Cows eat grass?

Yes they did, but not anymore! Cows are sadly now also part of the factory farming machine. Dairy cows and meat cows are increasingly being intensively farmed with little or no access to grazing. They don’t leave the shed, they stand on concrete, they sleep on sand and they have a grain fed diet.

Cows are ruminants, they are designed to eat grass. It is no brainer, we can’t eat grass, they can and they turn it into food = win/win.

It was until someone decided it would be ‘better’ to put them in sheds and feed them grain. Grain that humans could eat, grain that is grown miles away and imported, grain that might be GMO, grain that takes more water, energy and land to grow than grass and leaves cattle stood in dry mud or concrete pens for the whole of their lives. You don’t have to be an academic to work out that it makes no sense.

Plus the fact that meat and dairy from cows that eat grass is healthier and it tastes better:

  • Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner than grain-fed beef.
  • Omega 3s in beef that feed on grass is 7% of the total fat content, compared to 1% in grain-only fed beef.
  • Grass-fed beef is loaded with other natural minerals and vitamins, plus it’s a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a fat that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders.
  • Grass-fed beef has the recommended ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats (3:1.)
  • Cows on a diet of fresh grass produce milk with five times as much of an unsaturated fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than do cows fed processed grains. CLAs can protect the heart, and help in weight loss.
  • And it tastes better!

As an Ethical omnivore what can you do?

Meat: Some products are labelled ‘Grass fed’ but most aren’t. Buying organic beef is a guarantee (UK) that the cow has been pasture grazed. Avoid buying non labelled, cheap or foreign meat. Ask the retailers if the beef or dairy you are buying is grass fed. Best of all buy directly from the farm (we buy online organic beef and it the same price as supermarket beef!) or a reputable butcher and ask them the question. How is this meat raised. Found out more in posts about beef.

Milk and dairy: Currently labelling on milk doesn’t let you know if your dairy cow was on pasture or not. The only way to guarantee this is to buy organic dairy (UK). Under organic standards cows has to have access to grazing. Some retailers are also making a stance and deserve our support. See:

http://www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com/award-winners/search/?org=&sector=&country=&award=Good+Dairy+Award

Also be prepared to pay a bit more for your dairy, think value rather than cost. It is pennies in the grand scheme of things. With price pressures in the industry it is getting worse, USA style ‘mega’ dairies are spreading. See:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-controversial-mega-dairies-that-alarm-campaigners-and-divide-a-struggling-sector-of-british-a6744511.html

indoor-cows-1cows-grazingIndoor or outdoors? – you have a choice when you buy your meat or dairy.

The Ethical omnivore.

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Diet beating illness

Ironically my initial research into diet relating to health was in isolation from my research into ethical eating, I hadn’t joined the dots but I quickly found the two go hand in hand. All of the same topics kept coming up. The prominent fact was that a plant based diet is at the route of all stories relating to diet preventing and combating health issues (diabetes, cancers, blood pressure, heart disease the list goes on). That fact has heavily influenced this blog. I love this story from Ella, she transformed her diet and in doing so transformed her health and journey. Her cook books and ideas are amazing and easy to follow.

Shared for Ella’s website – this whole journey started as a reaction to an illness that I was diagnosed with in 2011, called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. The illness had a pretty devastating effect on my life, both mentally and physically. Physically, my autonomic nervous system struggled to function properly which meant that I couldn’t control my heart rate and blood pressure properly (my heart rate would go from about 60 when I was sitting to 180 or so as soon as I stood up!), I also had a whole host of other issues form terrible stomach problems to constant headaches, lots of allergic reactions and chronic fatigue – so I spent almost all my time on my own in bed. I had just turned twenty at this point, and I felt so alienated from my friends, I really struggled to get my head around what was happening and I cut myself off from everyone and allowed myself to sink into an incredibly unhappy place. I was taking a lot of medication, but sadly it didn’t do much for me.

After a while I realised that I needed to try and help myself as much as I could. I started reading and learning about diet and lifestyle, and the way that these factors can help manage illnesses. I was incredibly inspired by what I was finding and decided to change the way I was living to see if it would help. I cut out processed foods from my diet and took up a whole-foods, plant based diet.

Changing the way that I ate was so hard. It was a massive change for me, as my student diet had revolved around ice cream, chocolate, cereal, pasta and a whole host of other processed foods. I was a real sugar monster and I couldn’t really cook! I had never eaten quinoa, kale or almond milk before and I certainly didn’t think about reading ingredients lists on foods. Over time (about two years) I was able to manage the symptoms of the illness and eventually come off all the medication. I’d simultaneously started seeing a nutritionist and undertook an exercise program from my doctor, both of which really supported this process.

 

 

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