Tag Archives: Joel Salatin

Why I don’t like (Meatless) Mondays!

Cows on pasture at Polyface Farm

Cows on pasture at Polyface Farm

Hello dear readers! Happy New Year to all of you!

I am writing because it is Monday…a Monday suggested to be “Meatless” by Food, Inc. and others.  (Yep. All over FB today.) Heck, there’s a whole website and movement dedicated to it. It’s the start of a new year, and I’d just like to clear something up from the get-go.

I would LOVE “Meatless Mondays” if it was specified that the meat we are being asked to go without on Mondays was CAFO meat. That is, meat from animals raised in confinement–specifically, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, “CAFOs”. You see, a CAFO burger is not a burger…a CAFO steak is not a steak…one cannot compare meat from a CAFO operation with that from a pasture. CAFOs are also known as feedlots.  (There are a  lot of them out here in Colorado; I have the distinct displeasure of driving by them and the stench of them permeates the air some mornings, depending on how the wind blows. Ever put your head into a diaper pail filled with dirty diapers and taken a sniff? You get the idea. Repulsive. Hundreds and thousands of cows crowded on a dirt lot, standing in their own excrement, eating grain full of soy and corn and more–which is probably GMO. And that’s the meat we get to eat here in the USA.)

The vast majority of meat eaten in America comes from CAFOs. Yes, it does. That burger at your favorite burger joint, that filet mignon at that fancy French restaurant, the taco at your favorite Mexican restaurant…nearly all the beef in every supermarket in the country including Whole Foods Market (unless it is marked “grassfed” and “grass-finished”.) But let us not confuse meat from CAFOs with meat from animals raised on pasture as they are meant to be. Grassfed and -finished meat is good for the planet, good for the animals and good for you and your health. One just cannot compare CAFO meat with grass-fed and -finished meat. So let’s not lump them together, shall we? The health problems attributed to meat is not the meat that is raised on pasture, sustainably.

Grass-fed meat is good for the planet. Grass farming sequesters carbon! This knocks out the popular argument that eating meat contributes to global warming… “if you care about the planet, stop eating meat”. Oy.  If all cows were on pasture, we would not have the methane gas problem that we do today, nor many of the other problems that feedlots produce including runoff and water pollution. The High Priest of Pasture, one of my heroes, Joel Salatin, talks eloquently about carbon sequestration all the time.  Here’s a great talk Joel gave at TEDMED in DC April 2012.  Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards  also spoke on How Grassfed Beef will Save the World last November at the Weston A. Price Foundation annual conference.

Grass-fed meat is good for the animals because…well, duh. Animals are meant to express their “animal-ness”, to paraphrase Joel Salatin. Cows and bison are meant to eat grass. Chickens are meant to eat grass and bugs. It’s “humane” if that fits for animals, it’s ethical, and it’s natural. What’s good for the animals is good for us. Read on.

Grass-fed meat is good for us to eat because it is more nutritious, leaner, and chock full of Omega 3s (those Essential Fatty Acids your brain and your body needs) and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid…with anti-cancer properties and many other good things!) Everyone knows that the nutrient profile of meat depends upon what the animal (or bird or fish) is fed. Meat from animals raised on pasture is simply more nutritious because it comes from animals that ate what they are supposed to eat. Grass.  Also, you know this food is more nutrient-dense because you are not hungry an hour or two after you eat! You are satisfied.

But again, this is America, and the vast majority of meat eaten in this country is from animals in CAFOs.  Not kidding. We can continue to patronize our crazy food system that perpetuates the confinement model, or we can make another choice; take a different path. Truth is, I would love it if EVERY day were declared a CAFO-meatless day! Can you imagine if everyone stopped eating meat from animals raised on feedlots or in cages? The entire fast-food industry would come crashing down…supermarket meat shelves would bulge with burger patties and steaks and hot dogs and sausages…and chicken tenders and breasts until they rotted past their expiration date. People would be healthier! Hospitals and doctors and prescription drug makers would have no takers! We would have more energy due to more nutrients in our bodies AND less toxins from our food. Heck, I daresay we would have a revolution on our hands!

Let’s do it.

