The Big Q Beyond the New Chicken Cruelty Disclosures–What Are the Effects on Egg Nutrition?

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There’s a big disclosure today of another animal cruelty undercover investigation, this one involving egg-laying hens.

The Humane Society of the United States says it is “shining a light on the dark world of suffering for millions of egg-laying hens.” It does that through an undercover investigation of big producer Kreider Farms, which the organization says “confines millions of hens inside barren battery cages that are so cramped, the animals can barely move an inch for their entire lives.”

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof broke the news of the investigation in a column today. He expressed outrage about the treatment of the chickens, suggesting it made him lose his appetite for eggs. “Granted, it is not easy to settle on what constitutes cruelty to animals. But cramming 11 hens for most of their lives into a cage the size of an oven seems to cross a line. Somehow, fried eggs don’t taste so good if you imagine the fetid barn in which they were laid.”

I agree, but I wish he had gone a step further and considered the impact of the inhumane treatment of the animals inevitably on the nutritional quality of the eggs they produce. It always amazes me that we as a society associate quality, and cost, of products like sweaters or cars, with the quality of their raw materials, the attention to detail of assembly, the treatment of the workers and other such qualitative factors. Yet food we assume is all the same. And as a result of that attitude, cheaper seems inevitably better, so places like Kreider Farms keep trying to cut costs any way they can, including what they do for the hens.

The whole qualitative thing is something that is pretty obvious with eggs. It shows up most obviously in the color of the yolk, which in good eggs is a deep orange. It also shows up in thicker shells, and more of a noticeable egg yolk taste. Just as with real milk, signs of quality becomes apparent pretty quickly, in the cream line, the taste, and the presence of a yellowish hue, signifying high amounts of beta carotene from cows grazing on grass.

Over the last few years, I’ve become as attuned to my eggs maybe as my milk. I try to scout out producers that allow their chickens to roam about and eat grass and weeds and bugs and worms.

Just yesterday I was at the Upper Valley Food Co-op in White River Junction, VT, for the express purpose of buying eggs. When I can’t get to one of the farmers markets where I like to buy eggs, I try to go to the Upper Valley Food Co-op because it carries eggs from more than 30 different local producers. It has a chart on the wall with key information about each producer–what the chickens are fed, whether the feed is organic, what kind of housing the chickens are provided, and whether they get outside. At any one time, there are eggs from maybe a half dozen of the providers, though sometimes there are just two or three. Yesterday was a good day, with eggs from about eight producers, and I bought eggs from three different farms that all indicated they allow the chickens to get outside and that they have a varied diet that includes some grass, and in one case table scraps. The first few eggs I’ve tried look and taste very good.

I tried some supposedly “pastured” eggs available at Whole Foods a while back. I think they came from Texas, but I found them pretty disappointing in appearance and taste. Makes sense–it must be difficult to mass produce pastured eggs on a scale appropriate for Whole Foods.

But to the point of nutritional quality, there are some recent research findings indicating that real pastured eggs have much higher levels of key nutrients than the factory items –as in 50 per cent more naturally occurring vitamin E and three times more beta carotene, all present with one-third less cholesterol and one-fourth less saturated fat.

We know well that cattle, pigs, and chickens produce varying quality meat, depending not only on their breed and how they’ve been fed, but likely how they’ve been treated. A few farmers I know say they raise their animals “with love,” in part because it leads to better quality meat, and they try to avoid difficult rides to the slaughter house.

So while basic decency would suggest you don’t mistreat chickens or any other animals, I’d say there is another equally compelling reason–to improve the quality of the food they produce. That’s a difficult concept to get across in a food system dominated by factory producers that would rather people not think about such distinctions.

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50 Comments on "The Big Q Beyond the New Chicken Cruelty Disclosures–What Are the Effects on Egg Nutrition?"


mark mcafee
April 13, 2012

OPDC produces several hundred dozen Pastured Eggs every week. They are all presold at $9 per dozen at two farmers markets. People literally beg for them.

These are real pastured organic eggs that come from chickens grazed on pastures that have been grazed by OPDC milk cows. The flavor is terrific and the yokes are CAL-Trans Safety Vest Orange.

We decided to stop selling our eggs at a loss at $6 per dozen and just charge what we needed for a profit. We soak all grain in raw milk prior to feeding and the shells are extra hard as a result of the raw milk. The chickens are moved every two days to fresh pastures and they are protected by an electric fence and a guard dog.

