Slanker Grass-Fed Meat

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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.

Lab-Grown Meat

Column #161

The earth is home to over seven billion people. A good number of them, more than ever before, are thinking about building better mousetraps. Consequently you’ve got to figure some better ones will come along. As they do each advancement is called new technology and new industries are created. That’s why it’s so amazing what’s being done these days and more amazing about what’s coming.

Recently we’ve been hearing a lot about veggie burgers. But are they being shoved aside by lab-grown or cultured meat? The science for cultured meat is an outgrowth of biotechnology’s tissue engineering field. It does not involve genetic engineering. It’s simply adding a collagen matrix (taken from either living or deceased animals) to adult muscle stem cells from a live animal and bathing them in a culture media of primarily photosynthetic algae and cyanobacteria.

Now if you think that growing meat in a petri dish is pretty far fetched, think again. Even Tyson, the huge Arkansas-based meat company that processes chicken, beef, and pork, recently bought out two fledgling cultured meat companies. Not to be left behind, Cargill recently announced an investment in Memphis Meats which has the proven technology and potential to commercialize cultured meat protein.

Changing the Conversation

Column #160

Food is always a hot topic of conversation. People love to tell you about their latest find and how yummy good it was. In that regard discussions involving food are always fun until the moment nutrition and health are mentioned. Then the topic becomes more toxic than religion and politics.

It’s amazing that most people rate the quality of their food by how much pleasure there is in eating it. They consume food and drink with their only thought being that it must be emotionally satisfying. The concept of matching their body’s chemical needs with the chemistry of the foods they ingest is something they don’t consider in the slightest.

John Myers told me about a little trick he uses if a conversation turns to food. You see, John is fully aware of food chemistry and our bodies’ basic chemical needs. So you know he just won’t jump up and down with joy over the latest deep fat fried thing or sugary desert that everyone is rejoicing over. That’s why when the conversation turns to food, in order to help people understand where his thoughts are, he pulls out a note he always carries. He has found that it often changes the conversation in very dramatic ways. Here’s his note:

 

Sprouts Doesn’t Get It

Column #159

Remember my “Phony Grass-Fed” article reviewing a so-called “100% Grass-Fed” steak from Sprouts Farmers Market? After the article hit several readers forwarded it to Sprouts. The responses they got dovetail with my experiences in dealing with many of the larger grocers.

Back in 2000 I tried to sell grass-fed beef to several grocery chains. Their professional meat buyers thought it was just another wacky idea. Ironically one of the rudest receptions came from Whole Foods. Most others had never even heard of it and had absolutely no interest.

I wrote to beef publications about grass-fed beef and, except for some small progressive ones, most mainstream editors were more than rude. They openly mocked me and called me nuts. The “really professional” cattlemen, at that time and still to this day, are either quite hostile to the idea of grass-fed beef or they just nod and go on. The main reason for that response is that they literally raise an inferior product and do not like the grass-fed comparison.

Stories and Your Reptilian Brain

Column #158

We all have a brain. What many people do not realize is that it’s three brains in one. The three parts are called the reptilian, limbic, and neocortex brains. They have many interconnecting pathways which mean they cannot operate separately. Yet one section can influence the others.

Politicians and marketers know how your brain works and they use that knowledge to their own advantage. Therefore, don’t you think it’s important for you to also understand how your brain functions so you have a better understanding of how their tactics work on you?

Carbohydrates Increase Longevity?

Column #157

A recently released, NIH-sponsored nutrition study made headlines all across the nation. Most of the headlines were like this one:

“Moderate Carbohydrate Intake Optimal for Health, Longevity”

Most reviews ran with this quote: “These data also provide further evidence that animal-based low carbohydrate diets should be discouraged. Alternatively, when restricting carbohydrate intake, replacement of carbohydrates with predominantly plant-based fats and proteins could be considered as a long-term approach to promote healthy aging.”

The conclusion most people gain from this summary is that the best diet is one that restricts meats and animal fats. But is that true? After carefully reading the study, I agree with its conclusion--based on the data--but it is also misleading. Is this another case of blind men describing an elephant?