Let’s make EVERY day a CAFO-meatless day! Or to say it differently, let’s make every day a pastured meat day! Vote with your pocket book, folks! Seek out meat from local sources (or not so local when necessary) that raise their animals on pasture. And make it a CAFO-meatless Monday! And Tuesday! And Wednesday! And…you get it. 😉 Eat Wild is a great site to find local grass-fed meat. And check with your local WAPF chapter for farmers, farmers markets, and CSAs near you.

(Don’t even get me started about all the milk Americans drink from confinement dairies. That will have to be for another time.)

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Now Here’s an Idea – Learn To Teach Traditional Cooking!

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The Inaugural class of Cooking for Well-Being Teacher Training! August 2012

Want to know the story behind Cooking for Well-Being, how it started and where I am going? Check out my article on The Healthy Home Economist blog…I am the featured guest blogger today! Thanks to Sarah Pope for the opportunity!

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Real Food Summit starts July 8–And it’s FREE!

Hi all,

Love real food? You know I do!! Teaching folks how to cook it and inspiring them back to the kitchen is my life’s passion! Check out the Real Food Summit, an online, free event that features some of my favorite Real Food Heroes…including JOEL SALATIN of Polyface Farms!! And Chris Masterjohn of the Daily Lipid! And many more.

More information  HERE!

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Book testimonial…!

Hi folks,

I wanted to share this one with you … a testimonial about my new book, with Love from Grandmother’s Kitchen: Traditional Cooking Techniques for Well-Being

“Good Heavens to Murgatroid! as Landon would say!! If I had known how great this book was going to be, I would have ordered more than just two copies — one for me and one for MHF. It’s like having all the notes and charts you’ve scattered all about the house neatly encapsulated in a small kitchen DRAWER. It’s like having Monica Corrado at your shoulder when you need her. What was I THINKING?!? The binding is brilliant, the format and type are brilliant, the content is brilliant, it is BRILIG and doth teach you well. It is compact and concise but nutrient-dense. It might be Monica’s first book, but I don’t think even SHE can do better. THIS is the book you need. And you know who you are! TRUST ME!! Get it now and start the New Year off right. And no, I don’t work for Monica. And I didn’t even gush about Joel Salatin’s latest book. But I’m gushing about this one. TRUST ME!!  P.Hannam,VA

Thanks, P!!

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out here on the road

We are traveling by car across the US yet again, and once a day we stop for lunch to stretch our legs and get some grub. The options are few out here on the highways of our great land for those of us who wish to eat sustainably-raised food, or care about where our food comes from as well as how it is raised and even slaughtered.

Oh yes, be sure, I always pack a cooler and a sack of REAL FOOD, snacks and stuff for breakfast and dinner when we stop to camp and I can cook. I even bring homemade soup we can sip cold. But the car ride gets old after a few hundred miles and we need to stop and stretch. So when we do, we always try to find a local diner or restaurant, a “mom and pop” stop among the plethora of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Hardee’s. Sometimes we find one, sometimes we don’t.

Today we thought we found one, “The Friendly Grille” just inside the IL border. Too bad road construction blocked the road it was on and kept us from finding it.

So it was back onto the interstate, and  we traveled on down the road another 15-20 miles or so, as far as we could go before we needed to fill up the tank again. This time, a Country Kitchen. My honey was happy to see one; it had been a while. I have never seen one, so off we went. And then it was obvious: another chain restaurant. A small chain, but a chain again. Oy.

This prompted an interesting conversation about where food comes from. Another “aha” moment. I have not really seen the breadth of this prior to now. There seem to be three groups: 1. McDonald’s and Wendy’s and the big chains, 2. the small chains and 3. the Moms and Pops. To my knowledge, the big chains AND the small chains get their food from central suppliers, for the most part. I am guessing that MickeyD’s et al have their own main suppliers, and the small chain restaurants also get their food from suppliers such as Sysco, etc. These may vary by area, but there are still companies whose main business is to get groceries/staples to restaurants. So both the large chains and the small chains are purchasing the same brands, the same foods, full of salt and preservatives and lots of long ingredient labels. Yuck. Not sure about where the mom and pop restaurants get their food stuffs; probably depends upon their size and location. They, too, may use the same food distributors…so it’s all the same dead food, (enzymatically dead) the same processed food to varying degrees, the same pasteurized food, the same GMO-laden food, conventional food, pesticide-laden food…out here on the road. Ugh.

