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My Story: The Origins of a Book (or My Time of Insanity), Part One

baby pic

It all started with a bad economy. And a new baby. And the first fall I didn’t work. And finally getting around to creating a new budget in November and finding a number in red at the bottom of the spreadsheet.

My part-time, 6-hour-a-week teaching position was cut at the Catholic school where I had worked for 5 years. It really wasn’t a bad deal, because I got to skip the discernment process of “do I continue working after the birth of baby number two, due in June?”  The answer, unequivocally, was no. You wouldn’t think cutting 6 hours of worktime from a budget would make a big difference in the bottom line, but it did for us.

It was shocking. It was depressing. It was scary.

I had a lot of stress about not having enough money to live our already (incredibly) frugal life.  I couldn’t figure out what we could possibly cut. There were times that I found myself breathing too fast thinking about it. There were times that I found myself forgetting to breathe, then realizing I was worried about money without even thinking about it! It wasn’t a very happy few weeks. I was determined to find a way to bring in some income.

  • I sent out letters to schools with my tutoring business cards. Even one student a week would have brought the bottom line back into focus…in the color black, thank you very much.
  • I considered doing in-home childcare – but for whom? And could I do it was a 5-month-old baby myself?
  • I poked around online to see what I might need to do to be a freelance writer.
  • I started brainstorming book ideas again.

I’ve always wanted to write Kitchen Stewardship® and had been writing it in my head for a few years, but I never thought it would come to reality. A few people recommended I begin with a blog to form a readership base, so I started by checking out what other blogs were out there. I found some moms much like me, doing their best to feed their families well and be godly women.

I also started a proposal to a publishing company which asked that I compare my book idea with other similar books. That meant I had to find books on some of my topics. I discovered some interesting sounding texts that tackled nutrition and saving the earth, and I had already read some good ones on time management and financial support. Nobody tackled everything at once with a godly perspective like I wanted to, so I was excited that perhaps my book idea was unique and highly motivated to get started writing.

Then I started researching topics in the nutrition and environmental issues. That’s when the insanity began. Every time I turned a page, I found a new health hazard I didn’t know about, a new reason all the changes I had already made to improve our family’s nutrition weren’t good enough. Honestly, everywhere I looked I began to see evil.

I found myself standing in front of the milk at Meijer, frozen with fear. I didn’t know what to buy! It wasn’t that the milk wasn’t on sale, either. It was on sale – that’s why I was standing there, of course. The problem was that the organic milk had been heated too much (and was way too expensive), the skim milk had oxidized cholesterol in it and the whole milk was still missing most of its enzymes and a whole bunch of vitamins, because those cows certainly weren’t eating grass. It was all homogenized, which could negatively impact my husband’s cholesterol. I honestly didn’t know what to do.

milk in a store

Photo Source

I ended up taking home a gallon of ½% and a gallon of whole milk, store brand, $2.50 apiece. It was like buying illegal drugs for all the dread I felt bringing them home. I probably have a calcium deficiency because now that I have milk in the house, I’m not sure if I should drink a glass with dinner or not.

I look at my microwave and wonder what it’s doing to our family and our food. I make a call on the cell phone and imagine rays of death going into my infant’s brain through her thin skull. I try making nutritious meals following my new information, and my husband is less than pleased (and sometimes I am too) with the result.

If it’s not fun at all to eat, maybe I’m working too hard. If I’m worrying so much about cancer and dying, am I going to have a heart attack from stress??? At the same time that I’m trying to figure out how to earn extra money and be super-tight with our budget, I’m wanting to buy organic cotton PJs, a new mattress that won’t offgas in the night, and all sorts of specialty foods because the standard supermarket fare is going to kill me. What’s a gal to do?

Thanks for reading the “tip of the iceberg”. Join me next week for another installment of my journey, which my mother says will be an interesting and necessary first chapter in the book someday…

Catch up on the other installments of “My Story”:

***Be sure to check out the Cultures for Health starter giveaway. (link no longer available) (link no longer available)You could win yogurt, sourdough, kombucha, buttermilk or water kefir starters, your choice of THREE through Thursday 9/24.

