Meat Production

‘Animal industries are one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global’UN report,

This video excerpt is from the Documentary film ‘Samsara’. Although the scenes depict Asian animal meat production factories, it is closer to home than we would like to believe. This type of farming/animal production is not only inhumane, it is unsustainable for the longevity and prosperity of our planet.

If you don’t think there is an issue with our farming and production industries have a look below at some facts from a 2010 report into the industry.

Water

Although conserving water at home is important, it represents just a tiny portion of the actual water needed to sustain us. A 2004 Melbourne University study concluded that, ‘water use through food consumption is 90% of a household’s water use’ See the chart for a comparison of water use per day.

Air

The food items in a typical shopping basket in Victoria have travelled a total of 70,803km to reach your table, which is almost the equivalent of travelling twice around the circumference of the earth. This is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global climate change.6

Raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, trains, ships, and planes in the world combined.7

Over 50% of global human-caused greenhouse gases can be attributed to livestock and their by-products.

Australia’s livestock will produce substantially more warming over the next 20 years than all of our coal fired power stations put together.

A June 2010 report by the United Nations identified animal agriculture and food consumption as one of the most significant drivers of environmental pressures and climate change, stating that ‘a substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a worldwide diet change away from animal products

Land

Grazing takes up nearly 60% of the Australian continent. Clearing of forests and bush land for grazing and animal industries has resulted in habitat loss throughout Australia, which is the major cause of wildlife becoming threatened, endangered or extinct.

The number of animal species in Australia is declining at a higher rate than any other country except the USA and the biggest contributing factor is land clearing for animal pasture.

We grow enough edible grain to provide 50% more than is required for every person in the world, yet 27,000 children under the age of 5 die of poverty and starvation every day. Much of this edible grain is used to feed animals for meat, dairy and egg production.

If you factor in the amount of grain needed to produce meat, a single hectare of land can produce 29 times more food in the form of vegetables than in the form of chicken meat, 73 times more than pork and 78 times more than beef

*source: Vegetarian Network Victoria, 2010, Eating up the World: the Environmental Consequences of Human Food Choices, 3rd Reprint September 2010.

Backyard Chickens, Why you should start raising them now.

There is a movement afoot to bring poultry back into Urban Yards.  Yes Chickens are cute but is there more to it than that? 

5 Important Reasons  to have Chickens right now.

The Eggs are safer and better from your own chickens.

The chickens you raise are healthier, they eat free range so you know what is making the eggs.

Consumers should be concerned about antibiotic resistants in Chickens. Samples tested are showing positive for at least one multidrug resistant bacterium, and some samples contained more than one multidrug resistant bacterium.

Drugs given to chickens to promote rapid growth can leave residue in chickens including trace amounts of arsenic  according to Johns Hopkins Center. This is something to be aware of since it can cause issues such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and other problems.

Home Eggs are just Better

Chickens in factories are caged inhumanely and fed to produce the most eggs possible.  Hormones come into play in addition to antibiotics.  Trapped in a small cage they are fed processed chicken feed that may contain GMOs.  Home grown Chickens graze on bugs and can be fed on veggies from your garden.  The Chicken Feed you supply can be checked to be non GMO. The eggs you get will look different than the ones you buy in the store.  More yellow and with a higher amount of Omega 3 and other nutrients.

Also remember Eggs themselves are porous. So, if they come from factories they are treated and refrigerated.  But with Eggs from your own chickens you smear a little oil on them and leave them on the counter.

They Make less noise and mess than a dog.

And eat a LOT of bugs

Author Pat Form states that a single dog makes more waste daily than 10 chickens. The decibel level of chickens is about the same as a conversation.  But your dog doesn’t  eat bugs and leave fertilizer (their poop is full of nitrogen) in your yard while they are eating pounds of bugs each season.

They are Smart and respond to good care. 

Chickens are great pets and make excellent teachers for your children on how to put something into a system to get something out.

If you HAVE to eat one it will be antibiotic free and free range.

If they are old they are at least a good soup stock.

Chickens are clean.

They do not carry disease or attract pests.  All they really need is a little pile of diatomaceous earth to roll (dust) in. That will keep their skin mite free. Their eggs, when they come out have protective coat on them and do not need to be washed.

But is it cheaper to buy Eggs in a store?

Good hen feed in bulk comes out to about $50 per chicken/yr. They lay about 20 dozen eggs.  So realistically it is break even on $3.00 a dozen store eggs. That is less than half the price of free-range eggs in supermarkets, and you get the added bonus of eggs that are so much better for you and more vitamin rich than store bought.

How to Understand Food Labels

Food labels can be very confusing and tricky to understand. Often we don’t have the time to spend trying to work out what they mean and how to use them.

However, a few quick tips can make shopping for healthy food a whole lot easier and quicker and can help you lose weight. Knowing what nutrition information to look for, can help you make the best choice for your health and avoid unnecessary saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and kilojoules.

Labels on most packaged food must meet strict requirements that include information for people with food allergies, food additive listings and food storage instructions. While food labels can carry many different types of information, the main things to look at when choosing healthy food are the Nutrition Information Panel.

