We are excited to share another Guest Blog post!  We met Miranda at the recent NE Sustainable Ag Society Meeting.  Enjoy Miranda’s guest post:

WAPF Local Chapters


By Miranda Sherman

My name is Miranda Sherman and I am the Weston A. Price Chapter leader for Omaha.  The who-do-what you say?  Here’s a brief summary on Weston A. Price and what we do.  Weston A. Price was a dentist in the 1930’s who set out to discover why his patients were starting to have crowded teeth, lots of cavities, and overall poor dental health.  This was something new in his practice that hadn’t been prevalent in the early 1900’s.  He strongly suspected that it had to do with what people were eating and over the next few decades, he proved this to be true!  When we eat a diet full of healthy fat, good proteins (think grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured chicken) and organic fruits and vegetables, we will have strong bones, healthy tissue, and lots of energy.  Modern foods-that is anything processed or that comes in a box- doesn’t nourish our bodies.  It is “dead food”.  Real food is food that comes from a farmer who is passionate about their organic practices (whether they are officially an “organic” farm or not. (Like Doug’s beef!)

Take for example, the case of honey.  Did you know that those cute little honey bears at the grocery store rarely contain honey?  Did you know that there is no regulation on how honey is labeled?  You see, there is no regulation that says that a food manufacturer must obtain honey from bees to call a product honey.  Most honeys are produced in China and made with high fructose corn syrup and dyed yellow with honey “flavor” added.  When tested, they reveal there is no actual real honey in these cute little bears.  How do you know that what you are buying is actually honey?  As a Weston A. Price Chapter leader, I seek out great farms and ranches, ask them questions, and determine if what they are producing will be the best product for you.  Every Weston A. Price Chapter leader maintains a Farm List and we will give this to you free of charge.  We want you to know your farmer.  We want you to know that the honey you buy is in fact honey!

As a Chapter Leader and Health Educator, I teach all over the community helping others find this great way of eating.  It healed me personally after decades of miserable auto-immune disease, anxiety and depression.  I feel absolutely amazing now and want to tell everyone about how I came to heal.  If you would like more information on my upcoming class schedule, my book, or have me speak to your group, I am more than happy to do so.  I can be reached at 402-637-8929 or sparkysherman@msn.com.

Weston A. Price is a non-profit organization that hopes to educate consumers on what great food really looks like and how it can heal you and/ or keep you and your family healthy. If you would like, you can become a member and your membership will support this organization’s research efforts.  You will receive the quarterly journal packed full of scientific information as to why certain foods feed our bodies and how you can gain the most from your food.  There are free videos to watch on the website and so much more.  For more information on this amazing organization, visit www.westonaprice.org

Here’s to you and your health!!


Miranda Sherman

Author, Educator, Nutritional Therapist, Weston A. Price Chapter Leader / Omaha

We just completed Miranda’s new book “The Mighty Fork : Healing Your Mind and Body with Food“.  It is an excellent easy read no matter where you are on the road to good health by eating healthy food.  For our readers in the Lincoln area, Gus Panstgl is the local WAPF Chapter Leader.  He maintains an active Lincoln WAPF Chapter Facebook closed group – check it out and ask to join!

The previous blog post was a little heavy on charts (PDF with all charts) from the laboratory analysis of one of our pasture grazed ribeye steaks.  In this post I continue the comparison of our grassfed beef to two “typical” beef samples.  First of all let’s summarize some of the discussion and charts from the earlier post, then we will address polyunsaturated fats:

Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA)

In Chart 1 (previous post), our grassfed beef sample had higher SFA (~60% of fat) when compared to typical beef (~40% SFA).  When we looked specifically at the break down of SFAs in Chart 2:

  • Grassfed beef had a higher percentage of palmitic acid, used in the complex process of cell communication.
  • Grassfed beef had a lower percentage of stearic acid, in our body this is converted to oleic acid, see below.
  • Saturated fat is the preferred energy source of the heart.
  • You probably knew our liver protects us from toxins but did you know saturated fat protects our livers!
  • Since the early 1900s the food supply has not changed much in available SFAs, 50 gm/day vs. 56 gm/day (2004). +
    • If fats are causing health changes in our population, SFA must not be the source of change.
  • Finally as the Ohio State study points out, eating carbohydrates raise saturated fat levels in the blood but eating good portions of saturated fats does not raise SFAs in the blood (carbs are the problem, not fat).

