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Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

13 Ways to Kick Insomnia/Sleep Disorders and Get a Good Night’s Rest

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Are you an insomniac? Do you toss and turn and wake up in the middle of the night? And no matter how hard you try, you can’t  get back to sleep…only to feel as though you’ve been hit by a truck when the alarm goes off and it’s time to start your day?

In our culture, we’ve come to believe many things we experience to do with the way we feel as being normal, such as headaches, stiffness, fatigue, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, headaches, sore throats, flus, colds, and many others.

We medicate ourselves by going to the doctor and getting on antibiotics or taking over-the-counter products. But do those efforts really get us anywhere? And, are we improving our symptoms, or just covering them up? We take medications for awhile because we think they are working…only to find that the problem rears itself again in a few days, weeks, or months. This frustrating cycle does not cure us of our ailments, but rather just keeps it in a perpetual state.

If you’ve ever taken sleeping pills, you know exactly what I mean. I know hundreds of people or more who take these drugs. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. ultimately what I hear is that people still have trouble sleeping no matter what they do. And they don’t feel rested in the morning when they wake up.

For many years, I had chronic sleep issues. Sometimes I’d lie there awake for 2 hours or more, and not be able to fall back to sleep. Maybe I’d finally go to sleep again just before I had to get up. And getting up at that point was a herculean effort, to say the least. I’d drag myself through the day, wishing so badly I could just have some time to take a nap and catch up on my lost sleep. Usually there wasn’t time and then often I’d find myself feeling exhausted again by 5 p.m. and have to drag myself through dinner. And yeah, I thought this was normal. 

Later I’d get ready for bed but by then I was almost wide awake again, and would watch something my husband and I had rented from Netflix because I wanted some time to myself…only to fall asleep during the video. Then when I finally went to bed I would have trouble falling asleep or I’d go to sleep and wake up again in a few hours…only to start the cycle all over again.

Then there were the times when I’d wake up at midnight, 1 or 2 p.m. and have severe panic symptoms. My heart would be racing, I’d feel as though I couldn’t breathe, and I was in full on anxiety mode in the middle of the night while everything around me was quiet and dark, and the world around me was asleep. Sometimes these episodes would go on for hours. I’d go back to sleep maybe for 20 or 30 minutes, only to be yanked awake again with the same symptoms which would last for another hour or so.

These symptoms went on for more than 20 years. I spent a lot of time researching natural remedies to make my symptoms go away. I had already been to doctors many times, been examined, been tested….only to find that my heart was okay, everything was okay. But, I needed a prescription for anxiety or depression. This didn’t make sense. How could I be okay and need drugs? I never took the prescriptions I was given because I was certain that it wouldn’t really get to the root of the problem and then I’d be hooked on meds. I didn’t want that.

2005

I changed my diet pretty drastically. I cut out most processed foods and started eating more whole foods and regular meals. Instead of processed grains I started eating sprouted grain products. I stated eating more proteins and fats, and more fruits and vegetables. I had some improvement, but there was still something missing.

2007

I went to see a colon hydro-therapist. She suggested that I try giving up wheat, since I was still eating it pretty regularly. I didn’t think I could do it, but I eventually stopped eating most breads, pastas, and grains. I always felt better when I didn’t eat them whether they were properly prepared with sprouting/soaking/fermenting or not.

My husband and son both had issues with dairy, so we decided to try what we’d heard was a success for many people and bought our first gallon of raw milk from Organic Pastures Dairy. We discovered that we could eat these foods and they didn’t bother any of us and they were delicious…and we never looked back.

2009

I discovered traditional foods. I started preparing more of these for my family and our collective health kept improving all the time. But I still had health symptoms that I couldn’t shake whenever I would “cheat” and eat something I shouldn’t have. Usually it was some type of grain, sugar, or food with high carbohydrate content.

2011

Just after the new year, I had a health crisis which forced me to think even more differently about what I was putting into my body. During this time, my family was going through a severe financial crisis and we were facing the prospect of losing our home. I started having chronic anxiety and panic issues during the night again which disrupted my sleep. This went on for 3 months. I tried everything I could to get it to stop, including many supplements, natural remedies, alternative care treatments, and it seemed nothing I did worked and my efforts were to no avail.

Never again will I underestimate the power stress has to deplete the body of essential minerals and other nutrients. If I had realized just how down my body was going to get from all the stress we were experiencing, maybe I could have taken precautionary and supportive steps to ensure that my health state didn’t get as low as it did.

