

I’ve had several customers tell me that our chicken doesn’t shrink up in the frying pan like supermarket chicken does. There is a simple reason for this. Exercise. Our animals get exercise. Exercise builds muscle better than hormones. It builds denser muscle. Conventional meat from the grocery store is less dense that pasture raised meat. This spongy meat soaks up more water. This water comes out in the cooking process.

Pasture raised meat therefore loses less water during cooking. You get more of what you paid for. Water displacement test have been done that prove that one pound of pasture raised meat displaces less water than one pound of factory farm meat. But you can do your own test. Simply fry up some pasture raised chicken along with some supermarket chicken. See which one give you more value.

5. You Can See Where Your Food Comes From

Most conventional farms have No Trespassing signs at their gates. Not the case with your local farmer. They welcome your visit. Customers are encouraged to come see how their food is raised.

If a farmer is afraid to let you visit, you should be concerned about what he’s hiding.

Is he afraid to let you see what conditions his animals live in? This is definitely the case for concentrated animal feeding operations. If you saw how these animals were living, you’d never buy one again.

This may also be the case for a few local farms. Some farmers get lazy and don’t give their animals the attention they need. Allowing customers onto the farm is a great incentive to treat your animals with the respect they deserve.

Is he afraid you will make his animals sick? If that’s the case, then his animals are probably not very healthy to start with. Our animals don’t drop dead after a customer comes to visit. You don’t want to buy any animals that need to be quarantined their entire life.

Does he just not want to be bothered? If that’s the case, then he should go back to selling his animals to the feedlots and at the auction for the lowest possible price. If he wants to make a decent profit off his animals then he has to deal with people.

You can only know your meat is clean and healthy if you see where it came from.

6. Pasture Raised Animals Don’t Do Drugs

Pasture raised animals aren’t fed hormones. The farmers don’t mind their animals taking a little longer to mature. The meat tastes better, and the animals stay healthier when they don’t grow too fast.

Pasture raised animals are not fed antibiotics because they don’t need them. They live in a clean environment with fresh air and the sunshine to naturally sterilize everything. They’re not living in yesterday’s poop, where most of the disease lives.

Pasture raised animals are not breeding superbugs like their CAFO counterparts. Bacteria reproduce exponentially. They can form millions of cells in as little as a few hours. That’s a lot of chances for them to form mutations that help them survive the harsh antibiotics that are meant to kill them.

The old weak bacteria are killed off by the antibiotics, leaving only the new stronger bacteria that are immune to the antibiotics. These bacteria continue to thrive and form new mutations that make them even more dangerous. It’s survival of the fittest. And the fittest are the most dangerous.

7. Pasture Raised Meat is Cleaner Meat

Conventional Slaughter is not as Clean as You Think. Most industrial slaughterhouses use mechanical evisceration. During this process 95% of the time the intestines and stomach burst and contaminate the meat. This is considered acceptable because the industry uses chlorine baths and irradiation to sterilize the meat. Never mind that the meat has poop on it, it’s sterile.

Many states allow up to 10% fecal matter in the cooling vat. Not the kind of marinade you had in mind? Don’t forget the chlorine, that’s tasty too.

Pasture raised chicken is butchered by hand. This keeps the intestines intact so the meat stays cleaner. The meat is also carefully rinsed before going into the cooling baths. This keeps the water clean.

Pasture raised poultry is processed in small facilities. They might butcher 600 chickens in a day. Then they clean up. Conventional giant processing facilities operate around the clock and  process as many as 140 birds a minute. In five minutes they butcher more chickens that a pastured poultry facility does in a whole day. That many birds create a huge mess. It’s impossible to keep these facilities clean. Hence the chlorine and irradiation.

Beef and pork processors have much the same problem. Beef slaughterhouses process up to 400 beef an hour. Pork slaughterhouses process up to 1000 hogs an hour. These animals are much bigger than a chicken. Most of them are covered in feces, but are not washed prior to slaughtering. The contamination is inevitable. But again, chemicals and irradiation will make everything okay.

Local meat processors slaughter less than 100 beef or hogs in a day. Then they clean up. Most of these processors are too small to butcher more than one day a week. The rest of the week is devoted to cutting those animals up. Plenty of time to keep stuff clean.

8. Pasture Based Farms are Environmentally Friendly

Factory farms have a problem. A manure problem. Raising thousands of animals at a time means lots of manure. To make matters worse, this manure is contaminated with antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals. It is toxic and has to go through extra processes to dispose of it.

On pastured farms, manure is not a curse, it’s a blessing. Chicken manure is spread thinly across fields by means of daily moves. A similar process is followed with pigs raised in the woods and cows on the pasture. Never is manure allowed to build up to the point of becoming toxic. The only pile of manure you’ll find is the compost pile. Instead of polluting the environment, the manure feeds the pasture.

In addition, buying locally means that your meat and produce are not trucked thousands of miles before getting to you. That’s a lot of pollution saved.

Pasture raised cows, when managed properly, can help sequester carbon from the atmosphere. When a cow eats a stalk of grass, the plant has to restart its growth cycle. You probably learned back in elementary school that plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. They consume much more carbon dioxide  when growing. Once a grass plant reaches full growth, it goes dormant. Waiting patiently for an animal to come along and eat it, restarting the process over again, and sequestering more carbon.

9. Buying from Local Farmers Keeps the Money in the Local Economy

When you buy from a multinational company your money flies off to some distant city, never to be seen again. When you buy from a local farmer, it stays in the local economy much longer.

Food in the store has multiple markups on it. First there is the farmer who grew the food, then he sells it, usually on the commodity market, to an aggregator. The aggregator sells the food to a processor who turns it into a product. The processor then sells the product to a wholesaler. The wholesaler sells the product to a store who finally sells it to you.

That’s a lot of different people making money off one product. Most of them don’t live nearby.

When a major chicken company contracts with a farmer to raise their chickens, the farmer ends up making relatively little. It’s not uncommon for a conventional chicken farmer to have a job in the city to help pay the bills.

10. More Farms Means More Jobs

The industrial farming sector is obsessed with efficiency. “Look how many chickens one farmer can raise at a time”. “Look how many pigs we can slaughter in a day.”

The problem with these super efficient models is that no one can catch every problem. When a farmer has 40,000 chickens on their farm, they can’t possibly know how many are sick, how many are dying. They can only count the dead ones they find. The only preventative measures they have are medications.

When you scale down to a local pasture based farm. It is much more labor intensive. But I would consider that a good thing. When a farmer has only 1,000 birds at a time, he can take the time to look at every bird. He can take any sick birds and nurse them back to health.

In this economy, we could use some more jobs. So please, support your local farmer. That’s one more person that can support himself and his family. Isn’t that what we all want?