Salt Water

Column #156

Water is essential for life. It’s critical for regulating body temperature, preventing constipation, flushing out waste and toxins, and performing all major bodily functions. As with all essential inputs, there is such as a thing as too little or too much. Interestingly, water and sodium go hand in hand. Our bodies require both in a proper balance. Like water, sodium is essential which means it must be consumed to have it. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of water that’s in and around cells

Even though sodium is in meat and vegetables, our primary source for it is salt. Salt is a chemical compound composed of two minerals paired together--sodium and chloride (NaCl). Salt is called an ionic compound which means the ions are held together by electrostatic forces termed ionic bonding. Sodium atoms weigh less than chloride atoms therefore 100 grams (g) of NaCl contain 39.34 g Na and 60.66 g Cl.

When we consume salt, we are ingesting two elements. Did you know that chloride is also essential for life? We’ll get back to chloride momentarily. But first there’s more we need to know about water and sodium.

The Law of the Instrument

Column #155

There’s an old saying that “if the only tool you have is a hammer, you’ll tend to treat everything as if it were a nail.” I’ve been accused of having a one tool approach to health and disease due to my seemingly myopic fix on the essential fatty acid (EFA) ratio. Without reservation I claim that the totality of the food we eat has a larger than life impact on the body’s ability to function optimally. And when I say that, I’m referring to chronic diseases which MedicineNet defines as inflictions that “cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear.”

Since I’m so adamant about the impact of diet on health, few recognize that I also pound the table for sleep, exercise, stress management, mold eradication, and other physical and mental approaches to improving our health and well being. I also state that modern medicine has done wonders in areas of injuries, bacterial and viral infections, poisonings, some birth defects, and communicable diseases. On the other hand, modern medicine doesn’t cure chronic diseases nor does it give diet its due.

Football, Brains, and Omega-3

#154

The average college football player has the same Omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency as most Americans. Unfortunately, that’s a dangerous situation. After years of research a team of scientists at Texas Christian University (TCU) concluded that the Omega-3 deficiency restricts the healing of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

Very few people understand how the Omega-3 deficiency is determined even though scientists have been explaining it for more than 40 years. It’s really simple. It’s based on the balance of EFAs. The Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are in the membranes of the cells of the human body. For optimal health the EFAs must be balanced approximately 1:1 by weight. When the balance exceeds 4:1 (more Omega-6) the Omega-3 deficiency is fully apparent and chronic diseases start occurring.

Science Does Not . . .

Column #153

I read a lot of peer-reviewed reports involving nutrition and its impact on a wide variety of chronic diseases. The reports are written by accredited scientists in biology, nutrition, medicine, pharmacology, and more. Over the many years I’ve noticed two significant points in the vast majority of reports regarding the diet’s impact on health.

The first point is that nutritional science has not changed very much in the past 50 years. Scientists keep testing theories and the studies performed by others and they tend to come to the same conclusions over and over again. Naturally there have been many refinements and sometimes new breakthroughs. But the bottom line hasn’t shifted very much.

Battling the Establishment

Column #152

In 1999 I was encouraging local ranchers to raise grass-fed cattle to improve their cash flow and raise a healthier product for the American consumer. I believed it would be a slam dunk for ranchers. The feed stores in the area were not very enthusiastic about the message even though they sell hay and alfalfa pellets as well as grain. Some were downright uncivil. Feedlot owners were hostile. It wasn’t long before Slanker was persona non grata with many cattlemen in the area because the establishment claimed that the grass-fed science was quackery. Only a handful of independent thinkers ended up comprehending the science and embracing the grass-fed story. To date the situation hasn’t changed much.

People get entrenched in their ways and nearly all levels of government are controlled by powerful monied interests with political clout. The establishment uses various media platforms as advertising to get the masses lined up behind their particular views. Activist journalism is one of their best mediums for focusing mob rule. In the end the mob ends up playing into their hands as they follow corrupt politicians and a manipulative media. If you think that kind of stuff is old fashioned silent movie stuff, think again. It’s never been more intense than it is today.