I just finished reading all about cancer diets and prevention of cancer. We have a close family friend in Denmark that is suffering from cancer and my wife Blaine just left for 10 days to help treat him with a super hard hitting WAP, GAPS and specialized anti cancer diet. Danish medicine has written him off. We will see what happens…

At the core of this question….why wait to have cancer…start an anti cancer diet right now. Live your life with an anti cancer diet!!

What is an anticancer diet? It is the GAPS, WAP, raw milk, whole food, anti oxidant, fermented foods diet and get rid of those sugars and anything processed.

As a society we are all so reactive. Wait to get a randomly issued CANCER death warrant prior to doing anything proactive as if it is a grand game of Russian Roullette with your life. It is not a game of Russian Roullette…unless you stay with the FDA and processed garbage. Cancer and illness is fairly predictable…

Each well be well….when your GUT is well you are well!!

Real rocket science. Love those bright orange yokes and hard shell eggs!!

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.486072021180.296218.171911861180&type=3#!/photo.php?fbid=10150100612116181&set=a.486072021180.296218.171911861180&type=3&theater

Mark

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 13, 2012

“It has a chart on the wall with key information about each producer–what the chickens are fed, whether the feed is organic, what kind of housing the chickens are provided, and whether they get outside.”

Would be great if all producers of plant and animals do this.

The link for ‘research findings’ isn’t working.

deborah evans
April 13, 2012

Try this: http://www.windyridgepoultry.com/pastured_eggs1.pdf I found the chart at the end of the article pretty interesting. It includes eggs from Salatin’s Polyface Farm in the comparisons.

Kristen P
April 13, 2012

What do people think of Joel Salatin advocating the using soy (albeit organic and non-GMO) for his pastured poultry profits?

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
April 13, 2012

David, I have my own chickens and they are organic fed and free range all day in season, which helps cut down on the store bought feed quantity and cost.

In late fall and winter they molt and stop producing eggs for weeks – but they still eat, which costs even more because they aren’t getting free supplement greens and bugs from foraging.

Right now it costs us $32 for a 50 lb bag of organic feed. I’ve never tried to figure out what the cost per dozen is for us home chickeneers, but it’s certainly not cheap and I’m not surprised at the retail cost. We don’t have chickens because we want cheap eggs, it’s all about the quality and health benefits. Another hidden cost is losing some birds to the occasional fox or coyote attack, my neighbor just lost 3 of their egg layers and a duck. For the large scale producers, fencing and watch dogs as Mark does also figures into the cost, but it’s a must if you are going to be truly free range.

I believe you live in MA, and if you want an egg source closer to home I would recommend an organic farm near me in Wrentham on Rt 1A just a couple of miles north of 495. It’s called White Barn Farm, and they have eggs for sale along with high quality excellent produce. http://www.whitebarnfarm.org/

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
April 13, 2012

Here’s a good link for anybody looking to start a home chicken venture, or is just interested in an overview of basic facts: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/interesting-facts-about-chicken-eggs

That website is a great resource.

Forgot to add that White Barn Farm sells their own eggs, free range and organic.

Ron Klein
April 13, 2012

I can only address that question in general terms. Even on pasture, given the density with which Joel and others raise birds, supplemental protein and other nutrients are often required. I ran muscovey ducks and domestic turkeys at low density behind my dairy animals. These birds are fantastic foragers—but I still needed to supplement with a feed ration even in a small amount (mixed grain and soy actually)-and a source of calcium-to maintain robust health. I know for ruminants that raw soy, though toxic to monogastric mammals (which is why we roast it for hogs), is an excellent supplemental protein source-readily converted into bacterial protein in the rumen. Understanding that up to ~85% of a ruminant’s protein can be from bacterial rumen outflow flow defines a wise choice of essential supplemental protein –if necessary. I would temper Joel’s advocacy (if that is ever possible ;>) ) by stepping back and viewing the entire nutritional banquet in front of one’s livestock and making choices based on actual or specific farm needs and economics. Properly prepared soy is often a good option.

