Island Earth Speaks Truth

island earth
island earth
Logo from islandearthfilm.com

Did you know Hawaii is ground zero for GMO testing and development?

Director Cyrus Sutton just released his compelling documentary about what GMO’s are doing to Hawaii called, Island Earth. He poses the question, “How are we going to feed the world without destroying the planet we live on?”

 

The fact that six companies have the power to exploit the land and the people of these islands against their will is infuriating to me. Similar to the small farmers in the midwest that have been sued and put out of business because GMO seeds drift over into their fields, Hawaiians have no power against these money hungry chemical giants. There have been county bans passed and thousands of people fight to find out what the implications are of breathing in and consuming these chemicals. They too get sued by the GMO companies. Apparently, residents don’t have the right to know what is being sprayed into the air and on to our food.

Kids are sick, people are diagnosed with cancer who live near GMO testing grounds. There are GMO farms next to 27 schools in the Hawaiian Islands (Kauai being the most saturated with these farms).

Hawaii is basically one big GMO lab. One big chemical experiment. Crops are sprayed with restricted pesticides to see if they will be able to withstand them. Most of these crops aren’t even grown for consumption.

Hawaii was once the most sustainable place to farm. Imports were not necessary. European colonists started farming monocultures like pineapple and sugarcane in the 50s and now that land is almost all taken up by GMO farms. This has all led to severe soil degradation and cannot continue in my opinion.

This film is about people who care about their land and their people. People who have the integrity to stand up for what is right and know that because they are educated they have a civil duty to do what they can to help.

These chemical companies do not care about feeding the world, they care about selling chemicals.

If you value your health and the health of the environment please watch this film and vote with your dollars by shopping local and organic.

Island Earth is now available for rent or purchase on iTunes or you can buy it on Vimeo.

#supportlocal #eatorganic #saynotogmo

 

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.
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How Eating Local Food Supports Your Health And Community

support local

support local

Eating local food is very important to me. When it comes to what I eat I try my best to select foods that are whole or minimally processed, organic and local. This practice results in eating seasonally as well.

Sometimes finding foods like these can be a challenge depending on where you live. Not everyone places this much importance on the foods they eat. If there isn’t a demand in a particular area there is often low availability. Cost and climate can also be factors. This is why if you have a farmers market pop up in your area or see local food in your neighborhood grocery store it is important to support it.

I believe eating local food is important for two reasons. It promotes good health and it strengthens your community. These are both very strong values of mine and something I encourage everyone to at least consider when buying food.

Eating local food for your health

This idea does not involve micro and macronutrients. However, food grown near to you, eaten soon after it has been harvested is more nutritious than commercially grown foods shipped from long distances. So, even though organic apples grown in California are just as nutritious as ones grown in New York, if you live in California and eat the locally grown apples they will be more nutritious because of the length of time between harvest and consumption.

Aligning yourself with nature

As I mentioned above, this idea is more than just getting the most nutrients out of your food. It is also a matter of aligning yourself with your environment or, living in harmony with nature. Eating local food ties you to the land you live on.

When I decided to leave San Francisco to move to Hawaii I had to prepare myself for the fact that my diet was going to change. Sure, I would no longer get to enjoy the bay area stone fruit season and Hass avocados but instead I would get to taste fresh lychees strait from the tree and make interesting dishes with breadfruit. I didn’t see it as a challenge or something I would miss but rather an exciting opportunity.

Eating for your climate

San Francisco in general has a very cool, dry climate. I would start every morning with warm lemon water, drink hot tea everyday and eat hot cereal, soups and stews to keep me warm.

 

One of the things that drew me to Hawaii was the climate. As a person who tends to run cold and dry, San Francisco’s climate was not a good balance for me. The warm humid climate in Hawaii already has my skin looking healthier and my immune system feeling stronger.

