The Lifeforce Energy of your Grass Fed Beef Meal

I’m fascinated by the idea of the energy of food – not just our grass fed beef, but all foods. I’m not talking about kilojoules, but rather the life force energy of our food and meals.

I wonder about the influence of all the steps in the process of the food getting to our plate with relation to energy; the growing, the harvesting, the shopping for, the cooking, the serving, the savouring as we consume.

I can’t show you cold hard evidence of this, but the concept sits well with me.

Thoughts have energy; there are countless examples of the influence of this.  So when I hear comments by people I meet shopping who really ‘hate’ and ‘loathe’ to go food shopping, I wonder the impact of this – after all it’s the first step in the process of preparing a meal.

If we enjoy the process of cooking a meal, however simple the meal may be – is this meal different than one begrudgingly or stressfully prepared and placed on the table?  What is the intent invested in each? What of the home-made sauce, from home-grown vegetables with love invested, versus that made by machinery in a factory?

What about the meal eaten around the table, hearing about a loved one’s day, savouring the flavours as we eat, versus the meal hurried down while zoning out to whatever electrical device? Are flavours less experienced?

What is the life force of a hand-picked bean versus a machine picked bean?  What about how it’s grown? While we can know the science of pesticide use and high input fertiliser impacts on the nutrition of foods, what is the influence of the energy of the intention of farming where ‘killing’ weeds, pests etc is the focus, versus the intention of growing and nurturing life? The life of plants, of encouraging the life of spiders and lady beetles and other beneficial insects, the life of the soil and embracing ‘weeds’ for the job that they are doing with the soil.

The low stress stockhandling that we practice with our cows is a great example of seeing the influence of intention and the energy that we take to a task.  Moving cows with a calm, intentional approach can be a totally different experience to going in with an urgency to get the job done quickly.  The cows pick up on the energy and react accordingly. I can’t see that immediate feedback with a plant or pasture, but I believe it is there.

What does all this mean for the energising of our bodies when we eat this food?  I’ll leave that for you to think about…   And if the idea of the life force energy of food is a bit ‘out there’ for you, know that our beef is always 100% grass fed on diverse, chemical free pastures – and that alone is a good thing for your health!

If you’d like to order one of our grass fed beef hampers, you can do so here.

All the best and good vibes! Kirrily.

Love the Taste Difference! That’s our invitation. It’s more than just the taste of our grass fed beef however – it’s what this taste reflects about the product. The terroir if you like – the set of environmental conditions in which the animals are raised that give the beef its unique characteristics – a term often used for wine.

Somewhat irrelevant to homogenous environments like feedlots and greenhouses, yet relevant to grass fed meats and beef, as the soil, pasture types and brush they graze on influences the final product.

Diversity of pastures

In our case, the diversity of pasture species available to our animals provides many different phytochemicals to the animals, which in turn add to the complexity of the flavour of our consciously raised beef.

Soil Biology

Farming with nature and encouraging the biology in the soil means things like soil fungi can access micronutrients from the soil that are otherwise less available to the plant. These micronutrients are then present in pasture plants and in turn in beef from the animals that have grazed upon these pastures.

What we love however, is that this diversity of plants and phytochemicals from the pastures and biologically healthy soils are giving more to our beef than just richness of flavour.

The phytochemicals and micronutrients are like nature’s medicines for the animals, the benefits of which then flow on to those choosing to consume such carefully raised beef. (Learn more)

We love that the taste makes our beef fulfilling and enjoyable to eat – we do get a lot of wonderful feedback from you, our customers, saying that you love the taste of our beef and even (and often) from something as simple as our mince! What we also love is that the taste is reflecting the health of our product for reasons stated above.

Know that Derek and I do our very best in caring for our soils, giving the animals access to a diversity of pasture plants and shrubs, choosing not to use chemicals in our production and ensuring our cows are always grass fed – feeding on grasses, forbes and pastures as well browsing on trees and shrubs. We produce this way for the wider benefits to the landscapes and water cycles, for the benefit of the health of our cows and for the health of our product – our grass fed beef.

We couldn’t do it any other way – as it wouldn’t fit with our values and we wouldn’t create a product we would want to eat ourselves.

If you feel the same way and would like to have one of our Grass Fed Beef Hampers delivered to you this month, you can see and order our different hamper options here.

There’s plenty more to read about how we produce on the farm, the health of grass fed beef and how to cook for the best nourishment.

Kirrily

I feel left scratching my head when I think about why the world would actually want, or even need, fake or mock meat.  The reasons why one may state it is needed are exactly the reasons why I don’t want it!  Being purveyors of grass fed beef, you may well expect us to be a bit ‘down on’ the fake meats that are increasingly entering the food chain.  I raise this conversation however, not to criticize fake meat, but rather because it gives me an opportunity to explain some of the reasons why grass fed beef grazed on diverse pastures is a superior choice for health (and other reasons) and how very different it is from fake meat.

Our Health

Let’s look at the health differences in fake meat and our pure grass fed beef.

~ Whole Foods

We know that whole foods are a healthy choice (even mainstream health agrees!), while fake meats are a highly processed product.

Fake meat products like a fake beef patty in a hamburger are made predominantly of grain and legume products, but more specifically they are made of products created by the denaturing of these foods. Examples of these are soy protein concentrate, extracted from soybeans and textured wheat protein from wheat.