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA)

  • Our grassfed beef sample had lower MUFA (~35% of fat) when compared to typical beef (~50% MUFA) (Chart 1).
  • The primary MUFA for both grassfed and typical beef is oleic acid or olive oil (Chart 3).
  • MUFA has been found to be the main fat in fatty tissue.
  • Palmitoleic acid is the next MUFA found and is lowest in our grassfed beef vs. typical beef.  Palmitoleic is the fatty acid the OSU study considers the most problematic when looking at human blood levels.
  • Early 1900’s, Americans obtained 42% of their MUFA from fats/oils and 40% from meat/poultry/fish. +
  • In 2004 Americans obtained 63% of their MUFA from fats/oils and only 22% from meat/poultry/fish. +
    • The American food supply has increased in the use of vegetable oil MUFA by two-thirds while decreasing MUFA from meat by one-half.
  • Overall MUFA in early 1900s = 47 gm/day in the food supply vs 79 gm/day in 2004 (+), an overall increase of MUFA by 60%!
    • Appears like we have too much MUFA in our food these days, especially from vegetable oils.
    • If fat is causing health changes in our population it may be due to over consuming MUFA.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) – Grassfeds Claim To Fame

Grassfed beef omega 6 to 3

Modified Chart 4 from our previous post with the calculated Omega 6:3 ratios, our grassfed sample versus two typical beef samples.

  • Our grassfed sample had the same Total PUFA when compared to typical beef (4%) (Chart 1), but looking at Chart 4 above, you will immediately note a difference in the PUFA makeup.
  • The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are both important in small amounts and the correct ratio!
    • These “fatty acids are also precursors of eicosanoids (prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes), which are hormone-like compounds that regulate blood pressure, heart rate, vascular dilation, blood clotting, lipolysis, and immune response”. ++
    • Omega 6s are for inflammation, such as blood clotting during an injury.
    • Omega 3s are for anti-inflammatory functions during healing.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential because unlike SFA and MUFA, our bodies cannot make these, we must consume PUFA in the food we eat.
    • Since we must consume these, it is a good thing we need just tiny amounts: “the requirement for essential fatty acids is infinitesimal under most conditions and can be easily met by eating a diet that includes traditional whole animal foods without necessarily adding any specific fats or oils.”++
  • A current concern of PUFAs is omega 6 intake.  With the reduced consumption of animal fats and eggs over the past few decades and an increase in vegetable oil consumption (corn and soy), the average American has too much omega 6 compared to omega 3s.  Our bodies are constantly in a state of inflammation (Times Magazine 2004 “Fires Within” highlighted this issue).
    1. In 1995-2000 data, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the food supply = 9.7:1.  +++
    2. “This is much higher than the recommended ratio of 2.3:1.”  +++
    3. Here is why grassfed meats have a claim to fame, note our steak with an omega 6 to 3 ratio of 2.0:1 matches the recommended ratio.  
    4. Both typical beef samples have an omega 6 to 3 ratio that exceeds the U.S. food supply as a whole (12:1 and 17:1).
  • Another possible problem with PUFAs is just plain over consumption resulting in oxidative stress.
    1. “PUFAs are uniquely vulnerable to oxidation because they are the only fatty acids with two or more double bonds, and it is the carbon that lies directly between two double bonds that is vulnerable to oxidation”.  ++
    2. “The consumption of excess PUFAs increases oxidative stress”. ++
    3. Early 1900s = 13 gm/day in the food supply of PUFA vs 37 gm/day in 2004 (+), an overall increase of 35%.
      • Do you think we are currently overconsuming PUFAs?
      • Maybe too much of a good thing?
      • Remember our need for PUFAs is “infinitesimal under most conditions”.

