Thursday, May 6, 2010

Healthier Meats and Poultry

We've only been feeding our little guy meats and chicken for a month or two. During that time, we have decided it would be prudent for us to seek out sources of protein (meat, chicken, eggs, pork, milk etc) free of hormones and antibiotics often given to cows/chickens on farms.

Antibiotics are given to keep the animals from getting sick since they are kept in close quarters. However, many health concerns arise from Americans consuming antibiotics from their dietary sources. Hormones are given to cows to help them produce more milk. They are also given to cattle and chickens to increase their size and speed growth.

Another problem with our farms is that cattle are often fed corn or other grains because it is cheap and abundant instead of being pasture-fed. Corn isn't really a food that humans should be eating in large quantities (it isn't a vegetable, it is a starch and there's lots of political reasons why corn is touted as healthful). Many experts say corn should be avoided. It's high in omega-6 fatty acids, which we consume far too much of in our country. Omega-3's are far more beneficial and eating grass-fed beef is a great way to help increase the omega-3's in the diet.

So anyway, that's just some background to help bring understanding to why I felt it necessary to drive 35 minutes south of our home yesterday to buy beef, chicken, eggs, and even hot dogs from a farm raising their livestock without hormones and antibiotics. We've decided that for our family, it is better to spend a bit extra on meats yet eat them less often to attempt to avoid the additives many factory farms are injecting into our food sources. Even though I can maybe 'buy one chuck roast and get one free' at a local grocery store or buy frozen chicken breasts for $2.49/lb. at Costco, is it worth our health to have the cost savings?

Did you know that other countries (including Mexico??) refuse to import American meat?

I used to think it was great to buy meat and chicken so cheaply, but now I have our little boy's health to consider. Instead of eating meat every day, we're going to start having more 'meatless' meals. Nuts, cheese, and beans are a good source of protein (and there are lots more great sources of protein!). There's also research indicating that Americans eat protein in excess.

We do avoid soy despite the fact it is touted as a great source of protein. Soy is suspected to be detrimental to the development of children, especially boys. Since soy is an abundant crop in the US, it is cheap and soybean oil is used as a cheap filler in many processed foods. We look for foods containing canola oil, olive oil, or other non-hydrogenated oils (also known as 'trans fats').

We avoid high fructose corn syrup. Lots of reasons for this!

In the future, I want to find affordable sources for avoiding genetically modified crops (not just fruits/vegetables, but also beans and nuts). We only buy organic peanut butter since it is well-known that peanuts are some of the most chemically fertilized plants.

What are some concerns you have about pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics in your foods?

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