Taking Control of the Rest of Our Lives

Anti Aging Advocate, Issue #003 -- Conventional vs. Organic vs. Free Range Meats

Anti Aging Advocate is for you -- to help you and encourage your efforts to live the rest of your life to the fullest.

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In this issue we're looking at MEAT again. It's a great source of protein, but which are the best meats to eat? What meats are available in the market, how much do they cost, which should we eat, and where can we find them?

Coming up...
AAA Issue #004 -- Sleeping Your Way to Anti Aging Success
AAA Issue #005 -- Is There a Biblically-balanced Diet?

Conventional vs. Organic
vs. Free Range Meats

Meat Proteins -- Hype, Hysteria, or Healthy?

We know that certain animals were created by God for humans to eat. If we eat the right meat proteins in the proper amounts, we will be giving our bodies an important ingredient for healthy aging. But, since few of us are raising, slaughtering, and butchering our own animals, we are dependent upon others to do these things for us. Are they doing them the way we would, and, more importantly, are they doing them the way that is best for us?

Increasingly we hear the praises of free range and organic meats. And, at the same time, we hear about the dangers of consuming meats that have been raised and processed by conventional means. What do these terms mean and why all the hubbub? Is it really just a tempest in a teapot, or is it something that we should be seriously concerned about? And are there any particular concerns for us members of the “over the hill” gang?

Understanding the Terminology

Most of the meat in your grocery store arrives there by means of conventional meat processing methods. In order to increase the industry’s bottom line, animals are raised in a minimal amount of space for a minimal amount of time. Of course the animals need to grow as large as possible in that short time period, so many of them are given hormones to stimulate rapid growth. And in such tight quarters there is no ability to exercise, so animals are often unhealthy. There is also a great potential for rapid spread of diseases, so the animals are given antibiotics to stop bacterial infections.

So what is the impact of this method of raising animals? Some are concerned about the feelings of the animals -- whether they are being treated ethically or humanely. Others are concerned about the flavor of meats that are produced using these rapid-growth techniques. But most people's concerns lie in the effects that the hormones and antibiotics may have on those of us who are eating the meats.

The Alternatives to the Conventional Method

Many farmers and ranchers are still raising animals the "old fashioned" way. Their animals are running loose in a pen or roaming the fields, getting plenty of exercise, and eating grasses as well as grains. They are not as susceptible to diseases, and especially to the rapid spreading of them and so are not injected with antibiotics. They are allowed to mature at a natural pace, having not been fed hormones. These are labeled as free range animals. They are raised in a way that might approximate the maturing of animals in the wild -- except they never miss a meal!

Somewhere in between conventional and free-range meats are organic meats. These animals are not given steroids or antibiotics, and their feed is all certified organic. But they are not allowed to roam and exercise, and therefore are fed a diet of only grains. Ask any five year old what cows eat, and you will hear "grass". Animals need grass in their diets, and without it their digestive systems do not work properly, resulting in an inability to benefit fully from the nutrients in the grain.

So What's the Big Deal?

If you don't have any particular concern for how the animals are being treated, and you're satisfied with the way your meat tastes, you might be wondering why people are making such a big deal about this. Well, for one, we ought to be concerned with how animals are being treated. The Bible says: A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. (Proverbs 12:10) Additionally, it is interesting to note that scientific tests demonstrate that assessors have found a significant difference in the texture and appearance of free-range meats, as well as a differentiation in the flavor and aroma.

But what we're really concerned about is this: is our health affected by the way the meat we eat is being processed. We wash our fruits and vegetables to remove the residue of herbicides and pesticides; should we be choosing free-range meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy as well? Are there toxins that are harmful to humans that remain in the fat and meat of animals that have been fed and injected with steroids and antibiotics? The evidence seems to say: "Yes".

How Bad Can it Really Be?

Researchers have found a link between the proliferation of cancer in our culture and the consumption of uncontrolled hormones in the meats we eat. Studies suggests that there is also a link between antibiotics in the meat of animals eaten by humans, and effective functioning of the meat eaters' immune systems. If these two things are true, this is surely enough evidence to cause us all to alter our purchasing practices and eating patterns.

Governments in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have banned some of these hormones; the United States has yet to do so. You and I, however, don't need to wait. We can take control of our own future by eating healthy proteins right now. Why wait for some government agency to tell you something is bad for you? Common sense should tell us that if there is an alternative available, we should choose it.

What's it Going to Cost Me?

Since the whole purpose of using hormones and antibiotics is to keep the costs down so that the profits can be up, clearly meats that are processed without these additives are going to cost us more. But, we must also ask ourselves: "What will be the long range costs of continuing to eat lower priced meats that are riddled with hormones and antibiotics?" Conventionally processed meats may be cheaper initially, but will likely cost us more later.

At two of my local national chain grocery stores I compared the costs of organic, free-range meats with conventional meats. Here is what I found:

Price per pound for boneless, skinless breast of chicken
Organic, Free-range $8.49
Locally grown (hormone free) $5.98
Locally grown (hormone free, value pack) $4.99
Southern grown (family pack) $2.99

Price per pound for boneless rib eye steak
Organic (no hormones, no antibiotics, veg fed)$14.99
Premium Angus$13.99
Value Pack$ 9.49

So, What's it Going to be For You?

Most grocery stores have a small selection of organic, free-range meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy. For now, it's going to cost you more to buy these products. But as people demand more of them, there will be a larger selection, and the prices will come down. We all have to make choices; some are harder than others. At least now you can make a more informed choice. I wish everyone could afford to choose meat that's processed the way God made it; before man messed with it and added things that are not the best for us.

If you take the time to measure your portions of meat, you will probably discover that you have been eating more meat protein than your body needs. Eating less meat while still eating all you need, is one way of reducing the cost of your groceries and of saving you money and pain in the long run.

Sound Off!

Have you purchased and eaten organic, free-range meats? If so, please reply and share your experiences so I can pass on what you've learned to everybody else. This study has convinced me; I'll let you know what observations I make, and what conclusions I draw. We can surely benefit from what we learn from one another.

If you haven't yet read the section of the website on the effects of added chemicals in the foods we eat -- it would be good for you to understand the battle our bodies are up against with the foods we eat. Our cells need all our help, and giving them proteins that are laced with hormones and antibiotics can't be making their jobs any easier. Be your own body's anti aging advocate!

Next Month's Anti Aging Advocate

For three months, now, we've taken a closer look at meat proteins. Next month we'll shift gears and examine the effect of sleeping on healthy aging. Many of us live in a culture that seems to think more highly of those who "burn the candle at both ends". Is this a laudable lifestyle? I look forward to sharing with you next month, and feel privileged to be your anti aging advocate. Till then...

May God bless you,
Gary Radmacher

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