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Eat For Your Health, Eat For Planetary Health

Check both boxes every time.

What does good farming practice have to do with healthcare? Better farming systems and practices can create more nutrient density in the food we eat and eliminate toxins which permeate our soils and the majority of our food products. Specific practices such as grass-based farming systems for livestock are better for the animals, the soils, and contribute to a better balance of the fatty acid profile in the final fat and meat product. This has a direct correlation to your health. 

The discussion of Omega 3 fatty acids versus Omega 6 fatty acids is no longer a foreign concept to most of us that have any interest in our overall health and well-being. Omega six fatty acids play a large role in the story of  inflammation and the damage it can create in your body. You may not know that auto-immune disease, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia all have root causes related to overactive inflammatory responses in the body. This can be directly impacted by your nutritional choices. 

If we know that inflammation is the underlying cause of our major health concerns we must look at what is the cause of our inflammation. Often the inflammation is a result of what is being called a leaky gut. A compromised gut lining allows proteins to leak out into your blood where they trigger an inflammatory response to the foreign bodies that are not supposed to be in the bloodstream. Toxins and mycotoxins such as pesticides and mold are pervasive in our grocery store foods, organic and non-organic, indigestible grains and bad fats/oils, and over abundance of sugars can also be cause or be contributing factors to leaky gut. In case you haven’t heard this one- antibiotics kill your gut bacteria, healthy and unhealthy alike. Taking them or getting them indirectly in the meats your purchase does impact your gut health. 

Did you also know about the gut-brain connection? Hormones can and do affect your gut and conversely what’s in your gut affects your hormones. Prebiotics, probiotics, sugar, all affect your hormones. Stress levels and sleep, ALL have an effect on your hormones.  Guess what? Your hormones affect how you deal with stress and how you sleep. Does it sound like an intense cycle of cause and effect? It is. In acknowledging this- and if you don’t believe me, just start googling for the latest research trends, you can not ignore the impact your food choices have on your health.

Choose foods for your family that have the highest nutrient density. Foods that are grown in the healthiest soils, not treated with pesticides, herbicides (in sprays or in GMO seeds), animals that are not given antibiotics, hormones or other chemicals . These are your best options and can be found if you get to know your sources and how the food is farmed. Grass-fed meats are by far healthier than grain-fed meat, and ALL fats are not created equal. Get to know why and what healthy fats you need in your diet either by eating animal protein , adding fats, or cooking with oils. 

Each individual has specific needs for his/hers/theirs optimal well-being. Determine your individual needs by understanding your metabolism and your epigenetic risk factors. Knowing your family history, learning about your genes and understanding your personal roots of inflammation will help you decide if and how much meat you need, weather or not you should be eating grains, what vegetables may need to be avoided, and how you can use intermittent fasting to optimize your metabolic system. This is no small task but time is of the essence and there are many qualified individuals around to help you dial in your personal health needs. Health coaches and physicians that practice Integrative and Functional Medicine approaches generally have a better handle on the misinformation put out by our government health officials and current studies that are coming out every day with regards to how much your gut and what you put in it affects your whole systems health. 

Taking the extra time you might have now to read a book or become a health detective online will only increase the quality of your life moving forward. You might also think about growing your own garden and raising a few backyard chickens if you have the space.

Be well and be happy. Love yourself and love our planet.

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