Category Archives: Healthy Meat

Why you should eat healthy meat and where to get it

Healthy Living Healthy Meat Real Food Toxin Alert!

In the Face of the Feed Crisis, Beef Expert Claims Ruminants Can Digest “Anything”

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Yesterday as I was driving home from taking my son to school, a report on NPR about the issues with the rising cost of feeding commercial cattle in today’s wavering economic market made my blood boil.

What I heard made me realize the issues we are having with GMOs in our food supply are compounding due to the fact that the industry which relies almost solely on corn, grain, and soy to feed cattle will stop at nothing to cut costs and convince the public at the same time that these methods and activities are not only safe but necessary to “feed the world”.

It also made me realize the  industrial food industry will also stop at nothing to reassure the public that their far-fetched and wholly unsafe practices are not only just fine but somehow “better for the environment”… including, telling lie upon ludicrous lie to get it done with false science and bad political maneuvering.

“Alternatives” to corn, soy, and grain

The discussion went into how droughts and wildfires, which have ravaged range lands this season, are forcing farmers to look for more “efficient ways” to feed their cattle. According to the report, beef scientist Tim DelCurto from Oregon State University has alternatives for ranchers and feedlot owners that provide lower cost feed now that corn and soy prices are skyrocketing. These include:

“Grass seed straw, distillers grains leftover from ethanol production, cannery waste and potato processing byproducts such as misshapen green beans, carrots and even French fries.”

DelCurto believes that ruminants can easily adapt to other feed and it doesn’t affect their health. He said, “I think one of the unique attributes of beef cattle, and sheep fit this too, unique attributes of ruminant animals is that they can digest virtually anything.”

This month, DelCurto will speak at several University of Idaho Extension classes where he will be sharing these “cost saving tips” with cattle ranchers.

It is this twisted way of thinking which has ushered in the predominance of antibiotic and hormone use in commercial cattle farming today, which has greatly contributed to inflammatory disease in both cattle and humans, including digestive, endocrine, and auto-immune disorders, antibiotic resistance, and super bug bacteria which can’t be managed by normal medical care.

It is beyond shameful that we are allowing our universities to be used to support big agriculture’s agendas, which for decades have had negative consequences for our food system, health, and environment.

Other news reports have been flooding the wires over the couple of weeks about the use of even more unsavory substances for feeding cattle as a way to counter the effects of rising feed costs:

“cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, even dried cranberries”

These substances are being used as alternatives to the starchy corn, soy, and grain feeds used by conventional farming facilities to put weight on cattle. All of these alternatives to soy, corn, and grain are highly processed and many are by-products of the commercial farming, food, and chemical industries…and many of these contain GMOs as well. Really? Cookies and gummy worms?

It should go without saying, but these “experts” and “scientists” have it all wrong.  It’s absolutely unthinkable that anyone calling themselves a caretaker of the environment or steward of the land would even suggest the preposterous notion of feeding cattle these kinds of substances is acceptable. Does it really seem reasonable that animals being slaughtered for meat should be fed these substances? And if they are allowed to consume them, what affect might that have on their health, and our health when we eat the meat from these animals?  Our ancestors would have never agreed to this practice.

These measures used by the food industry are not about taking care of the health and well-being of anything or anyone involved, they are about profits.

The GMO factor

Corn, soy, and grains are not healthy feed for cattle, which are ruminants and are intended to graze on green grass.  Even without the GM component, these feeds cause health problems for animals consuming them. Cattle who eat this kind of feed develop acidity in the digestive tract, and because cattle become vulnerable to disease and sickness, farmers administrate antibiotics.

A recent study showing the results of a life-time of feeding  rats a certain type of genetically engineered corn common in the U.S. food supply looks even more unfavorable. These findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, and showed the development of massive tumors in the bodies of rats and also included liver and kidney damage, and premature death. There have been over 30 additional studies showing the presence of toxic or allergic reactions in animals consuming GE foods.

It may seem like if these issues were such a threat, you’d see people dying of premature death everywhere. But consider that rats don’t live very long, their life span is at most 3-4 years. Human life spans are much longer, the average being about 75. The fact is, many people are experiencing chronic health issues that have not been seen before on the scale that degenerative disease is occurring, but are being allowed to continue living through the intervention of drugs, surgeries, and other medical procedures. Genetic engineering is a relatively new development, but GMOs have been in our food supply now since 1996.  The long-term effects of consuming GE foods simply aren’t known yet.