I finally decided that I needed something completely different and made a plan to start Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s GAPS protocol. I thought my diet was already  healthy enough, but as it turned out…I was wrong.

GAPS gave me what I needed to get my body back on track, loose the anxiety and panic issues, and start sleeping again. If you’re like me, not getting the sleep you need can set you up for a disaster. If it continues and is chronic, you know you simply can’t function. If I had not decided to do GAPS, I don’t know what would have happened to me.

But what if I don’t want to do the GAPS diet? It’s too overwhelming!

Even if you don’t take on the full GAPS diet, just implementing some of the basic principles of GAPS into your diet can improve your health and quality of your sleep immensely. If you do decide to do full GAPS, there is a good chance that you will be able to solve many or at least some of your major health issues. GAPS is not a cure-all protocol, but it has been helpful for thousands of people and at the very least, you will realize some noticeable health benefit from doing it.

GAPS uses healing and nourishing foods that were some of the most basic nutritional elements discovered by Dr. Weston A. Price in his travels all over the world to find out what healthy societies were consuming and what was causing disease and dental issues in people he knew and treated in his dentistry practice in the U.S.

Here are 13 ways I’ve found are very effective to improve your the quality of your sleep and overall health:

1.   Drink bone broth and/or use it liberally in the foods you eat daily.

This is one of the best agents I’ve ever used to make sure I sleep well each night. Bone broths are full of minerals, and if you are low on minerals, you can be sure you won’t get a good night’s sleep.

Don’t wait until bedtime to drink it. Use throughout the day by sipping a cup with meals or use in soups, stews, chili, casseroles, sauces, rice and bean dishes and other foods. Wherever a recipe calls for using water (that would be savory recipes, not desserts or sweet recipes), replace with broth from chicken, beef, lamb, pork, or fish bones.

Broth is extremely easy to digest, and is a great source of minerals and gelatin which are healing to the digestive tract. It is also a rich source of collagen and amino acids. All of these nutrients are essential for good health and can greatly improve digestion and absorption of nutrients from other foods you eat, which greatly affects sleep.

2.   Make infusions with nettles and other herbals that you like and drink daily.

Nettles are another abundant source of minerals. We make and drink nettles daily and we usually add some type of mint to it because we like the taste (either peppermint or spearmint). Like broth, nettles are easy to digest and are a good source of minerals that help sleep cycles to normalize: calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, sulfur, and iron, chlorophyll, and amino acids.

Nettles infusions are very effective for their blood-building properties, bone and muscle-building abilities, oxygen transport from the lungs to the cells, reducing inflammation in the body and helping to replace depleted nutrients. For a good recipe to make nettles infusions, visit Susun Weed’s web site.

3.   Prepare and eat fermented foods.

Fermented foods are vital to health as they contain a diverse selection of friendly bacteria (probiotics) which aids in digestion and immune system health, and culturing foods increases the availability and amount of nutrients in foods. Consuming cultured vegetables like pickles and sauerkraut, kombucha, water kefir, dairy kefir, beet kvass, and others are highly beneficial foods that will improve your overall health and quality of sleep.

4.   Eat healthy fats every single day.

If you are currently eating any of the following, eliminate them from your diet: canola or any other type of vegetable oil such as soybean, corn, or safflower, sunflower, peanut oils, margarine or butter substitutes or vegetable shortening. Real fats are nutrient-dense and contain vital elements you need for health – fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K2, Omega 3s, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and minerals.

Replace all unhealthy fats with real fats such as butter, ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil and animal and bird fats such as lard, tallow, chicken (schmaltz) and others from healthy animals and birds raised on pasture without pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Read about the dangers of low-fat foods – Deceptions in the Food Industry: Low-Fat Foods and The Importance of Dietary Fats

5.   Eliminate processed, packaged, and canned foods. 

Processed foods are full of chemicals like MSG (under names you may not even recognize if you read the label such as maltodextrin, citric acid, natural flavors, hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy protein, and many others), food dyes, preservatives, genetically-modified organisms (such as soy, canola, corn, and cottonseed oil), sugar, and many other ingredients that are intended to preserve foods and increase shelf life. For more information on how processed foods harm your health, read Is Cheap Food Really Cheap? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food and Fortified and Processed Food: Are Label Claims About Nutrition True?

