The Reason Meat and Animal Products Can Negatively Impact Your Weight Loss and Diet Plan

In my previous articles I explained how we basically get our nutrition from 3 main “food” sources: plant (fruits and vegetables), animal (beef, cheese, chicken, eggs, etc.) and laboratory synthesized (high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, hydrogenated oils, etc). I then went on to explain how the fruit and vegetables of today are grossly lacking in the nutrition that they once possessed years ago.

Today, I want to talk about out meat based foods and explain that the problem with these is not with what they are lacking, but what is being added. You need to understand the reasons that meat and animal products can negatively impact your weight loss and diet plan.

Let’s look at beef as an example. Personally, a good steak or a slice of prime rib is one of my favourite meals. But where does beef come from?

Well duh! It comes from cows.

And who raises cows?

Well the answer to that should be a “no brainer” as well. Farmers raise cows. And that is the way it should be.

I live in rural Quebec. My neighbours are all farmers and they all raise cows. I see these cows out in the fields every day in the spring, summer and fall happily grazing on grass. In the winter, they have a huge barn which they have access to which is full of fresh hay for them to eat. These are the cows that I eat.

But are these the cows that you purchase in your local grocery store?

Sadly they are not. My neighbours barely make enough money from their herds to cover the expenses of these animals. First the calf has to purchased, then it has veterinary expenses, then it needs nutritional supplements (farmers know that the soil is missing certain elements and thus compensate for that. In our region, our soil is completely lacking in selenium.), then there is the electricity the barn uses for lights and to keep the water from freezing, and lastly there are tons of fuel expenses for cutting and transporting the hay.

Most small rural farmers raise cattle as a side income only. “Farmers” can’t make much money raising cattle because they have to compete with “industry” who are the primary cattle raisers in North America. Some of the largest cattle “ranches” in the USA are found in Arizona. In fact, they aren’t even called ranches or farms. They are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). 97% of all beef in the U.S. comes from CAFOs.

“So what is wrong with Arizona?” you may ask.

What do naturally eat? Grass.

What type of environment is Arizona? It’s a desert. So… no grass.

Cows have 4 stomachs. They evolved in this manner as they are a grazing animals that are meant to eat grass at a leisurely pace and slowly digest it in their stomachs. But since raising cows in these feed lots is not about producing food, it’s about producing money, CAFOs don’t have the time to fatten their cows naturally.

So in these feed lots cows are primarily fed a mixture of grain and corn, and in some cases rendered protein and even concrete dust! Rendered protein is the ground up carcasses of dead pigs (this is a problem because cows are herbivores, not carnivores). Concrete dust was found to increase the weight of cows at auction (heavier cows sell for more money!).

In the CAFOs, living conditions are not quite the same as here on my neighbouring farms and the cows are stressed. Stressed animals have weakened immune systems. Cows with weak immune systems are at greater risk for illness. Living in such high density corrals means that if one cow gets sick, they likely all will. So to reduce the risk of losing a cow, most cattle are fed prophylactic antibiotics to keep them “healthy”.

Don’t think of CAFOs as farms, they are cattle factories just like a car factory. Do you think Ford wants to spend a full month getting a car through the assembly line? No they want that car to be built and out of there as quickly as possible. It’s the same with the beef. The more cattle they can pump through in a year, the more money they make.

To encourage growth in these cows they are also administered growth hormones and steroids. So here you have cows that are taking regular injections of antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones, eating a diet that is completely unnatural to them, and packed into a super small living space. On top of that, the feed that they are fed is itself genetically modified and loaded with herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals.

These are the cows that are sent to slaughter and end up in your grocery stores! This is the beef you are eating. Pigs, chickens, lambs, and even fish are all raised in pretty much the same manner and experience the same outcome.

Just think about it. If your food is full of antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals, what makes you immune to them?

Have you noticed how big kids are these days? Have you noticed how early young girls start to physically mature? The kids today look a lot different now than when I went to public school just 30 short years ago. Do think this might have something to do with all the steroids and growth hormones they are getting second hand in their milk and meat products?

In the case of vegetables, your body is being placed under stress due to a lack of nutrition. In the case of meat, your body is being placed under stress due to the added chemicals and hormones. In an upcoming article, I’ll discuss how it is these stressors on the body, and not the number of calories that are primarily responsible for weight gain and excess body and visceral fat.