Someone else who knows the transition to healthier eating:  please visit Real Food Wednesday at Cheeseslave.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

42 thoughts on “My Story: The Origins of a Book (or My Time of Insanity), Part One”

  1. The internet can often be a double edged sword with its vast amounts of information … which I spend far too much time getting distracted by! I realize many others also feel a kinship with your story, so perhaps I am not as uniquely curious/intense about these topics as I thought! 😉 Your struggle at the milk cooler…been there! My son is 8 months and when I was pregnant I was trying to learn about EVERYTHING because I want to make the RIGHT decisions…unfortunately it is not always easy to discern what they are. Plus the fact that everything is relative and there may be different right answers for different families also stresses my logical, black-and-white mode of thinking. Thank you for your candor, congratulations on turning your passions into a successful blogging venture, and for keeping things respectful, open and focused on what (and Who) is most important!

  2. Tonya – I’m glad to see that you ordered one of the books from the library. I am guessing you ordered “The Untold Story of Milk”.

    I, like you, am highly logical and respect facts, not emotion (although emotion certainly has its place — but it does not belong in a debate).

    (To repeat) I also highly recommend that you read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan.

    There is one other source of information you might want to review. Download this powerpoint:

    http://www.realmilk.com/ppt/index.html

    I’d quote from it but I just upgraded to Snow Leopard on my Mac and PowerPoint is giving me trouble (freezes and quits).

    That powerpoint, along with Michael Pollan’s book and Dr. Schmid’s book are what convinced me to switch my family to raw milk. I could not deny the facts in those 3 documents (again, all very well-sourced.)
    .-= CHEESESLAVE´s last blog ..Fast Food Dinner =-.

  3. “Others self-publish to push their personal agendas. That’s made blatantly obvious by the tone of the pdf cheeseslave posted above.”

    Tonya, I posted that PDF for you because you said you didn’t “put much stock” in the book about the history of milk by Dr. Ron Schmid. This PDF covers the part about the swill milk dairies, the ones feeding the cows whiskey mash, in the 1700-1800s. I figured it might be a shortcut for you, instead of having to read the whole book.

    I don’t understand how you can discount information based on “tone”. Are you referring to the “tone” of that PDF? In other words, the tone of the author’s writing? If so, that is subjective and not relevant to a logical argument.

    I can write “2 + 2 = 4” very matter of factly, or I can write it in a tone that you might perceive to be offensive. For example, I could write, “Anyone who doesn’t know 2 + 2 = 4 is stupid.”

    Regardless of how one writes it or what tone they use, 2 + 2 still equals 4.

    So I’m not sure what tone has to do with anything. Something is either true or it isn’t.

    If you go back and look at that PDF, it’s very well-sourced. (As is Dr. Schmid’s book, as is Michael Pollan’s book, and his articles.) That 13-page PDF has 5 full pages of sources.

    If you think the article I posted and the sources the author credited are invalid, that’s another matter. In that case, what is it about them that makes them invalid? Can you prove that the author is wrong? Based on what other sources?

    As far as your claim that “Others self-publish to push their personal agendas,” you seem to be suggesting that the author of that PDF has a personal agenda to push, and therefore you have invalidated it.

    Again, not logical. Whether the author has an agenda or not is immaterial. Either her statements are true or they are not. Her personal motivation is beside the point. If her argument is well constructed and based on solid facts, then we must come to the conclusion that her argument is valid.
    .-= CHEESESLAVE´s last blog ..Fast Food Dinner =-.

    1. It is entirely possible for an author’s tone & writing style in conveying a particular belief to elicit a passionate response from the reader. It’s called propaganda. PETA does an excellent job of this, along with skewing facts & omitting information. what proof do you have that this author is truthful? have you read all of her citations?

      in the passage from the pdf which i’ve c&p’d below, distiller’s grains are referred to as “slop”. I wasn’t alive in the early 1800’s, so I can’t tell you what distiller’s grains looked like back then, however, I can tell you that none of the byproduct feeds fed today can be described as “slop”. the distiller’s grains look like grain. not to mention, we’re not living in the early 1800’s. Not even the 1900’s. This is the 21st century. technology is everywhere, including in agriculture.

