In this rule Pollan explains what is likely self-evident – that the diets of the animals from which we get food (meat, dairy, or eggs) strongly influence the healthfulness or harmfulness of that food. The industrial food chain’s “quest to produce vast quantities of cheap animal protein . . . has changed the diet of most of our food animals in ways that have often damaged their health and healthfulness” says Pollan (61). He further explains that “we feed animals a high energy diet of grain to make them grow quickly, even in the case of ruminants that have evolved to eat grass,” yet it’s clear that such animals are far healthier when “they have access to green plants – and so, it turns out, are their meat and eggs. The food from these animals will contain much healthier types of fat (more omega-3′s, less omega-6′s) as well as appreciably higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants” (61).
Bottom line – eat all things in a manner as close to nature’s design as possible. Cows are meant to roam and eat grass, not corn. Chickens are meant to scratch and peck about and eat bugs and grain. There is good research to show that grass fed beef contains as much omega-3 as wild salmon and almost no e. coli (unlike corn fed beef on both counts). Corn fed cows need vast quantities of antibiotics for a reason it seems! Pollan advises: pay more for properly pastured meat, dairy, and eggs, even if that means eating less of them.
For more info on the amazing benefits of Organic Grass Fed Beef check out Alderspring Ranch (http://www.alderspring.com/). On a side note, I have been ordering beef from them for years. I would be happy to tell you more…
The tips are courtesy of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. New York: Penguin, 2009.
Happy, Healthy Eating!