Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One Reason I'm Sick

Nutritionists have been discovering more and more about Omega-3 fatty acids lately, but I hadn't read anything like this before about them. Basically, in the Good Ol' Days when cows and chickens grazed the pastures for their food, choosing the choicest green grasses and plantlife over years rather than months, they ate a larger amount of cellulose that provided our dairy products and meat with omega-3s. However, today, we're just packing farm animals together and feeding them wheat, soy bean, seed oil and corn. These ingredients contains fats from the other fatty acid, omega-6, which is more rigid and used shape our cells. Omega-3s are more flexible and help us fight inflammation among other things (that's what the article said, anyway). That said, the average diet 100+ years ago before the days of commercial farming had a ratio of 1:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Today's ratio is more like 20:1... Which might explain why food allergies (inflammation), asthma (inflammation), cancer (mutation and then inflammation) and, of course, my IBD (inflammation is the first word) are all on the rise. They've even linked it to diabetes, depression and heart disease. Crazy...

The article states that they're going to fortify future foods with omega-3s, which should help turn things around. However, I always wonder what additional catalysts, enzymes and other useful ingredients those cow and chicken (and of course, a current source: small, fatty fish) by-products provided to us we're missing. I guess I trust God's design more for some reason. I'm grateful our scientists are figuring this stuff out now and hopefully we'll see some turnarounds in the future for these problems. However, just like a few years ago when they discovered ulcers were caused by bad bacteria overgrowth, they went crazy in prescribing a certain kind of antibiotic that got rid of the ulcer-producing bacteria. However, in doing so, they killed off the same or similar bacteria cultures that were SUPPOSED to be there for to regulate and help the lungs and respitory system, thus causing asthma-like symptoms... Something else I contracted and have since gotten over (for different, but possibly similar reasons) thanks to exercise and better eating habits.

After reading Mr. Apartian's article "Have You Had the Mumps... Yet?", I get the sense that while I can blame the food industry along with our own ignorance of these biological complexities, I need to really evaluate if I really have a greater role in eating right. Perhaps all the restaurants and grocery store meat and produce are lacking in the nutrients we require, but should I blame someone else and then go ahead and eat? There are other options, as Annette and others have pointed out. Even if you don't have land to plant a garden, you can work together with those to those who do in planting one, assisting with the work, in order to get a healthier food supply. Rachel and I started buying our own beef from a farmer, one who unfortunately uses commercial farming practices, but nonetheless, we've know it's possible to find a farmer who doesn't since we've left the idea of grocery store meat behind for the most part. When we lived in a townhome, we had friends store meat for us until we had money to purchase a deep freeze.

These are just ideas I have running around my head. Perhaps we in the Church really do need to analyze far more where our food comes from and realize that we have a large role in our own deteriorating health and can actually do something soon to stop it. Doing so may give us a food supply when our current source of food has shortages. And while the health gains may not be immediate, I've always been told that we're reaping today what we've sown 5-10 years ago, how much more true that could be 5-10 years from now when the food supply may be just a few molecules away from almost being plastic... Perhaps that's an overstatement, but I'm not willing to take a chance on it anymore. For those of us with inflammation problems, diseases, cancer, heart problems and stroke, or those who will, the time is now to start changing.


Annette said...

You can find all the good stuff here: http://www.localharvest.org/

Local farms, CSAs, grass-fed beef, farm fresh eggs, free range chicken, organic oranges. Anything and everything you could want in terms of locally grown, nutritious food that's outside the realm of the Food System. If you're not familiar with CSAs, I highly highly highly recommend looking into them.

KC has some serious farmer's markets as well (City Market, etc.), which are always good places to connect with local growers whose practices you actually agree with.

In my job we work closely with the Fahrmeier Brothers who are totally awesome and have a fruit and vegetable farm off the Odessa exit (http://fahrmeierfarms.blogspot.com/). They're also very active at the KC markets. Just an example that there are great, great, great growers out there who really believe in what they're producing, because they feed it to their families, too.

Mikeesee said...

Very cool. Thanks for the info! Hopefully, the costs aren't ridiculously high just because it's "ORGANIC". But we'll definitely look into it.

And of course, Rachel and I are starting to plan our garden for this year, maybe even trying to get other church folks involved.