My diet has shifted here. I am constantly mindful of staying hydrated and regulating my body temperature using water and food. I now drink room temperature water in the morning instead of warming it first. I crave iced teas instead of hot teas. I eat more salads, fish and rice. I eat completely different types of fruit. I seek cold or room temperature foods as opposed to hot foods. I crave ice-cream way more.

Even though the weather doesn’t change as dramatically throughout the year, like the Midwest or east coast, San Francisco still has seasons that determine which fruits and vegetables are available. Hearty squashes and Brussels sprouts in the winter, asparagus and artichokes in the spring, heirloom tomatoes and melon in the summer are all examples.

Seasonality is significant because nature produces what will make your body thrive during that time of the year. Heartier vegetables keep you warm in the winter and lighter produce like lettuces, cucumber and stone fruit cool you down in the summer.

Giving your body what it needs in order to thrive in the environment you live in is very important for your health.

Balancing our bodies with food

Our bodies are constantly looking for balance. It is one of the reasons why we have cravings. All of the foods we eat have the potential to create warming, cooling, drying or moisturizing effects in the body. It is up to you to understand what you need in any given moment in order to thrive. This is the principal of yin and yang, opposite energies that compliment each other and create balance.

By being in tune with your body and environment you can choose foods that bring you back into balance. Alternatively, ignoring those two things can bring you out of balance with nature and have the potential to make you sick.

Eat with the seasons and let your climate determine diet. If you live in a warm climate and continue to eat foods grown in cold climates it could cause an imbalance. For example, a diet rich in red meat, high in fat and alcohol could overheat someone living in warm climate. However, if you live in a cold climate you need foods that pack more eat. Living off fish and raw vegetables may not keep you warm enough.

Here are some examples of foods that are cooling (ideal for warm climate) and foods that are warming (ideal for cold climate).

Cooling foods –

– Sweet spices (chai, fennel, elderflower)

– Mint

– Cucumber

– Lime

– Light proteins like chicken and fish

– Dark leafy greens

– Raw fruits and vegetables

– Chocolate

– Cabbage

– Watercress

Warming foods –

– Red meat, pork, duck

– Hot soups and stews

– Ginger

– Garlic

– Onions

– Oatmeal

– Winter squashes

– Peppers

Eating local food for the health of your community

Buying food from the local farmers market brings us closer to our community and environment, which results in a deeper connection to our food.

By buying your food from local farms and artisans you are supporting your neighbors and strengthening your local economy. This act unifies people, it keeps people employed and it allows you to really know where your food comes from.

Eating foods that are shipped in from somewhere else (at least on a regular basis) alienates us from our environment. You may not be physically equipped to consistently eat these foods and over time doing this may confuse your body and weaken your immune system. By doing this you are also supporting the excessive use of fossil fuels which is unfriendly to the environment.

Support local. Support community. Support your own health. It just makes sense.

For more information on how to eat local food in Hawaii check out my Hawaii Local Food Guide.

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.
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Is Boycotting Hawaii’s Fishing Industry for Forced Labor Allegations Sustainable?

If you hadn’t heard, Hawaii was in some hot water last month. Allegations of allowing forced labor and poor working conditions for foreign crew members on longline fishing boats were all over the internet and consumers were in an uproar.

But is shutting them out and writing them off for what they did sustainable?

Show of hands, whose tired of hearing the word sustainable being thrown around like dirty socks when it comes to fish? There is probably nobody else I know who is sicker of it than my long time friend and trusted fishmonger, Mike Weinberg-Lynn, owner of Osprey Seafood.

Sustainability has become a buzzword among foodies, in markets like Whole Foods and in the news for a long time now. It’s what the “responsible” people are talking about.

But what happens when one of the biggest fisheries in the world, known for using the most sustainable fishing practices around, gets busted for allegations of human slavery?

There was nobody I trusted more to get the facts from than Mike.

But before we get down and dirty on what went down in Hawaii I would like to tell you a love story.

Neurologist turns fishmonger

Once upon a time in the Haight-Ashbury there was an intelligent man with a degree in neurology who married the love of his life.