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/eatingwell/efh_food_label_example_130621.pdf

The Nutrition Information Panel on a food label offers the simplest and easiest way to choose foods with less saturated fat, salt (sodium), added sugars and kilojoules, and more fibre. It can also be used to decide how large one serve of a food group choice or discretionary food would be and whether it’s worth the kilojoules. This is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight.

First use the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating to decide whether a food belongs in the five food groups and is an ‘everyday’ food for eating regularly, or a discretionary food best eaten only sometimes or in small amounts.

Then use the Nutrition Information Panel to compare similar packaged foods and to decide which product provides less saturated fat, salt (sodium), added sugars and kilojoules per 100gm and more fibre per serve.

Using Nutrition Information Panels to help you lose weight

If we want to lose weight, it’s best to avoid discretionary foods as they provide few nutrients but plenty of kilojoules. However, it is still possible to include small serves of discretionary foods, eaten occasionally and savoured by eating slowly and enjoying the food with all our senses.

The trick is to choose only the foods or drinks that we really enjoy. Some people have a sweet tooth or love chocolate, others prefer savoury and love a great cheese. Other people really enjoy a wine sipped slowly. All food is not equally special for us. We all have our favourites.

The Nutrition Information Panel can help us decide if a food is really ‘kilojoule worthy’. Beware of foods that look like a single serve, but actually contain several servings in one packet. Once we know the kilojoules in a serve, we can weigh up whether our enjoyment warrants the extra kilojoules.

Community Gardens

Are you itching to get in the garden and see the benefits of seeing your vegetables and produce go from seeds to your very own dinner table? If you live in the city and don’t have any space to start a vegetable garden then find a local community garden near you.

Head on over to the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network. They have some great resources to get you connecting with your local community!

The benefits

Community gardens are places where people come together to grow fresh food, to learn, relax and make new friends.

Community gardeners know that sharing land to grow food and other plants builds a sense of place and community.

The benefits of community gardening include:

  • easy access to fresh, nutritious food
  • a sense of achievement that comes through growing some of your own food needs
    • making friends with people in the neighbourhood
  • learning the skills of gardening, shared decision making and cooperation, all of which
are necessary to successful community gardens
  • healthy outdoor exercise
  • participating in a constructive

and productive recreational activity
■ improving the local environment.

Research in 2005 by Dr Bruce Judd and Dr Rob Samuels of the AHURI UNSW-UWS Research Centre found that community food gardening, as part of a community development strategy, was effective in reducing the incidence of crime on housing estates.

Types of community gardens

Community gardens are found on land owned by local government, schools, churches and on state government housing estates.

There are two types of community gardens:

■ shared gardens, in which gardeners work in the whole garden, doing whatever is needed at the time and taking a share of what they grow

■ allotment gardens, in which individuals or families have their own garden bed.

Many community gardens combine shared and allotment areas. Allotment holders are expected to help maintain the common areas of the community garden.

What happens in community gardens?

GROWING FOOD

Growing vegetables, herbs and fruit is the main use of community gardens. Gardeners may grow a selection of the vegetables and herbs they usually eat or they might grow special crops, such as spices and flowers.

GROWING FLOWERS, ORNAMENTAL AND NATIVE PLANTS

Flowers are grown near vegetable gardens because they attract pollinating insects that help our vegetables to fruit and set seed. They also attract predatory insects that eat insect pests.
Ornamental and native plants such as shrubs and trees are grown to attract birds and to bring shade into the community garden. Rare native plants can be grown to produce seeds to harvest and plant elsewhere.

EATING

Community gardeners often share the cooking and eating of the plants they grow. Sharing food is a proven way to make new friends.

SOCIALISING

Community gardens are places to meet your neighbours. A shelter, such as a pergola, is a useful addition to community gardens. As well as offering shelter from sun and rain, a table and chairs can be set up in the shelter for sharing food, holding meetings, relaxing and socialising.

COOKING IN THE COMMUNITY GARDEN

If a community garden has a simple barbecue or gas cooker, those with cooking skills can pass them on to help others prepare simple, nutritionally balanced meals using herbs and vegetables grown in the garden.

ARTS IN THE COMMUNITY GARDEN

Some gardens have an ‘arts in the community garden’ team that uses the garden as a venue for performance such as music, singing and readings. They offer arts workshops like mosaic making and sculpture made from discarded items. The finished works can decorate the garden.

CELEBRATION

Some community gardens hold celebrations to recognise special times of year such as the solstice and equinox, to celebrate the fruiting of particular plants (such as a chilli festival featuring lessons on how to cook and use chillies and celebrating the diversity of chillies) or to celebrate the annual arrival of migratory bird species, such as the annual Kingfisher Festival at CERES, Melbourne.

SOLITUDE

Design a secluded ‘quiet corner’ into the community garden where gardeners and visitors can relax, read or be by themselves.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION

Gardens may offer courses and workshops to the public on skills such as cooking, gardening, conserving water, recycling, making compost and reducing energy use in the home. Some community gardens have found grants to install and demonstrate renewable technologies such as solar-electric lighting, greywater systems, composting toilets and solar cookers.

