May 29, 2010

Did you know?

I like to be informed and right now my husband and I are learning A LOT about beef and chickens. This may have something to do with the fact that we are raising BOTH ;)
Knowledge is power and as time goes on the more we are realizing how much we did not know in the past. This is a hard pill to swallow coming from two former athletes and pretty 'health conscious' people. So here you go.... a little bit of knowledge for you.

Grass-Fed Animals Impart the Best Health
Research on the essential fatty acids has not been out very long, so it is no wonder that it is just now getting into the popular press. The gist of the discovery that is coming to light is that, by cleverly concentrating animal feeds using grains, instead of grasses, man has unwittingly led himself down the road to degenerative disease.

This is because our essential fatty acids, which control myriad bodily functions, fall into two families: the Omega-3's and the Omega-6's. The Omega3 group comes from the leaves of green plants (and plankton in the ocean), while the Omega6 group comes from the seeds (for example, grain used in animal feeds). Animals that eat quantities of green plants have very high levels of Omega3. Conversely, animals fed largely on grain, which includes virtually all American feed animals except lamb, are very high in Omega6.

We should have approximately equal amounts of Omega3 and Omega6 in our bodies, or at maximum, not much more than twice the Omega6 as Omega3. But almost all Americans have ten or twenty times more Omega6 than Omega3, a condition that leads to all sorts of degenerative disease. (See more detail at

The way to rectify this fatty acid imbalance is to consume animal products raised on grass or plankton. All sea life is ultimately based on plankton, so all seafood is balanced in favor of Omega3. The fattier the fish, the more Omega3. Lamb is almost all grass-fed, so that is another fine source of Omega3. Conveniently, simply adding flax seed to poultry diets increases their Omega3 concentration dramatically, and eggs from these chickens are now widely available, even at Safeway. Look for the words "Omega 3" on the carton. (As I perused the breakfast menu at Denny's recently, I asked if they have Omega 3 eggs. "Sure, we can make it three eggs," I was told.) Outside Fresno, California there is now a fabulous dairy, Organic Pastures, whose cows are on glorious, irrigated pasture all year. They produce raw milk, butter, cream, and colostrum. They will ship their milk via UPS anywhere in the US. Searching the Internet for the words "grass-fed" will yield many meat producers who will ship their grass-fed products to you.

So with all these choices, there's no excuse for not getting our fatty acids back into balance. But the very best, most vibrantly healthful way to eat, is to locate and build a relationship with a local farmer who produces grass-fed products, and eat them as fresh off the farm as possible. Something there is in farm-fresh produce of all kinds that imparts health like nothing else can.

1 comment: said...

Funny how we do not live in the same town, we do not talk at all-except through this place-and yet so often I read your posts and think-hey, I am doing the same thing, reading the same thing, watching the same thing, thinking the same thing...

I just two nights ago finished reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and while I didn't find the information so so new, I was further inspired and further convicted of what we eat around here-especially the "healthy" stuff!!

I agree however, that these things are hard and while I have some things figured out, it a such a journey!!! Good to give ourselves a break for all of our slip ups. Sometimes I am envious of people who grocery shop for a bargin at Wal Mart-they don't know better and their conscious is not hitting them over the head every time they buy the apple from china or the "meat" that was on sale....and then I remember I have done this to me-I have researched it, I have read it, watched it-instinctively I have been looking for this information for a LONG time-so really I have me to thank for my stupid conscious..