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Activism Healthy Living Raw Dairy Toxin Alert!

Dr. Oz: Organic is “Elitist” & “not much difference” Between Grassfed & Feedlot Beef

www.mypicshares.com

There are sources from all over that seem to want to bad-mouth and discredit the importance of eating sustainable, organic food.

It seems perplexing as to why anyone would want to do this, but some of the biggest motivators against the sustainable food movement are big, powerful corporations selling toxic foods that don’t want this segment of the market edging out their profits.

Those who truly care about their health are snobs?

It’s irksome and tiring hearing conventional authorities of health, agriculture, and medicine continue to behave in such a juvenile manner by using these terms to describe supporters of the real food movement.

In a recent TIME Magazine article, Dr. Oz elaborates as to why you needn’t spend ridiculous sums of money on organic, when it’s really no better than conventional.

 

It’s been said over and over again, that if you buy organic food this somehow makes you an “elitist” or a “snob”. Dr. Oz is the latest in a long-line of “authority” figures to make this claim.

Oh really? I’ll tell you just how non elitist my family is, and we do eat organic, sustainable foods: My husband and I both come from modest, middle-class backgrounds. We attended a state college here in Boise, ID (Boise State University) and worked our way through school. We both worked part-time 20-hour-a-week jobs, and lived off of about $1200 a month for rent, groceries, and other bills.

Like many others, when we graduated we had credit card and student loan debts.  Although my husband was offered a good job in Spokane, WA in 2000 including a sign on bonus and moving expenses, we spent most of it paying student loans, bought a car and some furniture since we had practically none. I worked part-time through this span of my professional career as a technical writer. Shortly after moving, I became pregnant and the work I was doing continued to lessen. After our son was born, I stopped working. We moved back to Boise to be near family since he was born 9 weeks premature because my appendix ruptured and we needed support.

For the first 5 years after my son was born, I didn’t work. In 2006 I worked part-time for the YMCA, then migrated into my current self-employed status of writing and health coaching. In 2009 my husband was laid off from his job. We used our retirement money to start a solar business. Like many other small businesses, we struggled to make ends meet. In 2011, our business partners decided to leave the state without any notice or arrangements, and left us with tens of thousands of dollars in debts, and all the tasks associated with closing down the business. We will be paying those debts off for years.

My husband is now employed full-time again, and we are stable, but money is always tight and we do the best we can. I continue to work full-time hours with part-time pay. But I love my job because I spend all my time educating people about the ways to eat and live well, and to avoid bad advice from “medical professionals” like Dr. Oz.

Each month we prioritize what it is we need to spend our money on, and it amounts to this (and in this order):

  • healthy food
  • rent
  • monthly bills and gas
  • a little extra money for other items including occasional eating out or clothing, household items (last month it was a new tire for $200), and other miscellaneous that budget and save for
Our budget for items like clothes, vacations, entertainment, and hobbies is few and far between. And it’s the same for many people: ordinary folks who have families and who are on one income, singles with one income, people who have had their income reduced or their jobs eliminated and who are unemployed or work part-time while they look for something else, college students, and those who are retired and on a fixed income; these are the people who make up the bulk of our population.
There are people in these demographic populations who want to be healthier, want to avoid toxic chemicals, and desire to consume more nutrients in their food. Does that make them snobbish? Apparently in some figurative universe that is so. However, in the real world and for real people: To eat healthy means to do without extras, to save wherever you can, and to find the best deals available.  So yeah, last time I checked, people like my husband and all the others I described are not the highfalutin, elitist, types. 

Organic and sustainable too expensive?

