Eat Raw, Grass Fed, Wild Caught, And Free Range Animal Products
Question: Did you consume Raw, Grass-Fed, Wild-Caught, and Free Range Animal Products Today?
How To Know You’ve Done This: Only consume animal products from Raw, Grass-Fed, Wild-Caught, and Free Range sources in a day to check this habit off.
As a health-conscious consumer, you want to know what foods are “worth it” to spend extra on and which are superfluous. Confusion surrounding consumption of dairy products and meat abounds. One week, meat causes cancer and eggs lead to early mortality and the next red meat is essential for building strong bones and eggs are the world's greatest super food. Then you’ve got the Netflix documentaries like “Game Changers” or “What The Health” extolling the benefits of being vegan and issues with how animal products are produced today.
We at Village put our “steak” in the pro-animal product consumption camp. We believe that animal products like kefir are packed with healthy bacteria for our gut, fish like salmon and sardines are a good source of omega 3’s, steak is fuel for a healthy, lean body, and cheese is an amazing healthy fat.
But the vegans have a lot of things right. They are right about meat that’s fried in vegetable oil causing cancer and alziemers. They are right about meat that is fed grains and pumped full of antibiotics making us fat and sick. They are right about cows that are milked until they bleed producing inflammatory dairy.
I’ll bet you have a friend that’s vegetarian or vegan. They’ve likely told you how great they feel and how they’ve lost weight since cutting out animal products from their diet. But what they and modern research have failed to consider is what comes with most meat today.
It’s not eliminating meat or dairy from their diet that’s making them feel good and lose weight. It’s the bun on the burger, the vegetable oil the burger was charred in, and the toxic environment the cow was exposed to.
A 100% grass-fed meat patty that’s been cooked in avocado oil and is served alongside organic veggies is an extremely healthy meal. Eating food like this communicates
First, it’s important to understand that food is a language that communicates one environment to another. The environment our food came from communicates with our bodies.
Imagine eating a 100% grass-fed steak where the animal lived the “happy cow” life of sun, movement, and grass. They say happy cows come from California, but in reality happy cows live in an environment of sunshine, space to roam, and grass to eat. A happy cow spends its days mooing, getting tipped-over by the occasional unruly teenagers, and passing gas. Just take a drive up highway 99 and you’ll smell what I mean.
Now imagine eating a cow from a mass-production factory that lived inside a 4X4 foot box for its entire life surrounded by feces, disease, and eating grains, candy, and pseudo-food. These animals are pumped full of antibiotics, cheap grains, and sugar. When humans eat and live in a way we were not designed to eat and live, we get sick. It's the same with animals. The health of our food is transferred to us.
Over time, the antibiotics, grains, and toxic lifestyles of the factory-farmed animals we consume will wreak havoc on our health. By contrast, a 100% grass-fed steak will transfer the health benefits of eating greens, living outside in the sun, and enhance our health and well-being.
Here's some science to back things up. A study was done on the fatty acid profiles of conventional meat vs. grass fed meat. Of fatty acids, omega 3's and omega 6's are the most important and popular. Omega 3’s are touted as the “healthy” fatty acid and omega 6’s as the “not-so-healthy”. It’s not as black and white as this because we need both, but our society so over-consumes omega 6’s that seeing them as “bad” and omega 3’s as “good” is just fine. Grass fed meat’s have an average of a 1:1 ratio of omega 6:3 whereas conventional meats have an alarming average of 14:1 omega 6:3. Yikes! Given that a ratio of 4:1 or higher of omega 6:3 is one of the biggest predictors of developing chronic diseases, this is SUPER important. Conventional meat accelerates the inflammatory process where grass-fed meat helps balance things out.
The reason? GRAINS and SUGAR. Comparatively, grains and sugar are extremely high in omega 6's whereas grass and other greens are high in omega 3's. We have to keep the base of the food chain omega 3's or we will suffer the consequences.
To have a healthy body, you can’t communicate with it using chemicals, factory and feedlot foods. You want blue skies, green pastures, and happy, healthy animals behaving according to their genetic code. After all, eating is taking something from the outside world, putting it inside your body, and letting your body make it part of who you are. That’s right- you are what you eat!
Raw Dairy Products
Let’s start with the often controversial, raw dairy products. Raw dairy products are dairy products like milk, cheese, kefir, cream, and butter which have not gone through the super-heating pasteurization process.
This is dairy products in the unadulterated form they were meant to be consumed in.
During pasteurization, the enzymes and healthy bacteria are super-heated, destroying most of the health benefits of dairy products.
Our favorite company for raw dairy is Organic Pastures located in Fresno, California. They are an awesome, reputable, sustainable, and safe raw dairy company. We love them so much we partnered with them to sell their products here at Village.