Summary and Lead In To Our Next Post

I apologize for referring back to the charts from the previous post (as one PDF document) and multiple references to numbers through percentages etc.  If this is something you are really interested in, then I have tried to give some data and sources that can help you along your way.  If you are like my wife Sheila, this maybe a little more info than you are looking for.

Here are some things for you to consider up to this point:

  1. Saturated Fats from meat/eggs/poultry is not the problem it has been portrayed to be and has not increased over the past century in our food supply.
    • High Carb diets (low fat diet) causes increased saturated fat in the blood stream (OSU Study).
  2. Reducing meat consumption and increasing vegetable oils use in the U.S. has led to:
    • Overall increased consumption of MUFAs.
      • This fat is hard for us to burn.
    • Overall increased consumption of PUFAs.
      • Vegetable oils are high in omega 6s and has thrown our ratio of omega 6 to 3 far above the recommended levels (possibly causing a continuous state of low grade inflammation in our bodies).
      • PUFAs are very important but at very small quantiles, over consumption can cause oxidative stress.

Our next post will be a Fat Finale and we will look at:

  • The all-important Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).
  • Give a final overview of what you get with one of our grassfed steaks.
  • Give you some final food for thought on grassfed vs. typical beef.


PUFA grassfed vs typical beef

* Detailed PUFA data. DS Family = grassfed ribeye Midwest Labs. CNF sample ID 6068 Canada. USDA sample 23271 USA.

  • Hiza, H.A.B., & Bente, L. (2007). Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply, 1909-2004: A Summary Report. (Home Economics Research Report No. 57). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

++ Precious Yet Perilous – Weston A Price Foundation website, 2010 article.

+++ Gerrior, S., Bente, L., & Hiza, H. (2004). Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply, 1909-2000. (Home Economics Research Report No. 56). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Would you know what to look for when choosing a Farmer?  That is, choosing a farmer to buy your family’s food from?  Looking for clean food?  Especially locally produced food, that can be a challenge.

grass-fed beef

Pasture raised 100% grass-fed beef from our farm near Malcolm, NE, sales to begin soon!

We have been members of the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) for several years.  About the time I was dealing with acid reflux, we were also investigating the startup of our farm.  While researching problem gut issues and sustainable farming, it didn’t take long for both topics to mesh and lead us to WAPF.

A diet of low processed whole foods provides the “medicine” your body needs to heal and support itself.  Where does one turn to source low processed whole foods?  When available, your local farmer! Does the management carried out on the local farm affect the food produced?  Absolutely. When it comes to meat, pasture grazed & grassfed is the preferred choice.

We recently completed and returned the WAPF Local Chapter Farm Visit Checklist.  Please take a moment to see how we responded to the checklist questions.

Feel free to contact us and stop by for a visit anytime to personally verify our answers.  We are happy to connect you with other local farms to visit and research.

Good luck on your search for clean food, here are some other Local Food sources we use:

Nebraska Food Coop (many producers listed, we have tried most)

Pawnee Pride Meats

Range West Beef

Open Sky Farm

Branched Oak Farm

Darby Springs Farm

Other Local Food sources we are aware of, let us know who we have missed:

Lincoln Natural Food Connection (Facebook)

lone tree Foods (Eastern NE Western IA)

Ficke Cattle Company

West Blue Farm

Earlier this year we had a number of posts about health topics and the importance of animal fats as part of a healthy diet.  Feel free to browse back to our JanuaryFebruary March April & May blog posts.  Fat Is Back in the news (good animal fats as part of your diet) in many places.  We came across a blog post from the Farm Progress – Beef Producer site from December 4, 2014, that sums up much of what we see in the news and  what we wrote about earlier this year.  Here is the link to a great blog post by R. P. Cooke on the Farm Progress – Beef Producer site titled “Lean May Be Queen But Fat Is Where It’s At“:

Here at D S Family Farm we specialize in growing the type of beef animal Cooke describes towards the end of his blog post:

“The answer to the dilemma is fairly simple if you are interested in being sharp, having energy, being healthy and losing your spare-tire waist line. On a daily basis eat at least six to 10 ounces of fatty beef from an animal that spent months and months on well mineralized fresh grass that was mostly tall and green. This animal needs to have received only a trace of seeds (grain).