Another myth that should be dispelled right here and right now is that it’s too expensive to eat healtier. I’m here to tell you that finding good deals on locally-raised, sustainable food is not only possible, it’s done by many and our family does it regularly. If you know what to look for, you can find some great deals.  The mainstream health and food industries are not only fond of saying it’s snobbish to eat healthy food, but that since you can’t afford it, you might as well buy their toxic, chemical-filled foods (which by the way, aren’t as cheap as they’d like you think).
If you continue to insist that the only way to buy organic food is to shop at Whole Foods, you will indeed be disappointed. Chances are things will never change for you. Products sold at stores such as Whole Foods are by and large overpriced and you are not getting your money’s worth in many cases because you don’t even know for certain if the food is what it says it is on the label. Read 8 reasons I won’t shop at Whole Foods when it opens in Boise, Idaho (they are now open and I haven’t shopped there once). If you say you can’t afford to eat better, maybe it’s time to change priorities and make it happen.
By supporting local, sustainable farmers in your own community who are transparent in their farming methods, you can likely find a way to afford the food you want – especially if you are willing to do without all the luxuries and extras you think you need.
To say that buying organic food is no better for your health than conventional or is not worth the money spent is ignoring long-term health effects of eating healthy to decrease the risk of developing degenerative disease and illness.  Eating healthy now will save you medical costs later. It’s that simple.
Read Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of industrial food. Look at the comparative analysis of several processed foods versus a real, whole food free from chemicals and other toxins typically found in industrial food from Windy Ridge Poultry, in Alfred, NY.  This poster was created by a farmer who uses it at his farm booth at the farmer’s market each week.
It’s quite amazing how expensive processed and mainstream foods are.  And, you won’t get anything for your money besides toxins, chemicals, and health problems. You are also donating tax dollars for government subsidies which go to big corporations for these “food-like” products.

“Grassfed is not much different than feedlot”

Dr. Oz said, “Nutritionally, there is not much difference between, say, grass-fed beef and the feedlot variety. The calories, sodium and protein content are all very close. Any lean meats are generally fine as long as the serving size is correct–and that means 4 to 6 oz., roughly the size of your palm. A modest serving like that can be difficult in a country with as deep a meat tradition as ours, where steak houses serve up 24-oz. portions and the term meat and potatoes is a synonym for good eating. But good eating isn’t always healthy eating, and we’re not even built to handle so much animal protein, since early humans simply did not have meat available at every meal. Sticking with reasonable portions two or three times a week will keep you in step with evolution.”

This statement is laughable on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start. Grassfed beef most certainly is head and shoulders above feedlot beef. It comes from cattle that are healthy and living on pasture, where nature intended, and are not injected with hormones or administered antibiotics. If the farmer is conscientious about the health of the animals, environment, and people who consume the meat, they won’t use GM feed for their cattle either.

Nutrient levels in grass-fed meats are naturally higher as a result of good farming practices: fat-soluble vitamins A, D, & E, minerals like iron and zinc, Omega 3s, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). These nutrients “virtually vanish” in the feedlot environment from lack of exposure to sunshine, fresh air, grazing, and nutritive soil according to Eat Wild.

Feedlot meat’s unbalanced nutritional profile of Omega 6 EFAs

Feedlot meat is also higher in inflammatory Omega 6s, which people in developed countries such as the U.S. have in excess,  and which causes chronic health issues and inflammation that contribute to Metabolic Syndrome, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Contrary to most conventional medical advice, lean meats sold on the conventional market are not healthy for us to consume.  Read Deceptions in the Food Industry: Lean meats to learn more about why this is true.

Read Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products from Eat Wild, The Amazing Benefits of Grass-fed Meat from Mother Earth News and The Health Benefits of Grass-fed Beef from Body Ecology.

Organic is not more nutritious

Dr. Oz persists in the idea that organic is no better nutritionally than conventional. These ideas have been refuted againagain and again by various studies.  Even the Stanford study tried to say the same thing, and yet found nothing new. The results were just a compilation of previous studies, and it was revealed that the funding provided to Stanford for this effort came largely from big agricultural and biotech interests.

To say that buying organic food is no better for your health than conventional or is not worth the money spent is ignoring the long-term health effects of eating healthy on the risk of developing degenerative disease and illness.  Eating healthy now will save you medical costs later. It’s that simple.
Remember, just because a bunch of mainstream sources who receive funding by big agriculture, health, and biotech entities tell the same lie over and over again, doesn’t make it true. Always follow the money.

GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and other toxins

Some of  the most obvious benefits of eating organic food are that they are grown without antibiotics, hormones, herbicides, pesticides, GMOs, and other harmful chemicals.  But Dr. Oz also doesn’t seem to be concerned about these issues with conventional foods nor that they are treated with chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and are genetically-modified. It’s especially ironic that he’s taken this stance when not so long ago, he allowed Jeffery Smith from the Institute for Responsible Technology to come on his show and talk about the dangers of GMOs right before the California Right To Know GMO labeling ballot initiative would be voted in.

