Friday, August 31, 2012

Why factory farming breeds animal cruelty

First let me start of by saying that factory farming, or industrial farming, is by all accounts cruel to animals, people, and nature alike, regardless of whether or not someone is found playing foul...

Now I am not by any means against the raising of animals for consumption, as I believe that humans are by nature far more carnivorous than vegetarian.  However I am absolutely against the chauvinistic viewpoint that human society as a whole portrays towards all other beings.  And that is that humans are above all others on this planet, and only those few creatures that portray some human like quality either in the realm of  intelligence or compassion deem saving.  And only then do we make it our responsibility to save them from our cruelty, for the good of humanity of course...

So with that off my chest, let me get to the heart of my post.  Factory farming made headlines the other day with another animal cruelty charge... Butterball farm worker guilty of animal cruelty.

The point I'd like to make is that when we treat our food industry with a factory mentality, we diminish the animals to nothing more than widgets (whatever the factory is producing).  Once we take this precious living quality away from the animal, and once we dull our (the workers) senses to this life that is being taken by making it a robotic repetitious act, we open up the door to cruel unthinkable things.  We confine them into overcrowded cages or feed lots depriving them of their natural surroundings (earth and sunlight), and then we genetically modify them to better cope with conditions that would otherwise violate the Geneva Convention in every possible way.  We alter them physically by clipping beaks and clipping tails in order to prevent them from harming each other in the overcrowded jail cells that they call home. We force them to eat cheap unnatural food (GM corn and soy) depriving them of their natural diet (pasture and forage), and then pump them full of antibiotics in order to keep them alive long enough to slaughter.  We continually rape the land of all its nutrients killing trillions of organisms that would otherwise occupy healthy top soil, with the constant chemical warfare (synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides) that are used on the majority of the farm land (mono crops of soy and corn) that blankets this country.  We dam rivers for irrigation and plow over otherwise pristine untouched prairie land and forests, destroying the many ecosystems that would otherwise call these places home, for our own selfish need to plant and harvest more (corn and soy) in order to feed this ever hungry demean of a machine that we created (the industrial food industry).

And all of this is done every day within the laws that society has created.  And with the help of the constant ignorance (I don't want to know attitude) that people of this industrialized society portray, this "behind the scenes" cruelty that is the norm goes unstopped until some fool (a product of our own doing) makes headlines.

Take responsibility for your actions and choose to know where your food comes from. 

Support your local organic sustainable farms!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Antibacterial, but at what cost?

My wife and I never buy antibacterial soap for use at home for a number of reasons one of which being that like antibiotics, antibacterial soaps kill all bacteria (good and bad) indiscriminately.  And more and more research shows that healthy bacteria, both inside and outside of our bodies, are absolutely crucial for your health.  Remember without the healthy bacteria sharing our bodies with us, and by sharing I mean physically out numbering us (bacteria to human cells), we would cease to exist!

Aside from that, as if another reason was needed, we choose our soaps as we do all the other hygiene products that we use; organic or at the very least chemical free, sulfate free, fluoride free (toothpaste), paraben free, and anything 'unnatural' free.  Because as you probably know by now non-organic products contain harmful chemicals, some listed and some not required to be, but all harmful none the less.  And this brings me to the driving force behind today's post...  Harmful Chemicals!

The soap you should never use but 75% of households do

The latest research shows that Triclosan, a bactericide used in many products, has been linked to one of the biggest killers today, heart disease!  Of course given the fact that it was first registered with the EPA in 1969 as a pesticide, harmful side effects due to this chemical shouldn't be too much of a surprise. 

These harmful effects include muscle function...
"After mice were exposed to one dose of triclosan, heart muscle function was reduced by 25 percent, and grip strength was reduced by 18 percent. Fish were also exposed to triclosan – about the equivalent dose as would be accumulated in a week in the wild – and this led to poorer swimming performance. Researchers also exposed individual human muscle cells (from heart and skeletal muscles) to a triclosan dose similar to everyday-life exposure, and this, too, disrupted muscle function and caused both heart and skeletal muscles to fail."   Articles on 8/29/12

... and  hormone function.
"A Toxicological Sciences study found that triclosan affected estrogen-mediated responses, and many chemicals that imitate estrogen are known to increase breast cancer risk.3 Triclosan also suppressed thyroid hormone in rats, and this is only one study in an accumulating body of research showing this chemical to be a potent endocrine disruptor."  Articles on 8/29/12

So for these reasons I never use antibacterial soap (at work, at home, or anywhere), it's simply healthier to use water alone if no other soap options are available.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why you should be using coconut oil...

If you're like most Americans you are probably cooking with some sort of vegetable or seed oil (olive, canola, soy, corn, sunflower, etc.) as opposed to a saturated fat.  Of the popular cooking oils used today, all but olive oil are high omega-6 polyunsaturated oils, and due to their double bond make up are very unstable causing changes at the molecular level especially when used for frying.  And studies show that there are far more dangerous toxic chemicals produced when frying with these oils then the often more news worthy trans fats that frying creates.  Even the 'heart healthy' leader of the pack, Olive Oil, is not ideal for cooking (especially frying) due to oxidation that occurs.

So what oils should we cook with then?

The only safe oil for cooking is one that is a solid at room temperature (a saturated fat), despite the bad publicity they have gotten over the years.  It turns out that coconut oil contains the most heart healthy saturated fats of any of the edible oils.  And yes in case you haven't figured it out by now, saturated fats not unsaturated fats are the healthiest most beneficial fats for the body to consume.

"Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and surprisingly enough is nature's richest source of these healthy MCFAs.  While by contrast most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs."  Benefits of Coconut Oil 

I personally buy my coconut oil by the gallon and use it for everything from cooking (frying, baking, etc.), to putting in smoothies, to using it as a soothing topical lotion.