      One effort brought the cows back to the city, but not to graze on the village green. Beginning in the 1820s or 1830s, distillery owners created a market for the grain mash left from the distilling process by selling it as cattle feed. Farmers could rent stalls at the distillery and feed their cows this slop at minimal cost. Although cows gave more milk on this high-calorie diet, it was of poor quality because the animals got no exercise and lived in filthy conditions. The thin blue “swill” milk was often doctored with additives, such as starch, plaster, chalk, eggs or annatto (a dye derived from the seed of a tropical plant), to give it a more attractive color. Although other cities also had swill dairies, nowhere was the infamous beverage more prevalent than in New York.ii
      from:
      Selitzer, Ralph. The Dairy Industry in America. New York: Dairy & Ice Cream Field and Books for Industry, 1976.
      .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: hmmm…the dimmable cfl’s i got don’t work well. prolly need to upgrade the dimmer switch. will ask landlords. i’m now all cfl! =-.

  4. Katie, I am very sorry for losing my temper in your blog comments like that. After I hit “send” I immediately regretted it. I think you’re very brave to share your insights and experiences publicly when you know folks might disagree with you. I appreciate what you do and again I’m sorry for taking such a tone on your blog. Striving for peace, Lisa
    .-= Lisa Sargese´s last blog ..universal language of the knee =-.

  5. All right, Ladies. I really pondered about whether or not to approve your comments, and I did, but I want to publicly ask you to cut the disrespect and avoid typing anything you wouldn’t say out load to someone’s face while in the same room as your own mother. I don’t like the thought of hard feelings or negative words running around at Kitchen Stewardship.

    I’m a wannabe academic, and I respect Tonya’s respect of FACT. I want to make sure I’m grounded in fact, especially when I’m spending $6/gallon on the darn milk!

    When it all comes down to it, we all have to go with our guts, both literally and figuratively. Find the info, test out something for yourself, and if you are healthier because of it and feel at peace with the decision, then you’ve made the right one. If you don’t have peace, you pray about it and try to find the right change to make.

    I really like both you gals — so let’s banter a little about cows, grass, and academic articles without jabbing at anything with feelings, all right?

    T – glad you’re feeling better!!

    In His Grip (tightly!),
    Katie

  6. Whoever this Tonya is she’s waiting on line for a flu shot and complaining about being in a lot of pain according to her Twitter. People like her who worship at the alter of “science” are not easily convinced of anything Weston A. Price has to say. They think we’re kooks with a grass-fed-raw-milk agenda. It’s exhausting to argue with them so I don’t. If you’re enjoying this back and forth as a way to hone your skills then please continue. Just don’t expect to convince her of anything.
    .-= Lisa Sargese´s last blog ..so I prayed =-.

    1. Lisa, way to draw conclusions & make a personal attack on someone who you’ve never met & the only things you know about are what you’ve read here & in 140 characters or less. VERY mature of you.

      I’m feeling JUST FINE after my flu shot & my BACK & BOTTOM HURT because my sacroiliac joint was misaligned for which I sought ALTERNATIVE therapy, a chiropractor, after declining my pcp’s instructions to take up to 1800 mg of ibuprofen a day for a week.

      I am convinced by SCIENTIFIC FACT. Numbers don’t lie. Anyone can publish a book. Some people are lucky enough to get paid a little bit of money for it. Others self-publish to push their personal agendas. That’s made blatantly obvious by the tone of the pdf cheeseslave posted above. The further you stray from scientific fact, the bigger the snowball becomes, until misinformation is being believed as propagandic truth. I spent 4 years of my life & an estimated $50k dollars studying animal science not to mention most of my life until that point living & working on my family’s dairy farm, which was a partial grazing farm of largely hosteins, but also a small number of jersey’s & jersey x hostein. I drank raw milk by the gallon & made my own butter. I have nothing against people wanting to buy grassfed milk or meat or raw milk, however, I don’t appreciate people spreading misinformation. It is not true that grassfed milk is the only source of CLA’s & results have varied as to the benefits of grassfed dairy cattle. I can write that the sky is green & convince a bunch of people the sky is green & send them out into the world to spread the message…but that doesn’t make the message true. I have already ordered one book mentioned here from the library, & will probably look up the other names that were dropped, however, I’m just not seeing the factual information behind their claims nor credentials behind the person.

