In my last post, Nutrient Rich Meals, I mentioned the importance of using grass fed and pastured animal products. As I thought about it, I realized I should be more explicit why I made that recommendation. So, here we go . . .
There is an old saying, “You are what you eat,” which is absolutely true. For eons nutritionists have been emphasizing that food choices are directly linked to health and quality of life.
The food choices we make and the nutrients found in those choices provide the building blocks for new cell growth. Without adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients, our bodies cannot replenish and regenerate efficiently. Empty calories or unhealthy foods weaken our foundation for health and wellness.
The same nutritional principles apply to animal meat and products that we consume – not just fruits and vegetables. As the drive for faster, more efficient, and cheaper ways of producing meat products has increased, the quality has decreased.
Many of the “modern-day” factory farm operations feed their animals empty-calorie foods designed to fatten them up quickly so that they can be slaughtered in much shorter-than-normal time frames. They are also fed genetically-modified crops that have been sprayed heavily with pesticides and fed foods that are not appropriate for the animals’ digestive systems.
For example, cows were meant to feed on grass and have a digestive tract that works in a very specific way for that type of diet; but, factory farms cows are forced to eat grains such as corn instead of grass. In addition to being the wrong type of food for their digestive system and cannot be digested properly, the sugars in corn increase the fat content to dangerous levels and cause illness and disease.
Chickens also love to roam free and when allowed to do so eat bugs, greens, and whatever else they can find. When they are cooped up indoors and kept from the greens they love so much, there can be serious health problems.
In addition, you may have heard horror stories about diseased animals that die in factory farms and are recycled as food for the remaining animals. Just the thought of it makes me want to never eat meat again – but I am not a vegetarian.
If the old adage is true and we are what we eat, the question is – “What will be become if we continue to eat animal products that come from factory farms?” That is a scary thought and has been one of the drivers behind the every-increasing popularity of the grass-fed and pastured foods movement.
Many consumers, including me, are no longer comfortable eating factory-farmed meat and eggs. They prefer to shop for beef from cows that have been allowed to graze freely and eat the healthy food that they were intended to eat with minimal pesticide ingestion because it is a much healthier choice.
Grass-fed meat is lean and has a fat content that closely resembles wild game. The lower fat content actually helps improve cholesterol levels rather than raise them. Even though the meat still has a fairly high fat content, it is low in the bad fats associated with high cholesterol, and it is very high in the good fats, the omega-3 fatty acids. The nutritional quality that results from grazing in green pastures translates into lean cuts of meat and delicious milk that are nutritionally superior and much healthier for the body.
Those same people are also more likely (if possible) to buy farm fresh eggs from farms where the chickens are cage free and allowed to roam and eat grass, seeds, bugs, fruit, and other foods more natural to them. At the very least, they are willing to pay more for cage-free eggs offered in the local grocery stores.
Eggs produced by pastured chickens are said to have about 20 times more omega-3 fatty acids than eggs produced by factory-farmed chickens. You know you have an egg from pastured chickens the moment you crack one open. It will have a dark orange yolk indicating that it is rich and full of nutrition. They also taste much better than other eggs. It is difficult to ever “go back” once you have tried them.
If you are like me and still love your meat and eggs, you would be very wise to choose the best products available, which come from grass fed and pastured animals.
Never forget – you are what you eat!