Tag Archives: Omega 6

Healthy Living Healthy Meat Real Food Toxin Alert!

What’s the Real Scoop on Red Meat and Higher Mortality Rates?


The Internet is aflame with a contentious report about a recent study telling us eating too much red meat will shorten our lives.

Once again, the conventional propaganda machine spews its unfounded and nonsensical fear-mongering out to the public ear, and what ensues is sheer panic.  In the last week, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had comment or ask with great trepidation:

is red meat safe to eat?

I wonder just how many paranoid people are going to curtail their meat consumption even more than they already have?

This is a subject I feel very strongly about. My mother made red meat a lot when I was a child, but I honestly never took to it. For many years after, I disliked red meat unless it was appropriately disguised in something or had a lot of seasoning or flavoring on it. Looking back I thought it was because meat was terrible, but now that I know what real, grassfed meat tastes like, I know that it wasn’t my mother’s cooking or because I was finicky (and I was very finicky). The meat tasted awful because it was conventional.

I admit I was also brainwashed into thinking all meat was bad for our health by conventional health recommendations.

If you’ve been an omnivore for sometime, you don’t have to give up your meat consuming ways.  So, before you go to your refrigerator or freezer and throw out all your red meat, there are some things you should know.

If you are a vegetarian for health reasons, there are some things you ought to know about this and other studies which conclude meat is bad for our health.

The method behind the red meat study

An Pan from the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues examined data from 37,698 men and 83,644 women. They compiled this from 2 previous studies done over 25 years ago, from 2 different groups of people. All subjects were asked to complete a questionnaire revealing their dietary habits, every 4 years. Surveys about food consumption are known for their inaccuracy as they aren’t an good reflection of what they actually consumed.  Many respondents cannot remember what they’ve eaten with certainty from day-to-day or week to week.  People are also prone to be less than truthful about what they ate, especially when it comes to confessing about foods they’ve eaten which are perceived as unhealthy.

The results  showed the following: those diagnosed with a medical condition were more likely to misrepresent meat consumption on the survey than those without a diagnosed medical issue.  Don’t forget, this was the bulk of where the “scientific” data originated from in this study to draw the conclusions that red meat causes premature death.

The study conducted was observational in nature. According to Denise Minger who was featured on Mark’s Daily Apple earlier this week, the study was not “an actual experiment where people change something specific they’re doing and thus make it possible to determine cause and effect. Observations are only the first step of the scientific method—a good place to start, but never the place to end. These studies don’t exist to generate health advice, but to spark hypotheses that can be tested and replicated in a controlled setting so we can figure out what’s really going on. Trying to find ‘proof’ in an observational study is like trying to make a penguin lactate. It just ain’t happening… ever.”

Minger goes on to explain that even though the head researcher, Frank Hu emphatically claimed that the study gave obvious evidence that regular red meat consumption contributes to early death, “only an actual experiment, with controls and manipulate variables, could start confirming causation. ” Minger is well-known for her excellent rebuttal to Colin T. Campbell’s (author of the infamous China Study) theories on the superior health benefits of  a plant-based diet.

The study’s author, An Pan (Harvard School of Public Health) even admitted that the “link” wasn’t absolute proof that eating red meat causes premature death.

Other important variables not factored into the study

To provide accurate results, other lifestyle and dietary considerations are critical.

From the Sun Times:

“To determine the risk of eating unprocessed red meat or processed meat, the researchers factored out other lifestyle factors, including age, weight, physical activity and family history of heart disease, and dietary factors, such as intake of whole grains, fruit and vegetables, nuts, legumes, dairy products, fish and poultry.”

Dietary consumption of polyunsaturated fats, white flour, and sugar are all culprits of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and early death. These 3 highly processed ingredients are very commonly found in a majority of foods people consume. But the researchers did not take these foods into account as to health condition or causes of death.

Here’s what the Weston A. Price Foundation has to say about polyunsaturated fats, white flour, and sugar:

“The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetables oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins, particularly of vitamin C, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals; and, finally, the disappearance of antimicrobial fats from the food supply, namely, animal fats and tropical oils. These once protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been associated with the onset of pathogenic plaque leading to heart disease.”