Horse Feeding Tips

A horse’s nutritional requirements and his digestive system have not changed since the time he was first domesticated thousands of years ago. However, due to a lack of knowledge, convenience considerations and an over-zealous adoption of the scientific claims of the feed industry, the way we feed a horse has changed dramatically. Often, these methods contradict what natural horsemanship tells us about feeding and result in health problems for the horse and management problems for owner.

Certain principles of natural horsemanship can be applied to choosing a proper feeding program for the horse. Just as we studied aspects of horse physiology and psychology when approaching training techniques, it is beneficial to think in these terms when we decide how to feed our horses. This will tell us both what to feed and how to feed.

It doesn’t take an expert in natural horsemanship or equine nutrition to understand that feeding flakes of alfalfa and grain supplements twice a day to a horse in a stall is not what Mother Nature intended. Indeed, that approach completely ignores a few basic principles that every horse owner should know about their four-legged charges.

A horse’s digestive system is designed to obtain the maximum nutritional benefit from a diet of high-fiber and low-energy grasses. The foundation of a healthy, natural diet for a modern, domesticated horse is grass and grass hay. A horse in his natural environment will spend many hours a day grazing. Most experts say that a horse needs to consume at least 1.5 – 2 lb. of good quality hay and grain for every 100 lbs of body weight. Much will depend upon the metabolism of the horse. Horses that are heavily worked, pregnant and lactating mares will consume up to 3 lbs of dry matter for every 100 lbs. of body weight.

Grass hay is much preferable to alfalfa for the bulk for the horse’s diet for several reasons. Alfalfa is a very rich or “hot” feed for the horse. It contains approximately 50% more protein and energy per pound than grass hay. Its phosphorous to calcium ratio is also too high for a horse’s requirements. When fed with grain, as alfalfa often is, numerous digestive problems including colic may result. Alfalfa may be fed but only in small quantities almost as a supplement, not as the predominant feed component.

Not all hay is the same. The nutritional content of hay depends not only on the variety of grass grown, but also on the soil and amount and type of fertilizer used. Hay quality also can vary and should be examined prior to purchasing. Good hay exhibits the following qualities:

1. Should be leafy as opposed to containing too many stems. Most of hay’s protein is contained in the leaves.

2. Good-quality hay should exhibit a light green color. If it is too yellow or brown, it might have been harvested too late and may not contain proper nutrients.

3. The hay should smell fresh and sweet. Hay that smells moldy or musty should be avoided. Feeding moldy hay can result in colic.

4. Check for weeds and other non-hay matter. Good horse hay should contain a bare minimum of weeds, sticks and debris.

Unfortunately, hay comes without supermarket labels specifying nutritional content, but often a reputable hay supplier will have a laboratory analysis available for a particular cutting of hay he is selling. Parameters to look for include:

1. Moisture: usually averages around 10%. Higher than 13% may result in palatability problems and even mold proliferation.

2. Crude protein: Legume hay will run 20% or more. High quality grass hay might run as high as 12-15%. A minimum should be at least 8%.

3. Digestible energy (DE): This is an estimate of the amount of energy available to the horse from the hay. This figure will vary depending upon the stage of growth at which the grass was cut and harvested. Young grass will have a higher DE. As the crop matures, DE decreases as the lignin content increases. A DE reading of less than 1.65 Mcal/kilogram indicates a high level of indigestibility and should not be fed to horses. This could cause impaction colic.

4. Acid detergent fibre (ADF: Indicates the digestibility of fiber in the hay. ADF levels above 45% indicate poor nutritional levels, while values less than 31% indicate excellent quality hay.

When horses ran wild, their food supply consisted of different kinds of grasses grown in one pasture or field. Today we have lost that natural variety. An improved pasture is more than likely to contain just one variety of hay grass. Feeding just one type of hay can limit the nutritional value of the horse’s ration, especially trace minerals. Several different kinds of hay, ideally, should be fed. This will not only provide a more balanced diet but will also vary taste and texture characteristics of the feed as well.