We grabbed the chart below from Organic Pastures website to help lay out the health differences of raw dairy from conventional.
Lactose Intolerance Begone!
Many of our clients and staff have been told or discovered in the past that they are “intolerant” to dairy products yet when they drink or consume raw dairy, they don’t have any issues.
What About Safety?
All dairy products pose a relatively low risk of illness compared to other animal products, such as deli meat. In fact, deli meats were 10X more likely to cause illness than dairy products in a recent study put out by the FDA.
Raw dairy products have natural antibodies within them to fight infectious compounds and keep the milk, cheese, cream, and kefir free from the diseases people fear like listeria, and E-Coli. In fact, raw milk has the ability to transfer these immune-boosting properties to us as consumers and to fortify and strengthen our immune systems. In a world that is becoming progressively more sterile, in a bad way, with antibiotics and antibacterial soaps running rampant, having a healthy gut flora is essential.
Just like we discussed above with the omega 6:3 ratios of meat, the same goes for dairy. If your dairy is not 100% grass-fed, you’ll be sure to get a higher ratio of omega 6 and thus inflammatory response from your food. Organic Pastures is 100% grass fed, raw, and organic. Pretty cool.
Cows that produce dairy intended for raw consumption have to be extremely well taken care of. They cannot be sick. They cannot be dirty. They cannot be crowded. This is in stark contrast to the average dairy cow which is, well, sick, dirty and crowded. Their mistreatment is covered over by antibiotics and pasteurization. Antibiotics prevent dirty, crowded cows from dropping dead before they lose their economic value. Pasteurization prevents any pathogens present in milk due to suboptimal conditions from making it to consumers and extend its shelf-life. But wouldn’t it be better to just have healthy cows and healthy milk?
Raw milk contains billions of beneficial bacterial colonies (probiotics) that help prevent indigestion, improve nutrient absorption, boost the immune system, and help our gut synthesize vitamins like B12 and feel good hormones like serotonin. Pasteurization kills all of these bacteria!
Raw milk contains enzymes that help us actually digest it. How many people do you know who are lactose intolerant? You might be one of them! Without the enzymes mother nature put into milk in its perfect, original form, more and more humans are having to forgo all kinds of delicious dairy products.
Products from a grass-fed animal such as dairy or meat contain high levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a balanced 1:1 ratio. This is extremely important for optimizing cellular integrity, optimizing immune function, and reducing excessive inflammation throughout the body. However, when those fatty acids are exposed to high temperatures during pasteurization, they are damaged. Not only do they lose their health-giving properties, but they can actually become harmful trans-fats. Yikes! Even expensive, grass-fed dairy products like those produced by the otherwise wonderful Strauss Dairy or Nancy’s are compromised in this way due to pasteurization.
Nobody looks at an idyllic, green pasture land with scattered cows grazing and thinks, “Yeah that’s disgusting. That definitely needs to be converted into a dusty, industrial ranch complex.” People drive out of their way to take the “scenic route” through pasture lands! There's something about it that is good for the soul, and we recognize it even if we can’t explain why. When we buy and consume raw, grass fed dairy products, we promote the preservation and stewardship of these wide open spaces. But it’s not just us and the cows that it benefits. These environments are mini-ecosystems that play host to hundreds of other creatures. The alternative industrial ranch complex? Not so much.
Dairy is big business with big government lobbyists ensuring the people at the top are making big salaries. However, the average farmer is working in less than ideal conditions, has little control over his own farm, and is grossly underpaid. This pushes away talented and passionate farmers and leaves most of the work to less skilled hands. Instead of an artisanal craft, dairy becomes one more cog in the economic wheel that steamrolls over the livelihood of farmers and well-being of consumers. If you are used to paying $3 for a gallon of milk, you may need to rethink the true cost. While raw dairy is significantly more expensive, it is not an apples to apples comparison!
Enjoy raw dairy in the form of milk, kefir, butter, cream, and cheese! Happily, we now sell Organic Pastures right here in the Village Fridge.
Farmed fish are often raised in unsanitary conditions (like their own poop or waste-infested waters) and have toxic chemicals added to their diets. These toxins are then transferred to our bodies to deal with. It’s no wonder folks who eat “healthy” are still chronically sick.
Sad Facts About Salmon Farms
Salmon are not meant to be farmed. Because of the unnatural environment, many farms deal with an overgrowth of a parasite called “sea lice”. Sea lice attach themselves to salmon and eat away at their flesh (yuck!) making them un-edible. Many salmon farms are aggressively dealing with this by pumping their waters full of antibiotics. Yeah, those are transfered to us as consumers. Antibiotic overuse is responsible for the development of many of the new super-bacteria that we are starting to see today.