Many commercial meats contain nitrates

An Pan also admitted that nitrates and salt content in processed red meat could be an answer as to “the relatively higher risk found in processed compared with unprocessed red meat.” Nitrates are used in a variety of processed meats, even so-called “healthy” and “all-natural” meats to increase shelf life.  Nitrates are carcinogenic and can cause a variety of health issues that can cause fatal disease over time, such as cancer.

Refined salt

As well, the type of salt used on the meat is also key. Refined table salt, which is what is used in most commercial meats, is primarily comprised of sodium chloride. Due to high heat processing of the salt, this chemical alteration destroys minerals.  Unlike real sea salt which has not had vital trace minerals removed, sodium chloride is a poison to the body.  Magnesium, among other minerals eliminated during high heat processing of salt, is important for heart and circulatory health. The lack of magnesium from eating foods such as sodium chloride can contribute to a rise in blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and other problems.

Refined salt also has a number of additives in it: to keep it dry and reduce caking, food manufacturers add aluminum compounds, dextrose or other refined sugars are added for a stabilizer, MSG, and bleaching agents are used to make the salt have a white appearance for the consumer market. It is for these reasons that table salt can cause water retention and other issues. Food companies also use large amounts of sodium chloride, causing more problems. Sodium chloride is a poison to the body. It causes edema, artery damage, high blood pressure, the onset and continuation of heart disease, diabetes, and many other illnesses associated with chronic inflammation and Metabolic Disorder.

Why is meat being blamed for our health problems?

Red meat has been eaten all over the world by traditional societies for thousands and thousands of years.  But not all meat is the same. One reason meat is getting the heat is that most meat people consume comes from animals in confinement, administered antibiotics and hormones, and eating unnatural types of feed such as soy, corn, grain, and other silage (many of these are predominantly GMO in source). As we discussed earlier, many toxins and chemicals are also added to meat such as MSG, refined salt, sugar, corn syrup, and other additives and preservatives that are harmful to health.

Take a look at most any study where the results conclude meat is bad for us to consume. Where is the differentiation between this horrific, industrial abomination described above and safe, grassfed meat without additives, chemicals or other toxins, and from healthy animals living out on pasture? These reports don’t take into account the superior health benefits of such a pristine and nourishing food.

Why factory farm meat doesn’t stack up

Cattle are ruminants and not meant to consume grain, they are designed to digest grass. Pigs can eat other feed such as clovers and annual grasses like oats, rye, wheat, and ryegrassbarley, root vegetables, and even fermented dairy leftovers. But soy and corn should be avoided due to the inflammatory effect these substances on the meat. When you produce meats in this manner, the nutritional quality of the meat diminishes greatly.

The ratio of Omega 6 essential fatty acids to Omega 3s is typically 20:1. CLA content (conjugated linoleic acid) is almost non-existent. When these nutrients are out of balance in the foods they eat, the result is all the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome – diabetes, heart disease, weight problems, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer.

This is the meat you hear about on recall lists all the time and in the news. We are so bombarded with this information, it’s rare when the media doesn’t have a field day about this topic. One of the latest scandals is pink slime reports in the news, served to children at school. Yuck.

In our modern diets, we eat far too many Omega 6s, which creates an inflammatory response in the body, setting the environment up for disease. Omega 3s, on the other hand, are something we are in much shorter supply of in the modern food supply. Omega 3s are essential for brain, immune, heart, and digestive health.

Grassfed meat supports health

Author Stanley Fishman has produced two fantastic books on the subject of healthy, grassfed meat and how to prepare it: Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue.  In the first book he talks about the reasons why he decided to choose grassfed over factory-farm meat. Grassfed meats from grazing animals out in the open are quite a different story from industrial meat.  He describes why real, grassfed meat is so different in nutritional composition, flavor, and the way it is produced.

The essential fatty acid ratios are ideal for Omega 6s to 3s at  4:1. Grassfed meats and dairy products are actually the richest source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) there is. CLA is a healthy fat which serves as an antioxidant to the body (cancer-fighter), and protects cardiovascular health. It also supports metabolism function and immunity, keeps cholesterol level, stabilizes blood sugar levels to prevent heart disease and diabetes, and encourages the production of lean muscle mass.