A horse will also nibble eagerly on all kinds of vegetable matter. A good idea is to provide your horse with tree branches with leaves to chew on. He will not only be able to derive needed nutrients but will use his teeth and wear them down naturally. A horse’s teeth are continually growing, and because of domestication and modern feeding techniques, usually need to be rasped down once a year. In the wild the horse is apt to feed in such a way that the growth of his teeth is naturally kept under control.

In addition to being perfectly suited to extracting maximum nutritional value from grasses, a horse’s digestive system has other requirements which are often ignored by owners. The relatively small size of the stomach limits the amount of feed that can be safely consumed at one time. A horse is unable to vomit or belch. Eating a large volume of hay and grain concentrate twice a day, as most horses do, can be unhealthy and even dangerous. A horse should eat small amounts, many times a day.

One of the unique features of the horse’s digestive system is that even though he has but one stomach compartment, as opposed to ruminants like cows, there is a large microbial population in the cecum and colon. These microbes have the ability to break down and utilize the nutrients contained in forage. The peculiar shape of the colon which bends back upon itself numerous times reduces the rate at which digested food is able to pass. This allows more efficient utilization of roughages in the horse’s feed, but also can cause digestive problems when the horse is not fed correctly.

If you observe a horse eating in a barn situation, you can readily see that he prefers to eat off the ground. Most feeders require a horse to eat with their necks extended and their heads raised. This is an unnatural position for a horse to eat. Grass particles and debris fall back into his face and eyes. The horse cannot properly chew his food, and respiratory problems can result when the horse constantly inhales dust from the hay. It’s better to place hay on the ground in small amounts and in different places.

A diet of high-quality grass and hay should provide all the energy and protein needs non-working horses require. However, if a horse is in training, shows in performance classes or is ridden frequently, you might want to supplement with grain. Although this might be considered a departure from a purely natural approach to feeding, riding and working a horse is a complete departure from what nature intended as well.

In his natural environment as a wild, prey animal, a horse consumed very little grain. His very limited grain consumption took place in the fall from natural grasses that had gone to seed. This probably served to put on extra weight before winter. However, our energy demands on a horse have changed nutritional demands on him as well.

If a horse needs more energy, fat and protein in his diet than he is receiving from a grass and hay-based diet, there are several ways you can get him that additional nutrition. It’s a good idea to avoid feeding the quantity of sugar and molasses present in many commercial sweet feeds. Just as in humans, the ingestion of large amounts of sugar can play havoc with the horse’s insulin-regulating mechanism. Compounded grain products may also contain other undesirable ingredients such as fish and animal by-products.

You can get your horse the extra energy he needs through supplementing with rice and wheat bran or oats and barley. Limit the horse’s intake of prepared rations of grain except for pregnant and lactating mares and young foals. We want to feed naturally but we don’t want to reject out of hand advances in feed science. Educate yourself and choose supplements based on your horse’s true needs. Do not overfeed grain, however.

Natural supplements that are useful to include in a horse’s daily ration include flaxseed. Flaxseed is a good source for important Omega-3 fatty acids that are so important in human diets too. Omega-3 fatty acids can play a role in alleviating chronic inflammation and strengthen the immune system. They can improve the condition of a horse’s coat and hooves.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) supplements is a lesser-known source of trace minerals, internal and external parasite control, improved feed utilization and fly control. DE is a desiccant and can be used as a feed supplement or can be spread around stalls and the barn and will kill 75% of flies, fleas and mites that come into contact with it. Horse owners who use DE religiously claim that feeding DE to their foals and grown horses eliminates the need for chemical worming.

Horses themselves can be a judge of what trace minerals they need to consume. Have you ever seen a horse digging in the ground and begin to lick some special rock they’ve found? He seems to know instinctively what minerals he is lacking and where he can get them. This probably pertains more to a wild and varied environment than to a controlled and limited pasture environment. For that reason, it is a good idea to provide a free-choice salt and trace mineral product especially formulated for horses.

When horses are first offered this feeding option, they will initially consume a considerable amount but begin self-regulating very quickly. A supply of salt is essential to a horse’s health and well-being. In the wintertime salt should be manually added to a horse’s feed in order to ensure that he drinks the proper amount of water. Be sure to make available to the horse an unlimited supply of fresh, clean water.