Meanwhile, Monsanto and other seed companies are working night and day trying to get more GM crops approved. Mounting evidence is showing that GE crops are failing to live up to the hype that has been propagated about their “benefits”.

Informed scientists such as Dr. Donald Huber have spoken and written about the dire consequences of chemical-based monoculture crops which degenerate soil integrity. His research shows that GE crops cause even more harm to the soil than conventional farming. GE farming uses the application of broad-spectrum herbicides on the genetically engineered mono-crops, resulting in herbicide-resistant super-weeds.  These plants are just about impossible to destroy. Ronnie Cummins from The Organic Consumer’s Association stated: “Scientists estimate that herbicide-resistant crops planted around the globe will triple the amount of toxic broad-spectrum herbicides used in agriculture”.

It should be easy to see the failure of this chemical system in the destruction of vital soil for supporting life, the lack of diversity in continued monoculture crops, the loss of heirloom and indigenous seeds that have been traditionally saved and planted in successive seasons, and the massive debt piled upon tens of thousands of farmers who use these programs to grow their crops and support their families (and who are beholden to Monsanto and other seed companies due to strict contracts they sign).

The fact is, many countries such as Haiti and others have been bullied by Monsanto and other seed companies into using their seeds for farming. In 2010, Haiti rejected the seeds and burned them. In 2011, GM maize was ploughed under in Hungary, according to Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. It also happened in Zambia as well. All of these countries have food shortages, but also have serious doubts about the safety of GM seeds.

What’s the alternative?

Joel Salatin, grassfed beef farmer in Swope, VA has explained the virtues of grassfeeding ruminant animals, and pasture-raising other livestock such as pigs. Instead of mass-scale factory farming that pollutes the environment, soil, water, and harms human and animal health, he advocates for smaller-scale farming that utilizes nature to support the ecosystem of the farm. Salatin’s 100 acre organic spread thrives on the symbiotic relationship between the grazing cattle and roaming chickens to provide nourishment to the land and themselves. This type of farming can and does quite well without hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and GMOs.

Stanley Fishman of Tender Grassfed Meat has an excellent post describing how properly managed grassfed farms can produce healthy meat for people to eat.  Not only can the farms thrive, they can help with water supply issues which are becoming an increasing excuse for chemical and seed companies to engineer toxic alternatives to traditional farming.

“The world’s water supply can be greatly increased by increasing the number of grazing animals, and having them follow proper grazing practices. Not only will this greatly increase the water supply, but it will result in the creation of great amounts of new soil suitable for growing crops, and increase the size and richness of grasslands, allowing even more herds to graze. And the grassfed meat made available by following this path will provide the food that is far more nutrient-dense and nourishing than a plant-only diet.”

There are also other farmers who are finding ways to keep their stock on range lands and grazing, while preserving the ecology, as nature intended. In southeast Oregon, ranchers are embracing the natural landscapes and allowing their cattle to roam on desert areas, eating high-desert grasses.

In Simon Fairlie’s book, Meat: A Benign Extravagence, he devotes a considerable amount of discussion about small-scale, holistic meat farming and how we can continue to feed the growing populations of the world. This book so succinctly and profoundly lays out the methods and mechanisms by which we should undertake humane and smaller-scale meat production, George Monbiot, environmental activist and vegan, regarded this book as a life-changing read and discarded his support for veganism after reading it.

What can you do?

Supporting our local, grassfed meat farmers which contribute positively to the ecosystem and local economies instead of GMO and commercial farming is imperative. If we don’t abandon these toxic, modern systems of food production, we will wipe out our fertile soil and ability to produce food for the future.

  • Be aware of the fact that 90 percent or more of foods you buy at the store probably contain GMOs. Read labels and avoid these products as best you can. Avoid buying grocery store meats from unhealthy animals, which are full of antibiotics, hormones, and residue from pesticides, GMOs, and other toxic chemicals.
  • Get involved in local efforts in your home state to institute labeling on GMO foods.
  • Educate others by spreading the word!

