Grass fed beef or? Free range animals or factory grain fed?

Beef cattle roam the Harris Ranch farms Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 in Coalinga, Calif. I must confess, raising a family with 10 children and at times with a houseful of teenagers, it just was not affordable to buy only organic free-range chicken, beef, meat, and wild salmon as opposed to farm raised.  I have however become increasing concerned that for a now very large percentage of us, this probably should be a must, as our health can no longer tolerate the lack of nutrients in the farm raised, grain fed animals, and the added exposure to antibiotics used in that industry. It is just too damaging to our already dysbiotic intestinal flora.

You see, from the time we are born (sterile presumably), to within a few days, infants acquire hundreds of bacteria in their intestinal tract.  Since most of us no longer eat natural fermented foods (yogurt, sour cream, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.) and have been exposed to massive amounts of antibiotics either for personal health reasons or through our foods, it’s no wonder that from the start, our infants are at a huge disadvantage in terms of their health compared to generations before.  We, the parents and future parents, must start healing our own gut flora (bacteria) so we pass on better colonies to our children at birth. The farther we are from birth, the more potential dysbiosis (wrong bacteria in the gut) we may have to correct.

Starting with organic, free-range, grass-fed beef and free-range chickens is certainly an important start. Cattle are ruminants, possessing a rumen (large chamber) intended to ferment the grass and cellulose they eat into healthy fat and protein. From 1997 to 2005, taxpayer-subsidized grain prices saved feed lots about 35 billion with no such subsidies going to farmers who had exclusive pasture land cattle.  Federal dollars then also went to these large cattle operations with feed lots to address the pollution problems these confined animals were creating.  Small farmers with pasture cattle had no such problems.  Confining sometimes tens of thousands of animals into small feed lots to fatten them with grain before slaughter is so unnatural that massive amounts of antibiotics are needed to keep them alive.  

If you have ever driven down Interstate 5 in central California, you can smell the Harris Ranch feed lot cattle miles before you come upon them.  If producing meet less expensively was all that was involved here, perhaps the horrible conditions these animals are kept in could be ignored by many.  The health dangers of this type of “food” is that not only is it now frequently contaminated by dangerous e. coli., but it is also less nutritious, and frequently contaminated with antibiotics and bacteria that are increasingly resistant to the antibiotics we have available to us. Your intestinal health is your brain health and a few seconds thought about the brain health of our children today should give you enough pause to say NO MORE to meats that are from the massive feed lots and farms.

Dr. Paul

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