CLA is primarily found in the fatty sections of meat. What you won’t find in factory and commercial meats is much of a fat cap. If you do, you can be assured it won’t contain much CLA. These meats are artificially produced to be lean and without fat. Meat without fat is not healthy for us to eat.

Stanley presents a number of ways and recipes in the book to prepare it for the best eating experience possible, in your own kitchen. This book is a staple in my house and I have referred to it many times while cooking grassfed meats.

I just received my copy of Tender Grassfed Barbecue and I am looking forward to learning how to better prepare my grassfed meat for outdoor eating this season, as I have a lot to learn on this subject.

The Weston A. Price Foundation discusses the truth about why red meat, fat, and cholesterol aren’t the culprit of heart disease:

“There are many societies where the populace consumes high levels of animal food and saturated fat but remains free of heart disease. Dr. George Mann, who studied the Masai cattle herding peoples in Africa, found no heart disease, even though their diet consisted of meat, blood and rich milk.  Butterfat consumption among Masai warriors, who consider vegetable foods as fodder for cattle, can reach one and one half pounds per day. Yet these people do not suffer from heart disease. Mann called the lipid hypothesis “the greatest scam in the history of medicine.” It is a scam that has been used to convince millions of healthy people that they are sick and must take expensive drugs with serious side effects, a falsehood that has persuaded Americans to adopt a bland, tasteless diet simply because their cholesterol has been defined as being too high.” Source.

More information: 

The grassfed meat challenge: busting myths about meat




Cardiologist: “Lowfat diet scientifically and morally indefensible” - The Healthy Home Economist

Tender grassfed meat - Stanley Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Red meat is still not bad for you, but shoddy research clueless media are – The Healthy Skeptic

The amazing benefits of grass-fed meat - Mother Earth News

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday Carnival. 

Healthy Living Real Food

Can You Become Deficient In Omega 6s?

In life, balance is important. People often talk about everything in moderation. The trouble is, “everything in moderation” often includes a barrage of unhealthy items in our meals and for snacks. What people end up eating, then, is still not much that is healthy and a LOT that isn’t.

One example I can think of right off the top of my head is that most of the people I know who are vegetarian (or vegan) actually don’t seem to eat many vegetables. In fact, what I see them eating most are processed grain and fruit products which are marketed toward people who want to avoid meat and live a “healthier” lifestyle. From what I observe, a lot of vegetarian diets consist largely of little natural fats or proteins (replete with a lot of processed low-fat selections like dairy products, soy, and tofu), and the processed grain products. No wonder so many people are getting sick and having trouble with their weight!

Another example: my father continually insists that if you eat a “mixed-diet” you will get all you need. However, my father has for many years been eating a lot of the things traditional diets advise against eating – items on the SAD (Standard American Diet): processed breads, crackers, cookies (and candy), desserts, etc., industrial meat and dairy, and basically a whole slew of industrial oils that are really high in Omega 6s  like soybean, canola, and cottonseed oil. So the whole “everything in moderation” mantra really isn’t all that reliable as a gauge.

Now, my father looks great for his age (he’s 72, is a rock-climber and very active), but he had prostate cancer at age 55 (although it  has not returned since his surgery) and has been on Lipitor for high-cholesterol for a number of years. This is probably what you might call a classic case of being way too high in Omega 6s…the exact opposite of what traditional diets recommend. Would my Dad still be on medication for high cholesterol if he ate a truly healthy diet? Does this profile fit a majority of people in developed countries? Without a doubt. But does it apply across the board to everyone in general? Maybe not. Here’s why:

For the last 3 years I have maintained an extremely healthy diet, so much that people are constantly in disbelief at the way I eat. I was told to avoid Omega 6s by a well-trained nutritional therapist when I first started my diet. I’ve been seeing another nutritional therapist from time to time, who happens to be my next door neighbor and studied under the first NT when she was studying for her credentials. Both of these individuals ascribe to WAPF (Weston A. Price Foundation) principles.

For some time I was using a small amount of the organic, unrefined, cold-pressed grapeseed oil mixed in with extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing, as we make all our own homemade dressings. Of course I knew grapeseed oil contained polyunsaturated fat and was high on Omega 6s, but it was such a great all-purpose oil I used it anyway because it was great for cooking and mixing with my homemade olive oil dressings. Then I read a few things here and there about grapeseed oil being unhealthy and I stopped using it for a few weeks.

