Taking a health stand! *NEW COLUMN*

Today I took a stand..a health stand, that is! My friend Katrina asked me to be a weekly contributor to a health website she wanted to start. This was such an honor that she asked me. At first I thought…why  me? Sure, I like to eat my share (and sometimes my husband’s share) of veggies, juice every so often, and spend a lot of our $ on fresh produce from the local farmer’s market every week..but doesn’t EVERYONE?!? Apparently, not so much. Just a disclaimer, I’m NO expert in the health field at all. I’ve taken some science courses in college and taught science in junior high school for 2 years, but I only had to teach 1 unit of Health & Nutrition each school year and that barely grazed the surface of what we’re talking about here. So, what’s the point of writing this article?

Well, for one thing, Health is SUPER important to me. Looking back at when I was working in ministry at my old church, we used to do these icebreakers to get to know each other. Sometimes we’d sit around in a circle and share our favorite cereal or our favorite childhood memory. There was one particular time we all had to share our favorite foods. I remember peoples’ responses clearly. Most people said, “Pizza!” or “Hamburgers!” or”Corn dogs!” or “French Fries!” Everyone in the circle even started to drool as the “ooh’s” and “aah’s” poured out with just the thought of feasting on such foods. When it came to my turn, I, without hesitation, yelled “Salad!” Everyone stopped and stared at me. There were no “ooh’s” and there were no “aah’s.” I remember thinking, “Whaaat.. did I say something wrong?” That’s when I knew I was not a normal teenager.

Since my teenage years, I can proudly say that I’ve maintained pretty good eating habits. I do enjoy special treats like a scoop of Handel’s Coconut Cream Pie Ice Cream and feasting on Korean BBQ every once in awhile, but my routine is pretty set now. I LOVE veggies and all the varietals. I am especially in love with Avocados & Tomatoes! Mmm.. My mouth is starting to drool just thinking about it. I’m weird, I know. Nevertheless, I refuse to go back to my childhood ways of eating fast food (almost every day) and spam, eggs and bacon for breakfast every other day. (Thanks Mom & Dad for providing delicious foods for us when we were kids, but I would like to not suffer from high cholesterol and die early from heart disease now that I know better.)

Here is the mission of this new website:

“to serve the community by providing health education while empowering individuals to become active participants in their own health and wellness.

We create opportunities for the community to interact with healthcare and wellness professionals and to be educated on preventative diseases, proper self-management measures, nutrition, and exercise.

As a stand for wellness, contribution and quality healthcare, we believe that everyone deserves to live a happy, healthy and complete life.”

Sounds pretty awesome right? Why not show people that health is something you are passionate about? We are here to learn from each other while simultaneously helping each other at the same time. This is why I decided to do this. We (you & me together) can only grow from this. Of course, I will be researching a lot on different topics and also sharing my own personal experiences, but I hope you will come along with me on this journey.

Our First Stop.. Grassfed vs. Grainfed Beef.

Hello! About 6 months ago, my husband and I began transforming our diets little by little. Probably one of the biggest changes was going from grain-fed beef to grass-fed. Believe me when I tell you, I had no idea there was such a dramatic difference if you would’ve asked me 6 months ago. Here’s the difference:

Grass-fed Qualities

– much lower in total fat than grainfed products

– cows fed naturally

– lower in calories (because it is so lean)

– has Extra Omega-3s (the “good” fatty acids that are linked to lowering of blood pressure and prevents irregular heartbeats)

source

– has more B-Vitamin, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E (see chart below)

source

– has higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been linked to a reduction in cancer, heart disease, onset of diabetes and accumulation of body fat

– tasty too!

 

Grain-fed Qualities:

– cheaper and available year round

– cows are fed (in feedlots) a base food which is usually made of corn and corn byproducts (cobs and husks), soy and soy hulls, spent brewery and distiller’s grain, and other cereals. (source)

– has high levels of Omega-6s (the “bad” fats that have been linked to inflammation, blood clotting, and tumor growth), lacks Omega-3s (the “good” fats)

– convenient for the farmer (quicker), yet not beneficial for you

– is known for its tasty, marbled, fatty meat with smooth, consistent flavor (source)

 

Overall, you can see that there are so many health benefits to eating grass-fed beef as opposed to grain-fed. Yes, the vast majority of people eat grain-fed meats because 1) you can conveniently purchase them at any grocery or supermarket, 2) it’s cheaper, and 3) we are used to the tasty, marbled- fatty meat’s flavor. These are all understandable reasons in my book. Trust me, I’m all about saving $! However, since my husband and I adapted grass-fed beef into our diets, we’ve felt remarkably different. For example, when I used to eat my fair share of meats/steaks, I would feel SO tired afterwards like I just ran a mile or something. It was not the greatest feeling. Does eating meat do that to you? Anyway, since we switched I haven’t felt that tired. My husband can also attest to that. The meat is also much leaner so we can definitely feel like it hasn’t added any extra calories to our hot bods! Just kidding. And..the taste..well let’s just say I never thought a steak could taste much better than a good ol’ Ribeye from Albertsons. But, I was surely wrong! The grass-fed meats have very distinct flavor, very little tough parts of the meat, and are very satisfying.

 

So..that made us think…Should we really be spending so much more $ on meat when we can just go to Costco and easily stock up for the month?

 

It’s really something for every family to think about. What works for you? How much do you budget for food each month? Are there any costs you could cut out to provide more healthy food options? I’m not going to lie, my husband had to convince me on this one actually. He would argue, “Think about the Starbucks coffee you have to have every morning and cut it out. Think about the money we spend eating out throughout the week. Think about the money we spend on the newest gadgets, latest trends, etc. and total everything up. If we were able to make some sacrifices here and there, we could afford to invest more of our money into better and healthier food options. After all, it is our health we are talking about!”

He was right in so many ways that I could not win the fight.

 

That’s my lesson for the day. So the question is…now that I’ve laid out the pros and cons, which one is truly better for you?

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