He also allowed conventional scientists and other “experts” to come on the show, who demanded that Jeffery Smith leave the stage before coming on to talk about their viewpoint (which is pro-GMO). If Dr. Oz were a thinking person, he would have told those other scientists that it was his show and they should all be able to share the stage together (he’s had Jeffrey Smith as a guest in the past, with conventional scientists sitting there on the same stage refuting the information he provided).

Dr. Oz, who endorsed GM labeling and revealed that his wife worked on the Proposition 37 campaign to label GMOs, and has stated that to be safe, we should stick with organic foods:

In fact, he said that he prefers to be “cautious” at the end of a segment on his show filmed in October of this year (2012) titled GMO Foods: Are They Dangerous to Your Health? “Right now we have no way of knowing which foods have been genetically modified. I believe you should have that right,” he said. Wow, how much more inconsistent can you get, good Doctor? It’s clear that he’s trying to be all things to all people.

Read Busting myths about GMOs (genetically-modified organism)s if this topic is new to you and learn just how dangerous these substances really are. Also read Stanford study on organics: manipulating consumers into buying GMO products.

In light of all Dr. Oz’s conflicting statements that never seem to agree with one another, it’s pretty clear that he’s being paid off to say the things he does, and that depending on what day you turn his show on your television, you’ll get a different answer.  He pretends to be holistic in his approach to health, but in the end, his advice ultimately serves the interests of the powerful and rich who aren’t concerned about the health, well-being or future of the world’s citizens. The things he says are not just false and irresponsible, but reckless. And the fact that he has such a massive following of people who hang on his every word for health advice makes him dangerous.

I think this should go without saying, but if you are in doubt…at best, be deeply suspicious of his ability to tell the truth – no matter how many of your friends and family are his faithful fans.

More information on real, sustainable food for your family:

What are traditional foods?

Food budgets – Using creativity and prioritizing for healthy eating 

Waste not, want not: Tips for saving in the kitchen

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Healthy Meat Toxin Alert!

What I Think of Meatless Mondays

www.mypicshares.com

The term “Meatless Mondays” has become synonymous in health communities with “going green” and having a lesser impact on the environment, and its supposed positive effect on human health.

You’ll see this highly marketed term used in many places, and especially where vegetarian diets are promoted.  While I’m not necessarily being critical of vegetarian diets, I’d like to discuss the reasons why these ideas are simply untrue.

The Environmental Working Group has just come out with The Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health on their web site.  To have a better impact on the environment and our health, it is recommended that we: 

  • Eat less meat and dairy
  • Eat greener meat when you do eat it
  • Eat more plants
  • Waste less meat
  • Eat lower-fat dairy products
  • Speak out

Eating more plants and grains doesn’t improve your health

Animal products from sustainable sources have more nutrients and are more bio-available for digestion, period. If you can’t digest the nutrients in the food you eat, your health will suffer. Plants and grains contain phytates which inhibit the absorption of nutrients – especially minerals – in the body.

To increase digestibility, plants should be eaten with animal products or cooked (such as with butter, olive or coconut oil, or lard) to make them more easily digestible. Cultured and fermented vegetables are even more easy to digest, but the EWG and most other sources of health information don’t mention any of these important facts.

Many people have issues with grains, and because grains are monumentally different than they were in the historical past, this has caused and contributed to a lot of health issues such as gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and many digestive as well as auto-immune issues.

Contrary to what many health and nutrition web sites are saying (yes, even some real food health sites), grains should be eaten quite sparingly or avoided altogether – especially if you have health issues and digestive compromise. If you do eat grains, they should always be prepared properly through soaking, sprouting, or fermenting.  Read this informative post from Archevore, Avoid Poison or Neutralize It about why soaking, sprouting, and fermenting don’t adequately remove all phytates from grains.

Low-fat foods are recommended for consumption by many health sources. But, low-fat foods are changed from how they occur in nature, and in many cases have the fat content replaced with sugar, chemicals, or a combination of the two. They are also usually pasteurized and/or homogenized, which denatures delicate proteins and enzymes necessary for digestion. Low-fat foods are not good for our health and can actually cause health issues to occur.