As with many newlyweds the young couple had a baby on the way and was struggling to make ends meet. Work at the time in Mike’s field was scarce. Wedding gifts were reluctantly sold in order to pay rent.

Enter Peter Bird. Picture a man with long bushy red hair and an even bushier red beard knocking on your door on Haight street asking if he can crawl through your window. Mike’s first reaction was um, no and as he went to close the door in the man’s face Peter called out “wait I’m your neighbor and I’ve locked myself out of my apartment!”

As Mike allowed the bearded man to crawl out his though his window, in order to get in through his own, Mike shouted “hey what do you do for a living anyway?” in which Peter replied, “I own the fish market across the street!”

A light bulb in Mike’s head went off. He asked Peter for a job and just like that Mike’s career as a fishmonger was born.

Happily ever after

It was 1984. After a year of slangin’ fish together Peter realized how much of an asset Mike had become to him and his business. He was reliable, dedicated and unlike him and the rest of the staff actually came to work sober. Mike was so dedicated in fact that he turned down a career at Genentech, something he had worked so hard for all those years in college, in order to keep delivering fish for Peter. Looking back on it now he realizes he would have been retired 20 years ago if he’d of taken that job.

But Mike was a new Dad, the hours he worked at the fish market allowed him to spend his afternoons with his family and on top of that he was absolutely loving the fish biz. Peter offered him a partnership and over 30 years later, Mike still owns and operates Osprey Seafood to this day.

How Osprey Seafood made its mark

Osprey got on the map when they started selling scallops to a high profile restaurant in the Napa Valley. Peter was one of the first fishmongers back then to ship freshly caught fish from the east coast overnight to San Francisco. The French chefs loved him. They were blown away by the quality of their monkfish and scallops, just to name a couple and told all of their fellow chefs about it. After making a name for themselves in Napa it didn’t take long for Chefs in San Francisco to take notice. More and more accounts got added and Osprey Seafood became one of the most trusted names in the seafood business.

What’s really been going down in Hawaii these last few years?

Mike’s first knee-jerk reaction when I asked him about Hawaii’s recent fishing boat slavery scandal was “Those assholes! We aren’t buying any fish from Hawaii until they work this out.”

He hopped on the phone right away with his contact over at the Honolulu fish auction to find out what was going on over there. Unaware of the situation and not realizing the magnitude of it Mike’s buddy laughed it off in which Mike replied sternly, “you better look into this because this is not going to play out well”.

By the next day Mike had answers.

It turned out, due to legislation that had been passed in Hawaii, through a loop hole Hawaiian longline fishing boats technically had the right to employ undocumented foreign workers on their boats and because they did not have work visas they were not protected under U.S. labor laws. These workers had signed contracts and were being paid more than what they could make in their own countries.

What Hawaii had on their hands were a few longline fishing boats that would not allow their crew off the boat for 2-3 years because they could not legally be on Hawaiian land. The pay sucked, the working hours were ridiculously long and living conditions were rough. The reality is they were being abused.

Why you probably shouldn’t boycott in times like these.

As Mike had more time to sit back and digest this new information he started to look at the bigger picture.

Hawaii was and is one of the leaders known for their fishing techniques and sustainable practices, he thought. They did not need a mark on their record like this.

As he recalled there had been times in the past when campaigns such as “say no to swordfish” and “dolphin free tuna” brought more bad than good to the fishing industry.

He said that back in the 80’s when people stopped buying tuna to try and save the dolphins it had a tremendous impact on the gulf of Mexico’s fishing industry which has led to it’s downward spiral ever since.

Because of the campaign the fisherman went bankrupt and had to sell their boats.

As time passed and people “forgot” about the boycott they started buying tuna again only now there weren’t enough boats in the gulf to keep up with the demand.

Immigrants from Vietnam showed up to take advantage of the opportunity fishing tuna would have to offer. But unlike the original fisherman who had passed down important information from generation to generation they did not know the fishing cycles, about patterns, about what size the tuna should be when caught and where the spawning grounds were. They fished without knowledge and in doing so they depleted the gulf.

