You Are What You Eat…and So is Your Food!
We’ve all heard the phrase “You are what you eat.”. Many of us had this tidbit of nutritional advice drilled into our heads from an early age. Did you ever stop to think that this also applies to what you are eating as well?
It’s true. If the cows that supply your beef eat a steady diet of corn feed, they’ll have a much different nutritional profile that will cows that spent their lives leisurely dining on a luscious mix of different grasses out in the field. This difference is even more pronounced for chicken. You’ve heard about the life of your basic commercially produced chicken. They live in giant chicken apartments, all stacked up and a’ poopin on each other. Pretty disgusting, really!
In many cases, chickens are not really stacked up this way. They are allowed to roam freely throughout 10,000 – 15,000 square foot grow houses, with about 15,000 of their closest friends. Their job is to grow into the plump birds we enjoy at mealtime. Roasting chickens are bred primarily to grow as fast as possible, so they can make their way to market ASAP. This they do, growing from those cute, little yellow balls of fluff to a 4lb package of juicy delight in only about 6 weeks.
What Does Your Food Really Eat?
Of greater concern to you than their living conditions, is the diet of your average commercially farmed chicken. What does said bird enjoy at mealtime? Well, chicken feed, naturally! Commercial chicken feed is designed to fatten chickens for market, at the lowest possible cost, of course. Every dime they spend on feed is one less dime the farm has available to spend on overhead or more chickens. There is a fine balance between giving the chickens the proper nutrition so that they stay disease free and grow fast, and letting them dine on the avian equivalent of caviar and truffles.
Commercial chicken feed is roughly 70% corn, 20% soy, and 10% vitamins, minerals and fillers. That means that you’re really eating more corn and soy than you ever suspected, especially when you consider the beef that you eat too (more on that in a second). Remember, chicken feed at commercial chicken farms is designed to do one thing, get the bird to market size as fast as possible. They are not really concerned with the nutrition content of most birds when you grill them up.
In addition, the standard eggs you buy at the supermarket are produced in a similar fashion. It’s all about production efficiency, with little thought given to the egg’s nutritional content. In fact, there is a huge variation between eggs, depending upon what the laying chicken’s diet. Chickens that eat a wide variety of nutritious foods, such as they would if left to roam about a large meadow, lay more nutritious eggs than the average eggs you’ll buy at your large food stores.
In nature, chickens eat just about anything; grasses, grains, seeds, grubs, bugs, and more. The same goes for those pricey “Free Range” chickens you see at Whole Foods. That means their eggs contain a wide variety of nutrients; more so than if they are fed a steady diet of commercial chicken feed. That means the eggs give you the nutrition you need to lose fat and gain muscle.
Should I Eat Egg Whites Only?
No, eat the whole egg. The yolks are power packed with nutritional goodness you won’t want to miss. Not only that, but the nutrition in the yolk helps make the protein in the white more bio-available, so your body gets to use more of it, faster. Even though the yolks are high in fat, free range egg yolks are actually good for you fats that your body needs to function at peak efficiency, and especially to burn fat!
Fish – Why OMEGA-3s?
You’ve been bombarded in the news media for a few years now about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids, and it is true that these are very important to optimum health. Did you know that there are also Omega-6 fatty acids as well? It’s true, and it is important to keep the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 in balance. In many foods, there is a much higher percentage of omega-6 than omega-3.
Were you aware that you can get these omega-3s in more than just salmon and other kinds of cold water fish? If you listen to the news, you’ll be completely oblivious to the fact that Salmon aren’t born with these vital fatty acids, they get them from their diet. That’s one reason that farmed fish isn’t nearly as nutritious as wild caught.
Wild caught fish, like free range fowl, eats wide variety of different things. Mainly the bigger eat smaller fish that eats even smaller ones. The food chain extends down to the point where the smallest fish eat marine plants that are rich in omega-3s.
Farmed fish eats commercial fish food that contains things like soy and cornmeal. Fish in nature doesn’t cultivate much corn as a food source, I would guess. I have a commercial fisherman friend who’ll go about the nutritional differences between farmed and wild caught fish for hours if you let him.
Lo and behold, it is the plant sources that originally deliver the omega-3 to the fish. One thing that few people are aware of is that grass fed land meats also contain relatively large amounts of omega-3s, and their omega-3 to omega-6 balance is much more favorable than with grain fed meats. That is another advantage to eating meats, whether it be pork, chicken, goat, or beef, that is grass fed and free range grazed. You’ll be getting your healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and at a better omega-3 / omega-6 balance .
So, it really makes a difference not only what you eat, but what your food eats too. Whether you’re eating eggs, drinking milk, or eating any of a number of different meats, the grass fed, free range grazed and wild fed varieties deliver high quality nutrition profiles to your body, where it counts. The nutrition is more bio-available as well, so you can eat less, and develop more. All in all, not only do the the more natural fed foods have better nutrition, they have fewer nutritional problem areas to worry about.
That means that be aware of what your food eats. You’ll live longer, burn fat faster, and build muscle quicker if……
you are eating food that eats the good stuff, because that means you are too. In most cases they even taste better, to boot! Have you tried free range foods? What did you think?