When a food is denatured, one component of the food is isolated for use. In doing so, the goodness is often stripped out of it – taking away critical vitamins and minerals.  Not only that, but also missing are secondary compounds or phytochemicals naturally found in plants (things like polyphenols, flavanoids, aromatic oils and alkaloids). These are rarely talked about with relation to food – we hear of the primary compounds (protein, carbohydrates, energy, and minerals), but rarely do we hear about these secondary compounds. There are thousands of these different compounds, the combination of a large variety of which contributes to overall wellbeing.  They are like nature’s medicines.  They are the things responsible for why red wine is said to be good for your heart and why certain herbs can aid health.  Secondary plant compounds have many roles in your body including appetizing, digestive or therapeutic purposes.(reference)

When fake meat is produced, the grain or legume is broken down into components – many of the vitamins, minerals and secondary compounds are either destroyed or removed from the final product.  So the energy of the food is consumed, but it is hollow and lacking nourishment.  Devoid of vitamins and minerals, these are added in by food chemists, but it’s not the same as the natural form and it seems the quantities added back in are somewhat unusual; do I really need 2350% of my daily requirements of vitamin B1 in one meal?

Just because it’s made of plants, doesn’t mean it’s good for you – I’m not sure why there seems to be this assumption.

In the case of real meat – pure 100% grass fed beef like ours, the cows graze on diverse pastures, and have access to a variety of the secondary plant compounds, which enables them to use their intuition and choose plants as they graze to ‘self-medicate’ and ensure their own well-being.  This results in meat rich in the benefits of these secondary compounds and nourishment for us as we consume it.

“The availability of phytochemically rich foods is

essential to ensure health through nutrition”

Emiratus professor Fred Provenza.

~ GMO’s

I know that many of you reading this will be concerned about the potential health impacts of genetically modified organisms.  GMO technology is used in the production of fake meat products.  This comes from a website describing a faux beef patty.   It is “made using a yeast engineered with the gene for soy leghemoglobin. First, we grow yeast via fermentation. Then, we isolate the soy leghemoglobin (containing heme) from the yeast, and add it to the Impossible Burger”.  I don’t know about you, but I read ‘highly processed and genetically modified’. So, if you like to avoid genetically modified foods, you may like to check the ingredients in any fake meat products.

There are no GMO’s at all in the raising and feeding of our cows and hence none in our grass fed beef.

~ It’s as Nature Intended

If you’re interested in more health advantages of grass fed beef (unrelated to fake meat), you can learn more about it at the Heath Benefits of Grass Fed vs Grain Fed Beef.

 

Land Health & The Environment

Another reason why it is claimed we need fake meat is because animals are destroying the land.  This can be true when they are not managed well and overgrazing is allowed.  What is exciting however, is that the opposite can be true – when managed well, animals can actually be the tool that can help to heal the land!

~ Don’t Cows Damage the Land?

Plants, they are the millions of little pumps, pumping life into the soil.  The basis of that life is carbon – it is the building block of all things living.  Plants take if from the air and make plant sugars with it via photosynthesis.

Plants use these sugars to grow and yield, and they also push some sugars out the root systems into the soil, where they feed the microbiology of the soil -the fungi, bacteria and more. The soil microbes use these carbon rich sugars to build healthy, living topsoil. A diversity of plants is crucial to support a diversity of soil microbes, necessary for doing the different jobs required for soil health.

Having groundcover on our soils – as living plants or as mulch (trampled to the ground by cows), helps to keep the soils cool and moist, which protects those amazing bugs that are so integral to the building and regeneration of soil. The trampled mulch is also another source of carbon to the soil ‘bugs’ – to complement the liquid carbon sugars that come from the plant roots.

The thing is, to have these actively growing plants, pumping life into the soil, and to have this groundcover of litter, protecting the soil, we need livestock.

Livestock to graze the plants – that they will grow, be grazed, regrow, and pump life into the soil as they do.

Livestock to trample plant material – that it will be laid down and form a mulch on the soil surface.

Livestock – to add manure and urine to the soil.

Have you seen grasses ungrazed or uncut?  Their leaves become dry, old and grey (lignified), at which time there is no growth and no pumping of carbon rich plant sugars feeding into the soil via the roots. The land, rested for too long, will become stagnant.

If we consider the growing of wheat and soybean crops for the production of fake meat, they are almost always grown as monoculture crops, with the paddocks fallowed (ie. nothing growing, where the ground is either ploughed or sprayed with herbicides to control weeds) in the times between the grain crops.  Fallowed land and monoculture crops are two of the worst things for soil health.  Poor soil health leads to wind and water erosion, poor nutrient cycling (and low nutrient contents in the food grown), loss of biodiversity and more.

Claiming we need to not eat meat for the health of the land is actually an uneducated comment.  Conversely too however, if animals are managed poorly, and pastures overgrazed, this can be just as detrimental to soil health. And, just like well managed cattle can help to heal the land, so too can grain and legume cropping when grown with cover crops of multiple species, grown in the time between the grain crops.

A diverse pasture for raising livestock can host quail, lizards, snakes, butterflies, birds of prey, small native marsupials, kangaroos, wallabies and soil that is alive.

A monoculture legume crop lacks life.

Conversely, an overgrazed pasture lacks life, while a diverse, multispecies cover crop (grown in rotation with wheat or legumes) will have lady beetles, moths, dragonflies, spiders and all manner of life present – including diverse soil fungi and microbiology.

~Aren’t Cows a Climate Change Pest?

I have written about ruminant animals and whether they are a methane pest or a climate change solution, here at my other blog (specifically about regenerative agriculture). Briefly though, in biologically healthy soils, there exists methanotrophs – bacteria that feed solely on methane (nothing else). There is also carbon returned to healthy soils via the process explained above (through photosynthesis), with the world’s soils being the largest potential sink for atmospheric carbon. (Read more at the blog if you are interested).

