We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and you are ready to take on a new year! As the new year begins, many of us will take a moment to reflect on our health. Some of us may even be considering going on a DIET. As Dr. Joseph Mercola, noted alternative health doctor says,
“We are all on a diet.
Be on a healthy one.”
So what is a “healthy diet”? The tag line of our website reads “Where soil, grass, animals and sunlight equals health”. Sound like a weird equation? Below I summarize and then list some quotes from the 2010 presentation “Healthy Soil, Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, Healthy People” by retired University of Missouri Agriculture Economics Professor John Ikerd
Doug’s summary of “Healthy Soil, Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, Healthy People”:
Our current food system is broken as reflected by the current health of our family, friends and society as a whole. The growing health problems such as cancer, obesity and food allergies are all symptoms of our current food system. Nutrient levels in common garden crops has dropped significantly over the past 50 years. Today’s industrial agriculture profits are driven by quantity rather than by quality. Any kind of CHANGE for an individual is almost impossible unless we are convinced by circumstances that the change would be in our best interest. To change there must be an alternative to what we are currently doing and a belief that the transition will be worth the effort to make the change. The good news, there is hope; sick people are finding farmers with a passion for quality over quantity. Surprisingly these “new American Farmers” in many cases grow better food at a lower cost because of their love for what they are doing. These farmers focus their efforts on rebuilding health from the soil, to the plants, to the animals, to the entire farm, to the food they produce which is reflected in the health of their customers. These “new” farmers fall under a number of labels, but a broad definition they seem to fall under is “sustainable farmers”. Basically these new farmers are “creating farming systems that can meet the needs of the present without diminishing opportunities for the future.”
Some noted quotes:
- “quick, convenient, cheap food has made Americans the most overfed and undernourished people in the world”
- “today’s children are the first generation whose members are expected to live shorter lives than their parents”
- “Health care in America already consumes more than 17-percent of our GDP, nearly three times as much as the 7-percent claimed by agriculture/food”
- “their medical problem may well be a consequence of their eating food with chemical additives or agrochemical residues, or eating manufactured ‘food-like substances'”
- “Animals and men are biochemical photographs of the soil”
- “A truly healthy soil will produce healthy plants, healthy animals, and healthy people.”
- “work in harmony with nature to produce healthy animals and healthy crops by maintaining healthy soils.”
- “The links among healthy soils, healthy foods, and healthy people certainly makes sense; in this, there is hope.”
When a local doctor told me that a daily pill was basically the only option to treat my digestive health issues, I decided to research opportunities for change. I went in pursuit of alternatives to our current health system of taking a pill. At the time I wasn’t even considering a change to my diet but in the end, a change in diet was what I needed. My health improved, no pills required! As you reflect on your health and the health of your family at the beginning of the new year, we invite you to search out these “new American Farmers” where you live. The love they have for what they are doing will be evident in the food they are producing. As explained in the article, your health is a reflection of the food you are consuming.
Happy New Year from D S Family Farm!
We hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving Day. Like other holidays in the United States, FOOD is an important part of the celebration. These traditions passed down over the years offer great enjoyment. Holidays give us an opportunity to return to our favorite traditional food. Turkey, ham and mashed potatoes are a few of my all time favorites. During much of the year, lives seem busy and we often turn to food ITEMS our Grandparents would not recognize as FOOD.
What food ITEM is this, and why was the wheat starch modified?
As I shared in an earlier post, my own consumption of a highly processed food diet created chronic health problems. When the third prescribed pill would not suppress my health issues, a search for an alternative solution began. Thankfully, the first alternative I stumbled across included a change in diet to raw foods. A change in diet seemed odd when there must be a “silver bullet” pill that would be quicker and easier. As it turns out, the easier softer way was to reduce consumption of highly processed food items and increase consumption of raw or low processed traditional food.
Once tuned into the link between health and diet, my research quickly lead me to the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF). A Cleveland dentist in the early 1900s, Dr. Price in a search for the factors responsible for fine teeth found that people groups on traditional diets had beautiful straight teeth. Hint: these observable findings are still valid today if you would like to avoid issues at the dentist and orthodontist. In addition to Dr. Price, if you attended Elementary School in the 70s like myself, you should easily recognize the famous science class reference to Dr. Francis M. Pottenger. We all learned what happened to the “Pottenger cats” fed different diets from raw to highly processed. Spoiler if you don’t remember: after just a few generations the cats fed processed food items could no longer reproduce. If I would have only been smart enough to make the leap from cats to myself back then!
Take a look at the listed Characteristics of Traditional Diets from the WAPF. Note the references to animal protein and remember that these traditional cultures raised their animals on pasture grass and forages. We invite you to experience a return to Traditional Food. Find a local farmer who you can meet with and find out their production method. Buy your food as raw as possible. You will help a farmer and help yourself, family and friends by adding just enough processing to those raw foods to make them safe and healthy.
Did you guess the ingredient label food item above? Strawberry pop-tart. Love those darn things but they don’t like me.
How can soil, grass, animals and sunlight equal healthy people?
There are many pieces to this puzzle. When you begin to look at the big picture it is quite simple and natural. Take time out from your busy schedule to do some reflection and study on this topic and we think you will agree that it makes sense.
From Healing Quest, a nice 7 minute introduction to the Grass Fed Movement:
We moved to our current location with access to pasture in 1997. We thought about getting some cows but the idea of raising commodity beef just didn’t seem appealing. Attending the 2002 Nebraska Grazing Conference, I had the chance to hear some outside of the box presentations concerning cattle production. Here were some ideas that did sound appealing, raising livestock in a manner that was beneficial to the land, animals, community and pocket book.
As we investigated cattle production my health took a turn for the worse with acid reflux bouts. Digestive health complications are a huge problem in this country. Researching cattle production and health issues at the same time resulted in some interesting paths crossing. If the plants and meat you consume were raised on healthy soil, you too will be healthy.
A number of things fell into place for us to make a start:
- available underutilized land
- desire to raise cattle
- a new understanding of managing cattle in a sustainable manner
- calling to produce healthy food for ourselves and community
We are on a journey to improve soil and forages that will result in producing healthy animals adapted to this place and our management. Just like a fine wine is specific to a certain vineyard, we are creating gourmet grass-fed beef unique to our farm.
Please share your experiences on starting a new adventure.