Another observation: once we were in this “small chain restaurant”, there were no good choices. Here’s what’s on the menu: a burger or steak from a cow raised on a feedlot, eating food it is not meant to eat while standing in its own fecal matter, and slaughtered assembly line fashion, pulled pork bbq from a pig raised in a cage, chicken from hens raised in cages with what Joel Salatin has pointed out “fecal particulate” in their lungs, salmon-no doubt farm-raised and fed GMO feed at the least. Hmmm. Hard to be a sustainably-eating carnivore out on the road.  Very difficult choices. What one does when faced with these bad options is, of course, a personal decision. It may come down to just how hungry you are. And as I always say, a blessing does a lot to make whatever you eat more palatable…as well as a request for forgiveness for what I call the Food Industrial Complex and some actions to help remedy the situation. Join the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund…join a CSA…volunteer on a farm…purchase your food at a farmer’s market, vote with your pocketbook…and when you are on the road, bring your own food with you. Try to research sustainable food options on your route beforehand! And if the only options you have are gas station convenience stores every 60 or 70 miles out here on the road, well, just do your best. 😉

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“Real Food 101″, aka,”Real Food for Dummies” or Top 5 Things You Can Do for Your Health

I have been meeting many people along the way on our trip across the country from Maryland to Wyoming and Colorado and back again. We have passed through Maryland, PA, WV, OH,  IN, IL, IO, NE, WY, CO, SD, MN, WI, and now we are on our way to IN and MI. In addition to everyone I met and had the privilege of teaching at my Cooking for Well-Being conference in Colorado, I am having wonderful conversations with folks about real food and good health. All sorts of people are being introduced to Nourishing Traditions and the Weston A. Price Foundation, realmilk.com, the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund and the Nourishing Our Children Campaign. Makes me so happy to be spreading the good word about all this good food!

My husband Franklin Taggart calls me an “inspirer”: someone who calls people to realize what they are capable of…and shows them that they “have the goods to do what they need to do”. I must say I love to inspire people to good health, good food, and help to provide them with the tools, techniques and resources to “take their power back”: their power to eat well and be well…to decide where they purchase their food and from whom (from the Food Industrial Complex with all of its implications for the health of the people and the Earth or from farmers, farmers markets, CSAs, etc etc) …(Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm has been reminding us that we “vote with our pocketbooks” when we choose our food. Who are you/we voting for today?!)

So along the way I have had questions from friends, family and acquaintances which are really  the same question: “what can I do that would be easy *and* high impact?” So I have come up with the top 5 things anyone can do that are simply a “switcheroo”, involve no training or classes, or menu changes. Just swap what you are using now with the following, and the nutrient density of your food will go up. In my private practice with clients of all ages and in my own life, I have seen hunger decrease,  thought become less foggy, children become more focused, weight drop off, and cholesterol levels beautify. (For information on the cholesterol myth, see Uffe Ravnskov, The Cholesterol Myth as well as Dr. Mercola’s Huffington Post article on the same.)

And so, the top five:

1. Use real salt. Throw out that Morton’s salt and purchase some salt that is high in trace minerals. Celtic Sea Salt from the Grain and Salt Society is highest in trace minerals, so I use that. Just check out the label…all “sea salt” is not the same. If they can tell you about the trace mineral content on the label, you’ve got a good one.

2. Use pastured eggs. Swap out supermarket eggs, free range eggs, organic eggs, or eggs fed “vegetarian feed” for eggs from hens *on pasture*. Buy them from a farmer or the farmer’s market, or from your CSA. Chickens are omnivores; the most nutritious eggs will be those from hens that eat a good amount of bugs! (Just check the color of the yolks…eggs from chickens that eat bugs are bright, deep orange…if your yolks are light yellow or the whites runny, they *are not* nutrient dense eggs!)

3. Use pastured butter, aka, butter from cows that eat grass. Don’t rest on your laurels and think the term “organic butter” is enough. “Organic” says nothing about whether the cows ate grass. Look for “pasture butter” from Organic Valley, or Trickling Springs Farm in the DC metro area. Look for butter at the farmers market , or get some *real cream* and make your own. (Butter has the perfect fatty acid profile. Stop slurping that fish oil and pile on the good old fashioned grass-fed butter!)

