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.


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.

Phony Grass-Fed

Column #151

Just like the “Natural” label, the meaning of the “Grass-Fed” label is now questionable. If your goal is to eat healthy foods, you’re in need of some tips on how to avoid being conned. When it comes to grass-fed meats, it’s buyer beware.

The slippery slope got underway with gusto in January 2016 when the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service revoked its approval process for use of its “grass-fed” beef marketing label. Since all beef cattle spend part of their life on pasture, many retailers just assume that being grass-fed at one time means grass-fed forever. Let me explain the consequences of that with a real life example of a grass-fed steak purchased from a large trusted retailer.

Buying Local Pros and Cons

Column #150

I’ve always been a big fan of buying local. When dealing with local merchants you’re building the local community which is a win/win for all.

But . . . of all the many reasons given that is the only reason for why buying local food is the proper thing to do. Unfortunately the rest of the nice sounding PC reasons for buying local have few pros and lots of cons.

Is Home Cooking Impractical?

Column #149

What if I said home cooking wasn’t economical, wasn’t practical, was too complicated, required too much time, and wasn’t fun? Most Americans would agree!

American eating habits have changed quite a bit in the past 60 years. In many homes family members eat in shifts rather than together. Grazing is replacing more formal sit-down meals. Instant and microwave meals are replacing prepared meals.

It’s reported that anywhere from 10% to as many as 40% of all school-aged children and adults literally skip breakfast because they do not have time for it. Yet breakfast may be the most important meal of the day because skipping it is associated with slightly higher inflammation and heart issues. In 2017 the American Heart Association reported that breakfast-eaters tend to have slightly lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

In addition to desiring convenience a growing number of adults also want to dine in exciting sports bars, exotic settings with magnificent views, and in the relaxed ambience of private clubs. They’ve developed a mind set that eating at home is boring. The urge to eat out is so strong today that Americans now spend slightly more than half of their food budget eating away from home.

Interpreting Omega-3 Blood Tests

Column #148

Lipid Technologies (LT) is my favorite testing lab for analyzing essential fatty acid (EFA) profiles. I use them frequently to analyze meats and other food products. What’s most exciting for the consuming public is their simple, self-testing, mail-in blood test. The results along with the interpretations are available in a couple of weeks by mail or email.

LT provides a brochure targeted to physicians to assist them in interpreting the test results. But unless one has been studying EFA science for awhile, the wording and tables can be confusing. Unfortunately even most doctors don’t understand it so I’m going to condense and simplify LT’s brochure to hopefully provide a layman’s interpretation. The tables are from the brochure.

Why Should We Care About Our EFA Profile?

Food Prices and Spending

Column #147

Most Americans wouldn’t believe it if I told them their food cost as a percent of income is the lowest in the world. But the stats don’t lie. On food that’s consumed at home, American households spend just 6.4% of their household income! At 56.4% of their household incomes Nigerians spend the most with Kenya second highest at 46.7%.

Statistics comparing household expenditures for food to household incomes always show that citizens of more advanced nations pay less for food. People can only eat so much food yet their incomes are not limited. It’s the same inside a country too. During the past 25 years America’s top 20% wealthiest households spent 6.5% to 9.2% of their income while the poorest 20% of households spent between 28.8% and 42.6% on food.

Actual amounts spent on food that’s consumed at home are also skewed by household wealth as noted above. On a per capita basis Americans spend $2,392 per year, Nigerians spend $1,132, and Kenyans spend only $543. Can you imagine, Kenyans only spend $1.50 per person per day!

Atrial Fibrillation: Its Cause Is Elusive

Column #146

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is one of the more common of all heart conditions. It’s essentially a quivering or fluttering heartbeat caused by the abnormal firing of electrical impulses that cause the atria (the top chambers in the heart) to quiver (or fibrillate). The “Rotterdam Study” by Jan Heeringa, et al. states that AFib is “associated with substantial mortality and morbidity from thrombo-embolism, heart failure, and impaired cognitive function.”

The study also indicates that as a general population gets older, AFib will become a greater financial health burden. That’s because the incidence rate increases from 0.7% in the 55–59 age group to 17.8% for those 85 and older. At 55 years of age the lifetime risk to develop AFib is 23.8% in men and 22.2% in women.

The causes of AFib span the whole gamut of possibilities and the list of natural solutions is meager at best. Even Omega-3 supplement studies show little promise in subduing AFib. With virtually no one solution fitting everyone, that in itself indicates AFib may require a very broad-based approach.

Cancer Risks Higher for Vegetarians

Column #145

When reading the “news,” most often the anti-meat story is told and retold. So we meat eaters always enjoy a little negative vegan news now and then. It came recently when London’s “The Telegraph,” an award-winning, multimedia news brand, published an article titled: “Long term vegetarian diet changes human DNA raising risk of cancer and heart disease” by Sarah Knapton.

Ms. Knapton’s article was based on a report by Kumar S. D. Kothapalli, et al., at Cornell University published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. The long-winded title is: “Positive Selection on a Regulatory Insertion–Deletion Polymorphism in FADS2 Influences Apparent Endogenous Synthesis of Arachidonic Acid.”

Unsurprisingly, with a title that makes your eyes roll back into your head, it’s no wonder the 2016 report took a couple of years to surface in a mainstream publication. So what does it say in layman’s terms about cancer risks and the vegan way?

How Fast Can the EFA Ratio Change?

Column #144

People frequently ask me about how long it takes to lower a high Omega-6 (n-6) to Omega-3 (n-3) essential fatty acid (EFA) ratio. Of course it all depends on an individual’s commitment, but a recent study provides a clue as to how fast it can change.

A couple of years ago Slanker Grass-Fed Meat, along with other Omega-3 food producers, assisted the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Military by providing food for a study. The published study was titled “Blood Fatty Acid Changes in Healthy Young Americans” by Andrew J. Young, et. al., and it analyzed how far and how fast a good diet changes the EFA ratio.

True Cost of Eating Meat

Column #143

A reader sent this comment: “I wanted you to be aware of this article and perhaps you can send them some truth about what you are doing. Their article does not even talk about the great grass-fed options and is a total slam against what you do. Healthy grass-fed meats will continue to be a part of our diet.” TF

The article, “What is the true cost of eating meat?” was written by Bibi van der Zee and published in “The Guardian” on May 7, 2018.

My knee-jerk response, based on a brief scan of the article, was: “This is a typical article written by someone with an agenda using imaginary ‘facts.’ Trying to tell folks like that anything is a total waste of time and energy. They have beliefs which can’t be changed even with facts.” Then I did more research and came up with some surprising facts.

Obese Pets and Children

Column #142

Most pet foods are nutritionally deficient. Sure there are some really good ones out there, but most are not. Why most? Because people want cheap and convenient and are easily swayed with politically correct keywords. The alternative, getting the nutrition right, requires study and gumption to move beyond conventional wisdom.

Because of the kind of food they’re fed, nearly all dogs and cats are overweight these days. Pet owners don’t even view their obese pets as having a problem. In fact, they associate “meat on the ribs” as good health and only the grossly obese pets are considered overweight. A similar issue exists with children where fully one third are overweight. More on that below.