Check your pantry and if you're using harmful vegetable or seed oils for cooking, then I urge you to try coconut oil.  When buying coconut oil as with any food product, you should look for something that is 100% Certified Organic, non-GMO, Unrefined, and free of any additives.

Friday, August 17, 2012

By design we are fat burning machines... Are you?

I read a very interesting article today by Mark Sisson, the author of the bestselling health book The Primal Blueprint, that further supports the argument that the human body, by design, craves and depends upon a diet consisting of healthy saturated fats, not sugar (glucose; high carb diets), in order to run at its most efficient level.

The article, What does it mean to be fat adaptive, points out the differences between those who are sugar burners (sugar adaptive) and those who are fat burners (fat adaptive). 

Those who are more sugar adaptive, which is probably the majority of people living in today's industrialized overly processed food era, have their bodies trained to seek sugar (carbs) as the primary fuel source.  This is unnatural in that sugar compared to fat is not stored within the body at the same levels, ~0.69% of body weight at any given time compared to ~12% of body weight respectively.  Since sugar is burned relatively quickly with more or less no reserves, the body runs out of fuel quickly requiring another hit of sugar (carbs), and because the body is "sugar adaptive" it becomes very inefficient (nearly incapable) of utilizing fat reserves resulting in increased fat storage.  That in combination with the consistent spikes in insulin levels caused by high carb diets, diseases such as diabetes and  those related to obesity become inevitable.

In contrast, those who are fat adaptive have bodies that utilize the body's natural fuel source (fat reserves) in an efficient and effective manner.  This is a result of a diet that is higher in animal protein and saturated fat (animal fat, coconut, etc.) and low in glucose (carbs- especially grains, processed and refined sugars, processed foods). 

I can honestly say from my own experience, I have seen and felt the transition in my body from "sugar burner" to "fat adaptive".  Not so long ago when my diet consisted of high amounts of whole grains as a substantial fuel source (grains for breakfast, grains with lunch and dinner) I was hungry more often with irritability on an empty stomach, while experiencing almost diabetic symptoms (lightheadedness) from the obvious insulin spikes and glucose highs and lows.  In contrast my current diet, high in protein and saturated fat (animal fat, egg yolks, coconut) with minimal grain intake, I have noticed more energy, an ability to go longer between meals without empty stomach irritability (within reason), and no more lightheadedness from insulin spiking.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Joel Salatin and the Future of Food

Watch this interview between Dr. Mercola and the leading pioneer in sustainable farming, Joel Salatin, as they discuss the future of our food and the importance of a locally based systems, in contrast to the larger industrialized factory system that is currently failing both people and environment alike on a global scale.

We can make a difference in changing our failing food system simply by being proactive when choosing where our food comes from. 

Choose Locally Grown Sustainably farmed over factory made and factory farmed.

Choose Pastured meats and dairy over feedlot and grain fed.

Choose Organic non-GMO over its chemically fertilized herbicide sprayed round-up ready counterpart.

It doesn't take an executive order by the President or an act of Congress or even a bill to be passed in order to make a difference, the only tool we as the consumer need to change the future of our food is the power and freedom of choice!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Drought is kryptonite to factory farming

I think this year's drought that has hit American Agriculture so hard, with "half of the US counties deemed natural disaster areas", only strengthens the argument that factory farming cannot efficiently feed a nation.

When nearly all of the meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and farm raised fish) produced and sold in the US depends on annual monocrops (GM corn and soy) as the primary feed source, saying we have all our 'non-cage-free' eggs in one basket would be a profound understatement.  With the majority of the hundreds of millions of acres of farm land stretching across our nation unnaturally occupied by one of two crops, our nation's food system is greatly dependent upon four things; good rainfall, chemicals, chemicals, chemicals... 

Nature dictates the rules; diversity (polyculture over monoculture), fertile soil, and rain. A successful organic sustainable farm helps guarantee the first two requirements are met, while factory farming on the other hand requires chemicals and GM seed to accomplish the same feat.  With the soil continuously depleted of all its nutrients due to harmful deep tilling in order to make way for overly dense populations of single crops, any favorable yield requires unnatural help.  Collectively these infertile farm lands require billions of tons of chemicals in the form of fertilizer to add much needed nitrogen, herbicides to prevent the only thing that effortlessly chooses to populate these otherwise barren deserts (weeds), pesticides to kill all of nature's opportunistic insects that effortlessly feed on these helpless nutrient lacking crops, and of course the round-up ready GM seeds. 

And even with all this chemical warfare on the side of factory farming, all can easily be lost if the winds of change choose to blow the rain clouds away.  Sure, sustainable farming requires water just as factory farming does, but in a sustainable farming model you have smaller, local organic farms with more pasture than monocrop. You creatively use the landscape given to you and gently mold it into something that favors your sustainable farming needs.  Instead of knocking down and plowing over all standing trees to make room for fields of corn or soy, you leave a nice thick perimeter encircling your pastures (sustainable = pastured), promoting refuge for smaller animals that can feed the predators that would otherwise prey on your livestock.  The trees and brush also do a good job of feeding the soil as well as soaking up any pollutants that may be in the ground.  Utilize low lying areas to create ponds instead of tilling and seeding.  Use livestock (pigs and chickens) to till for gardens instead of heavy equipment.  Plant only enough grains to feed those omnivorous animals that can consume them as part of the diet, like chickens and pigs.  Let Pasture dependent animals (cattle) graze, feeding them hey in the winter months not grain.  Use proper pasture rotation methods as practiced by successful organic sustainable farmers such as Joel Salatin, and make it your goal to build topsoil not deplete it.

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