      Tell me this, if soilent green were developed & found to be the most nutritious, organically & sustainably produced food, with the lowest environmental impact (the perfect food), would you consume it rather than food as we know it?

      ps…I worship at God’s altar. He & science coexist just fine in my life.
      .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: Si joint had very slightly slipped out of place. That’s good news. Back again tues. =-.

  7. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

    I asked our dairy farmer, Karen, for her thoughts on the grass-fed debate above. (We’ve gotten our raw milk there for a while now, and she’s very knowledgeable about farming.) Here was her response:

    “Wow. I think the folks here are comparing apples and oranges. The grass-fed dairy cow is a very different animal from the conventional dairy cow. In fact, conventional dairy cows have been selectively bred to produce, produce, produce, so they have to be fed a specialized diet. It’s a little like a car that must have high octane fuel. Of course, it burns out very early. The average life of a conventional dairy cow is 42 months. They are “culled” because they are too sick to reproduce. They then become fast-food hamburgers. The average grass-fed dairy cow lives and continues to reproduce for 10 years. We have one who is 13! They do not experience a “negative energy balance” because they are not pushed. If you want quantity–lots and lots of milk–you need to do what the conventional farmers do. With milk prices so low they have essentially trapped themselves into producing ever more milk. If you want quality you have to abide by nature’s dictates. There are no short cuts.”
    .-= Kelly the Kitchen Kop´s last blog ..Real Food Wednesday 9/30/09 =-.

    1. Sorry, but your friend is wrong. She’s pushing her agenda (grassfed, raw milk) & oblivious to scientific fact, such as that which I have presented here. To say that a jersey or guernsey is a completely different animal than the holstein is totally wrong. To make a wholesale change in a breed takes years of breeding & genetics. That’s simply not been done.

      1. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

        I think you misunderstood, though. Karen didn’t say that the *breeds* were different, she said that conventional vs. grass-fed cows are very different.

        BTW, I just read the below exchange. I agree that we can agree to disagree respectfully, especially as Christian sisters! 🙂

        Kelly
        .-= Kelly the Kitchen Kop´s last blog ..Real Food Wednesday 9/30/09 =-.

        1. Ok. I misread or misunderstood. If we’re talking within the same breed grassfed vs. other, the “very different animal” is MUCH less believable. Variation comes from genetic diversions based on selective breeding. Since grassfed dairies are keeping their cattle longer, there’s less opportunity to creat new generations, so less opportunity to move toward a more efficient, grassfed-ideal cow. further, i suspect the cattle on grassfed dairies are only a generation or 3 removed from cows who were managed something other than grassfed. that too allows for little change/difference.

    2. Thanks, Kelly! This is definitely echoing what I have read to be true, but it’s good to hear it from someone who knows first-hand.

  8. It was really refreshing to read this post. I hope God encourages you not to give up. It’s extremely overwhelming. I feel it. Thank you for being honest and creative to share it.

  9. omg I LOVE the way you write! You are so relatable. I feel the same way sometime about food. The new knowledge I have about where it comes from and how awful it is just freezes me up. Finding a local, organic farm through the Weston A. Price Foundation saved my life. You SHOULD write a book!!! Folks want to hear real life stores like yours. We relate to struggles and cheer for triumphs from adversity. Can’t wait to read more!
    .-= Lisa Sargese´s last blog ..Real Foodies are Blogging! =-.

    1. Aw, thanks, Lisa! Your blog profile is impressive – I’m looking forward to reading more from you, too. 🙂

  10. Yes, yes, yes, yes! I’m reminded of one of the most memorable phrases ever muttered by one of my college professors “You come to learn that everything you have learned up until this point is nothing but bulls**t.”

    He was talking about discrete mathematics, but it applies to a lot of things. We have been fed to many lies that it’s difficult to discern the truth any more.

    And cost! Buying real food (like real fats) is more expensive up front, but I know eating garbage will be more expensive long term. Still, on a tight budget it can be very difficult. My husband lost his job for an extended period and may well lose it again (he’s in a temp position right now), so I understand very much where you’re’ coming from. It’s all so very frustrating!
    .-= Laurie N´s last blog ..Me Oh My, I Love Pie =-.