Deborah - Pacifica
April 13, 2012

I can definitely attest the big differences between store bought eggs & fresh eggs from your own backyard. When we lived in Phoenix we were allow to have up to 12 chickens in our backyard even though we lived in the city proper. We built an amazing coop by adding on an enclosed (with chicken-wire) chicken yard onto the side of a storage building we had in the back corner of our yard. By cousin helped with the framing out of the support beams & the all sides, except the floor were encased with chicken-wire. We built 6 nest boxes on the side of the storage building, about 3 ft off the ground. We then bought 6 egg laying hens & 4 broiler chickens. Boy, those broilers were the best tasting chicken that we had ever had. But, the biggest reward was the amazing tasting eggs that we received from those hens. The hens were let out to roam all day long in the backyard where they munched on yummy succelent greens, bugs & table scraps (veggies), but they biggest treat was when we received our weekly irrigation…boy did they love that. It was so much fun to watch them play in the water & chase down the bugs & worms!! I received so many more eggs than we consumed so I sold many of my fresh eggs to my local organic store that was not far from my house. Unfortunately, when it came time to move to San Diego, we had to very reluctantly sell our hens, but they went to an organic farmer & his family to enjoy. I don’t know what the laws are here in San Diego, but of course, I travel too much anyways to be able to have some again. Perhaps when I retire & move to another San Diego area where it is permissible, I can once again have a few hens. I sure miss the taste of those luscious eggs!!

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 14, 2012

http://www.propublica.org/special/and-you-thought-it-was-just-pink-slime

Educating people of how their foods are processed/raised/fed will cause the masses to speak out and push for change.

D. Smith
April 14, 2012

Yeah, well there’s two sides to this “costs more to produce” thing. I had a sister who lived in Stockton, CA (who often shopped in Sacramento) so I told her to look for OPDC milk and eggs. She called me and said “I can see why people who are struggling cannot eat well, or what is considered well these days, at $16 / gal for milk and $9 / dozen for eggs.” My sis had enough money to pay those prices if she wanted to, but she said “I don’t think so, Maynard. I don’t mind people making a profit but a killing is another matter”. We were raised on a farm and maybe we’re stuck in that era, but at those prices I’d have to starve for all the good stuff, I guess.

null.set
April 14, 2012

yeah, well, someone who has enough $$ in hand to pay what the farmer needs to pay his own overhead, yet won’t open her purse, is welcome to go spend that same $$ on health-care.

There’s a master’s thesis to be done by someone who’ll put together the figures since 1850 ( when they started sod-busting on the prairies ) co-relating prices of silver, gold, wheat, milk, eggs and fresh red meat, a glass of beer … etc. … with a workman’s wage for the day.

Jesus said “in that day a loaf of bread will go for a penny and a whole day’s wage for a penny” .. the denarius which he held up = the Roman standard coin … was then being debased as part of the age-old trick of the moneymasters. Not too long, now in Ham-merica, and a loaf of bread will be selling for $200 … if you can find one.

D. Smith
April 14, 2012

She didn’t mind paying what a farmer needs. She just wasn’t going to pay for EVERYTHING he needs. But the bigger point she made was that we all keep bitching about having to pay out welfare, food stamps, health care, yada yada for those who can’t afford it themselves, and yet GOOD HEALTHY food is out of reach of those who could benefit from it most and you know the gubment isn’t going to make pastured eggs (for instance) available through the food stamp program (but they can buy soda pop and potato chips). THIS is where the re-education needs to start, but alas I fear we are already waaaay too late for that to happen. BIGAG has already taken over and there is no turning back unless people can afford to do something else. At $16 / gallon of milk, I won’t be looking for that to happen anytime soon. However, paying out this money is not a problem for my sister anymore, since she passed away in January of this year. She didn’t die because she didn’t eat well (she shopped at the farmers markets all the time, etc.) but she died an iatrogenic death.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 14, 2012

D.Smith, I am so sorry for your loss.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 14, 2012

It is my understanding that over 90 or 95% of the soy is GMO. How can anyone be sure it isn’t GMO that is in the feed?

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 14, 2012

Thanks for the link.

null.set
April 14, 2012

my sincere condolence about your sister’s passing. Us baby-boomers are finding out it isn’t an Endless Summer, after all

good healthy food is out of reach first and last because of a money system based in usury. It is indeed waay too late for reform of that situation. The genius of the truly free market is that it’s instaneous feedback … we pay $18.50 here in Vancouver for one gallon. That’s overdue to go up. In the 5 years we’ve been going, the price of silver quadrupled while our Agistment fee only went up 50% … nearly all of which goes to the gubmint as taxes. There’s your problem : keeping what you earn away from the parasites and predators.