Mike said, “if people boycott buying fish from Hawaii all of these people are going to go out of business and these are the people who are doing it the right way.”

Is there even such thing as sustainable anymore?

When asked to touch on what sustainability in the fishing industry meant to him Mike answered, “I hate the word sustainable. It has no meaning anymore. Dump the term sustainable and start talking about responsible fishing practices. Stop buying crap from countries that we know are not playing the game and following the rules like China and Japan. Buy domestic or from New Zealand and Australia if you want to support sustainability. Places like Hawaii have the boats that are fishing responsibly.”

Hawaii handles business

Since the articles on forced labor went flying around the internet and the Hawaii Seafood Council started their investigation there has been some major changes.

The first thing they did was form a task force who evaluated all labor practices on all Hawaiian longline fishing boats.

They immediately implemented a system of checks and balances that would protect the foreign crews from further forced labor and abuse and improve working conditions.

A new standardized contract has been written and distributed to crew members in their own native languages.

Large retail and wholesale seafood companies were informed of the new criteria for responsible labor practices so that they could feel good about selling their products again.

The Honolulu fish auction, where these boats deliver and sell their catch, warned that any boats “that are unable to prove that forced labor is not being used” would be denied auction services. A zero tolerance policy has now been put into place.

Additionally the Hawaii Seafood Council promises to offer continued outreach and education for the Hawaii longline fishing boats on this subject of forced labor.

As stated in the Hawaii Seafood Council’s press release: “This fishery has proven itself over the years to be responsive and an industry leader in meeting the challenges arising from new information about fishery impacts on fish populations and protected species. The allegations of labor abuses present a serious and new challenge, and the industry is rallying to respond quickly. I am confident that through this process we will ferret out any vessel from the fleet that is involved in forced labor, labor abuse or substandard working conditions and treatment of the crew.” says John Kaneko, Task Force member and Program Director of the Hawaii Seafood Council.

The decision is up to you.

Was what the owners of these boats did morally wrong? Yes. Did the industry take it seriously. Yes. Did they take every action possible to right their wrongs. Yes.

In the end it comes down to this for me, Hawaii is dedicated to producing a high quality product in a way that is safe and sustainable for the environment.

Nobody’s perfect but I think if you learn from your mistakes you deserve a second chance, especially with a track record like Hawaii’s.

What will you do? Will you stop buying fish from Hawaii to stand up for what these crew members went through or will you support a fishery that at the end of the day produces some of the most sustainable seafood in the world?

I would love to hear your opinion in the comments section below.

I also would love to invite you to subscribe to The Healthy Locavore, for my weekly newsletter. I am so grateful for this community, thank you for being part of it!

Mike and Susan
Mike and his lovely wife Susan

 

Osprey seafood has a retail shop, open to the public, located at 1014 Wine Country ave. Napa, CA 94558. It is also one of the major seafood wholesalers in the bay area supplying restaurants such as Perbacco, Coqueta and Swan Oyster Depot.

 

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.
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Everything You Need To Know About GMOs

gmo awareness

gmo awareness

There are two sides to every story. Nothing could be more true than in the case of the people vs. Big Food on the topic of GMOs. Its a story of scientific experimentation, greed, innovation and public safety.

But what exactly is a GMO? And why is everyone afraid of them? Here is a break down on what they are and what each opposing side is saying about them. From there you can make your own decision of what side of the fence you stand on and what you feel comfortable putting into your body.