Salmon farms feed their fish using ground-up chicken feathers, poultry litter (yes, that's poop), genetically modified yeast, soybeans and chicken fat. This is a far-cry from the natural krill and shrimp diet wild-caught salmon feast on. To give farmed salmon color, they add dyes to the feed.
You are what you eat. But you are also what your food eats. So if the food we are eating is eating something we wouldn’t dare eat, we probably shouldn’t eat it.
Farmed salmon contains up to 8X as many cancer causing chemicals as wild caught. Farmed salmon are also much higher in omega 6. This is bad news when one of the primary reasons we eat salmon is to improve our already pitiful omega 3:6 ratio. Remember, omega 3’s are like the brake pedal for the inflammatory process and omega 6’s are like the gas pedal.
Free Range Or Pasture Raised Eggs
Factory farms treat their hens really bad. They live their entire lives indoors, exposed to artificial light and not allowed to move. When we eat something from an animal that was poorly cared for, a lack of sunlight, industrial feed for food, and toxic exposure, this environment is transferred to us.
When the hens have been allowed to roam outside in the sunshine soaking up vitamin D, eating grass and bugs (like they are made to), the nutrients they eat are passed on to us.
Bellow, we talk in depth about different egg.
Organic: fed with feed free of pesticides
Caged: Less than 0.5 sq. feet space.
Cage-Free: At least 1 square foot. This just means that the hens never lived in cages. They still live indoors most of the time not exposed to the sun.
Free Range: They have “access” to outdoors but they may never actually go out. This could be as little as a few small doors with access to a porch that is screened in.
Pasture-Raised. This is the gold standard. These hens have at least 108 square feet to roam! That’s 100X as much as most of the other designations. *Must be certified humane for the USDA to back the claim of pasture raised.
Pasture Raised hens produce the best eggs you can find. These hens spend time outside in their natural environment and produce eggs which taste better and are better for us.
“In comparison to a conventional egg, pasture-raised eggs contain:
1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more Vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more Vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
In 2008, a follow up study showed that the significant sunlight exposure the hens enjoy translates from the sun to the hens to the eggs in the form of increased levels of Vitamin D – by as much as 4 to 6 times more than conventional eggs!
Other tests have also shown that pasturing yields higher levels of folic acid, and even (in a test that we ran ourselves) measurable levels of Vitamin C, which is a first for eggs! (Must come from all the grass they’re eating!)”
Better eggs will cost more. Maybe double. And some people have a hard time getting over the psychologically. “I just CAN’T spend $7/dozen on eggs.” But in reality if you bought a few dozen pasture raised eggs each week, it would add maybe $25 to your monthly grocery bill and a TON of nutritional value.
Pasture Raised eggs are one of the BEST dollar investments you can make as a health (and budget) conscious consumer.
We love the eggs from Primal Pastures, and if we can’t get those, we get Vital Farms from Sprouts.
100% Grass Fed Meat
Most meat consumed today has been fed grain. Grains, are high in omega 6’s which feed into the high levels of chronic, systemic inflammation in our world today.
All livestock, cattle included, in the wild, live on a diet of green leafy plants. This is mostly grass.
Any animal above cattle in the food chain that is eating the cattle will also be “eating” what the animal ate. For example, if we eat beef, we are essentially eating whatever the cow ate. This is called the food chain.
Hopefully, you’re starting to notice the theme here that we truly are what we eat. And what we eat eats determines what we eat.
Pre-agriculturally, green, leafy plants were always at the bottom of the food chain. It wasn’t until relatively recently that grains began to usurp plants as the main source of nutrition for our animals.
Inflammation is a big problem in the world today. Many MD’s are starting to call it “the biggest killer of Americans”.
One of the major drivers of nation-wide inflammation is a rise in the consumption of Omega-6 rich foods. Think about most of the food we eat in a day. If you’re eating mainly grains, nuts, fruits, and grain-fed animal products, you’re mainly eating omega-6 fatty acids. Green leafy plants, in direct opposition to grains, are well balanced in omega 3 fatty acids.
Fatty acids, like omega 3 and omega 6 are essential to our health. BUT our body can’t make them on its own. We have to get them from food. These fatty acids do really important things like control inflammation, keep our brain working optimally, and protect our cell walls.
In order to have optimal body function, we need a balance between omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. We like to talk about omega 6’s as being like the gas pedal in a car and omega 3’s as the brakes. The gas pedal is important. We need to be able to go places and to deal with issues. But we also need the brakes! Omega 3’s are important to shut down inflammation when it’s no longer needed so we don’t live in a state of chronically high inflammation.