More information:

Health benefits, grassfed meat, Eat Wild

The grassfed beef challenge: Busting myths about meat - read about the great health benefits of grassfed meats and why the myths about meat being harmful to eat are untrue

Grassfed Cattle, Not Junkfed Cattle

10 reasons to avoid GMOs

Learn how GMOs affect our health

Support the California Right to Know campaign and get involved in your state and local area to label GMOs and boycott GMO foods

4 ways to avoid GMOs in the foods you buy

Photo credit: TheInternational.org

 

Healthy Living Healthy Meat Kids & Family Real Food

Turn Leftovers into Nourishing School Lunches in Minutes!

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School has started again for many families, whether your children attend public or private school, or you are in a family fortunate enough to home school. And with school days comes school lunch staring us in the face again with that age-old question: “What on earth will I feed my child today?”

Finding nourishing, appealing, and economical choices may seem like a big challenge – especially something that is free of harmful substances you want your kids to avoid eating. Don’t worry, even the most spendthrift family can provide interesting and delicious meals for lunch time meals that don’t break the bank.

Sending healthy lunches for your child doesn’t have to be complicated, and there are many easy and quick solutions for sending good choices with your child each day without shuddering about what he or she is going to have for lunch.

What’s in your kitchen?

Simply make main meals you prepare during the day or evening with the idea of making enough extra for leftovers to send those items off with your children. With a little planning and preparation, you can also make modifications to those meals and make them a little different than the original meal. If you find that you don’t have leftovers because they get consumed before the next meal comes around, make extra the next time you prepare a meal and freeze or put in the refrigerator with the intention of using them the next day for lunch.

First, start by taking an assessment of what types of foods your family already eats. If you find that a lot of processed and prepared foods make it into your home, now is the time to re-think those choices and replace them with healthier ones.

Think about what meals your family eats and enjoys. You can freeze these in small containers for easy storage to heat up later when you need them. There are many foods like this you can prepare either for a dinner meal or in batches to freeze in small containers for easy storage to heat up later when you need them, and choices are pretty much endless – home-made soups, stews, chili, casseroles, leftover Mexican or Asian dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, stir-frys, roasted meats, poultry, and fish, rice and vegetables.

Do you currently use a lot of processed grains such as breads, buns, bagels, pastas, tortillas, and other similar products?

If so, consider making some or most of those meals without those foods. These products are highly processed, contain too many Omega 6s (one reason why so many people in the U.S. have inflammatory diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure), and actually contribute to loss of minerals in the body.

If you are going to include grains in your child’s lunch, it’s a good idea to do this sparingly and prepare them properly as traditional people have all over the world through soaking, sprouting, and fermenting.

If you’d like to leave out the carbohydrate components like tortillas as we often do, just add more of the main course and side items.

One example is to use leftover Mexican meals like taco meat and refried beans the next day and garnish with salsa, cheese, avocado, and vegetables such as squash and zucchini sauteed in butter with onions and garlic, salt and pepper.

Another choice would be to use home-made marinara sauce with ground beef and add parmesan cheese and spaghetti squash and green beans sauteed in butter.

Want to know more about why grains can be harmful to your child’s health? Read The truth about wheat and grains – are they good for your health?

Also, read this informative post at Wellness Mama: Are sprouted, soaked, and fermented grains healthy? – about why soaking, sprouting, and fermenting – the traditional method used by people all over the world – may not necessarily make these foods more digestible.

Meats, dairy, and other animal products

Contrary to popular belief, we need cholesterol and fat to be healthy. Foods with cholesterol and fat are high in nutrients. And kids need them even more than grownups because they are growing and developing.

If you are currently using conventional meat and dairy products, the next step is to consider how you can replace these items with more sustainable choices. Grass-fed meats. poultry, pork, lamb, and dairy products are becoming more available on the consumer market. Check with your local farmer’s market and/or farms in your area for these foods. You will want to choose animal products from animals and birds on pasture with no added hormones/antibiotics, or exposure to other toxins like pesticides or GMO (genetically-modified) feeds.

Unlike conventional animal products, animal products from sustainable sources are rich in fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, and also cholesterol and Omega 3s which support brain development, immune system, and digestive tract function. They are also abundant in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is an antioxidant and important for cardiovascular health.  Because the animals and birds are out on pasture, exposed to sunlight, fresh air, and are allowed to engage in natural behaviors and are in a low-stress environment, their meat, eggs, and milk naturally contains more of those important nutrients children need for growth and development.