6.   Eliminate refined sugars and processed carbohydrates.

Reducing your sugar intake drastically by removing crackers, cookies, juice, soda, cereals, chips, pretzels, bagels, muffins, pastries, etc. and any type of convenience foods that are high in refined carbohydrates.

For many people this also includes eliminating bread and grains, since most breads and grain products you can buy are highly processed and not properly prepared, include many other additives and chemicals, you will want to avoid these foods for a period of time to see how you feel without them. Once you determine if these foods are upsetting your sleep, you may decide to ditch them forever or only to indulge on special occasions.

You will find that the more you eliminate processed foods and add plenty of healthy fats to your diet, sugar cravings often subside. Your body needs the nutrients in real food and healthy fats, and sugar cravings are often a sign of yeast overgrowth, dysbiosis, parasites, and other imbalances which cause our bodies to crave carbs and sugar.  For more information, read Dietary Changes & Supplements for Removal of Candida Overgrowth, Part I and Part II.

For more information on why wheat and grains could cause health issues, read The Truth About Wheat and Grains – Are They Good for Your Health?

Also read 14 Ways to Eliminate Sugar Cravings

7.   Make sure you get some sun exposure everyday and a bit of activity as well.

Regular and safe sun exposure are vital to health, and helps with hormone levels which in turn help our sleep cycles to normalize. If you are someone who has spent a lot of time avoiding the sun, you are probably deficient in Vitamin D and other nutrients such as Vitamin A which are necessary for absorption of minerals like calcium. The more you expose yourself to regular sun, the more your body will begin to produce Vitamin D and it will protect you from disease as well as sunburning.

We also need a good supply of magnesium in our diets to absorb Vitamin D, as well as vitamins in the B complex. This is why good lifestyle and diet are so important. All of these nutrients are contingent upon each other to work in the body successfully.

Applying coconut oil and cod liver oil to your skin can be quite helpful in aiding your skin to be able to absorb nutrients from the sun.

Getting some exercise is a good idea, but don’t overdo it. Too much exercise can damage your adrenal glands and lead to adrenal exhaustion which can be harmful to overall health and take awhile to heal. Gentle and purposeful exercise like walking or moderate hiking or biking is good, but if you are out of shape, anything besides this should be avoided until you heal your adrenal glands. Chronic sleep issues are a sure sign of adrenal exhaustion, so take care of this before engaging in any strenuous exercise.

Read Vitamin D Deficiency – Does It Affect You?

Suggested book reading and web site resource: The Vitamin D Solution, Dr. Michael F. Holick

8. Eliminate commercial sources of meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy foods from your diet. 

Meat and animal products from industrial and factory farm sources are not only harmful to your health due to hormones, antibiotics, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), pesticide and herbicide residue, but they are much less nutritious than their sustainable-produced counterparts that are raised in healthy environments and on pasture, without all the chemicals and above-mentioned substances.

Definitely be certain to eat grassfed meats, game meats, organ meats, pasture-raised eggs and poultry, and other animal foods that are rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2, Omega 3s, CLA, and minerals. These nutrients are vital to health and it should go without saying, but if you are lacking in these elements, your health and your sleep are likely suffering. The only real source of retinyl palmitate (true Vitamin A) comes from animal foods. It is then easily converted to retinol in the small intestine.

These foods contain as much as 3-5 times the amount of these nutrients as compared to their industrial counterparts, and should be free from hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, herbicides, pesticides, and other nasty chemicals.

Read Industrial Meat & Pink Slime=More Recalls, Drug Resistance and The Grassfed Meat Challenge: Busting Myths About Meat 

9. Stop using vegetable oils and margarine in your cooking and salad dressings.

If you are using vegetable oils, throw them out immediately. Vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, cottonseed, corn, peanut, safflower, and artificial butter spreads such as margarine (and others like Earth Balance, Smart Balance, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter) do not reduce inflammation and cholesterol in the body. In fact, they make this situation worse and contribute to Metabolic Syndrome (of which heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and high blood pressure are a part).

Although medical authorities have told us for decades that these oils are healthy, they are in fact one of the worst “foods” you can eat. They are modern oils which have been highly processed and subjected to heat in a factory. These delicate polyunsaturated oils do not bode well under heat and become rancid after processing. They also contain far too many Omega 6s, which contribute to disease. Most vegetable oils are also from a GMO-source, and if the label says they are “organic” you can bet they aren’t. Contamination from GMO crops is eminent in our agricultural system.