The Facts:

  • “Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism”. – world health organization (WHO)
  • 88-95% of our corn, canola, soy and sugar is Genetically modified. – GMO OMG- a film by Jeremy Seifert
  • Monsanto, Du Pont & Syngenta are the 3 patent holders of GMO products. – GMO OMG- a film by Jeremy Seifert
  • The 9 main GMO crops in US are soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini & alfalfa.
  • There are 2 types of GMOs:
    • Herbicide resistant crops: Crops that are bred to be able to outlive being sprayed with  a toxic amount of herbicide. An example is Round Up ready soybeans.  GMO OMG- a film by Jeremy Seifert
    • Pesticide producing crops: Crops that have BT – bacillus thuringiensis toxin inserted into their DNA so that when a pest eats them they die. Examples of this are BT corn & cotton. The Future of Food
  • 75% of all processed foods contain GMOs. – Center for food safety
  • 70-90% of all food producing Animals are fed GMO crops. – Forbes
  • Common ingredients that contain GMOs are: amino acids, aspartame, ascorbic acid, vitamin C, soy lecithin (used in chocolate), xanthum gum, molasses, some vitamins & supplements, baking powder, corn syrup and tempeh.- Non GMO Project
  • Europe bans all GMOs. – gmo-free-regions.org
  • Monsanto owns thousands of seed patents. If a farm is illegally using their seeds without a license they can sue them for patent infringement. – RT.com
  • Large food corporations raised over $45 mil to fight prop 37 in CA against GMO food labeling. They scared the public by telling everyone their food prices would increase dramatically.. – SFGate
  • The non-gmo project is a non profit 3rd party verification program that is commited to building sources of non GMO products and providing the public with GMO information. – nongmoproject.org
  • The Non-GMO label on foods is the fastest growing label and boosts sales of its products dramatically – Institute for responsible technology
  • Whole Foods will require that everyone label their foods with GMO ingredients by 2018 – macleans.ca.com

As most of you probably know activists have been fighting tirelessly for GMO labeling so that we can find out if there are GMO ingredients in the food we are eating. It has been an uphill battle to not only demand transparent food labels but also to even just conduct solid scientific research on the possible effects of eating GMO crops.

Here is what the opposing side is saying:

  • GMO corn was linked to tumors, liver & kidney damage in rats. – Institute for responsible technology
  • Monsanto argues there is no difference in nutrients between a GMO crop and a non GMO crop. – Monsanto.com
  • “GM foods are not properly tested for human safety”- Institute for responsible technology
  • GMOs are not labeled because they are considered “substantially equivalent” to other foods and are categorized as “generally recognized as safe” with no scientific evidence by the FDA – The Future of Food
  • Our immune system could get confused at telling apart genetically engineered protein and regular protein, which can lead to chronic inflammation. – Institute for responsible technology
  • Overuse of GE crops and herbicides that are used with those crops have led to weeds that are resistant to the herbicide so you have to spray more. – The Future of Food
  • Companies like Monsanto prevent researchers from using their seeds to conduct scientific studies. – The New York Times
  • Almost always when people switch to a non GMO diet their gastrointestinal problems, allergies, asthma, skin diseases go away – Institute for responsible technology
  • Soybeans when modified trips the typsin inhibitor which then blocks the action of trypsin, an important protein digester – Institute for responsible technology
  • Studies in Scotland showed the process of genetically engineering something is responsible for pre-cancerous cell growth in digestive tract and damaged immune system in rats. The scientist that conducted this study was fired and gagged for speaking of the dangers of GMOs. He was later allowed to talk. – Institute for responsible technology
  • BT toxin is used in organic farming as a natural pesticide. The GMO crop that produces BT toxin is 3-5 times more toxic than the natural spray. It contains properties of known allergins which provoke the immune system. – Institute for responsible technology
  • Glyphosate (round up ready’s main ingredient) deprives plants of nutrients which makes the crops nutrient deficient –Institute for responsible technology
  • When we eat GMO ingredients the glyphosate binds with gluten and nutrients and makes us nutrient deficient, which makes us sick –Institute for responsible technology
  • Glyphosate (Round-up) is a powerful antibiotic which kills good gut bacteria. Bad bacteria like e.coli, salmonella and botulism is resistant to round up. This creates dysbiosis (leaky gut syndrome), acid reflux, digestive issues and immune issues. –Institute for responsible technology
  • Glyphosate (Round up) is an endocrine disrupter in human cells – Pub Med
  • Glyphosate (Round up)  inhibits cytochrome enzymes from filtering toxins out of our bodies and reaks havoc on our gut microbiome which can lead to a variety of diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease and alzheimers. . – MDPI
  • The person in charge of GMO policy at the FDA is Monsanto’s former attorney. His policy claims that GMOs are safe. – Institute for responsible technology
  • Scientists working at FDA found that GMOs were in fact different and dangerous and urged long term safety studies, they were ignored – Institute for responsible technology
  • “A report by the US Centers for Disease Control shows that food related illnesses increased 2-to 10-fold in the years beween 1994 (just before GM food was commercialized) and 1999” –Institute for responsible technology
  • Farmers who reach out for help from the government are ignored because they say it is not their policy to get involved in private litigations. – The future of food
  • GMOs neither feed the world nor address nutrition problems. They are a cheap food source for factory farms and processed foods. – Food and Water Watch
  • Over 300 former congressional and white house staff member are now employed by biotech frims as lobbyists. – food and water watch
  • Staff members go back and forth working for the FDA and GMO companies. – GMO OMG
  • In March 2015 the World Health Organization’s International agency for research said glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”- Marion Nestle
  • Insects or wind can carry GMO pollen for miles and pollenate other plants. – GMO OMG
  • Because of this farmers could be growing GMO crops with out even knowing it. The farmers are then charged or taken to court by biotech companies that have patented the seeds for “planting them” with out a license.– The future of food
  • “Its been 20 years since the first genetically modified crops were approved in Canada. But theres been no evaluation from the federal goerment as to the risks and benefits of that experiment. “ – Lucy Sharratt, Canadian biotechnology action network.