Kristen P
April 14, 2012

OPDC: with soy in the feed it is still $9 per carton to make a profit. Interesting.

Califarmer
April 14, 2012

We run a small farm in Northern California and have nearly 300 heritage breed layers. Our eggs sell for $8 per dozen which sell out weekly. Our eggs are soy-free organic and the feed is sourced in the USA. So we are not feeding organic grain from China like most producers. At $8 a dozen we are barely paying our feed bill especially in the winter when the hens slow down. On a soy-free diet the hens lay 1/2 as many eggs. I should be getting $16 a dozen to make the same profit as my fellow California farmers.

From the land of Milk and Honey

Kristen P
April 14, 2012

Thank you for that Excellent and Informative answer, Ron. I sincerely appreciate it.

Kristen P
April 14, 2012

I don’t care what Pollan says. When only a small percentage of the population can afford real food, it’s elitist.

Suzanna
April 14, 2012

As long as he discloses that he feeds soy and/or corn, it’s up to his customers to decide if they want to buy them. I’m sure many folks will be fine with that. My GD breaks out in a nasty rash if she eats eggs from chickens that have been fed soy or corn – even if the chickens are on pasture through the year and have a lovely orange yolk.

In our area, the demand for eggs from soy and corn free chickens far exceeds the available supply.

Ron Klein
April 14, 2012

“When only a small percentage of the population can afford real food, it’s elitist.” Agree and, I think it is beyond elitist and an issue of national-if not international-proportions. The costs of production are rising rapidly for many reasons-and attempts to cut costs to keep prices more reasonable are flat out tough.

It has been sobering for me to look at our costs-and in conversations with our producer neighbors-to realize that some farmers often cannot afford to purchase the very products they produce. Thankfully for many at least one family member still has a town job. It is tough to find cost effective sources of organic feeds, and even the conventional feeds to purchase or produce (oats, corn, soy, fodder) are climbing off the charts. Folks who are interested in nutrient dense food need to understand this—–And I don’t even pretend to have answers ….. .

This is a good thread……

Just living the dream. . . . . . .

Sophie
April 14, 2012

Huh? I hope you’re not implying that we should stop eating the good, healthy stuff because not everyone can. How about: those who can should exclusively consume the healthy stuff until all of the stuff is forced to become healthy?

I personally think the elite name-calling was initiated by people who made their fortunes off of the industrial food system.

For the record, this “elite” local foodie finances her raw milk and grass fed eggs and meat by the savings from having given up soda, Doritos, Drakes cakes, and so on. Amazing how much food money is freed up when you stop wasting it on nutrition-free “edible food-like substances.” (H/T MP) It’s also amazing how much more you can save by making your own bone broths and lard and tallow. I suppose genuinely elite people often find themselves simmering bones for 48 hours and melting down suet. (Not.)

If you’re interested, my rant from last year on being elite:
http://www.latebloomersfarm.com/index.php/2011/05/just-another-elite-foodie/

Dreen
April 14, 2012

Wow. $8 and $9 a dozen???? I mean sheesh. I can certainly understand needing to make a profit, but it looks to me like if you can’t make a profit at current dollar amounts by charging $5 or $6 per dozen you need to re-examine how you do things.

As for farming, laying chickens give you by FAR the most bang for your buck. (buck buck buck) If you can have them, you certainly should. I could sell you pullets for $9 each and make a profit on that!

Mary McGonigle-Martin
April 14, 2012

Lots of activity with raw milk. Why so many outbreaks? http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/qa-with-e-coli-attorney-bill-marler-on-raw-milk-and-why-were-seeing-so-many-outbreaks/

The Oregon outbreak sound like Dee Creek all over again.

joelie hicks
April 14, 2012

it is similar to buying at the huge stores because things are cheaper, people can’t afford to buy things from the independent business owners. But wait until they are gone and there is no choice. Subsidized commodities make things ‘cheaper’ in the short run. If we have internet/cable/ more than one car/smartphone etc. we can probably cut back somewhere to pay a decent wage to our local merchants and food producers. Land around here has been going for 2,000/acre plus. A couple of cafos have offered 5,000/acre. With those kind of costs, how will food stay cheap? $9/doz would not fly around here, but we have quite a few who sell at a manageable price. Organic/GMO/Soyfree eggs are $2 a dozen. But people think they are doing better at the grocers for .99 a dozen. If more people grew things well the prices would be more manageable. I don’t think good eating is rare only because of cost. It is also a matter of time and knowledge of choice and preparation. I know someone on food stamps who eats very well because she knows how to prepare things like dry beans. She knows how to take advantage of what is affordable because it is in season. Sharing experience is a major key to better eating for all.

joelie hicks
April 14, 2012

I have news for Bill Marler. The anuses of cows goats and sheep have not moved any closer to their mammaries in the last few years.

