Wednesday, August 28, 2013

You are what you eat

The phrase "You are what you eat" has been doing the rounds for years.  I for one thought I knew what this meant.  If you eat fatty sugary foods you gain weight, if you eat lean protein and vegetables you will be lean.  There is no doubt about it these are true facts.

However since embarking on a paleo lifestyle I am learning that there is even more to the statement "you are what you eat" than I first thought.  When I first switched to paleo I thought I was doing the right thing by eating fresh protein like beef, lamb etc.  I thought that all protein was equal, well apart from the fat content of various cuts.  I have since learned that I was wrong.  There is a difference between grass and grain fed meats.  At first my perception was that grass versus grain fed was just something nicer for the animal.  As a former vegetarian I started to lean more towards grass fed meat as I have visions of a happy healthy animal roaming a field and enjoying fresh grass.  This is true but  I have since learned that there is a lot more to the grass versus grain story.

Not only am I what I eat but the cow is what it eats!  Stick with me a moment it will become clear.  My whole motivation for changing to a paleo lifestyle was to avoid grains and processed foods as they were causing an inflammatory response in my body.  If a cow is what it eats and it is predominantly eating grain products, will this then impact on it's meat? The short answer is Yes.  A cow has 4 stomachs to aid with it's digestion of grass, not the processed grain that it is fed to fatten it up. We humans need to consume essentially fats which we get from places like meat.  If cows are being fattened up with the wrong foods does this impact on the meat we eat and what does that mean?

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are fats that we need for survival and our bodies do not produce them.  Omega 3 provides strong anti inflammatory properties which means it plays a role in preventing arthritis, asthma etc.  It is also essential for heart health and for brain function and development.  Omega 6 is beneficial for cell growth and for use in the nervous system.  It is worth mentioning though that too much Omega 6 is serious and can cause massive inflammation, obesity, heart disease and diabetes to name a few conditions.  Omega 6 overdose is often called the silent killer. 

In the western world we have the balance of omega 3 and 6 the wrong way.  The ratio in the Western World is believed to be 15:1 (omega 6/omega 3) when the optimal ratio is 3:1.  This imbalance without question contributes to the number of diseases in the western world. 

It has been proven that cows fed grain products including corn and soy have much less omega 3 in their meat and more omega 6.  Whereas grassfed animals have the correct omega 3/6 balance.  Therefore by consuming grainfed meats even while eating a paleo diet I was not in fact helping my autoimmunity.  I was continuing to feed the inflammatory process with incorrect ratio's of omega 3/6.  I have since switched to grass fed meat.  I am also finding it more tender and flavourful. 

Here are some more interesting facts about grass fed meat.

There is no doubt about it, grassfed meat is more expensive but the question I put to you is What Price is your health?



  1. Wow! I can't get over the comment that a grass fed cow is better than a grain fed cow and that the difference will come through in the meat. I just thought like you that meat was, well, meat!!! Food for thought!!!! Sorry , not intended as a pun!!!!!
    I am enjoying your blog.

    1. Nice to hear you are enjoying the blog. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. It's all too much for me ... I can't imagine spending my days trying to figure out if my 'meat' came from a cow eating grass or grain!
    I think I'm just too lazy, and am used to eating whatever!

    1. I understand where you are coming from Chris. Unfortunately with my autoimmunity I need to check everything I eat these days. Luckily I feel 100 times better so it is worth it.

  3. I totally agree Cat. Same goes for eggs. I can absolutely see and taste the difference between store bought eggs (including organic) and those from my sister's property where the chooks are truly allowed to roam free and eat a vegetable rich diet. Even the yolks are just about orange compare to the pasty yellow of the store bought.

    1. The eggs you use sound fantastic and full of lots of goodness.

  4. Hey there Cat, you may remember me from when you used to blog some time back; it's Matt from Britain :-).

    I happened to be thinking about you recently and wondered if you were still out there and I just happened to come across your blog.

    I remember your unbelievable difficulties you went through in life and I will never forget what an incredibly beautiful and humbling person you showed people you were.

    I now know that you have still been facing more problems in the past few months and I would be crass to say I could understand, but I really do empathise with your situation and I totally appreciate the situation you're in and how you are trying to deal with it.

    I am not religious as you may possibly remember, but I would be honoured to offer you my support and humanity if you'd be willing to accept them and I can say that in relation to the Paleo stuff, if you have access to something like Facebook, you might like to check out the page of Cassie Gose / Kremer, as she and her husband run fitness and nutrition services, not least encompassing the paleo lifestyle.

    Cassie was a fellow moderator on a forum I am now a co-administrator of and I would highly reccomend her to someone like you, because she is an absolutely wonderful person and if you need any added support, motivation and insights, then she and her husband might be people to look in on and their website could be a good source of comfort and inspiration too.

    I won't say too much more at this point, as it's been a while and I understand that your time may be precious, but I want to wish you and your family all the luck in the world and I hope life will give you as much happiness and sunshine as you so obviously deserve, because you have always been worth it and you are a first class example of how to be a Lady and how to show humanity and I always felt lucky to have been allowed to share part of my inner self with you before.

    Anyway, best wishes and I hope you have the best day possible.

    Kind regards

    :-) :-)


    1. Thanks for the tip and kind words Matt. Welcome to the new blog.

  5. Thank you as well Kat, you are very kind :-) :-).

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