I love the saying, “You are what you eat.”
It perfectly describes how our bodies interact with the food we provide it. If you eat poor-quality food, you are going to have a poor-quality body.
Food affects your body fat, recovery, mood, sleep, strength, energy, and your risk of injury or illness. It impacts just about everything!
But it’s not just about what you eat…it’s about what you eat, eats.
Healthy Food = Healthy People
All plants and animals require nutrients to survive...but the quality of those nutrients determines what will thrive.
For plants: sun, soil, and water are vital components for optimizing health.
For animals: the key components for good health are plants, other animals, and water.
Without these things, plants and animals cannot grow to their full potential and can become sick or malnourished.
As you can see, what we depend on for nourishment depends on its own source of fuel to stay healthy. If what you’re eating was not cared for and fed properly, then it doesn’t really matter if you are eating “healthy” food items…you are eating a sick plant or animal.
On the other hand, when you provide your body with foods that have been well-nourished and have lived healthy lives, you will also enjoy a healthy life.
When your food is healthy, you are healthy.
The Problem with (Most) Beef
One of the most blatant examples of how malnourished food can lead to problems up the food chain is our consumption of beef.
Red meat has gotten pretty bad press over the last few decades and it’s time to clear things up.
Beef is not unhealthy. Sick cows are.
Cows and other ruminants have a unique digestive system designed to break down and utilize grass and other forage, but not corn.
In addition, corn (especially feed-lot corn) contains very few nutrients to begin with, and the overfeeding of corn to cows results in fat, sick animals.
This is why hormones and antibiotics are needed in the meat industry.
They have to keep these cows alive long enough to get them to slaughter while making them as fat as possible.
Unfortunately, what ends up on your plate is a sick, over-fat piece of meat. Yuck!
Contrast this with the story behind a grass-fed and finished source of meat, and you can begin to see why well-fed food is important.
When you provide a cow with an abundance of food it would naturally eat, the meat comes out full of vitamins and minerals, lean, and with an abundance of healthy and essential fats such as omega-3s and CLA.
These are very important fats that our bodies need to thrive, yet we rarely consume the quantities necessary to reap the benefits.
The problem with the extra fat in grain-fed meat is not only its caloric load, it is the TYPE of fat.
Grains have a very high omega-6 content, and as we learned in Fat is Fuel, Not Foe (Part 2), having an imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 can lead to some serious problems.
So, it turns out that cows are a great source of nutrients, but grain-fed (aka sick) cows are not.
And this story does not end with cows.
These days, just about every mass-produced animal is fed corn, soy, and a variety of animal byproducts. Chickens, pigs, and fish are all fed things that they would not naturally consume.
And just like in cows (and humans!), eating an abundance of grain leads to poor health.
While meat is most commonly talked about when it comes to grass-fed vs. grain-fed, the food products which are derived from these same animals are a concern as well.
Beef is not the only thing we consume from cows; there is milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, and kefir.
These are all coming from the same sick cow that provides the over-fat piece of meat, and they have many of the same issues.
The fat and protein quality can be greatly affected, and your health is very much dependent on the quality of your food.
To Be Continued...
While animal products can be a major source of high-quality proteins and fats, they are not the only thing that makes for a healthful diet.
In our next article, we will look at the importance of plants in your diet, and why their health is just as important as that of our animal friends.
We will also discuss strategies for eating healthily and how to find the quality foods your body desires. See you then!