Dreen
April 14, 2012

I guess California might be that much more expensive than the mid section of the country. I really don’t know, but man, if you tried to charge $5 a dozen for eggs here you would ensure that you had a lot of eggs!

mark mcafee
April 14, 2012

Those that raise pastured eggs realize that chickens do not produce as many eggs when they do not get some SOY. This is a reality check. Joel is right.

Our ration contains mostly ground organic corn meal and also has some soy meal. BUT…we ferment the entire grain feed with old raw milk for 2 days prior to feeding it. We feel that is the best combination of practices to produce the best possible egg. The yokes are super orange. The chickens get pastures and living bugs and worms ( the vegans hate that part ).

My wife is in Denmark for 10 days….you all want to talk about choices and cost of food. Organic Pastured Eggs are cheap at $9 per dozen. In Denmark organic Almonds are at least $22 per pound. Meat….rob a bank. Go up to organic and rob three banks.

Americans have adjusted their budgets to pay for high cost health insurance, illness, nice cars, houses, clothes, etc…we have changed the priority of where our food fits into our budgets.

In America our food budgets are less than 14% of our total budgets. Most interestingly….40% of that budget goes to Star bucks,fast food or other not prepared at home food purchases.

http://budgeting.thenest.com/typical-percentages-household-budgets-3299.html

In Europe, food expenditures as part of the budget can range as high as 34% of budget.

When you consider quality of life and not getting cancer or illness….organic whole food is a bargain.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 14, 2012

When my kids were small and my husband in the military. We couldn’t afford sodas, chips,processed cakes, etc. I also didn’t buy prepared baby food or disposable diapers (that would have taken away food money) We were on a very limited budget. The only thing we bought on credit was a car. After rent, utilities, car note and mandatory phone were paid, I had to make the food money stretch for the whole month (we were paid once a month). Even figuring the $9 eggs and $15 gal milk to 1980 prices, we wouldn’t have ever had eggs or milk, the price would be way out of our reach.

I was not taught so much about different qualities of foods and various cooking methods until we went to Germany. Our parents only teach what they know, mine were on a limited budget too., though we did have a garden and fruit trees. We had one credit card, for emergencies only.

I have since learned to make my own broth and am able to spend what I want on the foods I want. It does feel good to be able to do that and I am far from the ‘elite’ class. I can understand those who don’t have the money to buy the good foods. I wanted to buy the best foods for my kids, I was unable to because of lack of money and lack of knowledge of preparation.

mark mcafee
April 14, 2012

Bill,

The safety and quality of modern CAFO produced raw milk ( in my experience and opinion ) is effected very much also by the handling of the raw milk ( among many other things ).

These modern CAFO raw milks do not come from one CAFO. They come from 20-50 at a time and is entirely commingled. The biofilms that exist in the long transport systems ( truck tanks ), the milking systems of the CAFO, the hormones, antibiotics, high grain and silage use all add to the pathogen condition and load. When the FDA talks about unsafe raw milk….they are right when you consider raw milk when measured at the mega Land O Lakes, DFA, or Deans Foods Creamery just before the HTST pasteurizer.

That is why dairy direct farm tank raw milk from 50 years ago verses raw milk today from a local conventional CAFO dairy is so different and exceedingly unsafe when matched with the stripped naked American Immune system.

There are two raw milks in America. One for the PEOPLE ( and the farmer ) and One for the PASTEURIZER ( shelf life, lactose intolerance, allergies,farmer bankrupcty and Deans Foods Profits ).

The FDA squirms when they see this statement.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 14, 2012

Dreen,

When I was at the farmers market in Sacramento last year, you could get organic pastured eggs for $4-7 per dozen.

Sophie
April 14, 2012

I do understand that there are people who really can’t afford better food, but I don’t understand how calling people “elite” who are not at all elite helps. I also understand that there are people who think they can’t afford good food but the fact is they simply made other choices.

Sophie
April 14, 2012

Meant to add that here in the great state of CT, raw milk is $9/gal and the good eggs are about $4 to 5/doz.