  11. Oh my…the last half of your blog post IS SO ME! Scary! I’m loving your blog. Can’t wait to read the next chapter.

  12. I can also relate. The more I know, the less I wish I knew.
    .-= Suzanne´s last blog ..Our Beautiful Hoss =-.

  13. Squeaky Gourmet

    Well said! I too feel paralyzed when i am about to purchase fruit and vegetables at the market–let alone reading food labels and looking for the tips and/or clues that they are genetically engineered foods….
    .-= Squeaky Gourmet´s last blog ..Everybody likes cookies =-.

  14. I can so relate to your story. My husband sent me your blog post this morning. I have 5 children, ten and under and was amazed by the questions that began with the first. Is she getting enough protein. How much protein does a newborn need… how many carbohydrates, is she sleeping enough… what about chemicals… and now my pediatrician tells me that milk may not be so good for babies and toddlers:) long story short, my third child did get pretty sick and I was introduced to a company that has now leveraged us a full time income. If you or any of your reader would like to learn more about Shaklee , their nutrition or non-toxic cleaning products or working from home… I train moms all over the country to be able to be home with their children and earn as little or much income as they like. You can also find us at www.athomemama.com Blessings

  15. The traditionally managed dairy cow has one of the most nutrition packed and closely monitored diets in the world. She’s like a 4 legged body builder typically eating a diet blended from numerous ingredients on an ad libitum basis.

    1. Tonya,
      When you say “traditional” do you mean “conventional” like what I find in a grocery store, or “traditional” like the way it has been done for centuries?
      Katie

      1. Sorry. I mean traditionally managed modern dairy cow.

        That being said, not all farms selling to the co-op that supplies your local grocery practices a confinement operation. I suspect your local grocery gets milk from MMPA (MI Milk Producers Assoc.), which is who my family marketed their milk through for years until we quit dairy farming. Our cows were only confined during the winter (for their comfort) & spent their summer on pasture with supplements added. There are still farms that operate in this manner, however given the low price of milk & the high price of farming, most operations must have a large # of animals in hopes of turning a small profit. those operations are probably what you are thinking about as “conventional” as they are confinement operations due to the large number of animals.

        It should be noted that “confinement” dairy operations are not a bad thing. The cows lounge on mattresses, under a roof (shade & protection from the elements), the manure is cleared several times a day, they’ve got fans to keep them cool, etc etc etc. Their food (a total mixed ration) is available to them at their leisure all day long.

        1. Tonya,
          Have you heard of “The Untold Story of Milk” by Ron Schmid? Interesting reading. The major problem with the confinement dairies is the food itself – cows’ stomachs were made for grass, not grain. There are healthy fats found only in grassfed beef, which is hard to find (100% grassfed, at least). I’m still learning a lot myself!
          Katie

          1. I haven’t heard of the book, however, having studied animal nutrition at MSU, I do know what cows are fed & why. They are not fed entirely grain. I’ll hunt up the book, but I don’t put much stock in it.

            As you may know, cows have 4 stomachs. It’s better described as having a stomach with 4 compartments. The largest & most important is the rumen, which is where the cows food goes to ferment. Cows don’t digest like you & I. They digest via fermentation thanks to the microbes in their rumen. The microbes break the food down into the nutrients that the cow absorbs & uses. If a cow stops eating (usually because they are sick), the rumen enviroment (ph levels or food levels) change & the microbes will start to die off leaving the cow gets stuck in a catch 22. They can’t digest their food even if they consume it. MSU has been researching this for years, transplanting rumen contents from one cow to another to re-seed the rumen. On our farm we gave the cow a bottle of beer…old wives tale, but it seemed to work.

            here’s a pdf (geared towards kids) that talks about what cows eat. http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2UserFiles/Place/36553000/px-based_v3.2/educ-matrls/pdfs/HO_what-cows-eat.pdf

            Note the use of “byproduct” feeds. Don’t see “byproduct” & think bad…it’s actually being frugal. Example, cattle can eat the grains leftover from brewing beer. There’s still nutrients available to the cows.