My point is, it is not whether grains or animals are farmed that determines the land health, it is the way in which these are farmed that is the determinant.  Excitingly, more and more farmers are learning about and using more regenerative farming techniques.

I have written more detail about how cows can heal the land here.

As a last thing to consider, much of the world’s grazing lands are simply not suited to growing crops because of the soil types or climate and we don’t just want to simply lock these lands up forever – as I described above, we are left with lignified, grey plants lacking life and then lifeless soils.

 

Taking a Life

And so we come to the point of should we be taking an animal’s life versus eating plants?  What value do we place on the life of another being? Does the emotional value of a cow with a cute face far outweigh that of field mice or tiny and largely unseen native mammals that wouldn’t exist in the monoculture of a grain crop? If so, is there a threshold – Just how many little creatures equal one cow? If we choose to not eat meat because of these difficult ethical reasons, then what of the other small marsupials, lizards, quails etc, whose lives don’t exist because of the monoculture grain and legume crops grown for fake meat production?

It’s just not such a black and white argument that it is made out to be of ‘taking a life versus not taking a life’.  Again, hearing this tells me that a person is not fully versed on the topic they are commenting on. Here’s a whole extra bit of reading on that if you like!

 

Energy

I will mention energy here as a last thought (and I don’t mean calorific energy, but rather lifeforce energy). I genuinely believe that the area of energy is something that will become more greatly explored, better understood and there will be a greater realisation of its importance with regards to our thoughts, our water, our foods and more.  The energy contained in a whole food – in the state it was grown or raised must surely carry a greater energy than a product that has been highly processed.  That, I believe, will go on to better lifeforce energy for our bodies.

 

So whether it’s your own health, the health of the farming landscapes of the world or taking the life of an animal that you’re concerned about, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. Fake meat? I reckon we’d all be better off without it, but isn’t it great that we live in a society that we can have such choice, as long as it is a consciously made one!

Kirrily 🙂

See our hamper choices here  if you’d like to enjoy some of our

chemical free, 100% grass fed beef (that is real!), fed on diverse pastures.

 

I’m fascinated by the different comments that our customers make about our grass fed beef and the difference that they notice to some other beef consumed.  But what really interests me is how those aspects relate to the health of our beef and what we’re doing on the farm that might result in this experience for those enjoying it.

The first is that it tastes great.  We know it – that’s why we say “Grass fed beef… love the taste difference!

 

1. It Tastes Great!

The most common feedback we get is of the flavour of our grass fed beef.

The eye fillets we bought yesterday were amazing, great to actually eat beef full of flavour!”

Joe, Tamworth NSW

Like our customers, I also love the taste of our beef but what I especially LOVE, is the taste of the fat on the edge of a steak – it has an amazing sweetness to it.

“I’ve never enjoyed eating fat before but the fat on the beef was really tasty”.

Rebekah, Brisbane, Qld

Let’s look at why there is a taste difference and how that is also connected to the health attributes of beef.

Our animals feed not only just on grass, but on diverse pastures made up of perennial grasses, annual grasses and forbes – broadleaved plants, clovers, and all sorts of non-grass species.  Not only this, our animals also have access to different trees and shrubs to graze on (and they do!), where they source different plant compounds again to that of the pasture.

The primary compounds of animal feed are well known – energy, protein and nutrients (which are all very important for metabolism and growth). There is however a myriad of secondary compounds in grasses and plants that contribute to the health and wellbeing of animals, to their immunity. It is these secondary compounds of plants, ingested from pastures, that I believe gives our beef its great taste. This is supported by research that concludes,

“dietary diversity and phytochemical richness confer flavourful aroma-active

compounds to meat and dairy products” 1

 

In order for animals to access a variety of these plant compounds, they need a variety of pasture plants from which to choose when grazing. It is simply not possible to access these from a monoculture crop of oats, for example.

Hence, Derek and I choose to not only feed our animals on ‘grass’ (not grain), but we also choose diverse pastures, which inherently have a variety of these secondary compounds. These compounds provide an extra benefit, as well as imparting flavour to the meat – they are the medicine of the paddock.  Research shows that animals both inherently know, and learn from their mothers, that certain plants are a solution to particular health challenges (eg. parasites/worms), so given a wide variety of plants from which to graze – the animals are able to self-medicate. This improves our animals’ immunity and helps to avoid pesticidal band-aids to problems.

Research describes it:

‘The tissues of herbivores reflect the phytochemical richness of their diet. The richness of phytochemicals in the meat and milk products that humans consume can enhance human health. While cells of humans and herbivores need energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins, they also use secondary compounds to reduce inflammation, improve brain and vascular functions, inhibit growth of cancer, boost immune function, and provide protection as antioxidants and anthelmintics.’2

The benefits that the variety of plants provide to the animals, flows through to those eating the beef. As research states:

“There are many benefits that come from eating a variety of plants. Pasture finished animals also provide healthy meat. Their bodies have phytochemical complexity.” 3

It is these secondary compounds that lead me to the second characteristic we get feedback on – satiation.

 

2. I Feel Fuller after Eating Your Beef – A Small Amount Satisfies

This comment has only come from a few people, but I also suppose it’s something that one would have to be really ‘listening’ to their body to notice, so it makes sense that not as many may notice this.

Some of the secondary compounds that I mention above are responsible for satiety in the animals.  So, the compounds are in the pastures that create satiation in the animals. There is evidence that suggests that this flows through to satiation in humans that consume the meat from these animals.

Research says:

“The need to amend foods, and take nutrient supplements, could be eliminated by recreating phytochemical richness in meat and produce and by refashioning cultures that know how to combine foods into meals that nourish and satiate.4

 

The third thing our customers comment and love is not steeped in science at all, but has been noted by a number of people (including us!).