D. Smith
April 14, 2012

Thank you for the condolences, Sylvia and Gordon. This makes two sisters since 2006. Lost them both for the same reason. Both had RA and both died not from the disease, but from the treatment. The sister I lost in 2006 was not into health foods at all, no matter how I tried to educate her. But my sis from CA was very into it, since she only lived a few blocks away from a local farmers market. She did buy eggs there for $5/dozen, but that’s about as high as she was willing to go.

As I said, we grew up on a farm and our parents taught us frugality. They also taught us to support small farmers (which most farmers markets are made up of). But truthfully (and this isn’t a jab to Mark, it’s just a fact) my Dad would not have considered Mark’s operation “small”. I think the key to defining some of the problems is that a line needs to be drawn for where “small farms” end and “bigger farms” start (leaving out, of course, the BigAg goons altogether). I guess Dad’s idea was that he had to stay within a certain budget for our animals and that drew the line keeping us a small producer (for local sales). We had chickens (layers which eventually became stewing hens), meat chickens, turkeys and guinea hens. We had one (sometimes two) Jersey or Devon milk cows for family use only, for the milk and cream.

He was also a rancher (raising Hereford breeder bulls and “fat cows” for slaughter, all grass fed) where he produced a much larger number. But that was a separate part of the farm entirely.

Gordon, you are so right, too, about the predatory gubment tax system. I use this quote often and I don’t know where it originated, but it says: first they tax what we earn and then they tax what we spend. Somehow that just seems wrong.

Pete
April 14, 2012

You can’t directly compare the price of food on the coasts to the mid-section of the country. Much of the feed grain must be shipped in and with rising grain and diesel prices this will only get worse over time. Land and taxes are also more expensive. And the general cost of living is higher.

People are quick to complain about the price of food. But they often seem to think they have a right to higher quality food from a small farmer at the same price as the junk in the store. Junk produced on corporate operations enjoying efficiencies of scale that farmers won’t ever see.

In truth, the vast majority of farms undercharge for their food and do not keep up with the rate of inflation (statistically or in their own inputs even).

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
April 15, 2012

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/14/eat-well-without-spending-more.aspx?e_cid=20120414_DNL_art_2

Here are a couple of interesting quotes from the above article.

“… compared to other countries, there’s no other place on the planet that has cheaper food than the U.S. The 5.5% of disposable income that Americans spend on food at home is less than half the amount of income spent by Germans (11.4%), the French (13.6%), the Italians (14.4%), and less than one-third the amount of income spent by consumers in South Africa (20.1%), Mexico (24.1%), and Turkey (24.5%), which is about what Americans spent DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION, and far below what consumers spend in Kenya (45.9%) and Pakistan (45.6%).”

“Thanks to U.S. government subsidies, between 1997 and 2005, factory farms saved an estimated $3.9 billion per year because they were able to purchase corn and soybeans at prices below what it cost to grow the crops. Without these feed discounts, amounting to a 5 to 15 percent reduction in operating costs, it is unlikely that many of these industrial factory farms could remain profitable.

By contrast, many small farms that produce much of their own forage receive no government money. Yet they are expected somehow to match the efficiency claims of the large, subsidized mega factory farms. On this uneven playing field, CAFOs may falsely appear to “outcompete” their smaller, diversified counterparts.”

Most consumers don’t give a damn about the food that they eat as long as it’s cheap, it tastes good and is convenient. Our Governments have taken advantage of these vices, and have nurtured them via a cheap food policy that has encouraged intensive monoculture farming practices that are destructive to our environment and the foods that we consume.

The small family farm would have long ceased to exist if it weren’t for individual resourcefulness, off farm income and a willingness to produce food at a loss for the benefit of a chosen lifestyle.

Ken Conrad

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 24, 2012

Not sure how to put this under nutrition:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/calcium-full-story/index.html

I am assuming that the studies they did was with pasteurized milk. It would be interesting to see results with short term and long consumption of raw milk and also the comparison between raw/pasteurized and produce consumption for calcium levels and effects on health.

I had read that the body better absorbs calcium from greens than from milk. I don’t recall where I read it.

