There is an old saying that “you are what you eat”. We hear it often and maybe it has begin to become a bit watered down (by overuse) but really it is quite a truthful statement. Nutritionists like to repeat this quote over and over again to get across to people that food choices are directly linked to our health and to our quality of life. The food that we eat and all of the nutrients contained therein are what provide the building blocks for new cell growth. Cells die off daily and are replaced with new cells. Our bodies are always replenishing and regenerating and that process cannot happen efficiently without the best building materials. Empty calories or substandard food will only ensure that our foundation for health and wellness is weak.
The same applies to the animals that we consume. Many factory farm operations feed their animals foods designed to fatten them up quickly with empty calories so that they can be slaughtered at ever increasing rates. Their goal is not to turn out a healthy animal…just a fat and meaty one. They are fed genetically modified crops that are heavily sprayed with pesticides and often they are fed foods that not appropriate for their digestive systems. Cows for instance are meant to eat grass and roughage but in factory farms they are forced to eat grains such as corn. The sugars in corn increase the fat content unnaturally and they cause illness and disease. Some cows have even been given candy when corn prices are too high! Chickens are shut away indoors and kept from the greens they love so much. We have also heard horror stories for years that diseased animals who die in factory farms are recycled as food for the remaining ones.
If you are what you eat, then what do we hope to become by eating animal products that come from factory farms?
This is a scary thought and it is one that paved the way for the rebirth of the grass fed and pastured foods movement. Many consumers are no longer comfortable eating factory farmed meat and eggs. Instead they are seeking out beef from cows who are allowed to graze freely and eat the healthy food that they were intended to eat. These same folks also 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.
People who want grassfed and pastured products aren’t being snobs or prescribing to some kind of elitism. We hear all the time that paleo (which centers around wild, grassfed, pastured foods) is elitist. But is it really being snobbish and elitist if you want to consume healthy animals?? No.
Grassfed meat is lean and has a fat content that more closely resembles chicken or wild game. This actually helps to improve your cholesterol levels instead of raise them. While it is low in the bad fats associated with high cholesterol, it is very high in the good fats, the omega-3 fatty acids. All of the nutrition from the pastures they graze translates into lean cuts of meat and delicious milk that are nutritionally superior and much healthier for your family.
Pastured eggs are said to have about 20 times more omega-3 fatty acids than their factory farmed counterparts. The moment you crack open a pastured egg you can tell from the dark orange yolk that you are eating something rich and full of nutrition. They also taste infinitely better than conventional store bought eggs. Once you try them you will be hard pressed to ever go without again.
We truly are what we eat and if we choose to eat animal products then would be wise to choose the healthiest and most nutritious animals… grass fed and pastured.
How to Find GrassFed, Pastured Foods:
Check out what you have locally available. The web site Eat Wild should be your first stop. It will tell you all the places in your area where you can get these products. Within seconds of checking my own locale I was linked to sources for chickens, eggs, rabbit, duck, cows, pigs, milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, etc. All come from grassfed, pastured, or wild animals.
If you cannot find much locally there are places to buy online such as US Wellness Meats.
To your health!
I love to read. I just wish there were more hours in the day so I could read lots more than I do. This week I am reading a mish mesh of fiction and non-fiction. Oh and cookbooks because dinner has been uninspired lately and I want to change that.
Right now I am reading or have read the following…
Mmmmm…bacon. We go through it like crazy in this house but we also like the rest of the pig quite a bit and this cookbook is crazy good. After I devoured it and dogeared it my husband stole it and immediately started talking about how we need to raise pigs. Sounds good to me!
Everyday Paleo Around the World: Italian Cuisine: Authentic Recipes Made Gluten-Free
This book was a birthday gift to me from my bloggy friend Stephanie at Good Girl Gone Green. I adore Italian food and when we went paleo I thought my days of eating this type of food were sadly a thing of the past. This cookbook though really delivers with paleo inspired Italian meals, surprisingly so. The author actually lived in Italy while writing the book and reading about her experiences there is very entertaining and informative. I cannot wait to make some of these meals…
I just re-read this again this week because the second and third books are now out. I just cannot keep up with all the books series that I like! Anyway this one is set in the future where what is left of society is completely controlled by government and if you choose to marry you have to be “matched” with the person they deem to be most compatible for you. Cassia is dismayed to uncover a glitch during her matching ceremony and she caches a glimpse of a second boy that is also her “match”. Society tells her the first boy is her true match and the second one can never be. Yet she finds herself seeking the second boy out and eventually falling in love with him. Now she has to choose between her family and society or a path no one else has dared to follow. It is a really, really good book and I cannot wait to dig into the other two!
