In the mid-20th century, nutritional scientists, physicians and health journalists began targeting cholesterol and saturated fatty acids as a way of combating a coronary heart disease epidemic in the United States. Unfortunately, the “lipid hypothesis” was never fact.
Regardless, consumers were told to replace butter with margarine, and to replace animal fats, such as lard and tallow, with soybean oil, corn oil and other vegetable oils. And most of us did just that. The general public was led to believe that multi-generational food preparation and nutrition practices were to blame for a health epidemic that continues unabated in observed rates of diabetes, obesity, coronary conditions and cancer.
Compounding our radical shift in fat intake, meat producers began moving ruminants, such as cows, goats and sheep, from grass pasture to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) for grain feeding. These large-scale animal operations have, unfortunately, become the new normal, as many health and environmental studies consider corn- and soy-fed cattle loaded with antibiotics to be the control group. No wonder all the bad news!
The New News on Fatty Acids
We now know that we aren’t getting the right balance of healthy fats. American eaters receive fewer anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and more pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids from oils and animal fats than preceding generations. We know that ruminants and pastured poultry and swine are integral to promoting grassland biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Generations of farmers, cooks and eaters weren’t wrong. Now, we have the results and the positive food activists to back them up.
Returning to Healthy Fats
Give thanks through action. Support your local, organic producers selling pastured meat and dairy products every chance you have. Let farmers know that you’re concerned about soy and corn feeds, and that you’re willing to pay more for a healthier product. If possible, raise or hunt your own animals, or join with neighbors, family and friends. Cook from scratch, and always consider your oil source. Dig much deeper into the topics of healthy fats, grass-fed beef and other pastured meat, wild meat, and much more in the following articles and resources.
Fats and Nutrition
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Omega-3, Omega-6 Fatty-Acid TestingOmega-3s and More: The Importance of Fat in a Healthy DietThe Fats You Need for a Healthy DietMOTHER EARTH NEWS examined the fatty-acid profiles of 32 grass-fed, free-ranged and pastured cows, lambs, pigs and chickens.What you need to know about omega-6 to omega-3 ratios, and the many benefits of healthful fats.
Moderate amounts of saturated fat from grass-fed and pastured animals is healthful.
The Truth about Fats and OilsFish Oil and Depression: A New Treatment Option?Choose Healthy Grass-Fed Meat and Dairy ProductsSome fats and oils are killing us, some actually make us healthier. Which ones are you eating?
Research shows a positive correlation between fish oil and depression — omega-3 fatty acids can naturally improve your mood.
Grass-fed cattle provide healthier milk and meat than their grain-fed counterparts.
Linoleic Acid in Soy Strongly Linked to Obesity EpidemicOmega-3-Packed PurslaneMaking Sense of the USDA Grass-Fed LabelBig Ag’s reliance on soybeans for animal feed has caused us to consume way too much linoleic acid, an omega-6 fat linked to obesity.Purslane, a little known, nutritional powerhouse, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
What does the USDA grass-fed label really represent?
Bone Broth’s Nutritional BenefitsThe Many Benefits of Grass-Fed MeatHeart-Healthy Eating with Delicious Mediterranean Dishes“Let food be thy medicine.”Higher omega-3 concentrations, healthier animals and grassland ecosystems: just a few benefits of grass-fed meat, eggs and milk.
Experience heart-healthy eating with delicious Mediterranean dishes.
Free-Ranged or Pasture-Raised?The Importance of Pastured Meat: 6 Recommended BooksSeeded Sourdough Bread Recipe Loaded with Omega-3sKnow the differences between free-range and pasture-raised for your health.These books show how raising livestock on pasture leads to better soil, carbon sequestration and more healthful grass-fed meat products.
Use flaxseed, chia seed and camelina seed to maximize omega-3s.
Try a Flexitarian Diet for Better Health and a Better Food BudgetThe Big Fat Lies
Help the environment and your budget.
Most vegetable oils are not healthful choices.
Which Grass-Fed Beef Labels to TrustYet More Proof That Grass-Fed Meat Is BetterBetter Beef: Grass-Fed CattleLook for one of four labels on your beef to verify it’s from cattle raised wholly on pasture.
Think red meat is bad for your heart? Not if it comes from pastured animals.Grass-fed meat offers richer flavor and more nutrition.
The Efficiency of Ethical Cattle GrazingThe Bio-Hazards of Corn-Fed BeefThe Benefits of Eating Ethical BeefCattle grazing allows grassland that would not be used for growing crops to work its way into the food web.
Feeding cows corn may have created a deadly strain of E. coli.Eating beef is beneficial for humans and the planet.
The Amazing Benefits of Grass-Fed BeefRaising Grass-Fed BeefThe Environmental and Moral Concerns of Eating MeatThe perennial pastures on which grass-fed cows feed build better soil and have lower carbon emissions than conventional cropland.
From 1980: Mother Earth News was already sharing the benefits of grass-fed beef.Make a positive change: buy and eat meat from farmers who raise 100 percent grass-fed livestock.
The Pleasure of Raising Livestock on a Cattle RanchHow Much Better Is Organic Milk?
Raising livestock on a cattle ranch brings a unique set of rewards.Organic milk has a better ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids which may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Free-Range Eggs: The Good EggComparing Eggs: How Do Yours Stack Up?How to Decode Egg CartonsFree-range eggs are the best choice when looking for organic food.
Whether you live in the city or country, here’s how to find healthful, delicious, farm-fresh eggs.Not all eggs are created equal, so it’s important to know what different labels really mean.
Our Far-Out Free-Range EggsMore Great News About Free-Range EggsReal Free-Range EggsWe raise poultry for free-range eggs, and teach others how to do the same.
Free-range eggs have more vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids than factory farm eggs. Free-range eggs have less cholesterol and more vitamins A and E, beta carotene and polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.
Opt for a pastured turkey instead of an industrial turkey.
How to Raise Pastured Pigs Without Buying FeedThe Lost Art of Cooking with LardPigs are the quintessential biological recyclers, foragers and grazers.
Enjoy the flavor and texture of lard by cooking your way through GRIT Magazine’s cookbook, 100% Lard.
Videos Related to Healthy Fats
The How and Why of Free-Range ChickensHow to Render Lard
Additional Resources on Pastured Meats and MoreEatWild.comScientific proof of the benefits of grass-fed meat is available at the Eatwild site, which is maintained by Jo Robinson, author of the books Pasture Perfect and Why Grassfed Is Best. The site also includes a directory of producers of grass-fed beef, bison, pork, chicken and dairy products.LocalHarvest.comFind local sources of organic and grass-fed meat with this directory of family farms, farmers markets and natural food stores.EFAEducation.orgA website maintained by National Institute of Health Scientists.Sustainable Seafood Shopping GuideEat Well GuideChoosing Natural, Grass-Fed Meat .
Why I Eat Wild MeatThe Health Benefits of Eating FishRestoring American Prairie with Grass-Fed BuffaloTraditional hunting of wild meat is a physical and intellectual challenge that fulfills one of our fundamental instincts.
The fish with the highest levels of omega-3s are wild-caught from cold waters, such as salmon, trout and herring.Reconnect the iconic bison with America’s Great Plains.
Eating Bison for Taste and HealthRabbit: A Meat Animal for Small Homesteads
More flavorful than chicken and more nutritious than grain-fed beef, bison meat is lean and green.Clean, quiet rabbits are easy to raise, even for urban growers.