 

3. We Inherently Know the Difference!

A couple of our customers have commented that they can just tell if it is our beef. Interestingly it’s been children in a couple of cases! When served up some beef by Mum or Dad, they have commented “This isn’t Derek’s beef is it?” I don’t know the reason these children commented this, and we have had a similar experience ourselves.

Twice I have cooked a meal and Derek and I have commented that we didn’t really enjoy it. In one case, we were camping and had purchased some beef mince – I’m not sure of the origin or of how it was produced. We didn’t approach the meal thinking ‘this isn’t our beef, so it won’t be great’ as it wasn’t until the next morning that we realised – that wasn’t our beef!  Interestingly, on that occasion, it was a Spaghetti Bolognese meal; we noticed the difference, even among the herbs and spices of the bolognaise sauce. This tells me it’s more than taste, or maybe that the taste factor is important even among herbs and spices – I’m not sure…

A similar comment from a customer who normally doesn’t eat red meat as she finds it difficult to digest, but ours she was able to eat and enjoy.  I don’t understand the reason for this – is it the phytocomplexity of the meat, is it related to the energy of the beef? I don’t know…, but I do know that people enjoy it.  I also believe that if it makes you feel great, it must be good!

“The body benefits from combinations of food. When we (or animals) eat a variety of things we get synergies and it’s like two plus two equals eleven. Humans need phytochemically rich foods, in moderation – including pasture-finished meat.” 5

While we say ‘our’ beef in this blog – we’re not the only ones producing beef in this manner, there are also others conscious about how they grow food and raise animals – we are merely using feedback from our customers as examples.

 

We Are What We Eat Eats!

So we know that what the animals eat, affects our health. Not just whether cows eat grain or grass, but further still to whether they eat a monoculture of grass or whether they have access to diverse pastures and shrub grazing.

I’ve read this quote today. It sums it up and I love it! Not only are we what we eat, but

“We are what we eat eats!” 6

If you’d like to experience the taste difference and the health attributes of our grass fed beef and see if you can detect the inherent difference – we’d love to have you try it.  You can see our selection of Mixed Cut Hampers here.

In good health,

Kirrily x

We all want to be as healthy as we can be in life and if you’re choosing our beef then you’re likely already quite conscious about your health and your food choices.  There are however, times when we might purchase something that is not a whole food – which can have some undesirable additives in them!   I have written about additives in food before and explained why we choose to have all of our cuts, including sausages and silverside, preservative free.

I thought however that I might expand on this a little and tell you some more specifics about food additives that you may not realise, how to identify the bad ones and how to avoid them!  It’s also a great time to consider this if you have children, with school lunches being packed. Children’s systems are more at risk and less able to cope with such additives given their smaller mass relative to the additive amount.  Similarly, as we get older our systems are not as robust as they were when we were young and are less able to cope with additives.

Different additives have different effects on our bodies. So, if you have someone in the family with asthma, certain additives may impact this, while behavioural problems in children might result from another. For people with sensitive tummies, there are other things to watch out for. And then there are some additives, which have no adverse reactions associated with them at all – like citric acid. All of these additives however, are given a number and it’s difficult for us to know an additive that may be linked to cancer (such as 133) or behavioural problems in children (like 200), from one that has no known reaction (such as 330).

Since my children were young, I have relied on a fabulous book called ‘Additive Alert’* by Julie Eady. It gives the background on food additives, the standards in Australia (which are not as strict as other countries), and most importantly, a list of all additives and their potential adverse impacts on us – ranging from behavioural and hyperactivity issues, to asthma impacts, carcinogenicity, kidney damage, intestinal upsets and more.  For me, if I unknowingly eat something with a sulphite additive in it, I will toss and turn in bed for much of the night – unhappy gut, unhappy brain.

The great thing I’ve just recently discovered is that the information from the Additive Alert book is now available via an app – so it can be at hand when shopping.  It is also called Additive Alert – very simple to use, just type in the number or additive name and it will list if there are any adverse effects. I highly recommend it and a great tool to have with you when shopping (and it’s free).

I sometimes find that a product in one brand may have no additives or a benign additive, while another brand will have a nasty additive.  Knowing this guides my choices.

In meat products it is the sodium nitrates and nitrites that are in most sausages and cured meats (unless you consciously choose otherwise), that can negatively impact our health.  Additive Alert indicates that these are “widely considered to be toxic and carcinogenic in humans”, which is why Derek and I choose not to have these in our beef products.

So, if you’re packing school lunches, instead of a sandwich or salad with cold meats that contain preservatives (such as most hams), pre-roast a blade or silverside roast from one of our grass fed beef hampers  (or even some chicken or lamb) and slice up for lunches for the week. Not only will you be healthy, you’ll be organized!

If you’d like to enjoy our preservative free sausages and our other range of chemically free produced cuts, while also reaping the benefits that come with choosing grass fed beef, you may like to order one of our hampers.

Also, we’re always happy to talk health, or to chat about what we do on the farm – any enquiries, please call us! My number is 0417 894 474 and Derek’s is 0429 674 724. Derek and I are quite particular about growing & producing products that are the cleanest they can be – we only produce to the high standard of what we want to eat ourselves. We hope you appreciate and enjoy our products!

In good health, Kirrily.

 

*Eady, Judy. Additive Alert. Additive Alert Pty Ltd. Mullaloo, WA. 2004

There is a sign in a shop that I visit and it says

‘Try organic food – or as your Grandparents called it, “food”!’

It gives me a giggle, but it also brings to light the conscious effort we have to make these days if we want to eat clean and chemical free food.