Primal Moms Look Good Naked: A Mother’s Guide to Achieving Beauty through Excellent Health
I bought the Kindle version of this book after I read another blogger’s review recently. I did not enjoy it as much as that reviewer though. Don’t get me wrong it has lots of good and useful advice but it is aimed at young women who have yet to have children and what they can do to prevent the damage we associate with childbirth. It’s kinda way late for those who already HAVE children. Also (and I could be wrong) but I would be surprised if the author has not had breast implants. It’s kinda hard for me to stomach books about ‘natural’ beauty when you see surgical intervention at work there.
77 Outrageously Effective Anti-Aging Tips & Secrets
This is a Kindle book and only costs $2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle don’t let that keep you from buying because neither do I. I use the free Kindle reader and I read the books on my phone, computer, or tablet. Easy peasy.
Anyway, this book is well worth the money. I highly recommend it. It is jam packed with lots of great advice on healthy eating, lifestyle, supplementing, and how to stop the signs of aging. I bought because I have stopped drinking green smoothies during the fall/winter and my skin was not so happy. The book inspired me to start drinking aloe vera juice in my water and BOOM, skin back to normal! It also got me dry brushing again (which I already knew was amazing). This is a great buy.
What are you reading??? Share below!
A few months back I wrote a post about going paleo for health. I mostly wrote it as a visceral response to a blog post I read that tried to debunk the paleo diet as unhealthy and elitist. I think I did a pretty good job trouncing all of the reasons they claimed the paleo diet was so gosh darn awful. One of their “issues” with paleo though went unanswered by me though. I thought I would write a follow up post within a few days but just never got around it. The article, from way back when, claimed that going paleo was bad for the planet because meat consumption in general is not good for the planet.
This idea is nothing new. We hear it all the time from vegetarians, vegans, and the part timers who think that a Meatless Monday will help with the planetary impact of meat as a food choice. We hear it all the time because it is rooted in truth. Meat consumption can and often does have a very negative impact on our planet. This is all very true. Though we must also insert a big BUT here if we are being genuine and honest. The keyword is that meat consumption CAN have a negative impact…this is not always the case and there are many conscious meat eaters out there who are creating change and eating with minimal impact. It can be done and I think most paleo and primal diet enthusiasts fit that description, or they are attempting to. Paleo, when done right right, can be a huge boon to human health and it can be done sustainably and without damaging our planet further. How so? Below I outline some of the reasons why meat eating doesn’t have to be unstainable…
Factory Farms are Unsustainable – Not Paleo - The thing you have to understand is that when anti-meat crusaders start talking about the negative impact of meat production, 99.9% of the time they are referring to factory farming. They are talking about the huge lots with hundreds and thousands of cows, pigs, and chickens that are kept in dirty cages, fed unhealthy and unnatural foods, and overwhelm the area with massive amounts of toxic waste. I do not argue that these systems are hugely problematic and harmful to our planet. This is NOT the type of food that modern day cavemen want to eat though.
Paleo enthusiasts support small, local farms that pasture their animals and allow them to eat the healthy and natural foods that they are designed to eat. Most of the time these farms are diverse and they do more than just produce cows or chickens for meat. They might also grow fruits and veggies, keep bees, and utilize the waste that their animals produce to feed and nourish their plant based crops. An example of a system like this can be found in the Polyface farm owned and run by Joel Salatin. We paleo eaters don’t like factory farmed, unsustainable meat any more than the militant vegans do and as much as we possibly can, we avoid it at all costs. So when the anti-meat parade starts talking about how meat is unsustainable they are talking about factory farming and when you consider the meat sources that paleo eaters endorse and support than you know you are comparing apples and oranges.
Plant Based Crops Can Be Just As Harmful – Where I live in Ohio I need only drive a few minutes to be completely surrounded by corn, soy, and wheat fields. Most if not all of it probably GMO. Monocrops such as this are devastating to the planet. Growing the same thing over and over means pests and bugs are rampant, which means stronger and stronger chemical pesticides and herbicides must be used to create successful crops. These chemicals go down into our groundwater to slowly poison us and they harm our bee populations.
Now a HUGE part of this is tied to factory farmed meat (I admit) because these crops are grown for them to eat. This is another reason why paleo eaters don’t support factory farming! The animals are fed unhealthy foods that make them diseased and sickly. Cows are meant to eat grass, not corn. BUT these huge monocrops are not ONLY for factory farmed animals…they are also for human food. The kind of food that vegans and vegetarians eat. You see it is much cheaper and less labor intensive to grow one crop. The soil however is depleted because one thing is grown over and over with no biodiversity. This means that massive amounts of chemical fertilizer must be used to even get the crops to grow. Add to this the pesticides and herbicides and you have a yummy chemical cocktail on the your tomatoes, salad greens, strawberries, spinach, grains (for flour, bread, processed foods), soy (for soy protein), beans, lentils, and much more.
