The meat you eat could very well be making you sick. Most of today’s meat is “processed food,” tightly managed from before the birth of the animal. We have altered its genes, its resistance to diseases, its nutritional value and even its ability to carry its own weight. We feed it a nutritionally deficient diet, and then pump it full of supplements, antibiotics and hormones. We force it to live in a crowded, stressed environment and then wonder why food poisoning is so common. We process it in chlorine, add preservatives, sugar, and salt, and then we feed it to our children. Let’s take a quick look at how beef, chicken and pork may be affecting your health.
Until about 1950, practically all beef was grass-fed beef. During the Fifties, feedlots became popular. Cattle herds were crowded into small pens and were fed corn. Due to cramped conditions and nutritionally poor diets, diseases ran rampant. As a result, today’s cattle are treated with rounds of antibiotics and protein supplements. To give us plenty of plump, juicy, steaks within a very short time, growth hormones and continual antibiotic supplements are given.
Great controversy surrounds the use of growth hormones and antibiotics. Excessive amounts of growth hormones have been linked to breast cancer, prostrate problems, obesity, ovarian cysts, irregular menstruations and early onset of puberty in children. The addition of the hormones in beef should be avoided. The overuse of low doses of antibiotics in animals has resulted in antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases such as e-coli and salmonella. The human ingestion of non-prescribed low-levels of antibiotics may very well have the same effect in us, leading to more illnesses that require stronger antibiotics to cure.
Of less controversy, but still very detrimental to good health, is the inferior nutritional value of corn-fed beef. We need both omega 6 fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids. The typical American gets plenty of omega 6 fatty acids, and hardly any omega 3. The typical ratios range from 15:1 to 30:1. The ratio should be closer to 1:1. This excessive amount of omega 6 fatty acids and lack of omega 3 contributes to a host of health problems, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, asthma, lupus, inflammation and cancer. Grain-fed cattle have a ratio of 26:1. Grass-fed beef has a ratio of about 2:1. Grass-fed beef and game meat are also leaner than grain-fed beef. They contain more of these nutrients than grain-fed beef:
- Conjugated linoleic acid
- Beta carotene
- Vitamin E
Renowned natural health experts recommend grass-fed organic beef and game meat over grain-fed beef. I whole-heartedly agree. Reclaim your health! Avoid corn-fed beef as much as possible!
Gary Larson’s “The Far Side”® cartoon captioned, “Boneless Chicken Ranch” is close to the truth! Certain chicken breeds have been bred to grow so big and fast that within weeks of hatching they can no longer support their own weight. In 2011, a group of children on a First Lego League team researched the safety of chicken meat, from growth all the way to the table. They were shocked by their findings and hardly knew where to begin to improve the safety of this food.
Many of the problems are similar to corn-fed cattle: cage-raised chickens are rich in bacterial blooms that are treated with antibiotics. Slaughtered chickens are soaked in a chlorine solution to kill more bacteria. The chlorine combines with chicken waste to produce carcinogenic substances which are consumed by us and accumulate in the body. Chlorine is not particularly effective at killing the bacteria. This is why chicken should be cooked to a temperature of 165° F. Food poisonings from chicken is still extremely common. If you have ever had “the 24-hour flu,” you have probably been the victim of mild food poisoning, possibly from chicken. Occasionally, the food poisoning can result in death.
Free range chickens, fed an all-natural organic diet that excludes chicken waste are less likely to carry harmful bacteria. Some chickens are processed using ozone (which is over 99% effective at killing bacteria) rather than chlorine. There are even a few chicken producers that pass USDA inspections with very little use of disinfectants. They do this by raising nutritional, healthy chickens, of a heritage breed, with no added antibiotics or hormones.
A local naturopath recommends never eating pork because he saw with his own eyes that cooking a pork loin to a high temperature did not kill the parasites buried deep within the meat. The Old Testament, a handbook for healthy living, advocates not eating pork for good reason. Many of pigs’ diseases are easily transferrable to humans (and vice versa). Many pork products, such as bacon, contain cancer-causing nitrates and nitrites. Pre-cooked hams are Petri dishes for Staphylococcus aureus. Pork consumption has also been linked to encephalitis and hepatitis E. All-natural, grass-fed pork that has been cured without the use of nitrates and nitrites should be an occasional food, at best, sliced and cooked to 170°F to avoid trichinosis.
Should we all be vegetarians?
This is not an article that advocates becoming a vegetarian. If done right, avoiding all meat can be a very healthy option. However, eating some meat is very healthy, too. Just like any food, once it is processed and removed or changed from the way that nature intended it to grow, meat becomes not only less useful, but even harmful, for our bodies. Don’t let meat make you sick! Find a local organic producer and pay the extra price. It is well worth it when you read the list of problems that can arise from buying off a grocer’s shelf!