If you buy animal products in larger quantities and put them in your freezer, you can save money because buying these same products piece-by-piece is definitely more expensive. Find out what type of arrangements you can make with your local farmer to buy meat and other animal products in bulk. When you buy in bulk, you can also get other inexpensive but parts like bones and organ meats which can be used to make nourishing and delicious meals for your family, and allow you to stretch your food dollars more.

Fats and oils

If you are using butter substitutes, shortening, or vegetable oils like canola or soybean (think Wesson and Crisco, and other brands like Spectrum – even the “organic” variety), now’s the time to replace with real butter and other traditional fats like olive oil, sustainable palm oil, lard, tallow, and other fats from birds and animals on pasture.

Comprised of polyunsaturated fats that are fragile and go rancid when cooked, modern vegetable oils and spreads are deodorized, bleached, and chemically altered through high heat temperatures. This makes them rancid and inflammatory to the body.

They lack critical fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K2, Omega 3s, or CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) for brain, immunity, and digestive health.

Read Changing ingredients for a nutrient-dense diet for some ideas on how to get the maximum nutritional value in all your meals for your family.

Here’s a sample of some lunches my son has taken to school or eaten at home when we home-schooled:

  • Chicken or beef soup made with home-made broth (including carrots, onions and celery and whatever spices you like – sage, marjoram, oregano, parsley, basil, cumin, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, anise, five spice powder, etc.) and add in any vegetables you have in the house – green beans, peas, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash work well. You can also add rice or potatoes, prepared in advance.
  • Leftover marinara sauce made with grass-fed beef, olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, marjoram, oregano, and rosemary (sometimes we use mushrooms and other vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini as they are easy to hide and don’t change the taste of the sauce) garnished with parmesan cheese
  • Leftover chili made with grass-fed beef, pasture-raised turkey, or chicken, soaked beans of your choice, tomatoes/sauce, onions, bell peppers, home made taco seasoning w/chili powder, cumin, black or cayenne pepper (depending on how much spice your children like), sea salt, paprika, and garlic (optional). For garnish add home made sour cream, salsa, avocados, fresh tomatoes and onions, and cheese.
  • Rustic baked chicken with cheese and bacon
  • Leftover ham, turkey, chicken or roast beef (from dinner) on real sourdough bread with cheese, home-made mayo, lettuce and tomato (or anything else your child likes)
  • Leftover meats quickly sauteed in a skillet with butter or lard, vegetables, rice, beans, tomato sauce, etc.

Storage containers

Check out these glass containers for storing food in your refrigerator or freezer (you can also use containers you already have such as glass, ceramic, or metal for storage):

You can also find some great deals on vintage glass storage containers such as Pyrex on eBay and in thrift stores or at garage sales.

Think about what meals your family eats and enjoys. Most of these foods can be saved in small portions, either refrigerated for the next day or frozen for next week and thawed out later, heated up on the stove in minutes and placed into a thermos or other portable container for lunch.  Consider eliminating plastic containers for storage as they can leach dangerous chemicals such as BPA into food.

Here are some recommendations for food and beverage containers for your child’s lunch:

Tips for getting lunch together:

  • Make a list of what you need each week and stick to it.
  • If you don’t have vegetables in the meal you are reheating and you want to send some in your child’s lunch, simply add them to a soup or main dish you’ve already made just by adding it into the pan when heating up.
  • Heat up your child’s lunch first thing in the morning so anything new you add is sufficiently heated ready to go by the time he or she needs to leave.
  • If any of these foods become dried out, add a little home made bone broth or stock, butter, olive oil, and/or lard as appropriate to “reconstitute” the meal so it is more like when you made it the first time.
  • If you have cooked or other ingredients in your refrigerator and haven’t assembled anything yet, you would be surprised just how quickly you can throw together a nourishing, delicious meal in 15-20 minutes.  Any leftover meats can be put in a pan with butter, olive or coconut oil, lard or tallow, and then you can add to it whatever you have on hand such as vegetables, cheese, herbs and spices, tomato sauce, beans, rice, cous cous, quinoa, cream sauces, or broth.  Heat just to boiling, turn the heat down, and let simmer for 10 minutes and you’ll have a warm, nourishing meal to send in your child’s thermos.