We are all too aware of acute health issues and their immediate impact, but with our life’s focus being pulled in so many ways, it can be the insidious – gradual and harmful – that we often forget; things such as the effects of continual exposure to pesticides – in our foods, in our surrounding farms, parks and common areas and even the stresses that we face in our lives. These are not obvious on a daily basis, so the gradual impact of these on our bodies and health is often missed.

For some years now Derek and I have chosen to produce food using chemical free, organic production. As I research this article, it is strongly reinforced to me why we have made this choice – for both direct and indirect reasons – both for our health, as we manage our farm and for the health of the product we are selling to our customers.

Pesticides used in agricultural production have been linked to detrimental effects in humans as well as in the wonderful array of wildlife in our wider environment – the amazing diversity and complexity and services of which the human race is reliant.

Pesticides have also been linked to a range of human health problems – to the point that some pesticides used in Australia are not registered for use in the EU and other countries.

While I often say our health is a multipronged approach of limiting the stress in our lives, being active, eating well, avoiding hazardous chemicals, staying energised, as well as one’s inherent constitution, it is clear that the pesticide aspect is an important one.

The effects of pesticide exposure on humans have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, birth defects, neurological & reproductive risks and hormonal problems.

As an example, pesticides have been associated with brain cancer and other cancers as well as leukaemia and non-hodgkins lymphoma.  For a while I have been aware of the increased risk of non-hodgkins lymphoma for farmers. Studies show that women are 2.1 times more likely to contract non-hodgkins lymphoma if they had worked on a farm for 10 years and when living or working on a farm for 30 years, the incidence (regardless of gender) increases to 2.4 times the risk of the general population. I would love to see a study done where organic farmers are specifically compared with farmers of industrial agriculture.

Similarly since the 1980s, farmers and farm workers are disproportionally affected with Parkinson’s compared to other occupations.

The main risk of pesticide exposure comes with their use – those applying the chemicals, or to those who may come in contact with the pesticide in the application process – which is often farm workers.  Town dwellers may be exposed to such pesticides by use in their own gardens (eg. aphid and weed control) and common parks, or in homes for the control of things like spiders, termites and flies. (Buy a fly swat!)

Not only are farmers that use chemicals exposed to the pesticides, but also consumers as they eat the food treated with pesticides. There is much work done on the maximum allowable residue levels in food, so that levels deemed as unsafe to humans (through testing) are not exceeded, thus saving the consumer from some of the above described health issues.  My concern however, is that residue limits that may be acceptable to a healthy adult may be different than for those already compromised with digestion difficulty, other body stressors, hormonal imbalances or malnutrition. No two bodies are the same and they respond to outside influences differently.

Pesticides are also not tested for their effects when in combination with other chemicals or the surfactants they are applied with – which would truly reflect their presence in our environment and society’s exposure. What impacts might the combination of different chemical groups in our body have on our health? What difference might there be between the safe levels determined by testing on animals versus the human body? I also wonder of the impact of consumption over the length of a lifetime, and wonder if how the acceptable daily intake is calculated is appropriate.

Children are particularly vulnerable due to their small mass. Similarly, the elderly have the challenge of their body’s decreased ability to regenerate from any damage. And of course pregnancy is a particularly important time to limit exposure to pesticides as the baby develops – with some indications of links between pesticides and birth defects. Persistent chemicals may be stored in the fat of our bodies where they are out of harm’s way (away from circulating in the blood and reaching the brain), but under the high need for energy during the last trimester of pregnancy, the body can draw on fat reserves, liberating toxins that may be stored there.

As I stated earlier, while I do think that robust health is associated with a number of interrelating factors – low stress, a wholefood diet, genetics & a strong constitution – exposure to pesticides is just one piece of the puzzle, but certainly one I like to avoid where possible.  Every ‘body’ is different, that’s why some people can smoke cigarettes for years and be seemingly OK, while others don’t get away with this.

Writing this I am grateful that we do not use pesticides on our farm. I am concerned for my friends who are farm owners and workers, I am concerned for my family as we live in a rural region where pesticides are used, and I am concerned for the impacts on the biodiversity in our soils and ecosystems. Chemicals that have been used in the past are now banned due to their health risks – this might occur again in the future with pesticides being used today.

I do think we will look back on this era of agricultural and shake our heads at what is currently considered ‘best practice’ production systems.

But please don’t place blame or attack farmers that use pesticides in their systems. Farmers are in an industry where ‘best practice’ involves chemical use and advice to them is heavy with those trained in these systems. (I know, I used to be one of the advisors!) Instead, make a choice with your buying dollar – there is an immediate advantage. The presence of pesticides in children’s urine samples has been shown to be immediately eliminated upon the introduction of an organic diet.

If the food you want is chemical free, choose to purchase from farmers who are managing chemically free, who are building their farm biodiversity and restoring their land or who are moving away from industrial agriculture systems. Increasing demand for such foods will mean greater incentives for farmers to move to this style of production. You will also, in turn, influence the wider environment around you with your choices – the health of the soil, flora and fauna and of the biodiversity in our ecosystems.

You as a consumer have the power to change your environment through your buying choices.

I am heartened by the growing number of farmers that are seeking  cleaner, better ways of doing things – of introducing much needed diversity to farming systems, of looking at ways to improve soil health, and in turn, plant health, which will reduce the need for pesticides. It’s a slow and gradual rise – but I see and feel it happening and it’s exciting!

There are more choices of food increasingly available that’s production history is known – through direct marketing and farmer’s markets.  Seek it out! Buying organic produce can be expensive, so do your own research on which foods have greater pesticide levels. Things like spinach are highly sprayed, yet really easy to grow in the garden.  You might pick out a few fruits or vegetables that have higher pesticide use, of which to buy chemical free.