Our ancestors did not consume these modern oils. They thrived on animal fats, and there is plenty of historical and archaeological evidence of this fact. For cooking, baking, and frying use butter or ghee, lard or tallow from healthy animals raised on pasture without antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, pesticides, or herbicides.

Instead of bottled dressings which usually contain these oils and other chemicals, make your own salad dressing from healthy oils like olive and other real ingredients.

If you are still doubtful about the hazards of vegetable oils, read the history of cottonseed oil, the mother of all vegetable oils and how a company named Procter & Gamble replaced animal fats with their flagship product, Crisco.

Read Which is Better for Your Health – Polyunsaturated or Saturated Fats and Why My Family Loves Lard

The Coronary Heart Disease Epidemic : Possible Culprits, Part II – Whole Health Source

Suggested book: Put your Heart In Your Mouth – Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride

10. If you are on prescription or over-the-counter medications or drugs, consider eliminating them.

I know a lot of people who take prescription meds and they also have a lot of trouble sleeping.  Medications alter your physiology, deplete your body of important nutrients,  and can alter your sleep patterns greatly. “Certain heart, blood pressure, and asthma drugs, as well as over-the-counter medicines for colds, allergies, and headaches, can interrupt normal sleep patterns,” says James Wellman, MD, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Georgia in Augusta.

You’ll be surprised at how much better you sleep if you are not on prescription meds.

Read Is Your Medication Robbing You of Nutrients? and Is Your Prescription Robbing You of Nutrients, Part II by Dr. Hyla Cass, M.D.

and Is Reactive Medicine Cheaper Than Preventative?

11.   Make sure your sleeping environment is clean. 

Eliminate clock radios, televisions, computers, stereo systems, cell phones, and anything electrical that you can do without in your room. EMFs (electrical magnetic frequencies) and other interferences can negatively affect your sleep. Keep your room as dark as possible.

If you have a SmartMeter in your home, you should consider moving it or having it replaced with an analog meter. SmartMeters have been shown to cause disturbance in sleep and also affect health adversely.

Read How to Protect Yourself from a Smart Meter by Stanley Fishman’s guest post on The Healthy Home Economist and Harvard Medical Doctor Warns Against Smart Meters

For more information about how EMFs can damage health and cause premature aging of cells, visit Dr. Sinatra’s site (cardiologist)

Suggested book reading: Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra, Martin Zucker

12.   Retire at a reasonable hour. 

Although there is no magic number of sleep hours that will do your body good, burning the candle at both ends doesn’t help you to feel rested, even if you believe you are sleeping soundly the whole time you are asleep. Going to bed after 10 p.m. can have a profound effect on how rested you feel the next day. Our digestive tract goes through a detoxification between the hours of 9 and 11 p.m in the lymph nodes (antibody system). If we aren’t relaxed or sleeping during this time, this process isn’t fully completed.

Our ancestors didn’t have modern technology with lights, computers, video games, and television to keep them up late after dark. They went to bed early and rose with the sun.  Since the invention of the light bulb, our overall sleep hours have been reduced by as much as 500 hours per year! The natural circadian rhythm of our bodies dips down in the afternoon and in the middle of the night, causing us to feel tired. Supporting our bodies with nutrients and rest during these times is critical to health.

Do something calming and quiet before bed like meditate, take a hot bath, listen to peaceful music, have a quiet conversation with a loved one, or read. Watching television, playing video games, or looking at a computer screen can have an effect on the chemicals in your brain and entire body, and how easily you fall asleep after going to bed.

Read A Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Heart Attack and Stroke, Dr. Sinatra (cardiologist) and Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain, Jennifer LaRue Huget

13. Avoid violence/heavy emotional subjects and conversations or television/movies/computers/bright lights/LEDs before bed. 

Exposing yourself to these influences before bedtime can cause you to become keyed up and make any chronic sleep issues more acute. Do something relaxing and calm before bed. Drink herbal teas such as peppermint, lemon balm, skullcap, astragalus, wood betony, motherwort, valerian, linden flowers, or passionflower.

As recommended in #12, read or engage in something quiet such as prayer or meditation, or listening to calming music. Take a warm or hot bath in filtered water with epsom or magnesium salts. Mineral salts are calming and essential to the body for all functions, and especially sleep.