Recently, I went to see the my Nutritional Therapist and she checked to see how I was doing with the fish oil I was using, and I did not respond well to it. She uses muscle-testing, a form of applied kinesiology, which has always been extremely accurate each time I have been tested for anything – whether it be a dietary supplement, food, or other substances. This puzzled her, so she tested me on multiple healthy Omega 6s like sesame oil, evening primrose oil, and sunflower oil. The discovery we made was a surprising one – that I had become DEFICIENT in Omega 6s! Why? Because I AVOID pretty much all Omega 6s in my diet. My diet has been so rigid that I had now been getting TOO many Omega 3s and NOT ENOUGH Omega 6s.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, “Cancer as well as heart disease can be prevented by taking a ratio of at least 1:1 up to 2.5:1 unadulterated parent omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids plus specific vitamins and minerals.” So apparently the ratios in my diet have been off. I had suspected all along before I stopped using the grapeseed oil that perhaps it was okay to be consuming this substance since my diet no longer included the rash of Omega 6 foods I used to eat…but I second guessed my own intuition. This is a valuable lesson I’ve learned and will be more mindful in the future of my own body and my own knowledge about what I need to be healthy.

When you eat a really healthy diet which omits the processed, unhealthy Omega 6s, you will need to supplement this important EFA (essential fatty acid) in some way. So let’s make clear the distinction about  eating the right Omega 6s and the wrong ones – and that if you have no Omega 6s in your diet, you can become deficient in those, just like many people in industrialized countries can become with Omega 3s. So I’ve added a bit of Omega 6s to my diet – organic sunflower/sesame oil/evening primrose oil – which also has Omega 3s (flax oil), Udo’s brand (cold-pressed). In fact, this oil is formulated to contain the right blend of the essential fatty acid oils for health.

I certainly do not advocate people eating the unhealthy variety of Omega 6s to receive adequate amounts in their diets. Unhealthy Omega 6s include many processed foods such as vegetable oils (canola, soy, safflower, cottonseed, etc.), packaged grains and grain products like cereal, breads, and crackers. Good sources of healthy Omega 6s oils with GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) would be foods such as the following:

  • almonds
  • evening primrose oil
  • walnut oil
  • hemp oil
  • pumpkin seed oil
  • sesame oil
  • wheatgerm oil
  • grapeseed oil

All oils should be organic and cold-pressed, kept in dark bottles, and away from light and heat. Check labels for information on oils and do some research to find out how the oils are produced. Best if refrigerated.

So please remember, you need the right balance of polyunsaturated fats which come from healthy sources of Omega 6s and Omega 3s too – from sources like safe-source fish (mackerel, salmon, and anchovies, wild caught from a deep-sea source), grass-fed meats and poultry, pasture-raised eggs, and real dairy from grass-fed cows.

Don’t be fooled: mainstream medical and health sources claim that meat is too high in Omega 6s, which is certainly true of commercially-raised, industrial variety meats and poultry. These animals are fed a steady diet of unnatural feeds containing high levels of Omega 6 like grain, corn, and soy. As a result, their meat is too high in Omega 6s (polyunsaturated), lower in protein, and is high in calories. If you keep your meat consumption to choices from healthy, pasture-raised animals you actually be getting the Omega 3s which are so important in the essential fatty acid balance. These animals consume the food nature intended for them to eat, and as a result you are getting meat with higher protein, lower calories, the right amount of fat, and Omega 3s.

Looking for good sources of grass-fed meats and pasture-raised poultry and eggs? Check you local farmer’s market and farmers who raise meat in your region. Here are some good sources online:

U.S. Wellness Meats – merchant selling a variety of naturallly-raised meats, sausages, pork, rabbit, bison, poultry, lamb, sustainable seafood, and more!

Alderspring Ranch – one of my favorite local sources for grass-fed, organic beef; family owned and operated in the mountains of Idaho

Grass-fed Traditions – pasture-raised beef fed Cocofeed!

Eat Wild – resource for grass-fed meats