Here’s Big Food’s side of the story:

  • GMO crops have been grown for 20 years, there is no evidence that says these crops lead to health problems. – Biotech industry
  • GMO Sugar is so highly processed that by the time you eat it it has no more GMO DNA left. – NPR
  • “It doesn’t matter which protein it is, or where it came from, it almost always ends up as nonfunctional pieces that are recycled to new dehydration reactions elsewhere in the body to create new proteins. There’s an exceptionally small chance for a novel GMO protein to survive the digestive system intact and functional, and GMO proteins are not any more likely than any other protein to do so.” – his science is too tight
  • Farmers are able to use less toxic pesticides which are safer for farmers and the environment. PBS
  • Farmers have higher yields of crops and increased income using GMO crops. – Biotech industry
  • Glyphosate is safe – Monsanto
  • GMO farmers say that they are feeding the world.- his science is too tight
  • “GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health” – The WHO
  • Over 2,000 studies have been done on GM foods affirming their safety – Genetic Literacy Project
  • “FDA’s process for evaluating bioengineered foods is one in which the public can have confidence that food biotechnology products must meet the law’s safety standards.” – FDA
  • “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food…Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job” – Phil Angell, Director of Corporate Communications, Monsanto, quoted in New York Times Magazine, October 25, 1998
  • “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety” – FDA, “Statement of Policy Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties” (GMO Policy), Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 104 (1992), p. 22991
  • GM animal feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed. – Study of GMOs and food by the university of CA-Davis department of animal science in the Journal of animal science- Forbes

So what do you do if you don’t want to eat GMO crops? It can be difficult since they are in virtually everything but here are a few helpful tips.

  • Buy organic.
  • Shop at farmers markets or buy CSA boxes.
  • Choose non GMO foods. Look for the Non-GMO Project label.
  • Avoid buying nonorganic processed foods

Some Big Food companies wised up real quick when sales started to take a hit. Here is a list of companies that have now agreed to label GMO products

  • Campbell’s
  • General Mills (Cheerios are now GMO free)
  • Mars
  • ConAgra
  • Kellog

What do you think about GMOs? Are they feeding the world or are they making us sick?