Supplement Your Dog’s Daily Diet With a Natural Twist

A supplement for dog immune system health is something which has become a topic of much discussion among concerned pet owners and vets. There are many opinions on both sides, with the choice coming down to an owner and their preference for natural products. Usually if someone takes vitamins and supplements for themselves, they believe that their dog could benefit from the same level of care.

The immune system functions the same for dogs as it does for humans, providing the first line of defense against illness of all kinds. Dogs with weakened immune systems will be much more susceptible to everything from allergies to various forms of cancer. This is why when it comes to boosting immunity supplements for dogs are so very important.

As our pets are exposed to everything from air pollution to household chemicals and pesticides on a daily basis, toxins can build up in their systems, preventing their bodies from functioning as they should. A supplement for dog immune system health can help to flush those toxins and leave your dog looking and feeling more energetic and fit.

The keys to good health are the same for humans and their pets. Eating right, getting plenty of exercise and avoiding the damage caused by environmental irritants are all essential to your dog’s health. They can get this nutrition from packaged foods, as long as they are AAFCO approved and the label specificlly says that “nutritional adequacy was validated by animal feeding tests based on protocols from the American Association of Feed Control Officials.” Even with foods that meet this standard, a herbal supplement may add another layer of support.

Using a careful blend of herbs and other plant based ingredients such as Mistletoe, Echinacea, Huang Qi, and Indian ginseng, a supplement for dog immune system health can provide a range of positive effects. From improving appetite to increasing energy and vigor and boosting the function of every system in the body, these natural products extend the kind of gentle healing only nature can provide.

Mistletoe helps to stimulate immune system function while Echinacea works as a lymphatic tonic to fight off various forms of cancer. The ancient Chinese herb Huang Qi is a powerful whole body tonic and a key ingredient in immunity supplements for dogs, while Indian ginseng supports proper growth, health and vigor.

Together, these and other ingredients combine to provide a level of healing not possible with any other product. A supplement for dog immune system health may be a new and innovative idea, but it is based on centuries of experience and good, old fashioned common sense. The best way to ensure a healthy body is by helping it to heal from the inside out and nothing does that better than natural products.

It’s really that simple. You want what’s best for you dog and safe, gentle, natural products can provide just that. So talk to your vet today and find a product which will work for your dog. The sooner you can get your best friend on the road to good health, the better you’ll both feel.

Do You Need to Supplement Your Cat’s Diet with Vitamins and Minerals?

Despite obvious physiology differences, your cat is not that different from you. Just as humans, cats require vitamins and minerals to survive. Whether or not you need to supplement your cat’s diets with vitamins depends largely on their diet and current health status.

The vitamins that cats need include both fat soluble and water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are essential to a cat’s growth and for the efficient processing of fats in the body. These vitamins ensure that a cat’s bones are healthy and that they have sufficient protection from disease. Cats are prone to cuts and vitamins can help to repair wounds quickly. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins E, D, A, and K. The water-soluble vitamins include the B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, and B12) and vitamin C.

Vitamins are easily absorbed in a cat’s system. Minerals, on the other hand, require that the cat’s system is healthy for proper absorption. Any slight infection can affect a cat’s ability to absorb minerals. The minerals that cats require the most include calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium chloride.

The good news about foods for animals is that they are formulated to meet all the nutritional needs of the animal. Feeding your cat food is typically all that is necessary for them to obtain all the nutrients they need. However, there are some things that can affect the amount of nutrients in cat food. For starters, cat food can lose some of its nutritional value. This often happens if the food is kept on a store shelf for a significant amount of time.

If a stray cat has made its way to your doorstep, the condition of the cat may warrant the need for vitamin and mineral supplementation. Stray cats, especially abandoned kittens are susceptible to infections and diseases. The first step you should make when attempting to care for a stray cat is to have a veterinarian inspect the cat for diseases. The veterinarian will give you instructions for caring for the stray cat, including vitamin and mineral supplementation. You should follow the instructions given to you. An excessive amount of a particular vitamin or mineral can cause a toxic reaction in a cat that could be fatal.

Why not check out our nutrition guide at http://www.nutritional-supplement-guides.com/nut-ebook.html

and also what supplement we personally use for our nutrition needs at http://www.nutritional-supplement-guides.com/what-we-use.html