By Cat, Feb & Nov 2007
- See also: 1. Foods (About) Menu; 2. Whole Foods: What they Are, Which Are Not; 3. Dairy Cow Anomalies; 4. Humane Dairy Farms vs CAFOs
- Includes: 1.
In older times, our diets included many healthful animal foods. For example:
- Wild game
- Wild fish and seafood
- Local farm-raised, pastured beef, pork, mutton, lamb, poultry
- Milk from local pastured cows, sheep, goats, horses, bison, water buffalo
- Eggs from local pastured chickens, geese, ducks
But in these modern times, many of these animal foods are no longer healthful foods, for a lot of reasons. Here are a few:
- Wild fish now live in waters contaminated by industrial pollution. Many of these fish are contaminated with these pollutants, such as mercury.
- Most commercial meats come from animals raised in feed lots and fed on GMO grains and soy, as opposed to natural pasture.
- Milk comes from cows injected with recombinant hormones (GMO rGBH) to make them produce more milk faster. These same cows are also fed in feedlots or CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) on an unnatural diet of GMO grains and soy, which makes them vulnerable to disease. They are given antibiotics with their feed to keep them ‘healthy and make them grow faster.
- Chickens and other poultry are kept in confinement (CAFOs) and fed a GMO grain diet, as opposed to being allowed to roam in pasture where they can eat grains, grasses, and bugs. The eggs from these confined chickens are much lower in nutrient value than eggs from chickens allowed to roam and feed in pasture.
Lets look at a few of these reasons more closely.
Foods From Animals Fed an Unnatural Diet
Beef fed a diet of soy, corn and other grains, instead of their natural diet (grasses) produce meat that:
- Has a different nutrient composition than that from similar animals fed a natural diet of pasture grasses and stored grasses (hay);
- Has a different, unnatural fat composition, being higher in Omega-6 fats and lower in Omega-3 fats than pasture-fed animals;
- May even have different protein structures.
But what is perhaps even more devastating for the consumer and the animal, is the effect such an unnatural diet has on the poor animal’s health. Because these animals suffer poor health, their feed includes antibiotics to keep them healthy. And when you ingest their meat, you, too, get the antibiotics. A nasty result of this is antibiotic-resistant microbes like MERSA.
E. Coli Outbreaks
Recent research into the outbreaks of E. coli infections in humans from spinach, has led to the discovery that the strains of E. coli involved, came from the guts of cows fed an unnatural grain diet. E. coli is a natural coliform bacteria that lives in the guts of most animals, including humans, in a symbiotic relationship (healthful for both) with the host.
But in cows fed on grain and soy, this bacteria has mutated to a different strain that could survive better in the changed environment of the grain-fed animal’s gut. The mutated E. coli passes into the feces of the cow and subsequently is used to form manure to fertilize crops, or is incorporated into runoff water from the fields, which is then used to water crops.
This contaminated manure or water then contaminates the crops it fertilized. For example, it contaminated spinach in nearby fields. Then the people who ate the contaminated spinach got sick, because this new strain of E. coli is pathological to humans. (9).
A recent study by Mother Earth News (11) shows that eggs from pasture-fed chickens are far superior to eggs from commercial grain-fed chickens. Compared to official USDA nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from pasture fed hens may contain:
- 1/3 (33%) less cholesterol
- 1/4 (25%)less saturated fat
- 2/3 (67%) more vitamin A
- 2 times (200%) more Omega-3 fatty acids (for a better Omega-6:Omega-3 balance
- 3 times (300%) more vitamin E
- 7 times (700%) more beta carotene
Genetically Modified Animals and GMO Feed
Commercial livestock are, generally, fed GMO corn and other grains and soy. These seeds are genetically modified so that they can be treated with the poisonous, systemic Roundup weed killer without dying. Just think about what this means.
They can be treated with tremendous amounts of a poison, taking it into their cellular structure, and yet not die. Then, upon harvest, not only is the genetically modified DNA, but also the Roundup and other poisons, passed on to the animal (or human) that consumes them. And when you eat that animal, you get the junk, now highly concentrated junk.
Many commercial dairy cows (non-organic) are treated with a genetically engineered hormone, to make them produce more milk. [Thankfully, this practice is changing as consumers turned their back on rBst- or rBGH- treated milk.] When you consume the milk, you also consume this unnatural hormone. This hormone has estrogenic activity, and may be very bad for our health. For example, it may cause cancer. See Dairy Cow Anomalies for more on this.
Foods that are GMO, or from animals fed a GMO diet, are NOT REQUIRED to indicate GMO on the label. Just one more reason to buy local from a farmer or rancher you trust.
Refer to my article on GMO Foods, and How to Avoid Them (about) for more on this subject.
- The Real Reasons to Avoid GMO Foods (9)
- Who is Trying to Hide the Causes of a Deadly Epidemic? (10) by Jeffrey M. Smith (on Mercola’s website) for the story behind the 1989 L-Tryptophan epidemic, that was caused by GMO bacteria used to produce the product.
In older times, before refrigeration, people used many techniques to preserve meats that were all relatively healthful preservation methods, many of which dated back centuries. These included: brining, salt-curing, smoking, drying, and sausage-making.
However, as people became obsessed with microbial contamination, these techniques evolved into what we now know as ‘processed meat.’ Simple salt-cures and brines were no longer trusted to keep meat safe; nitrates and other questionable preservatives were added (such as saltpeter).
It is now known that some of these preservatives are cancerogenic, especially when the treated foods are heated (cooked). Health practitioners advise against consumption of processed meat products (bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, hot dogs, commercially corned beef, hot dogs, many sausages, and smoked meats). And indeed it is very wise to avoid these commercial products. (9)
More recently, many of these preserved meats have been treated with a type of irradiation, which also may have undesirable results. See my article on The EssentiaList: Irradiated Foods, for more on this.
However, similar products preserved in the traditional way, without the added preservatives, are still healthful. In fact, I suggest making your own preserved meats for a real treat. Check out my corned beef article which includes instructions to corn your own!
- Shedds Country Crock margarine