D. Smith
April 24, 2012

This is something I’ve always been confused about, and somehow even in 45 years of learning I still don’t understand. Things like cholesterol and calcium are important for our bodies. It accumulates in the blood, bones, etc. First they tell us we get these things through nutrition (read: food) and then they tell us we don’t.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 24, 2012

If ‘cholesterol’ and/or calcium is accumulating in the blood or soft tissues, then there is a malfunction in the body’s regulation system. The body uses nutrients to keep it running smoothly. If any part of the system is malfunctioning it can cause a domino effect for other parts. The types and quality of foods we consume has a great affect on how our bodies function.

For example: low Vitamin D, causes a multitude of issues, one is hypocalcemia; low vitamin D rarely leads to symptomatic hypocalcemia because the secondary increase in PTH compensates. So your blood levels of calcium will ‘look’ within normal range, unless the doctor does more detailed tests, you won’t know if your calcium levels are affected by the low vitamin D levels.
The PTH (Parathyroid hormone) will pull calcium from the bones to compensate for low blood calcium levels, leaving the potential for osteoporosis. This calcium has to go somewhere, if it isn’t excreted in urine or feces then it is deposited in other tissues, joints and/or soft tissues (arteries) The vitamin K2 acts as a traffic guard directing calcium where to go, so if it is low, the calcium goes anywhere. All nutrients (vitamins & minerals) work together to maintain the body’s environment. I am not aware of any vitamin working all by itself.

D. Smith
April 25, 2012

Sylvia, I think you might have misunderstood my question, though. IF I want to increase my blood cholesterol levels, how do I do that, if not with food? For years we were told not to eat anything containing cholesterol (a bunch of bunk, of course, which I understood then and now) but if we consume cholesterol and it doesn’t affect our overall, total cholesterol count, what does? What actually increases serum cholesterol levels? I would just like for my reading to be over 200 and even though I’ve eaten in a healthy manner most of my life (except for a few of those college years when it was almost continual beer and pizza fests) and yet my levels stay around 130 which is entirely too low. Now, I know a lot of folks say not to get these levels checked because they’re pretty much irrelevant in the first place. But as a sufferer of an already compromised immune system I’m always curious – and I would like to raise the level. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to the LDL and HDL and all that, but the overall number I would like to bump up if I could figure out how to do it. Any suggestions? According to several articles I’ve read lately (and here’s the confusing part) they basically say serum cholesterol is essentially independent of the cholesterol INTAKE over the whole range of natural human diets. No relationship between cholesterol eaten and cholesterol in the blood. Well then, what DOES effect serum cholesterol? I know it has to do with the processing by the liver and all, and I do have some elevated LFT’s, but this is not new for me. They’ve been elevated for quite a few years, and of course my doc says not to be concerned and that those higher numbers are being caused by the beta-blocker. Oh really? Not a good explanation, in my estimation, so I’m looking for alternatives to the beta-blocker through TCM. Allopathic medicine is, and as far as I’m concerned it always has been, out and out fraud. Except for emergency services and some surgeries, it’s all based on fraud. (see excellent article here on that subject: http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/editorial/medicine_is_fraud.htm )

D. Smith
April 25, 2012

Also, I’m sorry to have gotten off topic here. My bad. ;-(

Since this article is about eggs and chicken, I thought I’d post something here that I read yesterday and posted at my forum, too. It’s absolutely amazing to me what people will come up with to rationalize things. Just amazing! Here’s what I posted:

“I wouldn’t follow ANY of this advice if my life depended on it – and it does. These answers are the biggest myths of all.

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/beware-meat-myths-150000645.html

Don’t wash chicken because it will get your sink dirty and you’ll have to wash out the sink????? Really? Heh! Have you ever heard such ridiculous logic? Anytime I rinse meat, whether it’s chicken or pork or whatever, I CLEAN THE SINK WITH BLEACH when I’m done. I wonder if there are any cooks out there who don’t?? So instead of washing the germs from possibly three dozen or more sets of hands that have probably touched that chicken from the time it left the farm until it made its way to your kitchen you’re not gonna wash them off?!!!! Hells bells. Yeah, so the butcher decided to pick his nose whilst butchering your chicken (just an example of course!). Ewwwwwww.

And I don’t buy meat at the store anymore if I can help it. That picking their nose thing has a lot to do with why I don’t.

And believe me, America’s Test Kitchen is NOT who I would rely on for advice. Nor would I depend on the USDuh to give me competent advice either. You can bet your saddle blanket on that.”