(This discussion could continue further to include genetically modified foods and antibiotic and hormone use in food production, but I’ll spare you that today! (And of course, we use none of these in our beef production or on our farm).

In practicing what we preach, our grassfed beef is produced on our farm without the use of ANY pesticides. You are welcome to our farm any time – to come and have us share what we do. We have an open farm gate policy – you just need to call us and arrange an appropriate time! Our details are at our website.

You can also see our choice of grassfed beef hampers here – which we can have delivered to, or nearby to you.

The weather has certainly cooled down and there’s a change with the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Likewise, our cooking styles tend to change along with the recipes we reach for.  Here’s some tips and ideas for Winter cooking with different cuts!

Slow Cooking

I’m reaching for the round, blade and chuck for slow cooking (if it’s a bone in blade, cut the beef off the bone and dice, but throw the bone in the pot for extra goodness – more about that here). I also love ribs and osso bucco for a slow cook. Think beef and red wine, korma or Thai red curries. And all these cuts are really great for health with the bones and collagen they contain.

 

Add Roast Vegetables

When I cook a steak at this time of year, I like to roast some lovely root vegetables for on the side, rather than a salad or steamed vegetables that I might choose in warmer months. See the lovely honey and spiced recipe here. Serve on the side of an eye or scotch fillet, sirloin, rump or t-bone steak. Or on the side of some sausages too. (see recipe below)

 

Roast beef – grass fed of course!

Obviously winter is a great time for roast meats. I roast up a blade roast or slow roast the silverside cut and serve with a creamy pepper sauce (which I LOVE – I can’t stop tasting it as I make it!). Why not try this super tasty Beef Rendang curry with one of our silversides or with a brisket? We’ve had quite a number of customers comment that they’ve loved this recipe!

 

Mince

So many options for mince, but I like to go back to my pumpkin and feta topped shepherd’s pie or a traditional shepherd’s pie in Winter. I also love this recipe for Mexican Mince with Roast Sweet Potato – greek yoghurt, coriander and avocado – a great one for the paleo eaters. And for those that do eat grains – what about a beautiful Lasagna?

 

Stock/broth

Of course at this time of year I also want to make sure that I have some broth or stock on hand in the freezer and whilst I do use it all year round in my cooking, it’s in Winter that I most want to have it on hand. If I feel that first niggle of a cold or winter bug, I warm some up, add a generous pinch of sea salt (lots of micronutrients), and sip on it for morning tea or with a light dinner. And sometimes i do this just because it’s so beautifully warming on a cold day. I use our lovely mixed bone packs for broth making. Here’s our bone broth recipe.
You can confidently cook stock with our bones knowing there’s no nasties stored away in the bones that could come out with the slow cooking.

 

Stir fry

I reach for the topside or a rump steak when I’m cooking a stir fry. Be sure to slice the beef thinly and across the grain. Whilst in the warmer months I might cook a thai beef salad or make fun wraps for an easy dinner with these cuts, but in Winter I move to beef and vegetable stir fry with generous grinds of pepper and dashes of tamari. (Great opportunity for heaps of vegetables – carrot, red capsicum, snow peas or sugar snaps, beans, small broccoli florets and bok choy) – serve on a small bed of rice.

 

Brisket

If I find myself cooking for a crowd in Winter, a brisket can be great. These don’t come standard with our hampers, but you can add them to your hamper, just as you can add bones. Slow cook and pull to serve – lots of recipe options for different flavours, but this Rendang curry mentioned above is always a pleaser.

Every cut makes a fabulous meal – they just need to be used appropriately. If you’re not sure how to use a particular cut, please call me rather than using it in a way that disappoints. 0417 894 474.

We hope you enjoy some fun cool-weather cooking and experimenting with different recipes.

Kirrily x
See our list of Hampers available for delivery here, including how to add brisket.

The young years of our children’s lives are so important to set them up with a robust start to learning, interaction, happiness and good health. I hear in the news concern over the literacy and numeracy levels of children in our country and references to the need for more or better teachers. While my own experience tells me that teachers certainly have an influence, I also believe that poor nutrition and a pollutant heavy environment is actually reducing the capacity of our children to learn. For some, it wouldn’t matter if they have the best teacher in Australia, the level to which they will climb may be limited by their diets and environment.

The science that I read tells me that a seriously important part of giving the best start to our babies, toddlers and children is choosing to feed them with appropriate, clean food. A specifically important part of this diet is the type of fats that we choose to consume. I have mentioned before the importance of having an appropriate ratio of Omega 3: Omega 6 fats in our diets, but I want to explain the importance of that in developing brains.

 

“There are two windows of time in which the brain is especially sensitive to nutrition: the first two years of life for a growing baby and the last couple of decades of life for a senior citizen. Both growing and aging brains need nutritious fats”.1

 

With 50% of the calories in mothers milk being fat, you can see the that nature is telling us the importance of them. And the fats that a breastfeeding mother consumes will influence the fats in the milk produced.

Without worrying about the technicality of the name, DHA is one kind of Omega 3 fatty acid, and it is actually a structural part of the brain tissue. (In fact 60% of the brain is made of fats). Decreased DHA in the developing brain leads to deficits in the growth of brain tissues, decreases in the chemical messengers of the brain, as well as altered learning and visual function in animals.2  “So it stands to reason that a deficiency of DHA in the diet could translate into a deficiency in brain function.”3 This is basically the science supporting the fact that children of today’s society may have a reduced capacity to learn! Scary isn’t it?

