Hello! It’s been a while. This past Christmas season was full. Instead of beating myself up for not writing on the blog, I chose instead to remain in the present moment and enjoy the love of family, old and new traditions, and definitely lots of food. But now that I’m back in the groove, let’s dive right back in to the fat! Mmm, fat.
In part one, I talked about how I personally came to the conclusion that naturally occurring fat should not be feared, and how I have seen positive effects of high-fat foods in my own life and in the lives of people I love; from my healthy weight management to balancing my father’s blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Since replacing real butter with plastic-y margarine, and real eggs for preservative ridden egg white substitute, our country has seen little positive change in its health. Yet before we began fearing fat, people all around the world thrived off of naturally occurring fat for centuries. According to some statistics referenced in Nourishing Traditions, my all time favorite nutrition book, heart disease became the leading cause of death in our nation by the mid-1950’s. However, during the same stretch of time, (saturated) animal fat consumption declined from 83% to 62%. And Americans switched from consuming 18 pounds of butter per person, per year… to four. Meanwhile, man-made margarine, shortening, and refined oils increased by 400% and sugar and processed food consumption increased by 60%.
[I could quote the entire book because it’s so compelling. I strongly encourage you to read the rest of it on your own – it’s a real life changer. Find it here.]
Now, I realize that correlation does not always equal causation, but these numbers are nonetheless quite striking. If those animal fats were the cause of heart disease, as the food industry and mainstream nutrition incessantly suggests, wouldn’t we expect the opposite change in numbers?
When all is said and done, I choose not to fear naturally occurring fat because it simply makes sense to me that our Creator made Creation perfectly compatible with our bodies – fat and all.
Bring on the heavy cream and egg yolks! But not just any cream. Because unfortunately, nowadays, even all cream is not created equal.
If you’ve read my posts leading up to this one, you may have noticed that I typically describe the food I eat as raw, grass fed, or pasture raised. Along with probably many of you, I used to think that these labels were just a “more expensive version of the same thing” that foodie snobs buy.
Let me give you another perspective on the idea.
Along with the call to honor the bodies we have been given, Christ has also called us to honor and care for the world that He placed under our stewardship. This includes the land, plants, and animals we use for our survival. When we do this well, we are rewarded through the supreme quality and nutrient density of the food.
Here’s a little example. Regular milk you find in the grocery store comes from cows that are fed grain and confined in abusive factory farms. These cows (or chickens, goats, and so on….) inherently become sick from their horrific living situations. Sick cows need antibiotics. Sick cows pumped with antibiotics produce sick antibiotic-ridden milk. And then boom – high temperature pasteurization is also deemed necessary to kill off whatever bacteria made its way into the milk from the unsanitary conditions inside of the factories. When we attempt to control nature and mass-produce for the sake of profit, the original design is skewed, the animals suffer, and the quality of the product is inferior and sometimes even dangerous.
But when the animals, in this case cows, are responsibly cared for, allowed to live outdoors where they belong, and eat the grass their bodies were created to eat, they thrive and produce a perfect product – safe and healthy milk and meat!
According to this study, milk from cows that were raised on grass contained 500% more fat-burning, cancer-fighting CLA than cows that had no access to pasture and were fed supplemental food. Raw milk from grass fed cows has even been found to be higher in manganese, copper, iron, vitamin C and B6, and allows for proper absorption of vitamin A within the milk, as compared to pasteurized milk from conventionally raised cows. Not only is raw milk from grass fed cows higher in its nutritional value, it also seems to be much more easily digested even by people who tend to struggle with dairy. This is because raw milk is a living food that contains the enzymes necessary to digest the components of the milk itself. (Cited from this article. Read it!)
Let me take a step back and clarify that, though I am a believer in raw milk, my purpose here is not to convince you to drink it (although, I think it would be awesome if you did – ha!). I mainly want to encourage you to think about the source of your food. It applies to everything! Meat, eggs, vegetables, and so on.
Where does it come from? Nature or man? How is it raised? Ethically and naturally…or confined and abused? Is it processed and damaging my body… or real and helping my body achieve optimal wellness? And how does it all fit into the grand scheme of life and how we were created to live and care for this earth?
Phew… didn’t know it was possible to go that deep on matters of food, did ya?
Welcome to my world!
The “real food” world can be overwhelming and even intimidating at first. Keep it simple and take it one step at a time. Instead of choosing reduced fat milk, aim for grass fed whole milk (raw, if it’s legal in your state!). Instead of store bought eggs, try finding eggs from pasture-raised chickens. I’m sure you’ve passed a farm with an “eggs-for-sale” sign before! Instead of the cheap cuts of conventional beef in the supermarket, visit a local farmer’s market and taste the difference of grass fed beef. The food you buy matters. The label matters. It’s not just for the snobs; it’s for anyone who believes in caring for the world we have been given. And it’s for anyone who wants to taste the best, most nutrient-dense food that we were created to eat.
Goodbye, till next time!