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Whether you choose to eat these things or not it is still important to know the different labels. It is also important to know in case you get in a discussion about these products; whether it be about animal rights or hormones and antibiotic use in the meat industry.
The truth is that the lower you eat on the food chain the closer you are to the primary producers. I myself am not “vegetarian“, “vegan”, “lacto-ovo”, etc. However, I have made some choices recently in my life about food because of weight issues. I was pleased to find out that by trying to lose weight I have stepped into a world of healthier eating over-all, both for me and the Earth.
–Mindy Pennybacker makes a suggestion at the beginning of this chapter to, “skip red meat at least once a week” (p55). I would suggest even less than this. Are there really people who eat red meat that much? I have been trying to cut out all red meat and to tell you the truth…I don’t even miss it. Last night I made sloppy Joes with ground chicken. It was delicious and not greasy…mmmmmm.
–Less red meat is healthy for you because there is less of a chance to develop heart disease and cancer.
–Eating less red meat is good for the Earth for a few reasons like the industry’s part in climate change due to methane gas. There is also spillage of waste into water sewers and waterways and the amount of water and food use needed to raise cattle. Also, there is pesticide use and deforestation (to make more clearings for ranches).
–Vegetable protein is usually cheaper per pound than from meat.
—Calculate the carbon in your diet
–the characteristics (which vary from label to label) include having a third party verification, no antibiotics or only using antibiotics on the sick, and no use of growth hormones. Also, no feeding parts of animals to other animals. Some look out for the welfare of the animal.
American Grass-fed Association: spend most of their lives out-doors and sick animals are removed instead of given antibiotics
Animal Welfare Approved: this is a family farm label and the animals spend their lives outdoors
Certified Humane: animals are given humane sheltering
Demeter Biodynamics (link 1)
Demeter Biodynamics (link 2): this label promises exercise and humane treatment of animals
Food Alliance Certified: lifetime access to pastures and humane treatment
Maine Quality Trademark: no growth hormones and animal welfare is respected
USDA Organic: This is listed in trusted labels and in the lose it side because it is better for you but not always necessarily better for the animals
Her list of Thumbs Down labels-mostly due to no 3rd party verification
Animal Care Certified/United Egg Producer: no 3rd party verification
Antibiotic Free/Raised Without Antibiotics/No Antibiotics Administered: no 3rd party verification
Free Range/Free Roaming: no guarantee
Fresh (poultry): Could have still been frozen at some point
Grass fed: no 3rd party verification
USDA “Naturally Raised”: claims no hormones or artificial colors, few antibiotics used, but there is no verification
USDA Process Verified Certified Grass (Forage) Fed: Access to pasture required but not guaranteed. They can be fed hay in stalls and still qualify. Antibiotics and growth hormones can still be used.
—Grass-fed beef is lower in saturated fats and has more heart healthy omega 3 than regular beef.
Union of Concerned Scientists
Find local, grass-fed animal products
Protein/ Calcium for Vegetarians
Protein: beans and peas, nuts, and soy products (WARNING: to dieters, these things can be very high in fat)
Calcium: dark leafy veggies, soy, and calcium-fortified orange juice
rBGH is a genetically recombinant bovine growth hormone. It can cause pain in cows because it stimulates the OVER-production of milk, which causes the udders to swell. This can lead to infections in the udder. Where there are infections there is antibiotic use. With the amount of antibiotics already used in people, (one for every friggin cough or sneeze) having antibiotics in our diets can cause problems. We are already at risk of developing stronger bacteria by nature because with every generation bacteria mutate. They have such a short life cycle that they go through MANY generations in our one. This gives them the capacity to evolve faster than we can evolve the defenses to them. Now that we have antibiotics the ones surviving are the ones that do not respond to the antibiotics. You know how your doctor says, “Make sure you take them all even if you are feeling better”? That is why.
Links about antibiotic resistance
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Get Smart campaign
Antibiotic Resistance by Sean D. Pitman M.D.
Find rBGH-free milk locally