How Well Do You Know That Cow You Just Ate?!
In the spirit of full disclosure, let me start by telling you that I am not -- contrary to popular belief -- a vegan or even a vegetarian. I don't eat much meat -- maybe once or twice a week, and then in small amounts -- but I do enjoy animal food from time to time.
Some of my favorites are:
-- kale cooked with hormone/antibiotic-free Italian sausage
-- organic, cage-free chicken in my Roasted Vegetable soup
-- wild salmon croquettes with a baked sweet potato
-- a late-summer BST (that's nitrate/nitrite free uncured bacon, pile of fresh spinach and locally-grown, absolutely scrumptious heirloom tomato)
I even have the occasional grass-fed burger -- 3-4 times a year!
By now you are getting the idea that while I do eat meat, I am VERY particular about what it is, what it has been fed, and what injections it hasn't gotten before becoming my food! You see, you can only be as healthy as what you eat EATS!
Unfortunately, most of the beef, for example, sold in the US is commercially raised. Commercially raised cows are fed grain. Cows did not evolve to eat grain. They are supposed to eat grass, i.e. green plants. (From which, by the way, they get essential fatty acids and other important nutrients they can then pass on to us!) So when fed grain, their digestive systems aren't able to process it effectively and they get sick. Enter the ubiquitous antibiotics!
Cows are also given hormones to stimulate growth and -- if they are dairy cows -- to produce more milk. So always, always, always remember that every time you eat that commercially raised beef, or consume commercial dairy products, YOU are ingesting those antibiotics and hormones -- both of which you not only don't need, but which are causing harm to your precious body.
I try to live by those famous words of Michael Pollan: "Eat (real) FOOD. Not too much. Mostly plants!" How many times have you heard that eating a plant-based diet is healthier? It absolutely is. But that doesn't mean you have to abandon all meat forever. Everyone has different nutritional needs. Some people thrive in a meatless world. Others can't live a healthy life without some meat.
We enjoyed a beautiful grass-fed beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner this year. Granted that was enough beef for me to last until Easter! But it was lovely and extremely tasty -- as only grass-fed can be.
Paula Antonini is a Holistic Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She helps people re-gain their energy, discover what foods are right for them, and develop a lifelong plan for diet and lifestyle that ensures they maximize their enjoyment of life, family and career. Check out her programs at http://www.simplynutrition.org.
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