Fats and cholesterol are critical in our diets. Our brains are almost entirely comprised of fats, and we need the nutrients found in animal fats such as fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, and K, minerals such as zinc (often lacking in vegetarian diets), conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), minerals like zinc, iron, and phosphorus, and Omega 3s (just to name a few) for nearly every aspect of health including mood and nervous system function, circulatory/respiratory, endocrine, digestive, reproductive, skin/eyes/hair, eliminatory, and detox.

In the 1930s, Dr. Weston A. Price discovered as he traveled around the world to study the diet of various populations that all groups who consumed a regular source of clean animal fat in their diets had the most vibrant health. These populations, who ate no processed foods consumed TEN TIMES the amount of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 than those living in developed countries from animal foods.

Grass-fed meats are a superior source for these nutrients. We are hard-wired to crave fats and proteins, which provide us not just with with critical nutrients but also lasting energy (you can’t say that about carbohydrates, which burn through our bodies very quickly). They stabilize our moods and blood sugar, and provide an indispensible support for our metabolic systems.

If you have issues digesting meat, Dr. Thomas Cowan suggests consuming it with a gelatin-rich, home-made stock from the bones of animals to help digest the nutrients. This allows your digestive tract to become healed so that it can then absorb all the valuable nutrients found in meats. Home-made stock is an excellent calcium source, which you will need if you aren’t consuming dairy products.

Does eating meat give us cancer and heart disease?

(UPDATE: March 2012)

A recent flawed study put out by Harvard School of Public Health tells us that eating meat will decrease our life spans. I wrote a post about this, showing in detail why this study has  many holes in it. One of the main reasons is that this study and many others like it don’t take into account the vast nutritional differences between factory-farm meat, which is mostly what people eat, and healthy, grassfed meats from animals on pasture.  As well, humans have eaten naturally-raised meats for thousands upon thousands of years, which has allowed humanity to not only survive but thrive.

Does eating less meat save the planet?

Currently, the most common method of meat production is performed in horrific and artificial conditions. Animals and birds are in small spaces, not allowed to roam, graze, forage or engage in natural behaviors. They are pumped full of growth hormones, antibiotics, and fed corn, soy, and grain which is cheap and makes them fat quickly. Commercial farming pollutes and destroys everything in its wake, producing carbon gases at nearly every stage in the process, which absolutely contributes to the industrial overheating of the planet.

Sustainable, grass-fed farming is good for the environment and does not contribute to climate change or global warming. Once again, EWG ignores critical research showing that different types of farming produces different results. As pointed out by Anna Lappe in Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at The End of Your Fork and What you Can Do About It, grass-fed farming actually “produces a net benefit, as well-managed grazing can help store carbon in soils.” Her discovery revealed that “converting some of the land currently used for feed production to grass-fed beef production, emissions per acre would be significantly lower.”

As far as saving the planet…how exactly does eating low-fat dairy accomplish this? Creating low-fat foods is an artificial process which requires chemicals and toxins used in their manufacturing and production. So, I challenge anyone to prove exactly how this is good for our health or the environment.

Does eating less meat save money?

No doubt, meats and meat products are typically more expensive than plant foods. No argument there. But what are you getting for your dollar when you buy animal products versus plant products? If you refer to Nourished Kitchen’s Nutrient Showdown, you’ll see that when you compare plant and animal foods for nutrient content (using information from Nutrition Data), animal foods win hands down. To get the maximum nutrients, one of the best places to put your food dollars is in sustainable animal products.

When you eat real, grassfed and sustainable meats from healthy animals on pasture, the meat is packed with nutrients, and you will naturally eat less. But if sometimes you need to eat more, don’t feel guilty about it. If you are doing it occasionally to save money or stretch your meat out, that’s just fine. I’m all for saving money, and in this economy, every dollar counts.

You can easily replace meat in any meal with traditional, healthy fats  such as raw dairy from healthy cows on pasture, coconut, or olive oil.  You can also have an economical and nourishing dinner cooking vegetables and rice or potatoes using bone broth, lard, or tallow from healthy animals on pasture.  That’s right. Even though it’s not “meatless”, it is nonetheless delicious, nutritionally superior, and satisfying – contrary to what mainstream medical and health sources tell us.

More information on nutrient-dense foods that support vibrant health:

How well do you know your food? Find out!

What are traditional foods?

The grass-fed meat challenge: busting myths about meat