For more information on why a plant based diet is FAR more unsustainable than we are typically lead to believe I highly recommend reading The Vegetarian Myth. It exposes the destructive history of plant based agriculture - causing the devastation of prairies and forests, driving countless species extinct, altering the climate, and destroying the topsoil.
No Junk Food Crops – Modern day cavemen don’t support the junk food crops like soy, corn (for HFCS), beans, and grains because we generally don’t eat that stuff. If someday every person on the planet went paleo… which let’s face it, is a bogus argument… imagine how much land we would have to tinker with if we stopped growing all those nutritionally devoid junk food crops. When you argue against paleo foods as a sustainable option, you are really arguing against REAL FOOD being a being a sustainable option. If real food isn’t sustainble than we do indeed have very big problems.
Paleos Supports Local Food Economies – Paleo folks are excellent supporters of small local farmers and food producers and as such as also great supporters of their local food economies. It is because they want pastured, ethically raised meat that they seek out local producers. It is cheaper to get these items locally and they like to get to know the farmer producing their food so that they know exactly how it was raised/grown. They are tuned in to the local foods scene around them and typically this is where they end up sourcing the majority of their food…from local producers who grow things with an eye on sustainability, health, and biodiversity. They basically have to. It is a very rare grocer that offers things like grassfed beef and free range chicken and eggs from chickens not fed soy. By necessity we paleos become local consumers who eat in season.
Paleos Eat Far More Than Meat – For some reason the paleo/primal diets become synomymous with carnivores…like we sit around and gnaw on raw steak all day. There are plenty of meals though where meat does not even make an appearance on my plate. We eat a variety of foods, only some of which are animal products. If anything my range of veggies and greens expanded when I went paleo. I eat more fruits and veggies (variety and quantity) after going paleo, than I ever did as a vegetarian.
Paleos Like To Grow Their Own – Okay this might be an over generalization but in my experience, paleo folks like to take charge of some aspect of producing their own food, even on a small scale. Perhaps it is because they have such rockin relationships with their local farmers and they want to try it themselves. Maybe costs motivates them. I don’t know, but most of the paleo/primal folks I know do something… whether it be raising animals for food or vegetable gardening in their own home or through a community garden.
Paleos Are Hunter Gatherers – This point ties in closely to the one I just highlighted. One more way in which we can take charge of our food and not rely on big agribusiness is to learn about wild food foraging and hunting. It is not unusual for paleo dieters to include deer, rabbit, squirrel, and other wild caught meats and fish to their diet. Some of the busiest booths at my local farmer’s market are the small scale sellers and hunters who sell these exact items. You cannot tell me that deer, rabbit, and squirrel are not a sustainable way to add more meat to the diet.
Paleo Are Very Conscious Eaters – Just as ethical vegans are more conscious of their impact on animals when they eat, paleos are also very conscious about their choices and the impact. It just goes with the territory. When we start out on this journey we look into why grains are bad for our health and soon it becomes clear that growing grains is also bad for the planet. When we start to eschew factory farmed meat we learn a ton about how meat is produced, how animals are treated, how healthy they are, and the impact they have on health and planet. When you learn all about these issues you cannot help but WANT to make the best choice on all fronts. You fall down a rabbit hole into a whole new world and it changes you…for the better.
In short these are just some of the reasons why the argument that paleo/primal eating is bad for the planet… are just plain running out of gas. What do you think?
I have made no secret hat I am a die hard ebook lover. I love buying books on Amazon and I love buying them from various bloggers and authors direct. I am addicted to leaning I guess. It is what makes life worth living, the fact that we can keep growing, learning, and evolving. If I could I would be back in college racking up the degrees and taking classes for fun but since that is too spendy…this will have to do. I will learn from life life and from others who are out there living and learning.
The Harvest Your Health bundle particularly appealed to me and I wanted to share it with you. You get $1000 worth of ebooks and goodies for only $37. That should keep me busy through winter at least I reckon.
Click on the banner above or visit this link to see all the books you get but I if you want to know which ones excite me…read a little further.
The Grain Free Lunchbox – I struggle with on the go lunches that are grain free and paleo. You want easy and convenient but not the traditional lunch meat or PB&J sandwiches.
Paleogasm – Ha! Love the name.
Baking With Coconut Flour – Always looking for more coconut flour recipes. I adore the stuff.
Apartment Gardening – Have it and it has some great information and ideas.
Salves Made Simple – I would really like to start making more home beauty products and remedy products such as salves.
I am not vegetarian anymore but I know that many of my readers are so I wanted to share this great deal. I went paleo well over a year ago now, but I used to read and LOVE this magazine in my veggie days. It always has lots of great recipes to keep things fresh and it also has great advice and tips on health and diet in general. I loved the frequency of conversion recipes that make old favorites vegetarian friendly.
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