            1. Tonya,
              As you don’t put much stock in the milk book, I don’t put much in cows eating grain leftover from beer-making. From what I’ve read, that’s why pasteurization became necessary in the first place, because the guts of cows became so acidic from the grains.

              Why is it that confinement cows live such short lives compared to pastured cows? Why is butter and cream from grass-fed cows yellow, whereas from storebought milk it is pure white? And for me, the clincher is: what did God create cows’ stomachs – make them absolutely perfect – for eating? Grass. I’m totally on the edge of my seat to hear more from you on this. I can only get so much from reading, but I think it’s fascinating to hear from someone college-educated on the issues. Remember, too, that I’m more worried about the nutrition in the milk than “can the cows survive on the food”.

              Katie

              1. Once again I’ll point out that cows DO NOT & CANNOT eat only grain. It would be like you or I eating only candy. It doesn’t work. There gut must have a bulk of grassy component in order to work (grass, hay, silage, haylage…leafy greens). That’s the base. The additions of grains &/or byproducts is to balance the nutrients to provide the cow the best nutrition possible. Cows experience a ‘negative energy balance’ during their peak lactation. They cannot physically hold enough food to keep weight on their body. If you’ve noticed dairy cows on pasture, you’ll see that they are bony. As I mentioned before, a cow’s diet & production level are closely monitored so they get as much nutrition as possible in each meal. A dairy herdsman will spend as much time working on the cow’s diets as you do planning your family’s meals. Seriously.

                As for the byproduct feeds…think of the cow eqivalent to buying produce from the half price bin. Just like veggies with bad spots, these feeds have nutrients available that the cow can utilize while saving the farmer a little money.

                As for lifespan…I am not sure if you’re talking about merely being alive or productive lifespan. A “modern” dairy that is closely managing their cattle will cull animals from the herd on a regular basis. There’s a constant strive to be better & that’s done via breeding & genetics. Turnover allows for improvement.

                As for the content & color of milk. It does vary widely depending on the animal, breed, & diet. Jersey cattle have the highest butterfat content. Their milk is usually more yellow. We had mostly holsteins (known for their production level) & some jerseys on our farm along with some crossbreds. Holsteins are by far the most popular breed in the US.

            2. Tonya –

              Just because you CAN feed distillery mash and stale bakery waste to animals, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. What cows eat greatly impacts the quality of their milk.

              In the 1800s, when they decided to start feeding distillery mash (the leftover mash from making whiskey) to cows, the milk they produced was so nutritionally inferior and full of pathogens that babies started dying in NYC where they were selling the milk — to the tune of a 50% infant mortality rate.

              Or in the book Katie referenced. I highly recommend that one, “The Untold History of Milk”. It sounds like you know a lot about modern dairy, but very little about the history of dairy, which goes back thousands of years.

              Traditionally, cows were always allowed to roam on pasture. Grain was not part of their diet.

              You should also check out Michael Pollan’s book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. The book is extremely well-researched; Pollan goes into great detail about what cows should and shouldn’t eat and what actually happens to them when they are fed grain diets.

              This issue is also explained very well in the film, Food Inc. which has been in theaters all summer. (Lots of interviews w/ Pollan in the film as well.)

              “The lethal strain of E. coli known as 0157:H7, responsible for this latest outbreak of food poisoning, was unknown before 1982; it is believed to have evolved in the gut of feedlot cattle. These are animals that stand around in their manure all day long, eating a diet of grain that happens to turn a cow’s rumen into an ideal habitat for E. coli 0157:H7. (The bug can’t survive long in cattle living on grass.)” – Source: http://www.michaelpollan.com/article.php?id=84

              The problem with E. coli killing people (especially young children, as documented in Food Inc.) should be reason enough that we need to stop feeding cattle grain PERIOD.

              And trying to solve the problem by washing beef in ammonia (which is what they do with meat in 70% of restaurants, acc. to Food Inc.) is not the answer.

              Why? Because the feedlot manure runs off into neighboring farms — which explains why people are getting sick from things like organic spinach and peanut butter.
              .-= CHEESESLAVE´s last blog ..Fast Food Dinner =-.

