Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eating To Kill

Are We Eating Ourselves to Death?

Our diets serve two purposes. The first and obviously the most important though short term goal, is to keep the body alive and functioning.

Secondly, and just as important, is to support and strongly sustain our immune systems for a lifetime.

In the past we necessarily focused on the first goal of getting enough food and how to keep it “safe” from disease carrying pathogens.

We have done a wonderful job in meeting these goals. Our food is safer and more plentiful than in any other part of the world and at any time in history.

But it has come with the cost of sacrificing the second goal of sustaining for a lifetime!

Why? How can that be? Cancer rates remain high and auto-immune, circulatory and respiratory disease are increasing?. Perhaps the answer lies not in what we eat but in how our food source is managed.

We now know that livestock and their produce, raised for food, cannot be forced to subsist and produce in conditions, and with diets, foreign and unrelated to conditions and diets developed as they evolved, and still become or produce healthy, immune-supportive food for human consumption.

In simple terms this means that animals with access to pasture and freedom of mobility to “pick and choose” for their own needs, as opposed to animals confined and force-fed grains and reprocessed animal by-products, provide vitally superior food for humans.

It is not that the meat or milk or eggs or cheese is inherently harmful. It is that these foods, through rigid and confining production methods, have been robbed of much, if not all of their immunity-producing characteristics.

Omega-3 fatty acids and CLAs: Now there is a mouthful! But Omega-3 fatty acids and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid) are “good fat”. Yes, there IS such a thing as good fat and we cannot live without it. Every cell and system in the human body relies on this good fat. We cannot manufacture it so it must be in our diet.

For instance, Omega-3 is the most important fat in the brain, which largely consists of several fats. Lack of Omega-3 increases the risk of depression, aggressive behavior, ADD and dementia.

People with diets abundant in Omega-3 are half as likely to die from heart attacks or stroke.

A ruminant animal, (that is, animals that eat grass etc.) gets its ability to manufacture Omega-3s from green grass. Every day an animal spends in a feedlot being fed grain the Omega-3s diminish. By the time it is slaughtered and ready for consumption it has virtually undetectable amounts of Omega-3s.

Eggs produced from pastured poultry have 400 times the Omega-3 fatty acid that confinement eggs contain. Surprisingly they also have 10% less fat, 40% more vitamin A and 34% less cholesterol!

The next time you crack an egg from your local super market check out the flatness and paleness of the yolk. Strangely enough, the paler the yolk the lower the Omega-3 count and the higher the fat and cholesterol present. A good pasture-run hen will produce an egg with a bright orange yolk that “stands up” well. That is, it does not lie flat but mounds up within the white.

CLA is made in the rumen of grazing animals. It is very similar to LA,(linoleic acid). One important difference in the molecular structure of CLAs and LAs is their effect on a living body.

LAs promote tumor growth.

CLAs block tumor growth.

LAs are linked with diabetes and obesity.

CLAs block the enzymes that move fats from the blood into storage in the body's fat cells.

The milk from cows fed grass and little or no grain had 500% more CLA than did milk from cows fed grain. Yes, it is possible to produce good, sweet tasting milk without grain and a small, but growing, segment of the dairy industry is beginning to do just that.

It is also possible to produce good, lean, reasonably tender and wonderfully flavorsome beef with carefully orchestrated grazing and little or no grain input. It is being done.

Old mindsets die hard, however, and the negative connotations of “grassfed” in the cattle business is an easy one for confinement producers to exploit.

In the past beef sold as grassfed was almost always the result of livestock that had been on open range, generally the poorest of pasture, and HAD to be slaughtered due to some unforeseen circumstances such as drought, family death, economic emergency and in too many instances, sickness in the animal itself.

That is no longer the case. Much research and experimentation has been and is being done on developing and maintaining correct pastures for this type of production.

Our vegetable and fruit production is also in question. Large acreages, farmed for decades by large conglomerates, have long since been bled of the balance of elements necessary to really sustain our health and natural immunity. All the efforts of these conglomerate companies are focused on production of large vegetables of abnormally perfect physical appearance with as long a storage life as possible. Flavor is secondary and actual nutritional value is a myth.

In short, the overused land is replenished only with the nutrients necessary to grow economically advantageous crops, that is large, low-perishable products that taste nothing like their progenitors and contain far less real nutritional value.

Isn't it time for us to take another look at how our food is grown?

Ref: Grass Fed is Best/Jo Robinson


1 comment:

  1. Our food is certainly more abundant nowadays, but I wouldn't call it "safer" really. Aunt J, you would like the film Food Inc. if you haven't seen already.