The highest quality will normally come from a somewhat early maturing, easy fattening 24- to 40-month-old steer or heifer that has never failed to gain weight daily and had only a little wrinkle of hide over its brisket when it is harvested in the late summer or early fall.

Use this beef fat in most everything you cook.”

In this July 2014 blog post we announced the one year count down to having our first animals ready, to ship our first beef.  Maybe we were a little on the anxious side, 24 months might be a little early.  None the less we should be close to having some grass fed fat beef late summer 2015!

Feel free to share your thoughts about “DOC”s post or contact us to stop by and see how the steers are progressing.

In earlier posts we have mentioned cattle grazing stockpiled grass.  To explain, “stockpiled” grass is portions of pasture lands that were left un-grazed during the growing season for the specific purpose of grazing those areas during the non-growing season.  We are now well into the non-growing season, no new grass growing around here this time of the year.  During the growing season, we have more grass growing than what the herd can consume.  This is a good thing, because we need that extra grass this time of the year when nothing is growing.  It is a balancing act.  If we had enough cattle to graze all the grass grown during the growing season, we would not have any stockpiled grass to graze during the non-growing season.  The proper way to decide the number of cattle to run on a pasture in our part of the world is to determine how many cows you can graze during the non-growing season.  That is, if you don’t want to feed hay.

In another earlier post we explained that we do make hay and we do feed some hay.  The hay continues to act as insurance for when a natural event prevents our cattle from being able to graze (very deep snow & ice, fire, hail etc.).  The main purpose of hay in our operation is to feed a small amount of quality hay as a diet supplement.  Just a little quality hay (2 pounds per day) can keep a cows digestive system functioning properly while she consumes large amounts of low quality stockpiled grass (20+ pounds per day).  It is a lot less work to let the cows harvest the stockpiled grass than to cut it for hay and feed it back to cows.  In addition, cows rather graze than eat hay.

Note cattle in tall brown stockpiled grass.  Area not grazed during the growing season saved for this time of year.

Note cattle in tall brown stockpiled grass. Area not grazed during the growing season saved for this time of year.

stockpiled grass

Cattle love to graze year around. Notice the mouth full of stockpiled grass.

green grass in non-growing season

Cattle are finding some green grass in our “stockpile” during the non-growing season.

The tall brown grass that is taller than the back of our cows in the photos above is native grasses such as big bluestem and indian grass.  Some of our pasture will have this tallgrass through next spring.  It provides excellent cover for wildlife and will catch any blowing snow we get this winter.  If the tall grass is still standing next growing season it will shade out new grass trying to grow.  Our goal over the non-growing season is to graze and stomp the tall stuff down.  Cattle are not able to digest the hardest tall stems and we don’t want to force them to eat it.  By keeping their paddocks small, they are able to graze the good to medium quality stockpiled grass and stomp the bad stuff to the ground.  Once the tough stuff is on the ground, our soil livestock (microbes, worms etc) will grind up the carbon into new soil organic matter.  New soil organic matter will help grow more and hopefully better grass next year.  It is a wonderful cycle to watch but hard to see at a glance.

After grazing through and area we want most of the ungrazed stuff stomped to the ground.  Soil livestock will consume what the cattle do not eat.  Soil microbes will turn this brown carbon into soil organic matter.

After grazing through and area we want most of the ungrazed stuff stomped to the ground. Soil livestock will consume what the cattle do not eat. Soil microbes will turn this brown carbon into soil organic matter.


mkaing soil organic matter

Left side of photo, cattle in fresh stockpiled grass. Right side of photo grazed, stomped and manured stockpiled grass ready for soil livestock (microbes, earthworms etc) to graze and create new soil organic matter.

With this type of year around grazing the overall quality of our pasture grass is improving. The next step is to build a herd of cattle that is adapted to our climate and pasture. At some point in the future we may be able to eliminate feeding hay as a diet supplement (our long-term goal).