              1. given the tone of these two links, especially the first, they seem to be lacking objectivity & thus not reliable sources.

                here’s a scientific discussion article on the topic that is pretty insightful: http://jds.fass.org/cgi/content/full/86/3/852
                .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: @pnwlocalnews yeah. Had no idea they had either. Will look on fb. Time to update dtr twitter directory. =-.

                1. The NYTimes Magazine? I’m guessing M. Pollan checks out his research pretty well. I think he has a lot of good to say and is very reliable…

          2. i checked the journal of dairy science & found studies showing there are higher levels of CLA’s in grassfed beef & milk. that is information that i can trust. the trend i am seeing is that bloggers grab on to an idea & run with it, losing the original source along the way. anyone can put anything on the internet, so i would be careful with your sources. i found a lot of info on blogs & farm sites about how grassfed was the best, but none of them really had the sources to back it up. the best sources are always scientific literature. it appears the jds has a lot of open access articles, so if you’re interested, http://jds.fass.org/

            back to CLA’s. i can’t say i am surprised to see that they are nutritionally dependent. my point is, they are not found ONLY in grassfed animals, just at higher levels in grassfed animals. so while grassfed may be a better option, your average grocery store milk or beef is not a bad option. my other point is, there is nothing wrong with feeding cattle food other than grass. see table 4 on page 20 of this pdf (an extension publication, so a science based & reliable source), http://learningstore.uwex.edu/pdf/A3529.pdf . it shows that grass alone does not nutritionally meet the needs of an early lactation dairy cow. should the cow be withheld the energy intake she needs so a consumer can have milk with more CLA’s in it?

            have you given any thought to how difficult it is to operate a grazing farm? farmland was & is being rapidly turned into subdivisions. once it goes, it’s gone forever. do you think it’d be better to stop growing cereal grains in favor of farmland for grazing dairy & beef cattle? what about the people who don’t want to live next door to a farm? there’s lots of them. then there’s the price of land to think about. what scale should the industry be changed – all grazing because >CLA’s are the best, or some ratio of grazing to traditional? where do farms get the cash to make these changes?

            things to consider…

            p.s. if you want, I can launch into my rBST speech. let me know.
            .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: really liked the dc @ active chiropractic in renton highlands. my pelvis was misaligned making one leg shorter than the other. =-.

            1. Tonya,
              This is fun. Are you having fun? I think you might be! 😉

              I have so much to learn, and I’m really, really glad you’re showing me some academic resources. It is awfully hard to find “real” research on the web via a Google search. I’ve been a bit squeamish about some of what I post because I’m not positive the research is sound. I try to be careful to source everything when possible.

              Interesting that I had bad info in my head about grassfed being the *only* source of CLAs. I’ll have to hunt down my resource for the Fat Full Fall posts… Thank you for corroborating the facts on grassfed beef/dairy having more CLAs.

              re: the pdf about grass alone not meeting nutritional requirements, I noticed that the page was speaking of “high-producing dairy cows”, like Holsteins, I assume. Most grass-fed cows are Jerseys or Guernseys, because people will pay a premium for the cream. I wonder if their nutritional needs are different?

              Have you heard of Joel Salatin? He’s the country’s foremost “grass farmer” and grows quite an amazing amount of food on his acreage (maybe 500 or so acres?). It’s all pasture, but he knows how to work it so that every animal gets what they need from the smallest amount of land, and the land itself is really healthy and replenished with minerals.

              I wouldn’t want to live next door to an industrial farm, but the grassfed cows I know don’t smell nearly as badly. 🙂 Many farmers I’ve heard of transition to grass only and end up being more well off than before because folks are hungry for the “real thing”.

              When cows eat corn and soybeans, they are likely being fed GMO feed, which is another layer of worry entirely. I guess I’d rather my cows have at least some pasture and then non-GMO feed, if everyone can’t have the ideal (what I think is ideal, based on the info I have at the current time) of 100% grassfed.

              One more thought on the byproduct feed being like reduced produce: when I buy reduced veggies, I’m buying an old green pepper instead of a fresh one. You said feeding cows all grain would be like eating candy all the time. If I cross your analogies, the grain is like candy, not reduced produce. Instead of buying a green pepper that has fewer nutrients than a fresh one, I’m buying candy to fill my caloric needs, or maybe white bread – it gives me energy, but it’s not good for my body or overall health. I’m thinking feeding cattle grain and byproduct is like feeding my kids white bread. Fills caloric and immediate energy needs, but gives them a crash and possible health issues later. Those dairy farmers who spend so much time planning the cattle’s feed – are they going for the most nutritious milk or the highest yield of milk?

