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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

Columns

This is the Home Page for our quick-read nutritional health column for regional newspapers. If you have a local publication that might want to carry it, let us know or pass the link onto them.

Grow Veggies—But Where???

Column #224

Scores of researchers, commentators, reporters, politicians, and consumers are demanding that we get rid of livestock and use the land they grazed for growing crops. That tells me what they don’t know about ranching and farming would fill most of the agricultural books both new and old. Here’s why.

There are reasons why for millions of years humans ate mostly meat. There are also reasons why after inventing crop farming 10,000 years ago humans domesticated certain animals and continued to eat meat. The reasons have to do with the nutrition people require and the soils, climate, and topography where people live. All animals and plants rely on light, water, temperature, and nutrients which are conditions that can vary considerably even within short distances.

Why do some people advocate no meat and promote only plant-based foods?

Hooves and Dirt

Column #223

The media frustrates me to no end. Not only do they muddle up nutritional science, they also misrepresent agricultural science. I believe that happens because most reporters have, for a lack of better words, myopic “feel-good” viewpoints, alarmist reactions to climate change, and an urban understanding of how food is produced. Feelings and beliefs are the antitheses of nutritional and agricultural sciences. Unfortunately many consumers are influenced by happy talk, scaremongering, outright deception, and entertainment “news.” For that reason when it comes to the truth, and nothing but the truth, they rarely get the proper big picture.1

Last week my local newspaper ran a short Associated Press story about the environmental benefits that occur when Bison graze the landscape. (CNN put out a much longer article. CNN used to be a Ted Turner company and he owns 51,000 head of Bison on two million acres.) The AP article’s slant was that Bison are nearly magical in how they interact positively with the environment. Of course this resonates with everyone in this age of environmental sensitivity, global warming concerns, and wild animal preservation. That’s not a bad thing, but what is not mentioned in the article is the problem.2 3 4

Thankful for Our Time

Column #222

How many Americans are actually thankful these days? It seems to me that too many of them spend too much of their time being outraged, disappointed, afraid, depressed, anxious, tired, joyless, unmotivated, envious, regretful, and just plain out of sorts.

Well, coming soon is the one day of the year that’s specifically set aside for discarding all those negative thoughts. It’s a day for giving thanks. It’s a day where the glass is more than half full. In fact, it’s the day where we give thanks that our cups runneth over.1

Some people actually believe that saying “cups runneth over” is “fighting words.” But that’s their perception and not the intent. I’m merely trying to discuss the reason for Thanksgiving and the celebration it represents.2

Even though it’s celebrated on different days, Thanksgiving is definitely a Canadian and American holiday that is being celebrated in at least eight additional countries. There are also harvest festivals in many other countries around the world that are celebrated at various times depending on their latitudes which dictates their growing seasons.3 4

Conquering Diabetes

Column #221

Diabetes can be conquered naturally but it takes willpower. The same is also true for obesity. Because willpower is in short supply these days, doctors make fortunes prescribing drugs and operations. Those choices are the easy way out because no willpower is required. Just pop a pill (or injection) and/or suffer the operation. This allows the patient to “live” with their affliction and all is good. Well . . . sort of good.

Chronic diseases are body failures that are usually caused by eating too much of the wrong foods. Foods will abuse body functions when they fall into one or more of these three categories.
1.    High glycemic
2.    Nutrient lite
3.    Improperly balanced essential vitamins, fats, and minerals

Are You Woke?

Column #220

On October 29, 2019, former President Barack Obama was interviewed at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. During the course of the interview he made a two-minute comment about being woke. It was instructive for our times and everyone should take it to heart.1

The word “woke” has an interesting history. Originally it was a term of African American origin that referred to a perceived awareness of issues concerning social and racial justice. First used in 1938, it was derived from the expression “stay woke.” As with many expressions its meaning evolved to include more topics than originally intended. In the past half dozen years or so its usage started including politics generally. More recently young folks have been using it for a very broad range of topics.”2

As Obama explained in his comment, some people who believe they are woke have a habit of weaponizing their points of view. That’s because they believe their woke viewpoint (about whatever) is absolutely the only way to perceive it. Then with a feeling of superiority they ostracize people who express different slants of view on the same topic. When publicly ridiculing and shouting down others, woke folks are exhibiting a holier-than-thou attitude. They don’t realize that’s a very negative human frailty.3

Running Scared

Column #219

Folks in agriculture and food processing are running scared these days. It doesn’t matter if it’s farming crops, raising livestock, or packing and processing meat, vegetables, or fruit—there are people out there who want to put them out of business.1

