I’m sure that you’ve heard the expression “You are what you eat”. Well its true, quite literally.
The food you eat is broken down by your digestive system into tiny particles that can be absorbed through the walls of your intestines. Some of these particles are transported to muscles and organs to be burned for energy, but other particles are “reassembled” to form new tissues, enzymes, hormones and all manner of other things that comprise your body.
If you imagine the human body to be like a building site – In order for the builders (your genes) to be able to do the best job they can, they need to be given the right supplies in sufficient quantities. You can’t build a house without bricks and mortar, equally you can’t build muscle and repair tissue without protein or make hormones or form new synaptic pathways without essential fatty acids.
For this reason, it is important to eat the best quality food you can lay your hands on. But what affects the quality of the food you eat? The food it eats of course. Just like humans, the health and quality of an animal’s body is determined by the food that it ingests.
Cows are supposed to roam around the countryside eating grass. Unfortunately most beef you find on the supermarket shelf has been intensively reared in a shed somewhere out of sight, being fed a mixture of corn and soy protein while being pumped full of drugs to keep them alive.
A cow that has an active lifestyle and eats a natural diet will be packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals, Omega-3s and CLA (another important fatty acid), while being lower in inflammatory Omega-6s. Conversely, an intensively reared cow fed on grains will be much lower in protein and vital nutrients while having a much higher body fat with a lager proportion of Omega-6 fats with little or no Omega-3.
Think of the free-range, grass fed cow as Johnny Wilkinson, the intensively farmed cow as Johnny Vegas. If you were a tiger, who would you rather eat!
This situation is not only true for cows – The nutritional value of chickens, pigs and fish are all highly dependent upon the diet they are fed. Corn fed chickens are often sold at a premium, but in reality they are nutritionally inferior to their free range counter parts that have been running around scoffing invertebrates, veggies and seeds.
To ensure you are getting the best possible quality nutrients when buying Beef, Lamb, Pork or Chicken always ensure you go for free-range, grass fed (for beef and lamb) and hormone free.
For fish always opt for wild. This ensures that the fish has been eating its natural diet and therefore will be as high in Omega-3 as possible. Look for the MSC label when buying fish to ensure it is from sustainable stock and it is not being caught by devastating methods such as trawling that destroy marine habitats.
Add some wild meat into your diet. Wild boar, venison, pheasant and rabbit among others are all fair game and great for your health!
So remember “You are what you eat, and so is what you eat!”. Never eat cheap or poor quality food – You’re worth it and so are they!