              Can’t wait to hear what else you’ve got!
              Katie

              1. i’m glad to hear that you’re having fun. don’t wanna be the big meanie farm girl.

                i’m not sure if “high producing dairy cow” means quantity or quality. while holsteins put out a high volume of good milk, jerseys & guernseys put out an impressive level of milk fat. both take energy. i’ll keep researching that as time allows.

                500 acres of farmland. have you ever given thought to the price or availability of that much contiguous land? my wild guess is a half million dollars if you can find it. it’s true that some small farms have carved out a nice existence as a niche market, however, i don’t see the industry making the change entirely because the bulk of consumers is not willing to pay more for milk or meat.

                smell wise…while my nose is quite used to it, there definitely was a smell associated with our VERY small herd of no more than 50 cattle, albeit typically only when manure was being handled. It’s largely the same for a confinement farm. there’s a lot of research going on in manure management (of all livestock, not just cattle). i used to work with one of the leading manure management people in michigan.

                you took my byproduct feed analogy a little further than intended. when i likened grain to eating candy, i only meant that too much of it would give you a belly ache. in comparing it to reduced priced produce, i was comparing that the blemished produce would otherwise go to waste, same with the brewer’s grains (unless they were composted). since they have nutrient value remaining, they can be added to the cow’s diet as energy. it also goes to far to extrapolate human nutritional needs & responses to the cow, since they’re a total different species & digest completely differently.

                farmers are balancing feed cost, feed availability & milk production (quanity & components) when they plan diets. like you mention, there are premiums for components.

                here’s a link to the MMPA, MI’s largest milk co-op, http://www.mimilk.com/. You’ll find pricing info & much more there.
                .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: @pnwlocalnews yeah. Had no idea they had either. Will look on fb. Time to update dtr twitter directory. =-.

                1. T-
                  I hope I’m wrong about Salatin’s land – I’m not much for remembering acreage. His website is here: http://www.polyfacefarms.com/ Worth perusing for sure.

                  I’m giggling a bit that you used to work in poop. I work in poop, too, just the kind in diapers. 😉

                  The thing about grass is that, well-managed, it’s so cheap.

                  Thank you, by the way, for finding the scientific background for e. coli 0157 being reduced in grassfed animals vs. grain-fed. I’ve seen the study referenced in other works, but it’s always good to go right to the source. Your research is awesome!

                  I still think cows eating grain – especially distillery byproducts – is a lot like people eating white bread. Some nutrients, but little nourishment.

                  KT

                2. I just have to chime in on the smell factor. I was raised on a small, pasture-based dairy farm, and to be sure, the manure smelled. That said, it was nothing like the eye burning rancidity of the liquid manure that’s been fermenting in holding pits on the large confinement operations. Our farm stunk a little. When the big farms around here start spreading, your eyes burn and it’s hard to breathe, and it last for weeks as they keep spreading and spreading – those are big pits that have to be emptied. I get so frustrated because I can’t even keep my windows open to enjoy the nice fall days because of the stench. Standard poop, my nose can adjust to; fermented liquid manure, well it’s been years and it is still just as eye burning as ever.
                  .-= Laurie N´s last blog ..Sassy Salsa or "How I Get My Kids to Drink Milk" =-.

      2. ps…link to a friend of a friend’s farm & retail operation just north of battle creek
        http://www.moo-ville.com/

          1. Awesome. Is that where you lease your cow? If not, where do you lease your cow? If they have a website, I’m curious to see it. I’ve not actually seen a cow lease agreement.

            1. We have a cow share at Angelus Farms in Lowell. Here’s the website: http://www.theangelusfarms.com/ I don’t think Moo-ville does shares, do they? We chose raw milk for three reasons, in this order: 1. grass-fed (CLA – a healthy fat) 2. organic 3. non-homogenized The whole “raw” thing with the enzymes is just an added bonus in my book.
              🙂

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