Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grass Fed Beef: A Small Step to a Healthier Life

Recently, I've been becoming more and more interested in finding ways to feed my family that are both nutritionally sound and more natural. For instance, when Lily made the transition to whole milk, we seriously discussed the possible dangers of "regular" milk, which can be full of antibiotics like Bovine Growth Hormone. To avoid any unknown dangers, we chose to spend a few extra dollars each time we bought a gallon of milk to provide her with organic, and antibiotic free, milk.

However, the more research I do, the more I realize that antibiotics are rampant in our food. It is in milk, chicken, pork, eggs, beef, etc. .and, as a result, humans are ingesting more antibiotics than many of us realize, creating "superbugs" that are immune to traditional antibiotic treatment. I have made every effort that I can to buy organic milk, eggs laid by chickens given vegetarian diets with no antibiotics, antibiotic free chicken, and the like; however, it has been especially difficult to find beef that is free of antibiotics.

Why is this? It is because most beef is corn fed (which, with genetically engineered corn, can be even more unhealthy for humans). Cattle are fed corn because their owners would like them to be slaughtered at much younger ages. Therefore, in order to fatten them up faster, ranchers and feed-lot owners literally have to change the cow's digestive habits. To do this, cattle have to continually be fed antibiotics to avoid feed-lot bloat and acidosis.

Not only is corn-fed beef filled with antibiotics, it is also more fattening than grass-fed, "natural" beef. While the USDA might grade beef based on marbling with intramuscular fat, the fact that this beef is worse for humans and loaded with saturated fat goes unnoticed. Grass fed beef is lower in saturated fat and higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, making it more heart healthy and leaner than corn-fed beef.

We have decided, then, that we are going to start buying grass fed beef from a local vendor. We feel that, it is not only a healthier decision, it is also more environmentally friendly (pastured cattle are less polluting, since waste goes back into the land) and more humanitarian (cattle are not forced to live in confinement or feed lots). Because we cannot, at this point, commit to becoming vegetarians (we do love meat!), we feel this is one of the healthier alternatives.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 UPDATE!!

Wow! Have things gotten busy in our household! I apologize for neglecting the blog...but rest assured, it is not the only thing that has gone neglected over the last few months (I'm thinking of housework, in particular)!

The last time I blogged, it was just after Thanksgiving. We had a great Christmas break. Lily, as you can imagine, got immensely spoiled with her first Christmas. We now have more toys than we know what to do with! Brian and I, thankfully, also got a nice break from grading and studying--which we appreciated very much. Here is a picture of Lily on Christmas Eve, looking quite festive:

Posing on Christmas Eve

Reading a book!
And, above, is a picture of her doing one of her favorite things--READING. She loves to read! She is also, at 14 months, developing quite a vocabulary (she says, ball, mama, dada, flower, keys, cheese, woof woof, and lots more).
Lily also celebrated her first birthday on February 4th--it was hard to believe. She began walking right around the same time and is now quite the pro. Right after Christmas she developed her first cold, which was no fun! Unfortunately for her unknowing parents, this was just the beginning of a string of ear infections. Actually, she did not get several ear infections, she just had one VERY resistant double infection that would not respond to oral antibiotics. The weekend of her birthday party she started running high fevers (104. 5) . Eight days and one hospital stay later, both of her eardrums ruptured and, finally, the fevers subsided. Unfortunately, the infection did not, so a few weeks later she had tubes put in her ears to help the fluid drain. So far, we have had no further problems (keep your fingers crossed!).
Here's a picture of her on her 1st birthday:
Not feeling too good, but giving that cake a try!
Apart from that, she is just one big troublemaker... :) But that is a one year old for ya!

She's into EVERYTHING!

How cute is this?
Brian and I are doing pretty well. We are trying to get the house and the yard ready for Spring, which is proving to be a big task. Brian's still teaching at WNCC and I am about to finish my second semester of grad school. I have, however, decided that I am going to put graduate school on hold for awhile. The decision was difficult, but, as a result of coaching the speech team this year, I have decided that I would like to become a secondary teacher. I am planning on earning an English endorsement and then beginning a transition to teaching program. Wish me luck!! It is a pretty major change in direction for me--which can be a little frightening at times.
That's all the news in our life for now. I will try to be better at updating in the future!