Oh and did you notice the comment about visual function? I notice the amount of children wearing glasses in the classroom today compared when I was at school. It’s many more. I’m sure there are many things at play here, but this science is saying that the type of fats we eat are negatively influencing vision.

Given that I’m sharing this with you, you might not be surprised to learn that grass fed beef has significantly higher levels of omega 3’s than omega 6’s, and higher levels of the DHA omega 3’s than grain fed animals. How our food is produced matters! Fish is actually the best source of DHA Omega 3’s, but again how it is grown matters. Fish that are farmed today are fed grains like wheat, corn and soybeans as part of their diet, which alters the makeup of the final product. Fish that aren’t farmed and are caught wild, well how pristine is that environment?

The point is, we should make conscious choices about the things we feed ourselves and especially our young children. They are at a critical stage in terms of brain development and we can help to set them up for the best start in life. And don’t forget pregnancy too, there’s lots of brain growth going on then!

Why not cook up a beautiful slow cooked stew for your little one? The beef will be super soft and perfect for little ones to eat when there’s not a lot of teeth about yet! Slow cooking also has the plus of providing collagen – and all the wonderful health benefits associated with it.

You see, while our business is grassfed beef and supplying that to conscious families provides us a living – we don’t just want to sell beef, we want to educate society. We want you to consider these things, tell your friends, do your own research and we want to make a genuine difference to the understanding and health of society. I’m sure you’ve heard ‘let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food’ before. This is best tried in prevention of disease and ill health – it may not help if you’re already in a dire health state. It’s the little choices every day and every meal that add up…

If you are interested in one of our grassfed beef hampers, you can see the choices here.

Yours in conscious eating and great health.

Kirrily x

1&3. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/family-nutrition/dha-and-omega-3s/dha-brain-food
2.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18789910

 

I love the New Year! After a little ‘life space’ and time off from usual activities over Christmas and New Year, it’s easier to step back from life and see a big picture view.  It’s a great time to re-assess ones goals for life.  For me this includes business, health, holiday and family goals. I have also had more time for reading over the holidays, which means new ideas, or a fresh understanding of why I do things.

Health always forms part of my goals and the New Year is a great time to refocus on whole, nutritious eating. These are some of the things that I consider when cooking for my family. I’m not saying these things will be right for you, but being aware of how different foods might affect us, can help us to determine if they are right for us. So here’s the basic conscious eating guide that I use for my best health.

Eat whole foods

I choose to cook and eat with whole foods. This is a great start to eating for your body’s best health – it eliminates preservatives, colourings and flavourings from your diet – all which can be irritants to the gut and brain.  When we remove processed foods and additives, it then becomes easier to listen to our body and see if there are any whole foods that aren’t right for us.

I don’t get caught up in being super strict when I’m out – as avoiding processed foods isn’t always possible. I have a good friend who says ”Everything in moderation – even moderation!” I think this is a great thing to take on board. If we are so strict with our eating that it causes us to worry when we can’t avoid the things we want to – the worry about this may well be as bad for us as the food!

As well as the food itself, consider how it is grown or raised – chemical free, 100 % grass fed, free range for meats and eggs and chemical free fruit and vegetables wherever you can access them (or grow your own!).  I have written before about the benefits of grass fed beef – the principles and advantages of which can be applied to other meats and eggs.

Include protein with all meals

I always include a protein source with all of my meals. The proteins I choose from include:

  • Grass fed red meats, pasture raised poultry and pork
  • Eggs from pasture raised chooks.
  • Cheese & yoghurt
  • Nuts (best soaked – see below).
  • Wild fish from clean waters
  • Legumes. I personally don’t eat legumes as I can feel that I dont’ digest them well (even when they’re soaked), but they may be for you – listen to your body! (Best soaked – see below).

I want to include protein in all my meals as it is essential for normal growth, for building and repairing cells and for building and maintaining muscle. It can not be stored by the body, so it is important to consume every day. There are 22 amino acids that make up proteins, eight of which cannot be synthesized by the body, so must be consumed in food.  Of these essential 8 amino acids, animal proteins are the only proteins that contains all of these essential amino acids in the one food. Maybe this is why we have a number of ‘reformed’ vegetarians and/or vegans that come to us for quality beef – not having felt well on a strict vegetarian or vegan diet.

Including protein with each meal helps to make me feel full (satiated) for longer.  I love to eat porridge made with soaked oats, but I feel hungry within about 40 minutes and it also just doesn’t make me feel great in the stomach.

Hormones and enzymes (which carry out chemical reactions in the body) are both proteins and both very important parts of a well-functioning body so another reason to include proteins with each meal.

With regard to grassfed beef protein, consuming a variety of cuts, including slow cooked, collagen rich cuts is also a great thing for health.

Be informed about grains, seeds, nuts and beans

Some of our customers are paleo eating, some are gluten free – our family are not strictly either, but we do limit our grain, seed and legume intake and I’ll explain why. Regardless of what YOU choose to eat though, what I would hope is that you are making informed, conscious choices and then taking note of how you feel (energy levels, thought clarity, physically).

The main reason I limit the intake of grains and seeds is due to anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are compounds in the food which prevent the absorption of minerals and vitamins during digestion – especially calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper.

They are present in grains and seeds to prevent their attack by pests or in the case of phytic acid (you may have heard of this), it is present to prevent the seed from germinating until the correct conditions are present. It inhibits digestion by binding to the above mentioned nutrients and prevents their absorption into the body. Many foods also contain phytates (compared with phytic acid), which are helpful enzymes that break down phytic acid. The problem being that phytates can be damaged through modern day processing of food – even the modern milling of flour.

