Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Constant "fresh starts" are welcomed!

I'm trying to figure out how to say this and make sense.  I see myself and my husband ending at perfection.  Is that too blunt?  Reason being:  When we started eating Paleo, it was a challenge - everything was new.  Then we fell off the wagon over Xmas time...BUT still keeping some of what we had learned in our diet, i.e., drinking black coffee or the Paleo way of drinking it, coconut milk and honey, and we mostly kept out the grains.  Then summer came and I was like, "We need to straighten up!"  So our Paleo attempt started again.  Now, several months into summer - we have kept it MOSTly up, but -- as I'm writing, I'm trying to think how I cheated and the only thing that has come to mind is BEER and for me, ICECREAM :)  loL.  So I don't know if you see my point yet....

I'll say a few more things then get to the point if you haven't seen it yet.
I remember, I think, it was in June telling Von, my sister, that "Here's to another "start."  And her response has stuck w/ me.  It was something to the effect of "Another false start is better than not doing anything at all -- or eating bad today, again."  All the good days will add up for your health, even if they're not each consecutive day.

So now, to the point - over the last 10 months my diet has changed drastically towards being all Paleo, even though we haven't been "perfect."  So even when we cheat, they're better cheats :)  When I've gone to restaurants, I still pick the better choices of veggies and my fish or shrimp -- not a burger!  Now, the choice of not eating a burger is a little harder for Julio, but he's getting there!  He LOVES our local restaurant's 'Big Catch' plate :)  So I hope that this has made sense.  Don't give up, your life to better eating takes time.  Baby steps.  You'll make it there.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

God’s perfect food…the egg.

God has given us perfect foods to use throughout the centuries to sustain us. From our roots of nomads, wandering and following herds of animals, to figuring out we can contain them and stay in one place, God has given us foods that are perfect fit for our bodies. It’s only in the last century that we have mixed science with our food production and altered it so it’s not of God and our bodies doesn’t recognize any longer. Meat, milk, and plants are the staples of our diet from centuries ago. And lets me honest, we human’s get bored with eating the same thing day after day. Thus we try to make things different to change it up.

photo: unknown
photo: unknown

  Today let’s talk about the perfect egg. As nomads these were yummy treats we found with all sorts of birds we came across, Turkey, quail, chickens, sea birds, etc. When human’s first domesticated chickens in Asia, Africa, and Europe (around 6000 B.C.) they used chickens of Indian origin for cockfighting. Little attention was giving to meat or egg production of chickens at that time. Over time we learned that money could be made from selling eggs and meats in market. Most homesteaders across the globe raised their own birds for eggs and meat. It was a staple of the diets. Then they industrial era hit the world in the 1900’s in the egg production market when the refrigerator was invented. Eggs could be transported longer distances and kept longer. Thus was born the cage chicken egg layer in mass production farms. These farms are regulated by state and federal laws and the chickens are kept fed and watered adequately. But as you can see that’s not letting chickens be a chicken. Chickens in tight quarters also have a tendency to peck on each other. This is not good for the farmer so they do what called trimming the beaks of the birds. Notice that the top beak is shorter than the bottom. They are trimmed at a young age using a clipper. This does not affect eating and drinking. However it is not necessary for free range chickens.

  Over time people understood what was happening to their food and wanted different. I think mainly because of the inhuman treatment that was splashed over the media. People wanted more control of their food. Thus was re-born hobby farmer. People not raise their own meat birds and layer birds for meat and eggs. I do not believe nutrition was the focus more of a side effect of this. After years of people knowing that small farm raised meat and eggs were better for you and me, now we have studies that show this. Motherearthnews.com did a study in 2007 from 14 different flocks of chickens around the country that range freely on pasture or are housed in moveable pens that are rotated frequently to maximize access to fresh pasture and protect the birds from predators. Six eggs from each of the 14 flocks were tested in an accredited lab in Portland, Oregon. The results shows the average nutrient contentof the samples, compared with the official egg nutrient data from the USDA for “conventional” (i.e. from confined hens) eggs. The chart lists the individual results from each flock.

Free Range Eggs
·      1/3 less cholesterol
·      ¼ less saturated fat
·      2/3 more vitamin A
·      2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
·      3 times more vitamin E
·      7 times more beta carotene

photo: creativecoops.com

It’s not merely a question of health to some; it’s also a question of taste. Free range eggs taste better. This is because chickens do natural grazing on insects and plants. Yolk color will reflect this. Free range eggs yolks are darker in color due to diet. Sadly, there are now feeds on the market that have additives in the feed that make darker yolks to provide what consumers want, an easy way to tell if it’s free range or not. Now it’s not  hard to copy this for large cage farmers. How can you tell if your eggs are coming from free range chickens? Simple…know your farmer. Visit the farm you get your eggs from. Honest farmers welcome visitors. Just asking to see pictures is not the best way. Those can be printed off the internet.

And now for some interesting egg facts…
1.     Eggs are better unwashed. The hen puts a natural coating on the egg when it’s laid to prevent bacteria to penetrate the shell when incubating and developing the baby chick. Yes, there may be poo on the shell then, but just wash it before you crack it open and you’ll be fine.
2.     Eggs do not have to be refrigerated. Why? Eggs were never refrigerated before we had refrigerators. Think about it. Eggs do last longer in the refrigerator, about a month or two. Eggs are good on the counter for about a week. It’s better to do this with eggs that are unwashed. See reason above. One day on the counter equals one week in the refrigerator.
3.     The average hens lays an average of 250 eggs per year.
4.     The average person eats 172 eggs per year.
5.     95% of eggs produced in the US are from caged hens. That is approminately 266 million hens.
6.     A caged hen has only 67 square inches of cage space. That’s less than a single sheet of paper to live her entire life on.
7.     Free range hens can forage, nest, perch, dust bathe, and exercise freely in open fields.
8.     Caged hens are forced to molt to increase egg production (molting: loose their feathers, which is a natural annual behavior in free range hens) by starving the hens for 7-14 days, causeing the hens to lose weight, lose feathers and, in some cases, die.

Know your facts for reading cartons: Labels may not mean what you think. There are guidelines set for free-range, cage-free, organic labeling. Here is what these labels mean to the USDA standards.

Again: the best way to know how your chickens are raises is to visit the farm.

 -  Andrea Deihl