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 25, 2012

I don’t give much credit for cholesterol levels, my husbands were all “normal” and his coronary arteries were occluded 90 & 95%. I know there are good doctors out there, I’ve worked along side of many. I’ve also seen
some things that I wouldn’t have thought I’d see in this day and age. Pills do have their place, I feel they
are handed out like candy and much of the health care in the US is poor.
I may be repeating what you already know,,,

Cholesterol is a sterol, a major part of all cell membranes. It originates in the body in two main ways.

1.) diet Cholesterol from foods are ingested and absorbed in the intestinal tract, in the blood it is
encapsulated by a protein called chylomicron.

2.) liver The liver regulates the amount of circulating cholesterol in the blood. It removes the chylomicron
encapsulated cholesterol from the blood. The liver can also produce and secrete cholesterol. Ingestion
of cholesterol activates the liver to remove chylomicrons from circulating blood. Before and after meals,
when cholesterol is not readily available, the liver will manufacture and secrete certain amounts of
cholesterol into the circulation of the blood. The liver is responsible for the production of approximately 25% of cholesterol used by the body. The rest of the cholesterol utilized must be ingested and absorbed.

Your liver regulates the amount of cholesterol in your blood. In the liver cholesterol is converted to bile,
and is stored in the gallbladder. Bile aides in the absorption of fats and vitamins when ingested. It is also
needed in the synthesis of vitamin D and other hormones. Cholesterol is not a bad thing.

I would think that what you consume does effect your blood levels. For example: I’ve had patients who
refused the cholesterol lowering medications (smart on their part) and lowered the levels by eating old
fashioned oatmeal daily for 1-2 months. They didn’t change any other part of their life style. It didn’t
work for all, but appeared to work for most. My understanding is that the oats ( roughage) cause the
bile to be excreted and because the liver is limited on the amount of cholesterol it can produce, it pulls
cholesterol from the blood to produce more bile. (That is it in a nut shell)

Do you drink well water? The chemicals in most city water has effects on our bodies in so many ways. http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/19/1/49.abstract

http://www.ravnskov.nu/myth3.htm Reading all the various “information” pages makes me wonder
what is “normal”.

If the LFTs are elevated then the liver is being affected (medications do affect blood tests) and I would
want to know how it also affects the cholesterol levels? Are you getting a true reading or has the medication
and/or any illnesses affected the lab results? Illnesses can also affect lab results.
For example: CHF (congested heart failure) an exacerbation of CHF throws many of the labs off and may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to come back to the patients ‘normal’ or their ‘new normal’.

Unfortunately todays medicine doesn’t allow doctors to investigate causes of illnesses, it’s here take a
pill and …next patient. Insurance dictates how medicine is run. Our bodies don’t get screwed up over
night and it can take months or years to put them back on a healthy track. I don’t know if I answered any of your questions, hope I at least helped in your search.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 25, 2012

Yeah, i saw that story and thought it was ridiculous.

D. Smith
April 25, 2012

Thanks, Sylvia. It’s such a diverse issue. I really do believe the increased LFT’s are complicating the proper functioning of my liver so maybe that’s why my cholesterol readings are so low. All I know is I think I’d feel better if I could raise the cholesterol above 200.

No, we don’t drink well water but we do have a ceramic filtering system we’ve been using for almost 10 years and I wouldn’t trade it for all the whiskey in Dodge. We have the best tasting, purest water ever, without taking out the minerals as RO systems can do.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
April 25, 2012

http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0415/p2223.html

http://www.mhprofessional.com/downloads/products/0071494561/MengelCh43.pdf

As said before, there is usually more than one thing contributing to anything ‘abnormal’. And what’s normal for one person may not be for another. Over the last years, it seems like there has been an increase in people with fatty liver, which isn’t surprising considering what the SAD is. There is a lot that the physicians just don’t know. Things are being discovered all the time. If everyone would have the courtesy to be exactly alike, it would be so much easier to figure things out.

D. Smith
April 26, 2012

Ha! It would make things a lot easier if we were all exactly alike, wouldn’t it?! But how boring would THAT be? Nevertheless, the person who is helping me with the TCM has looked into the fatty liver thing and doesn’t think that’s an issue, but in TCM you always work with blends of herbs and organ specific glands (like treats like – in this case liver), so we’re going to include some of those things into the end-result blend. It should prove interesting over the course of the next year or so.

My MD physician knows actually very little about the human body, I’m discovering. And I discover more with each passing year that they DON’T know.