USDA

Shame on You, Sugar

We all now know that sugars are to blame for so much of our chronic disease and contracting life spans, right? Diabetes, heart, obesity, senility, possibly even certain forms of cancer (although cancer sounds like a stretch to me). But even more evidence is surfacing that missing the mark on the cause of increasing rates of disease was not mere negligence but downright malfeasance in both our government and our industries.

If you missed it, JAMA reported in its November 2016 edition that it had clear evidence that the sugar industry knew that sugar was the cause of rising heart disease in the 1950’s. So they promoted publicity to blame heart attacks on animal fats instead of sugars, and funded false-result studies to support their claims. The result was to form a tripartite force of food processors, the USDA and sugar businesses whose goal was to blame beef and pork for disease while adding foods like sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils to our diet. They cut off government funding to any researcher who dared to suggest otherwise, and pilloried anyone who used private funding to question their false claims. Wow. We all lost our innocence with this one, yes?

“Organic”

What does organic mean today? We at JVF don’t want to sound like whiners, but we do want you to know the facts. And the fact is, it’s not what it used to be. But to be fair, it is better than before the organic movement got legs. That’s also the fact. There are fewer chemicals sold and put down on the ground today than there were before the movement. That’s progress and we should recognize it. And support it when we can’t find it from a local farmer. Our family does. You should too. But you also need to know that when it comes to meat, you have to ask more than whether it is “new organic”. Are the creatures raised in cages or feedlots? Are they fed antibiotics and hormones? Are they sprayed with pesticides to keep the flies off of them. Where are the waste materials dumped? Are the waterways, air and soils being improved? How far away were the creatures raised and how did the government know if the standards were really followed? In how many different plants were the meats processed?

Or you can keep it simple – buy locally from farmers you know. As a subset to that suggestion, true grass-fed and pastured meats are also less expensive than Big Food charges.

Sustainable, affordable sustenance. That’s what it’s all about at Jolie Vue Farms.

News Flash!

Correspondence discovered that sugar industry paid harvard to rig the results to convince public and our government that animal fats, not sugars, were the cause of heart disease. Following those “studies”, the leading collaborator became chief of nutrition at the USDA. Disgusting.

We now know that animal fats do not cause heart disease (though grass-fed fats do act affirmatively to protect our hearts) and that sugar is the culprit. So when you see “Low or No Fat” on the label, BEWARE! They probably added sugar to make the product palatable.

At the Tipping Point. Is Organic Now Organic-Not?

There was a time when certified organic meant something. Is that still the case? The question is now up for debate as the USDA standards allow over 250 nonorganic substances to be applied to “certified organic” vegetables and fruits.

First a little history.

Back in the days when Whole Foods (the fledgling company) was first making its mark in Austin, we really did have purity in the organic food market, and it was done without government oversight.  As the number of small farmers grew, Texas adopted standards of its own. Under those original standards, there was no exception. You grew organically or you didn’t get or maintain your certification. JVF was one of the first to be Texas-certified in its original pear orchard, so I speak from experience (the orchard failed for lack of rain but not for lack of chemicals. Yes, we were droughty in the ‘90s too.).

There are now 250+ nonorganic substances allowed in the “certified organic” program. People are rightfully beginning to question whether organic certification means anything. How did this happen? Big Food and its favorite partner, Big Government. Once the certification process moved to D.C., the K Street boys moved with it. The Food lobby has apparently taken control of certification. All the more reason to know your farmer - there is still wholesome food to be found out there. The question is, can you find it in the supermarket?

A Little Clarity, Please

Speaking of “all natural”, people ask me what it means when they see it on the grocery labels. So I start with the truth – “not what you might think”. There is the usual definition in Oxford’s, and then there is the USDA definition. It is the USDA definition that you see or hear about regarding food. The latter definition evolved as a result of the mass producers pressuring the USDA to create terminology to help them compete with the growing demand for unadulterated food. Our government complied - of course. Never believe that the USDA stands for the everyday citizen. They are all about the Bigs.

Oxford’s defines natural as “established by nature; having a basis in the normal constitution of things; taking place in conformity with the ordinary course of nature.” Sounds like drug-free, grass-fed and finished beef, forested pork and free range chicken and eggs, doesn’t it.

The USDA defines natural as “minimally processed”. Do you know what that means? I don’t. It is so ambiguous as to be nearly unidentifiable. And that’s the point. Our government strikes again.

But I must be fair. Some producers have taken it upon themselves to add more definition to the term. For instance, when Niman Ranch uses the word, they impose upon themselves a requirement that there be no sub-therapeutic antibiotics nor artificial hormones added to the beeve’s diet. But Niman’s is not grass-fed and finished, instead finished on processed corn. I give them credit for progress, but they are by no means “all natural”. The same is true of Laura’s Lean Beef. Corn finished. I suspect the same is true of Nolan Ryan’s beef, but have not verified that. But I don’t know how you make Brahma cows raised in the prickly pear of South Texas edible without putting them in corn feed-lots. If Nolan does, he’s an All-Star in beef as well as baseball.

More Reasons to Eat Grass-fed

Excerpted from the American Grassfed Association:

According to a 2009 study* conducted by the USDA and Clemson University, grassfed beef is better for human health than grainfed beef in ten ways:
1. Lower in total fat
2. Higher in beta-carotene
3. Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
4. Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
6. Higher in total omega-3s
7. Better ratio of omega-6 to 3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
8. Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
9. Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
10. Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease

In past issues of this newsletter, we've discussed the top 5 health reasons for eating grassfed beef. Today, we're going to talk about numbers 6 through ten, all of which have to do with fats.

We've been brainwashed into thinking that all fats are bad for us, but the truth is that fats are a necessary component of a healthy diet. The human body needs an array of fats in the right amounts to function and remain disease-free. Grassfed beef is one way to add those healthy fats to a balanced diet.

Omega-3 and 6 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fats that play an important part in growth and metabolism. They can't be synthesized by the human body, so they have to come from our diet. Both reduce inflammation, lower the amount of serum cholesterol and triglycerides, prevent excess clotting and reduce the risk of cancer.

While both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are important individually, they also work in tandem and the ratio is critical. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a typical Western diet can be excessively heavy on the Omega 3s – up to a 30:1 ratio – when the ideal is closer to 1:1. The proper ratio can reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is another potent weapon in the arsenal against chronic disease. CLA can reduce cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and insulin resistance.

Vaccenic Acid is a transfat that occurs naturally in ruminant animals, but unlike its synthetically-produced cousins, is important for good health. A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that vaccenic acid protects against artherosclerosis, a contributing factor in cardiovascular disease.

Saturated Fats (cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins – LDL or “bad” cholesterol) all play a significant role in heart disease and stroke.

The choice is clear – grassfed beef is the healthy way to eat.