VITALITY COMES FROM WHAT YOU EAT
By: Angus McIntosh
Your greatest vitality comes from what you eat. I became interested in food, and in the difference I felt within me when I changed what I ate, about 12 years ago. As my knowledge has deepened over the years, I can understand why many people show no interest in where their food comes from. The problems associated with most of the food sold are immense: health issues for the humans who eat the “food”, environmental damage from the way the food is produced, and inhumane treatment of animals. In fact, I contend that homo sapiens is committing species-wide suicide.
One of the simplest ways to revitalise yourself is to avoid antibiotics in your food – meat, in particular. This is a lot harder than you imagine. Especially when over 85% of the antibiotics sold in South Africa go into animals in factory farms. In the US this figure is 86,4%. The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) has stated that antibiotic resistance is the third-greatest health threat on the planet.
Antibiotics are fed to animals in concentrated feeding operations primarily for two reasons. First, because the animals are concentrated in such a small space and are therefore in close proximity to their excrement, there is a very big parasite load. Antibiotics are good at killing. Unfortunately, they kill indiscriminately and therefore do not distinguish between good and bad bacteria. Second, routine antibiotics help as a growth promoter, and when your margins are very tight, any bit of help is appreciated.
The only way you can avoid these free antibiotics is by eating meat that is specifically routine-antibiotic-free. There are times when antibiotics can save an animal. I probably inject one animal every two months – that rarely because we move our cattle twice a day to new pasture, so there is no build-up of pathogens. In addition to generally being routine-antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef is nutritionally beneficial, as opposed to grain-fed or feedlot beef, which has all of the wrong fats and critically gives you an overdose of omega 6. www.eatwild.com is a wonderful website that has lots of information on grass-fed meat, eggs, etc.
The greatest dietary study ever done was by Weston A Price, an American dentist, who travelled the world for 10 years in the early 1930s, trying to find people who were eating as their ancestors had done. Every time he came into contact with these people, they were vital, their societies were healthy, they had no problems with childbirth, they had no dental problems. The common denominators were that they ate some form of animal protein, they all ate whole grains (the flour you buy to bake with is 10% of the whole grain), and from time to time fresh fruit and vegetables. They also avoided white bread, refined foods, tinned food and sugar. The book is called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
If you are visiting or live in the Cape, come visit me on the farm near Stellenbosch and we can discuss these matters in more depth.
Angus McIntosh is a biodynamic farmer based in Stellenbosch.