Related posts:

11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Healing Despite “Eating Well”

My GAPS Experience for Panic Disorder and GAPS Radio Interview

13 Ways to Increase Mineral Intake for Improved Well-Being & Health

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Real Food

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Food! And Other Atrocities

www.mypicshares.com

Somehow I am continually astounded at the depths companies will plunge to in order to make a buck. The other night I was watching the news with my husband and the station played an ad for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!”

I know all about this product, but it still irritated me to no end to see the smiling, gallavanting star from Will and Grace gleefully extolling the healthful benefits of this insidious product.

No trans fat” and “less saturated fat than butter“, the label boasts.

And yet the bulk of what makes up this product is canola and soybean oil. They also have “light” and “fat free” versions of this substance, as if the original wasn’t artificial enough. And I see many people eating these substances, and claiming how healthy they are.

What’s wrong with canola and soybean oil? Where to start!

First, both of these oils receive heavy, industrial processing in the factory, are subjected to high heat temperatures, and are sanitized and deodorized with chemicals. The result is a highly-processed, rancid vegetable oil containing too many Omega 6s, which contribute to inflammation and disease in the body. Vegetable oils also are largely comprised of polyunsaturated fats – which are extremely susceptible to damage from being heated. When these oils are in this state, they are much more likely to contain free radicals which can cause cancer. Because these substances are artificial, our bodies don’t know what to do with them and they become stored in our cells – and start to create disease.

So even though the label claims these oils are not hydrogenated, the only way to create a product like this is to subject it to high-heat temperatures and cause it to become a solid so it can be a product that spreads. Wow, aren’t science and marketing great?

Human beings do need some polyunsaturated fatty acids for health, but in our culture we consume far more of these than are necessary – particularly the Omega 6s. Over-consumption of these has been associated with degenerative disease.  Because we eat too many Omega 6s – found in vegetable oils and grain products – what results is a gross imbalance in our diets of Omega 3s to Omega 6s. The best ratios for these essential fatty acids are around 3:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. In the United States, our consumption of Omega 6s to Omega 3s is closer to 25:1. It’s no wonder we have the health issues we do – obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Margarine has finally started to receive a lot of bad press over the last few years as being unhealthful to consume. And this product is really no different in composition than margarine. Artificial fats have not been around for more than a speck of time in human history. The real question we should be asking here is why does anyone believe something fake, rancid, deodorized, and subjected to high heat temperatures is good for us to eat?

What has butter done to offend?

Butter is a healthy, natural food and is made from milk. It has traditionally been eaten for thousands of years by people all over the world. Butter from healthy cows on pasture contains Omega 3s – important for brain and cardiovascular health. It also contains Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamins A and D are critical for many aspects of health – eye, immune system, teeth, skeletal and skin. The government fact sheet on Vitamin D actually claims that this nutrient is found in very few foods – and they are right simply because in modern times, most food is so devoid of nutrients due to the way our farming system produces it. But animals and birds raised naturally on pasture and without chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics actually produce a good amount of Vitamin D in their meat, milk, and eggs. It is good for the thyroid, digestive system, growth and development, and immune system.

When you look at the nutritional facts, it’s hard to understand how butter has become the enemy. Per serving, foods like butter with saturated fats have more nutrients than vegetables and grains – and vegetables and grains must be eaten with foods containing fat-soluble vitamins in order to absorb them. Saturated fats are critical in the functions of hormone production, energy, organ padding, and for the structural integrity of cell membranes. Our immune system function also needs saturated fat to enhance its performance. In order for our bodies to properly synthesize calcium, we must have regular intake of saturated fat. It is also very important for heart and liver health as well, and protects against damage to our cells against oxidation (free radicals which cause cancer). Saturated fats are loaded with real nutrientsnutrients our bodies need and recognize. We can absorb them and use them to better the condition of our health.

Butter also contains cholesterol. This nutrient is also necessary for health. It is vital in brain development and nervous system function. We need cholesterol for digestive maintenance and immune system function too. Cholesterol works with other important nutrients like Vitamin D to promote mineral metabolism, proper growth, reproductive and bone health, and insulin production. For references see this document, Truth About Saturated Fats by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:

“Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.

Butter also contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries. Vitamin A and vitamin E found in butter both play a strong anti-oxidant role. Butter is a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant – containing more per gram than herring or wheat germ.