4. (If you eat bread at all) Eat sprouted bread or a true sourdough bread. There are several brands on the market that make sprouted bread, sprouted bagels, sprouted English muffins. Find a baker that makes real sourdough, or make it yourself! (Be sure you slather on the pastured butter, as it will help to neutralize the rest of the phytic acid that has not been neutralized by sprouting. For more on phytic acid, see  Living with Phytic Acid)

5.Eat grass-fed meat and poultry. The nutrient profile is very different for meat and poultry that is raised on pasture. Far more nutritious for you, better for the animal and for the planet. (All meat is not the same–comparing meat from animals raised in the Food Industrial Complex with meat from animals raised on pasture is like comparing apples and oranges–)

Okay, that’s the beginning. We’ll call it  “real food for dummies” or, “real food 101”. I am not going to go into fresh, raw milk at this time, as so many people in our country do not have access to it. (To find out about the state of raw milk in your state, check out the map on the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s website or check out www.realmilk.com) I am not going to go into fermentation or soaking your beans and grains, or making your own stock. That’s for level 2. Take it easy. Go slowly. One step at a time.

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a 99 cent sausage is not a sausage

It is quite interesting these days, folks, food is not food. I continue to be amazed at how easily we are allowing ourselves to have the proverbial wool pulled over our eyes multiple times a day…almost everywhere we look.

Today we drove by a 7 Eleven, which boasted “sausage biscuit 99 cents” on a very large sign. Oy. Looks like a great deal, a sausage biscuit for less than a dollar. What do you think is in that sausage? Hmmmmmm. And what do you think is in that biscuit? Used to be that a sausage biscuit could be a health-full breakfast option. 7 Eleven is banking on your remembering it fondly. I can almost smell the sage sausage cooking and see the flaky biscuit it sits on. (You can bet this bargain biscuit was not made with good for you lard, like your grandma used to make!)

“Sausage healthy?!” you ask. “She surely is mistaken.” But alas, I am not. A sausage is not a sausage, and a 99 cent sausage from 7 Eleven is surely not healthy. First of all, as cheap as it is, I would bet the sausage is made of pork parts you would rather not be eating, if you knew which part of the pig from which they came. Next, this 99 cent sausage has to be from a pig that was raised in a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation)–otherwise known as CAGES where pigs are concerned. (I know I cannot feel good about eating any animal that has been raised in a cage, a crate, on concrete, or in any other way that is contrary to their specific “animal-ness”. For more information about an animal expressing their animal-ness, see Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm who talks about it all the time.) Don’t want to even guess what was in that pig’s fed. And hmmm, I would also bet that a good bit of that thing they are calling “sausage” is made up of soy protein…GMO soy protein, to boot. How about the preservatives and nitrates and nitrites? So there are quite a few problems with that “sausage”. I would venture to say it is not a sausage at all. A FAR CRY from sausage that is a) all pork, and b) raised on on pasture (or woods, really. Pigs like that best.) A 99 cent sausage is not sausage. Neither is al lot of other sausage out there. Know your sources, folks. You get my point.

And let’s talk a bit about that FAT issue that is going through your mind–I can see it now. Fat from pigs raised sustainably is good fat. It is health-full fat, and it is good for you. The “diet dictocrats” as Sally Fallon Morell would call them want you to think that saturated fat and eggs are bad for your health. It couldn’t be further from the truth! Your brain and your heart are saturated fat dependent organs, (according to Tom Cowan, M.D. at the Fourfold Path to Healing Conference, 2011) and every cell in your body is made up of saturated fat. It is necessary for all sorts of functions in the body, from cell membranes to lung surfectant, to kidneys and  your brain. Saturated fat makes up the largest percentage of breast milk, our first food. “Human physiology does not change as our bodies grow”, according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. And our nutrient needs do not change as we grow older. So eat that nitrate-free, sustainably raised sausage. And bacon, too. Liberally. And with relish, so to speak. 🙂

Let’s look into a few more foods which are not what they seem to be.

On the right, a Polyface egg...

Eat pastured eggs! You can tell by the dark orange yolk that the egg on the right is nutrient-dense! It's from POLYFACE Farm.