GARDENING SPACE AND EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR SCHOOLS

Local schools may make use of community gardens for educational purposes. A few gardens, such as Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane and CERES in Melbourne, offer educational services that link the community garden to the school curriculum.

A local food initiative

Community gardens are part of
the move towards local foods.
By providing some of their own
food, community gardeners not
only engage in practical self-help, they reduce the transportation of food over long distances and the consumption of fuels and production of pollution that is part of it.

Community gardeners are producers, not passive consumers. They are active citizens engaged in improving their neighbourhoods.

http://communitygarden.org.au

Supermarkets And You

It is no secret that two companies have an incredible market share in Australia not just in our food sector but so many of our daily needs are purchased in chain stores owned by Woolworths Inc and Wesfarmers (Coles). Here’s a not so fun fact, for every dollar Australians spend, 23 cents is spent in shops owned by these two companies (Coles, Woolworths, Big W, Bunnings, Woolworths petrol etc… all the subsidiaries of Woolworths and Wesfarmers) That is, almost a quarter of the Australian public’s dollar is spent in their shops.

You might think that this is the same all around the world, think again. Australia’s two largest supermarkets have a 70% market share on groceries, compared to the UK, where the two largest supermarket chains only hold a 48% share and in the US a mere 20%. With a 70% piece of the pie, it doesn’t leave much for smaller independent retailers. ABC’s Hungry Beast video reveals more.

Many producers can be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Having a contract with one of the big two, should be great for business, the reality can be shown to be different. Without many choices to market, they may be forced to cut their selling price (to sometimes below production cost), as has been suggested is the case with the $1 milk war, which has left farmers struggling. “Our cost of production is 64.9 cents a litre and we’re being paid 54 cents a litre, so we’re losing 10 cents a litre.” says David Scholl a farmer from Biggenden who has been put out of business and sold his 120 herd of cows.

The TRUTH About the Supermarket Milk Price War has more information.

Why should I stop shopping at the big supermarkets?

Put your money where your mouth is. Money talks, and make the Big Supers know you’re not happy. You will feel amazing as you know that there are local farmers and families that are being thanked by your choice of dollar usage. Improve your carbon footprint by purchasing a higher percentage of local foods that haven’t been transported all around the country. Shopping with children at local retailers can actually be more enjoyable than the often chaotic, bright, flashy, noisy, advertisement saturated Big Supers. Not to mention the headaches you might save in the car parks! Often you can find a park right out the front of local retailers – which is priceless! By shopping in the smaller local shops, you will begin to develop a relationship with your butcher and local wholefood shop – we believe a much nicer experience than with the Big Supermarkets.

How do I do it?

Here are some of our favourite ways to ditch the Big Supers…

Farmers Markets

Get on the band wagon, Farmers Markets are the new black and they’re popping up everywhere. There’s no better way to know where your food comes from than to talk to the people to grow it. Find great value basics and spoil yourself with everything gourmet. Turn it into a social event by meeting up with neighbours and friends for a coffee.

Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker

Get friendly with your local shops, get your fruit and veggies from your green grocer, meat from your butcher, bread from your baker and toiletries from your chemist, bulk items from your wholefood shop. Spread the love around and help keep locals in business.

Your Backyard – Grow Your Own!

Pull your green finger out! From balcony planter pots, to backyard veggies beds to community garden plots, growing your own is a great way to get in touch with what your eating and what is in season.

Gluten – What do you know?

Coeliac disease is a significant medical condition that can cause serious problems if it is not diagnosed and treated properly. It affects the small intestine – the part of our digestive system responsible for absorbing nutrients. In a person with coeliac disease, the lining of the small intestine is damaged by gluten, which is a protein in wheat, rye, barley and oats.

Many people are unaware of their allergies or intolerances to gluten. If you have any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance:

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation. I see the constipation particularly in children after eating gluten.
  2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
  3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
  5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
  6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
  7. Migraine headaches.
  8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.
  9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
  10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

Wheat: The UNhealthy Whole Grain

A video by Dr. William Davis, author of the book Wheat Belly

How to test for gluten intolerance?

I have found the single best ways to determine if you have an issue with gluten is to do an elimination diet and take it out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Please note that gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.

The best advice that I share with my patients is that if they feel significantly better off of gluten or feel worse when they reintroduce it, then gluten is likely a problem for them.  In order to get accurate results from this testing method you must elimination 100% of the gluten from your diet.

How to treat gluten intolerance?

Eliminating gluten 100% from your diet means 100%. Even trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination or medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.

The 80/20 rule or “we don’t eat it in our house, just when we eat out” is a complete misconception. An article published in 2001 states that for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eating gluten just once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600%.

About the Author

Dr. Amy Myers

Amy Myers, MD is a renowned leader in Functional Medicine.  She has helped thousands around the world recover from chronic illness through her dietary based program, The Myers Way.  She has created multiple interactive eBooks and eCourses to guide readers through her revolutionary approach to health. Her blog serves as a beacon of hope to the many sufferers of chronic disease and autoimmune conditions. Her book: The Autoimmune Solution is scheduled to be released January 2015 by Harper One.