It seems that some people have a greater ability to digest seeds and grains well – most likely a reflection of healthy gut flora and a strong constitution. For those that aren’t blessed with this, the results of not accessing these nutrients can be cavities in teeth, general poor growth and osteoporosis, as the bones don’t get their required calcium and other nutrients.

The negative impacts of phytic acid can be somewhat overcome through thoughtful preparation of seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. Because the phytic acid inhibits is present to prevent germination when the seed has less than ideal conditions, if we provide those ideal conditions then we can influence the phytic acid.  Soaking seeds and nuts begins the enzymatic changes that occur for the seed to germinate – part of which is the activation of the enzyme phytase, which breaks down the phytic acid.  So, soaking seeds, nuts, legumes and grains before using them will make digestion of them easier. You can learn detailed explanations of what to do to reduce phytic acid in seeds and grains at the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Another small comment on legumes – I refrain from eating soy products, as I don’t want their oestrogen like effects. I do cook with tamari, as it is a fermented soy product, similar to soy sauce, but I always choose an organic form to avoid any GMO’s (as so many soybeans are genetically modified).

Choose your fats wisely

Fats have gotten a bad rap in the past, but the tide is turning. I know they’re important to have in my food – so long as I choose the right ones. I make sure that the fats I include in cooking have a low Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio, which comes in meat from animals that are grass fed and wild fish.  I avoid polyunsaturated fatty acids (like sunflower, canola and soy oil), avoid hydrogenated fats or oils (like margarine), and choose something with an appropriate smoke point for how I am cooking. I have written in detail about these things before. So the fats I choose to cook adn eat are tallow, butter, lard, coconut oil and olive oil.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruits, vegetables and grains are actually all forms of carbohydrates. I generally choose fruits and vegetables for my carbohydrate intake – limiting grains for reasons mentioned above. I think comments about fruits and vegetables are pretty straight forward. There are lots of vitamins and minerals to be had from both fresh and cooked fruit and vegetables (although not as much as what there used to be unless you know it has been grown in healthy, microbial rich soil). Organic is best but if cost is a factor, do some research on which fruits or vegetables have the most pesticides applied and prioritise buying those organic.

When we consume protein, easily available energy is required in order for the body to be able to break it down. If we consume some fruit or a small amount of freshly squeezed fruit juice with a meal, this energy is readily available.  Now this is really important, especially if you have or are considering omitting sugar (in its many forms) from your diet. In the absence of this energy to help break down the protein, the body activates the stress response and draws on stores of sugar (glycogen) in the liver. If liver stores are low (which they commonly are today, due to the stress of life, past eating influences etc), then this becomes an even greater stress to the body.

We have written about this here on our website and here is another great source of information for your reference (http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/glycemia.shtml).

So, I always try to include a readily available energy source with my meals that is not highly starch based.

Good health to you!

There will be many influences on what foods nourish you best and those that nourish me best. These include heritage, age, hormones (time of the month for women), nutrition from childhood and general health or constitution. Just because you used to be able to eat something 15 years ago without any trouble, doesn’t necessarily mean that will still apply – things change with age.

Here I’ve merely told you what I do as a way of raising awareness. Listen to your body, how do you feel when you eat? Consider energy levels, brain clarity, how your gut feels and other more chronic things like aching joints or stiff muscles.

It’s somewhat frustrating that we can’t just eat any whole food and be done with it – but a little bit of exploration might help you reap greater health rewards. If you’d like to order one of our chemical free, 100% grass fed beef hampers to contribute to your new year’s conscious eating, you can see options and order here.

Good health, Kirrily

If you’ve ever had digestive disturbances like a bloated stomach, you’ll know it’s not very comfortable. So, it’s always nice when we solve such a problem for a customer. I was most excited to hear from Derek that we had some feedback from a customer at the Tamworth Grower’s Markets recently that our sausages are the only ones that she has found that she can eat!  The others make her feel bloated. How fantastic that we can provide this product for her!

I don’t know this for sure, but it is my guess that the preservative added to most other sausages is what is causing this customer’s discomfort. Given that our sausages are preservative free, this may well be the difference. Our sausages are also gluten free, and while gluten may be an upset for some, I reckon it’s the lack of preservative that’s the thing creating the difference and a happy tummy for our customer.

And if you’re at all aware of the link between gut health and mind health (which are very close), then you would realise that we all should be as kind to our gut as possible.

There is more and more evidence of the importance of healthy gut biota (including a huge range of bacteria) on mood and health. Given that preservatives are put into food to prevent spoilage by suppressing microbial and bacterial growth, what makes us think that they stop these effects once they enter our digestive tract?

We have a second brain! Wait…What!?
Did you know we have a ‘second brain’? There are a network of neurons embeded in the lining of our gut that is partly responsible for both mood and influencing disease. According to Scientific American, 90% of the information moving along one of the main nerves connecting our brain to the gut, actually goes in the direction from the gut to the brain! Upset in this second brain (known as the enteric nervous system) has been connected to autism, depression and even osteoporosis. The bacteria of the gut are believed to ‘communicate’ with this second brain. Fascinating, and to date not well understood, but despite the relatively low level of understanding of this ‘second brain’ and how it interacts, I think it’s safe to say that the more we support our guts with good, whole food that is right for each of us personally (because this will vary between us), then the better off we’ll be – mentally and physically.

But as I always say – I’m not a doctor or naturopath, so don’t take my word for it.  There’s heaps of information and research available – take charge, understand and be proactive about your health – it’s empowering!

As a final note, there’s also nothing like listening to your body. Once you cut out processed foods, it becomes easier to isolate certain food types that don’t sit well with you. So listen to your body.

Food matters, Kirrily x