How healthy is your meat.

I have seen a poster - Pay the farmer not the doctor. a-pay-the-farmer

By Mary Lou Shaw

Labels can be meaningless. What does it mean to say an egg is “healthy” or   “nutritious”? The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t defined these terms, so no matter how a chicken is being raised, a corporation can entice us with these terms.

Chickens aren’t the only animals that give us healthier food when they have access to the outdoors, pasture and sunshine. The meat of cattle and hogs are also superior in taste and nutrition when they have been raised naturally, outdoors. Even the milk from cows that graze on pasture is more nutritious than the standard grain-fed cow.

Food grown locally in smaller numbers is healthier for us in other ways. Raising animals in smaller numbers outdoors prevents contamination of streams and water used to irrigate crops. We therefore avoid the other health risks of lettuce and spinach contaminated with the E. Coli bacteria that has mutated to a lethal form in corn-fed feedlots. My great-nephew spent last summer on kidney dialysis from this bacteria. The cost was huge in heartache, health, time and money.

July 31, 2013
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There’s no denying the rising costs of health care in our nation. Health spending has been rising steadily for several years. Americans spend nearly 20% of their income on healthcare costs, while on average spending 10% of their income on food. This disparity affects the health of our nation and must be acknowledged and addressed. Considering the age-old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may be the first step to attempt to reduce healthcare spending—and the key place to start is food consumption.  If you start to consider your diet a form of preventative health care, you might start rethinking you daily meals.

In our age of industrial agriculture, cheap food is easy to access—and is often loaded with fats, calories and chemicals that negatively affect our bodies and lead to health problems. How does your body feel after you consume a double cheeseburger or a bag of chips compared to after consuming a plate of veggies or fresh fruit? That said, how easy is it to access a bag of chips compared to fresh vegetables at your local convenience store? It may be easier and cheaper to obtain “junk food” for your daily snack, but consider the future health ramifications to which these foods may contribute when making your daily choices. It was Hippocrates who stated, “Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.”

It’s easy to wander down the grocery store aisle in a rush, heading for your favorite snack food to grab and go. Next time you are in this situation, pause to ponder an alternative. Instead of limiting your food budget now, why not opt to spend a little more on better quality foods to prevent future health complications. Hey, why not opt to forgo the supermarket and head to your local farmers’ market to purchase foods which will not only nourish yourself, but will help nourish your community through economic stimulus and respect for the land and animals. Find your local farmers market listing on Seacoast Eat Local’s website here:

Starting to pay attention to the true value of foods and making nourishing purchases may be the first step to lowering health costs. It was Thomas Edison who stated, “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” The future is now! The brightest minds in history have discussed the nature of one’s diet and health. Let’s start recognizing the power of healthy eating and make responsible choices for our health and our future. Take the first step toward lowering health costs and rethink your diet as preventative health care.

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