When I was personally faced with “being my own doctor” with a diagnosis of ‘untreatable pancreatic cancer’, one of the most confusing and difficult decisions was whether or not to stop eating meat. I had been a “beef eater” all my life and really wondered if “going vegan–or almost vegan” was that important. I was, then, unaware of the enormous changes that had taken place in beef production. I now live in a rural area where there is much “beef on the hoof” but mostly these are brood cows with calves at their sides and plenty of green grass to graze upon. As yearlings, the calves are usually shipped to a large industrial feed lot “out west”.
Recently,a local farmer I respect posted on Facebook that he’d found a sick calf in his herd and he made a remark that caused me to pause. He said something like, “Those of you who don’t want us to use antibiotics haven’t ever seen a sick calf. We wouldn’t give them antibiotic injections unless necessary as a bottle of the medicine costs $1100.” I know this man takes great pride in and care of his herds. Yet, I realized he was unaware of the real issue we who understand we MUST eat “clean food” for our health (really that’s everyone but some of us are “re-building” our bodies) “get”.
He misunderstood the issue of “conventionally raised beef in crowded feed lots who
only receive feeds designed to make them grow fast and stay healthy enough to pass inspection. Thus they receive massive amounts of growth hormones, prophalactic antibiotics, and genetically modified corn, soy, and (according to “Consumer Reports” Oct 2015) they may also be fed “candy, chicken coop waste, and the slaughterhouse remains of pigs and chickens, ….and plastic pellets, which are used as substitutes for the fiber they’d normally get from grazing on grass” (as God designed them to do).
The “Consumer Reports” article also confirmed the drug information I mentioned earlier. The article title is “How Safe Is Your Beef?” and provides a nice chart entitled “A Tale of Two Cows” contrasting habitat, diet, drugs, and basic slaughter principles for a “conventionally raised” or “grass-fed” beef cow. (p27 of the article)
The article goes on to explain bacteria including “superbugs” in beef and explaining how to choose, handle, store, and cook beef for best safety. In a nutshell, the “Labels to Look For” are: (p 28 of the article)
- BASIC: “No Antibiotics” (If the package says “raised without antibiotics” and also “USDA Processed Verified”, a no antibiotics claim is more trustworthy. ” Be aware of labels such as “no antibiotics used for growth promotion,” which can still mean that antibiotics were used.”
- GOOD: “Grass-Fed”. The USDA requires that beef labeled “grass-fed or “100% grass-fed” come from animals that have never been given grain and have access to pasture during the grazing season.” There are documentation loopholes, however.
- BETTER: A. “Organic”. “Cattle are fed organic feed (no pesticides, synthetic fertilizer or genetically engineered ingredientsCattle are fed organic feed ). They are not given antibiotics, hormones, or other drugs. Animals must be given access to pasture for most of their lives, but feed-lots and grain feeding during their last few months is allowed.” B. “American Grassfed Association”. The animals are never given grain and have continuous access to pasture or a grass-based forage when weather does not permit grazing. Antibiotics and hormones are prohibited. The Association verifies those practices. Pesticides and herbicides are allowed on the pastures the animals feed on, and they can also be fed genetically engineered alfalfa.”
- BEST: “Grass-Fed Organic: “With this combination of labels, you get meat from cattle that have not been fed grain and eat only organically grown grass and forage. Antibiotics, hormones, and other drugs are prohibited. If the package also has the Animal Welfare Approved seal, the Certified Humane seal or the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) 5 or 5+ seal, animal welfare standards also apply.”
I am fortunate that some “local producers” have chosen to cooperate with smaller well designed processing plants and sales outlets for beef, chicken, and some pork. They also work with a small local company who go to Alaska and catch small batches of “wild caught salmon” processed in Alaska and flash frozen before being carefully flown to our area. I encourage you to look for such conscientious entrepreneurs in your area. I also encourage you to visit www.consumerreports.org and read the entire article which is truly packed with information. One thing is certain. Eating rare meat–especially ground meat–is potentially very dangerous. Safe handling of meat is a major challenge and needs to be meticulous–that is kept cold from slaughter through preparation and then thoroughly cooked before consumption.
Personally, when I was beginning my healing process, I gave up all meat and most dairy (except the high sulfur dairy proteins used in the Budwig protocol) for the first three years. I added a bit of grass-fed beef and chicken I was reasonably sure I could trust after that. However, I still eat very little meat and feel much better when I don’t. Too much meat is inflammatory and we know most disease is rooted in inflammation.
It takes much longer to digest meat than plant-based foods and a weakened or challenged digestive system means an over-faced immune system. Always in healing, we are actually replacing body cells…..all of them fairly often. We must have a highly operative immune system (which is really not a system but a cooperative effort from parts of every other body system). In this body re-building, the “raw materials” are nutrients if we want healthy replacement cells. Why put stress on this innate and critical healing mechanism? Standard cancer treatments put enormous strain on these essential healing mechanisms because the strong chemicals and radiation kill more “healthy cells” than “cancer cells”.
What’s the issue with antibiotics in meat? Simply said, antibiotics always wipe out and/or weaken some built in immune system functions. These chemicals are very strong and they pass right through food animals into the consumer. The toxin effect accumulate and tricks normal healing functions. God made our bodies to heal and man-made chemicals don’t figure into the plan.
Why are corn and soy such an issue. Virtually ALL corn and soy is genetically modified and “read” by the body as toxic material. We can’t digest it normally and it can damage our own DNA which, of course, figures into the cancer equation.
I urge you to give your body ONLY God-made “raw materials” so His built-in healing mechanisms can do their job. God IS our health and He didn’t just “mess about” in creating our “wonderfully made bodies”. That’s certainly been my experience and I’m just an average person.