You Are What You Eat

September 11, 2013

Over Labor Day weekend, I was taking a break from moving apartments and needed a bite to eat.  I went to what I like to call “food truck heaven”, a sweet spot in Hoboken on Pier 13 where you will find up to 5 different food trucks on nights and weekends.  There was a new truck that I hadn’t seen before so I checked it out.  He served various meats as burgers and sausages.  I asked if his beef was grassfed and what he proceeded to tell me was quite shocking.

He used to offer grass fed beef patties.  These patties were larger than the factory farmed (⅓ lb vs ¼ lb) and cost $1 more.  Even the people who inquired if his beef was grassfed would opt for the factory farmed meat once they learned it was $1 more, even though it was also a larger burger.  This is horrifying to me.  Aside from the fact that grassfed tastes much better, there is no reason that you should not choose grassfed when you have the option.

If you are going to tell me that $1 makes a difference to you, I will ask you how many lattes and sodas you buy per week. Regardless, I shouldn’t have to have that conversation with anyone and here is why:  you should care more about your health than that!  Here are some reasons to eat grassfed over factory farmed meat.

1) Your Health.
Nothing should be more important than this!

  • Grassfed animals are not fed antibiotics or growth hormones.  These animals are in their natural environment and do not develop the various ailments common to factory farm animals that require drugs to keep them alive until slaughter day. Eating animals that have been pumped with drugs and hormones will directly impact the health of your hormones, which directly impacts the health of YOU.   Regular consumption of these ‘treated’ animals will set you up for a host of illnesses ranging from infertility and thyroid disorders to cancer. You are what you eat.

  • Grassfed meat is more nutrient dense.  These animals eat what they were meant to eat – grass, and because that is what their system was designed to absorb and process, they are healthier.  They have less fat and have supple vitamins and minerals to pass on to you. You are what you eat.

  • The living conditions for grassfed animals are a natural one with space to move freely and are treated well, which keeps their stress levels down. You may not think this matters, but it does! Factory farmed animals live in a high stress environment.  And just as stress will cause disease in you, it does the same for animals.  Do you really want to eat something with diseased cells? You are what you eat.

2) The Ecosystem.

Sometimes it’s hard to think about how our food relates to the world we live in, but it’s time to start putting the two together.

  • Raising animals on grass requires the farmers to rotate pastures which gives the soil time to replenish the nutrients lost. This, in turn, enhances the health of the pasture and therefore the meat.

  • Factory farms rely on corn to feed their animals. The process of mass producing corn depletes the soil of essential nutrients.  Each new batch of corn will also contain less nutrients to provide to the animals they feed, which doesn’t nurture them. You can see how this turns out if you are in this food chain.

  • The depleted soil means that land is always needed for a new planting area and in the process, we are losing trees that are valuable to sustaining the health of our planet.


3) The Cycle.

If you don’t buy grassfed meat the demand for it is reduced.  This is not the message we want to be sending to factory farms or to grassfed farmers.  Your small change will lead to big change.

 If you want to get a better understanding of the reality of these concepts, I recommend watching Food Inc or reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Another resource to check out on grassfed is the American Grassfed Association.

One little trip to “food truck heaven” lead to this little rant, but I think it’s important! You are what you eat. Leave your comments below.

Feel good, do what you love,