The actors who are discrediting food producers and processors get away with their antics because there’s a huge divide between consumers and where their food comes from. Most of the people in our country have no clue about what are or are not proper practices for economically and sustainably raising and processing food. They do not know the many laws governing those industries. Worst of all they expect practices to conform to utopian ideals which can’t possibly exist on a commercial scale. Consequently, with so little knowledge and understanding consumers can be easily manipulated into believing almost anything critics say—especially if they hear the same story over and over and over again.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson: Arctic Explorer

Column #218

Vilhjalmur Stefansson may be the most famous meat eater in the carnivore world. He actually lived with the Inuit in 1906–07 and learned to eat and actually enjoy their native wild foods. He described how he had to get used to eating nearly the same thing day in and day out. He said he eventually looked forward to his meals and snacks of raw fish, boiled fish, rank fish, and meat from wild game. Other than seasonal berries plant-based foods were virtually nonexistent. Of course that was before the Inuit was exposed to our modern foods. Later in life he and a fellow explorer were “guinea pigs” in an experiment where they lived on nothing but meat and water for a year. Everyone with an interest in health and nutrition should spend a little time and become more familiar with this multifaceted, educated man.1 2 3

Are DNA Vaccines Next?

Column #217

When it comes to discussing genetics most folks have been conditioned to scream and run for the hills. That Pavlov’s Dog reaction was caused primarily by one man who has, at best, very questionable credentials regarding genetics. In spite of a lack of expertise he gained a huge following of promoters who found him useful in their marketing efforts. All that notoriety generated a pretty penny for him in book sales, lectures, and appearances on national television. In the process he created a tremendous amount of confusion, fear, and loathing regarding a highly technical science. Now another new “genetic” product is on the horizon. Will it get a similar treatment that comes with manipulating genes?1 2

This new medical miracle is DNA Vaccines. Soon they will be the medical community’s go-to vaccines. Yes, it’s brand new cutting edge stuff that’s never been done before. Currently, no DNA vaccine has been approved for human use although several are now available for veterinary use. Naturally there’s lots of oversight and several important questions still need answers.

Currently these vaccines are far more effective in test animals than humans. Therefore researchers are seeking a better adjuvant (substance which enhances the human body’s immune response) to an antigen. Additionally more work is needed to complete the origin and the genetic structure of the vaccine. So it may be some months yet before we see a DNA vaccine for human use.3 4

The Hysterical Meat Debate

Column #216

Whoa! Just when “fake” meat was being hailed as the ultimate healthy replacement for “real” red meat that’s supposed to kill you, here comes a study from the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) Consortium saying that there’s nothing unhealthy about eating real red meat.1

Of course the anti red meat propagandists, vegetarians, PETA folks, and highly-processed “plant-based-meat” manufacturers went ballistic with hysterical shouts of hogwash. For decades, those folks and the medical community, most nutritionists, dieticians, and media types have been telling everyone that red meat MAY cause cancer, is ASSOCIATED with heart disease, and is LINKED to diabetes and obesity. The only problem with their theories is that based on the methods used in their sighted research studies, the same claims can be attributed all other food items!2 3 4

This Is Very Taxing

Column #215

Do we need a tax on ruminants? Some people think so because when ruminants digest vegetative matter methane gas is released. Therefore, for the health of the planet, they want to dramatically reduce the number of ruminants by taxing them like cigarettes.

There’s a lot of political theater playing out these days. It’s got people so emotionally keyed up that saying anything is an easy way to get on the wrong side of nearly everyone who lives and breathes. But some subjects really hit close to home and, when based on myths, they can be very dangerous if the myths inspire mob action. So, I’m treading lightly here with some insight hoping no reader puts words in my mouth and runs off down the road shouting that I’m a “this or that” and my business should be boycotted and taxed out of existence. What I am is a rancher who wants to raise livestock and peddle meat.

That’s why I’m concerned about proposals for taxing certain occupations and certain basic human food sources out of existence. If they are implemented, there can be some very harmful unintended consequences.

In societies where there’s majority rule, there’s a constant danger of a majority running roughshod over the minorities. In 2002 the USDA reported that of the 1,911,859 farms counted in 1997 it estimated that 69% of them raised at least some livestock. In 2018 it was reported that there were 2,029,200 farms. If 69% are still raising livestock then possibly 1,400,148 farms have livestock on them.1 2