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.
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Grass-fed Beef vs. Conventional. What’s the dif?

IMG_0642

I’m going to start off by saying this. We should all eat less meat. Yep, there it is. Not only do our bodies function better on a primarily plant based diet but what we are doing to our environment with these massive animal prisons, oops I mean feedlots, is destroying our planet. That being said, I love meat (as you can tell from the photo of me above) but in order to be able to enjoy it fully I have some stipulations.

Let me first start by describing the way a pastured, grass-fed cow lives. They roam as they wish on sunny, grassy pastures eating the food their stomachs were meant to digest, which is grass not corn and soy. They are given no antibiotics, and no growth-promoting hormones.

Conventional cows live in CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). They  stand in their own manure wedged in pens with all of the other sick cows.  They are fed a gruel of corn, soy,  grain, cotton byproducts and whatever other garbage is lying around (I’ve heard peanut shells, old candy and citrus pulp). Their stomachs cannot digest grain properly which is one of the reasons they are all sick and on antibiotics. They are given growth-promoting hormones so that they can hurry up and grow to slaughter size so we can ship them out by the masses to kill them for hamburger meat. I won’t even go into what happens at the slaughterhouses, that’s a whole other story in itself.

This is why this is F-ed up. Conventional cows that eat nutrient deficient food and  are given antibiotics and hormones leave us nutrient deficient, cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria in our guts and screw with our hormones by eating it. Because, simply put, you are what you eat. In conventional cows omega-3 fatty acids basically do not exist, which is a problem because the omega-6 fatty acids still do. This makes an already inflammatory food much more inflammatory because the omega-6s aren’t being balanced out with the omega-3s. Their milk is tarnished so we have to pasteurize it, which kills all the bad bacteria but also kills all of the good bacteria along with it, and again there’s no omega-3s and a lot less calcium. Not to mention you are giving your money to greedy, deceitful corporations which only feeds the health and environmental problems we have. Their flashy brand names have nothing to do with the breed of cow you are eating and their practices put small farmers out of business and bankrupt their families. Their USDA organic stickers speak of nothing to do with how the cows were raised, where they were raised or how humanely they were treated and slaughtered only that they ate organic feed and did not receive medications. Better than nothing you say? Sure, but I’m not hot on lining the pockets of hypocrite corporations that primarily produce conventional meat or processed junk food.

Why I eat pastured, grass-fed beef. It is more nutritious, the cows live better lives and they don’t receive antibiotics or hormones. Their fat is high in omega-3s which balance out the inflammation caused from the omega-6s, they are high in stearic acid (a saturated fat that does not create bad cholesterol), vitamins and minerals. They also have more collagen and lower amounts of saturated fat. They graze from pasture to pasture sinking more carbon into the soil, on natural feeding patterns which gives time for grass to re-grow. Small farms usually do not travel far to sell their meats using a lot less fossil fuels.

Where to find it. I’ll stop soapboxing now to talk about where you can get this sustainably raised, more nutritious beef. If you are local to the bay area I have some suggestions below. If you are not my suggestion to you is that you hop on the internet and start searching for local farms near you that raise pastured, grass-fed beef (and all other pastured animals for that matter). Ask around, go to your farmers market, meet the farmers. They are out there trust me it just takes a little digging, traveling and a little extra money sometimes. But again, if you are eating less meat, as we all should, you will be saving your time and money to treat yourself to the good stuff. After all you only need about 6 oz. of protein a day and there are plenty of other places to get that other than meat.

Butcher shops that rock in the bay area:

Marina Meats

Olivier’s Butchery

Avedano’s

Fatted Calf

Golden Gate Meat Co.

Farms that do it right in bay area:

Magruder Ranch

Mountain Ranch

Stemple Creek Ranch

Marin Sun Farms

Prather Ranch

Belcampo

Devil’s Gulch (does not raise cattle but is definitely still worth mentioning for all of it’s other animals raised – pigs, rabbits, lamb)

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.
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