Butter is also a good dietary source cholesterol. What?? Cholesterol an anti-oxidant?? Yes indeed, cholesterol is a potent anti-oxidant that is flooded into the blood when we take in too many harmful free-radicals – usually from damaged and rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.”

Who stands to benefit from the sale of fake butter?

“The list is a long one and includes orthodox medicine, hospitals, the drug companies and food processors. But the chief beneficiary is the large corporate farm and the cartels that buy their products – chiefly cotton, corn and soy – America’s three main crops, which are usually grown as monocultures on large farms, requiring extensive use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. All three – soy, cotton and corn – can be used to make both margarine and the new designer spreads. In order to make these products acceptable to the up-scale consumer, food processors and agribusiness see to it that they are promoted as health foods. We are fools to believe them.” (Weston A. Price)

So the answer is that butter is a true health food and is necessary for life, and the only possible reason these companies who produce, market, and sell fake fats is to make a profit from selling something that is essentially an industrial waste product and costs little to produce.

Cattle have to eat, don’t they?

Joel Salatin’s book The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer talks at length about the activities going on in the industrial food industry – most of which are nothing short of completely horrific – and how much corporate executives are allowed to get away with in the world of commercialized food. I say corporate executives because ultimately, it’s their decisions which get carried out in the workaday world of industrial, factory farms. It’s also their twisted machinations about farming come to life, to which inspectors and government officials close their eyes and turn the other direction, that become everything your wildest imagination can conjur up and then some. And it’s all permitted to occur in these well-protected, confined operations.

Salatin acquaints us well with the practices of various “farming” types.  The local economy and community of Harrisonburg, VA – about 30 miles away from his own Polyface Farm – is largely dominated by the poultry industry. Started by Charles Wampler, this city is known for its parentage to the confinement turkey industry. These turkeys are treated in the most inhumane possible ways. And it is through these avenues that this corporation can proudly take credit for being the mastermind behind the development of the double-breasted turkey – all through the aid of the USDA research farm in Beltsville, Maryland. These birds can only survive on a robust supply of antibiotics and other cheap medications to maintain their “health” long enough for them to be ready for slaughter and sale on the American market.

What is revealed about the farm that is most revolting, however, (although not surprising in the least) is what they do with their poultry poop. The amounts of poop are a problem, as you might imagine, and it has created a massive pollution problem – for the water, the air, and the environment. In its’ infinite wisdom, the USDA and Virginia Tech’s Extension Service came up with a plan to feed the poop to cattle as a way to dispose of it. Yes, you heard me correctly. The poop is mashed together with various types of silage, molasses…oh, and dead poultry carcasses as well – and it is fed to the cattle.

How else do you suppose companies that produce that much meat can afford to feed and house all those animals? At least, afford it on the scale that, in their minds, they aren’t spending “extra” money to actually do something ecologically sound like provide open and clean spaces for their cattle to eat grass (which is what they are designed to eat, by the way). It’s no wonder we are seeing meat recalls on such a frequent basis in the news!

So we’ve got it straight from the farmer’s mouth. Now that you know what conventional cattle are fed – does this motivate you to want to eat meat from healthy animals?

It’s hard for me to decide which is worse – the fact that these foods are allowed to be sold on the market in the condition they are in, or that companies work so hard to convince you just how healthy the foods are to eat. I think it’s a draw.

Real food from sustainable farms

Did you know healthy animals and birds on pasture produce meat and meat products that are healthy to eat? When you know your farmer and the practices used, you can be assured of a safe and healthy food. Here are things to look for:

  • Animals and birds should be out on pasture in the sun and open air
  • No antibiotics should be used
  • No hormones should be used
  • Farmer should not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides
  • Cattle should eat grass
  • If animals/birds are eating something other than grass (such as pigs or chickens), it should be sustainable or organically produced – and should not be treated with any of the above substances, nor come from genetically-modified seeds
  • Grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and nuts should be grown without chemicals, pesticides, genetic engineering, and using natural, sustainable, and organic farming practices

Friends, if these two instances of “food” being marketed for consumption aren’t enough to convince consumers that there is something inherently wrong with our food system, I don’t know WHAT IS!

More information on why you should avoid conventional food :

1 in 4 meat packages tainted with pathogenic bacteria

The egg recall and why local isn’t necessarily better

Food recalls – why they could mean the end of real food as we know it

Fortified and processed foods: are label claims about nutrition true?

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