Regenerative Farming: Good for the Planet & for You: Part 2
As we saw in Part 1- Big AG and Big Food are responsible for industrial practices, which means quantity, not quality. It is harmful to the planet to produce mass amounts of monocrops, but it’s also detrimental to your body and mind to constantly eat these monocrops and have a diet filled with mainly wheat, corn, and soy, versus a more plant-based and protein-rich diet.
The battle to revert to organic farming and eat mostly whole foods can seem daunting up against all these packaged foods and fast-food options, yet it is possible!
To start, stay away from the aisles in the grocery store with all the boxes. Instead, if you shop around the perimeter of your grocery store, you will notice you’ll only be passing by the fruits and vegetables, the fish and meat sections, the dairy section, and the frozen food section, in most cases.
The middle aisles are full of cookies, breakfast bars, cereals, bread, soda, and more. Let’s look at artificial ingredients in these products and the harm they cause.
Carrageenan: found in Activia yogurt, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, store-bought coffee creamers and sweeteners, McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. It is a filler/thickener/emulsifier linked to IBS and cancer.
Glyphosate: found in Oreos, Doritos, Lay’s, Honey Nut Cheerios, Nature Valley Granola, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. It is a harsh pesticide, also known as Round-Up, sprayed on non-organic crops and linked to cancer, heart disease, and depletes the gut microbiome.
Food coloring and artificial dyes: found in Froot Loops, Pop Tarts, Fruit Gushers, Go-gurts, Lucky Charms. They are made from petroleum and listed as Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, for example, and are linked to ADD and ADHD.
Calcium Propionate: found in Wendy’s, Arby’s, Sara Lee’s breads. It is a preservative linked to increased cravings and weight-gain.
Hexane: found in vegetable oils like canola oil, corn oil, and soybean oil. It is a neurotoxic solvent that is detrimental to the nervous system.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: found in Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kool-Aid, Pop Tarts, Toaster Strudels, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, Mott’s applesauce, Twinkies, Smucker’s Peanut Butter and Jam, Lunchables, Heinz Ketchup. An ultra-processed sweetener linked to increased cravings, weight-gain, inflammation, heart disease, and obesity.
Buying any of these products is not good for you or the planet. Instead, stick to whole foods because they’re natural for you and the planet. Now let’s look at whole foods and the wellness they create.
Vegetables: such as broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflower, and tomatoes, are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Known to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent different types of cancer.
Fruits: such as berries, apples, pears, kiwis, and lemons, are important sources of antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium. Known to help fight against free radicals, maintain healthy skin, nails, hair, and promotes good digestion.
Olives or extra-virgin olive oil: rich in monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. Proven to reduce inflammation, improve mental focus and memory, promotes a healthy heart.
Grass-fed butter or ghee: rich in Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Proven to improve vision, boost the immune system, support kidney function.
Free-range eggs: high levels of beta carotene, flavonoids, and carotenoid antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Proven to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and curb cravings.
Organic meat (free-range, pasture-raised, fed 100% organic feed and forage, not administered antibiotics or hormones): rich in protein, iodine, iron, zinc, vitamins B12, and essential fatty acids. Proven to lower the risk of heart disease, sarcopenia, obesity, diabetes, and memory loss.
The Question Concerning Cows
I do mention animal protein a lot and that’s because they are a “complete protein”. That means they have all nine of the essential amino acids, including BCAA’s. However, there’s all this talk and worry about how cows (and their farts) are releasing methane into the air, contributing to climate change. Let me say it like so many other health professionals are saying it: It’s not the cow, it’s the how!
Grass-fed, free-range cows often found on regenerative farms are NOT the cause NOR contributing to climate change. As we saw in Part 1, cows who graze the land outside help keep the soil rich and diversified.
In fact, it is the factories like CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), and lab-grown meat companies like Beyond Burger and Impossible Foods that make vegan/vegetarian burgers that contribute 4 - 25x more to climate change. Yes, that’s up to 25 times more CO2, as seen in the study below.
Whether it’s a CAFO beef patty, a vegan patty, or a new insect-protein meal… their energy needs and factory emissions are far more damaging to the planet than cows on regenerative farmland.
The best practice for you and the planet is to be an omnivore. This means obtaining energy and nutrients from plant and animal matter. Choose the best of both worlds, eating plants and animals, as our ancestors did.
Choose organic and regenerative as it is better for the environment. It promotes fewer fossil fuels, less hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. It helps sinks CO2 into the ground, enriches the soil, increases biodiversity, and helps quality of run-off water.
Finally, to simplify things, think about if your grandparents or great grandparents would be able to identify it or not. For instance, would they know Lucky Charms or eggs? Cheetos or blueberries? Twinkies or almonds?
Stay away from these so-called “convenience foods” and make a conscious effort to stick to whole foods, like eggs, blueberries, and almonds. The growth and production of whole foods are better for you and the planet!
For more information, here are some excellent resources to learn more about regenerative farming. Perfect timing for the harvest season! (I am not affiliated with any of these products or people, just a follower myself).
What to read:
Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet--One Bite at a Time! By Dr. Mark Hyman https://store.drhyman.com/products/food-fix
Feeding You Lies: How to Unravel the Food Industry's Playbook and Reclaim Your Health by Vani Hari. https://feedingyoulies.com/
What to watch:
Kiss the Ground
The Biggest Little Farm
Who to follow:
The Carbon Cowboys: https://carboncowboys.org
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming: www.drawdown.org
Vani Hari aka- The Food Babe: https://www.instagram.com/thefoodbabe
Dr. Mark Hyman: https://www.instagram.com/drmarkhyman/?hl=en