Ready for some startling news? Most Americans eat a diet somewhere in the ballpark of 1:25 to 1:60 omega 3:6. Talk about way too much gas and not enough brakes!
Diets low in omega 3’s and high in omega 6’s lead to conditions like:
chronic fatigue syndrome
Systemic lupus erythematosus
These ailments are not caused by bacterial infections. They are literally created by bodies failing to function properly. Aging doesn't have anything to do with this problem. It's a nutritional deficiency problem, like scurvy was for sailors of old.
Grass-fed meat and non-grass fed have scientifically-proven and drastically different fatty acid profiles.
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid,) is a fatty acid that when eaten in the right amounts, reduces the risk of inflammatory conditions like diabetes, lupus, and arthritis. Yet, this fatty acid comes from animals eating grass and we can only obtain it in appropriate amounts from animals which have fed on grass.
Health Benefits Of Grass Fed Meat
Obese people who change their diets to include more omega 3 meats compared to omega 6 lose more weight while eating the same amount of calories.
Diets high in omega 3 fatty acids increase our insulin resistance and make us less likely to get diabetes.
In meat from cows that eat grains contain twice as much saturated fat, and as little as 1/10 the quantity of omega-3 fatty acids compared to meat from grass-fed cattle.
Those who eat a diet high in omega 3’s have lower blood pressure, rates of heart abnormalities, and die less often from heart attacks and strokes.
Those following an omega-3 rich diet for 3 years were 61% less likely to get cancer.
Diets high in omega 3’s lower the risk of getting depression, dementia, alziemers, adhd, and other mental disorders. The brain is largely made up of fat and omega 3’s are the most important.
What Does That Mean?
LOCAL: Food grown within 100 miles of its point of purchase or consumption
Did you know that the average American meal travels over 1,500 miles before purchase or consumption?!
PASTURE-RAISED: Animals were raised on a pasture or given access to a pasture, not confined to the indoors eating sizeable portions of organic grass, which is grass not treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers
100% GRASS-FED: The cattle were allowed to forage and graze for their own fresh food
Shopping tip: Gotta make sure it’s 100% grass-fed...don’t settle for less. These animals could be fed grass, but also grain as well if it doesn’t say 100%. Sneaky sneaky!
WILD-CAUGHT: Fish that are caught in their natural habitats (rivers, lakes, oceans) compared to farm-raised, which are fish raised in tanks, ponds, or irrigation ditches that are contaminated and pumped with antibiotics.
RAW: Dairy products (milk, kefir, cheese, cream) that come from 100% grass-fed cows that is unpasteurized (not heated), unhomogenized (not blended/crushed), and not altered
More Terminology to Make Informed, Well- Sourced Shopping Decisions
Local, Pasture-Raised: The premier choice of meat; the ultimate in sustainability and minimal carbon footprint
Certified Organic: Raised on grass or grain feed without antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering, irradiation, sewage sludge, or artificial ingredients. Animals may not be locally raised and have possibly received grain-based feed to supplement calories obtained on the free range.
Certified: USDA evaluated the meat for class, grade, or other quality characteristics
Chemical-Free: This vague term is not defined or recognized by the USDA and has virtually no significant meaning on a package. Say WHAT?!
Country of Origin Labeled (COOL): Specifies where the animal was raised, slaughtered, and processed--sometimes including multiple locations. *Less locations the better…
Free Range: Indicates an animal was given ‘access’ to outdoors. Has no legal definition or third-party verification and is often abused by growers. ‘Access’ can refer to a large indoor facility with a door to a small outdoor area. No guarantee that meat is free from hormones or antibiotics
Fresh: Implies that the meat has not been frozen prior to sale; no relevance to how the animal was raised, fed, or slaughtered, and not third-party verified
Grass-Fed, Grass-Finished, Pasture-Raised: Animals afforded access to grass, but no guarantee of grain-free diet unless a ‘100%’ qualifier appears on label. Even then, no guarantee that meat is free from hormones or antibiotics. Terms are not regulated or third-party verified and are thus inferior to USDA certified organic
Hormone/Antibiotic Free: No legal definition or third-party verification. Suggests an improvement from conventional products, but inferior to USDA certified organic
Humane Designation: Animal Welfare Approved, American Humane Certified, Certified Humane Raised & Handled, or Free Farmed are common terms. The first designation, from the Animal Welfare Institute, certifies that animals were treated humanely throughout all life stages. Their designation has strict standards for outdoor access; diets free of hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics; and freedom from overcrowded conditions. The terms are third-party verified. Humane-certified animals are probably a suitable choice in the absence of local or USDA certified organic meat
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