An egg is not an egg. Whether teaching my Cooking for Well-Being cooking classes or giving a talk at a school PTA meeting on foods for healthy children, I find myself needing to illuminate again the understanding that “an egg is not an egg”. Eggs have been demonized throughout American culture for decades now, and I must say that I am disappointed that we continue to lump all eggs into one basket, so to speak. They are just not the same. One cannot compare the nutrient value of an egg produced by a hen expressing her “chicken-ness” as Joel Salatin would say, to those in an egg from a chicken who is prohibited to do so. Eggs from chickens living in battery cages stacked on top of one another and eating fortified grain (and grain filled with GMO soy and a host of other unsavory, not good for you things, I might add) , and prohibited from eating bugs, produce a very different nutrient profile. What goes IN determines what comes OUT .  The nutrient profile and nutrient density of eggs produced in these two dramatically different environs simply cannot be the same. An egg IS NOT an egg. But those who tell you not to eat eggs do not mention this and don’t want you to think about it. They would prefer that you not see, not look, not compare…so you may continue to be “hoodwinked” and believe that “all eggs are not good for you”. Couldn’t be farther from the truth, folks.

Let’s look together at milk. All milk IS NOT created equal. This comes up a lot when people come to me to talk about children with food allergies and seasonal allergies, and lots of colds and sinus infections. They have had their children tested and their children are “allergic to dairy”. And for years I have been asking them-“which dairy”? Cow dairy? Goat dairy? or sheep dairy? and most cannot tell me, because their doctor or allergist did not tell them. They don’t even know which dairy their children were tested for. But then “the kicker”–they are lumping pasteurized milk in with raw milk. Milk is not milk, folks. What  is currently being sold as milk is not milk at all. Different nutrient profile. Different nutrient density. No lactase to digest the lactose. Denatured protein. From cows fed GRAIN (unless you check for grass-fed) and let’s not even talk about the hormones! So simply said, organic or not, grass-fed or not, pasteurized milk is not the same as raw milk. It is not the same as milk the way nature intended it to be. It is not the same as it was designed to be as it is produced by cows.  But the dairy industry and the FDA want you to believe it is. Because if you knew, if you REALLY knew what is in that pasteurized milk, and what has happened to the proteins in the milk as a result of pasteurization, you would not drink that milk. And you certainly would not serve it to your children.

Certified raw milk is full of live enzymes, lactase to break down lactose (which is why “lactose-intolerant” folks can often drink raw milk with ease of digestion) and healthy bacteria, which is REQUIRED for good health. Heck, raw milk will even heal wounds. When raw milk goes sour, you can continue to use it, continue to drink it, as it has healthfully soured. (Contrast with soured pasteurized milk which can make you very sick. Pasteurization not only kills enzymes and denatures proteins in milk, it also kills both good and bad bacteria. And the “bad bacteria” is left in the milk for you to drink. Dead bad bacteria in every gulp. Yuck.)

While we are at it, let’s take a look at salt. Yep, you guessed it. Salt is not salt. All salt is not created equal. Everyone tells you, cut down on salt. Especially those with high blood pressure. Well…yes. Cut down on sodium chloride, good ole NaCl. The salt with the girl with the umbrella on the container. Kosher salt. Heck, any salt that is not full of trace minerals IS suspect. We NEED THOSE TRACE MINERALS. So be sure to use a sea salt, ancient sea bed salt, or celtic salt that is chock full of minerals. Every cell needs them. Every day. So don’t be fooled again…use that celtic salt. AND be sure to use it when cooking for your children. They need minerals too!

MC eating butter

Ahhh, just enough pastured butter. Delish!

Let’s not forget BUTTER. Mmmm mmm yum. Everyone I remind about the health benefits of pastured butter thanks me profusely. People LOVE butter. And for good reason: grass-fed butter is just plain good for you. And I am not talking about L___ O’ Lakes. I am not even talking organic butter. Because one more time with feeling… all butter IS NOT alike. Butter from pastured cows has a perfect fatty acid profile. That means if you eat enough of it, you may be able to stop popping those fish oil capsules. Can you believe it? And good butter, grass-fed butter, is a wonderful fat to cook with, add to those SOAKED grains you serve, and slather on sourdough bread. It even helps to neutralize the phytates left in the bread after a good soak or ferment. So serve that butter! and enjoy!

I am asking you folks to pull the wool off your eyes and start using that discriminating brain you’ve got when it comes to food. Don’t be hoodwinked! Don’t be fooled! Use that brain to discriminate between “REAL Food” and the “food products” out there that are masquerading as food. I’ve unmasked some of the key impostors here for you, and hopefully given you more than “food for thought”. The rest is up to you. Be well. Eat well. Eat REAL food. 🙂

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