Why our bodies need FAT

Our bodies need FAT.

                Many of us have been led to believe that fats are bad for us. The marketing slogans of “Low Fat” and “Fat Free” have led many to believe that by selecting these items, they were choosing a “Healthy” option. Unfortunately, those phrases do not mean health, in fact, it is often the opposite. I remember when I was growing up my parents had a friend who was consumed with keeping her small figure. She often stocked up on “Fat Free” snacks. I was always mesmerized by the thought that she was eating cookies and crackers all while thinking she was doing great with her health because they were “Fat Free”.  Fast forward a few years, I realized that those phrases were all just a marketing ploy to sell more cookies and crackers. The thought of fat being such a horrible thing always stuck around in the back of my mind but I was always conflicted. How could all fats be bad? Why did I witness others having a chicken breast to avoid extra fats, while I was having a burger or a nicely marbled steak? I grew up on our amazing grass fed beef, pastured pork and our free range chickens and never had a worry about the fats found in our meats. To me, there was definitely something suspicious when people would avoid fats in meat but fill up on “Fat Free” snacks. Let’s dive into some science to find out where the truth lies.

Our brains are made up of 60% fat, so it only makes sense that it needs fat to work correctly. Good nutrition, and consuming the right kinds of good fats, is key to maintaining a healthy brain. When we fuel our brain with fat, it encourages ketosis, which provides energy and helps protect against brain disease. A diet that is high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) can also increase the production of a neurotransmitter that is important for learning and memory. A great food source for MUFAs is Avocado. I love this creamy green superfood in guacamole or in my morning smoothie!

Another healthy fat type is saturated fats; they are actually one of the main components of brain cells. Maybe you have heard of the benefits of coconut oils in regards to preventing and treating Alzheimer’s or other brain diseases. In one study, it was found that people who ate more saturated fat reduced their risk for developing dementia by 36 percent. Saturated fats are also necessary for proper hormone balance along with good immune and liver function. Some great examples of saturated fats are beef, lamb, pork, butter, coconut oil and palm oil.

Polyunsaturated fats contain the well-known essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. These are so important to our brains ability to function properly but our bodies cannot produce them; we must include sources of these fats in our diet. An omega-3 known as DHA is also very important and has been shown to help improve conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder and even ADHD. If you are suffering from one of these conditions, consider taking a closer look at your diet. You must make sure that you are eating foods high in DHA such as:

  • Algae
  • Fatty fish, like anchovies, salmon, herring or tuna
  • Organ meat, like liver
  • Fish oil
  • Poultry and eggs in small amounts

Fats in our diet are so interesting and very much needed for optimum health. Please be sure to choose healthy foods with healthy fats that will help your brain instead of harm your body. Stay away from Trans Fats and hydrogenated oils that can be harmful and choose some of the fats above to nourish your brain. 

Danger Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Danger Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

I am ready to say so long to the gloomy winter and hello summer sun, but not just for the instant mood lift. My littles have been cooped up for many months and even though I bundle them up and send them out to play as often as possible, they are not reaping the rewards of summer sun.  I hope this post can show you why our bodies desperately need Vitamin D.

Our bodies absorb Vitamin D in two main ways – exposing our skin to sunlight and by taking Vitamin D supplements. Though there are some foods high in Vitamin D,  you cannot get enough through food alone. The best way to get the optimum amount of Vitamin D Is exposing your bare skin to direct sunlight (UVB rays). Sitting in a car and letting the sun shine in on you while driving, doesn’t cut it. Unfortunately, the glass blocks those special rays and your body can not produce Vitamin D. It is easy to be in the direct sun during the summer or if you are vacationing to a warmer climate. You don’t need to burn or even tan to produce the beneficial vitamin. It is estimated that over one BILLION people worldwide are deficient and over 75% of American children 12 and under are either insufficient or deficient. I was shocked to learn this but growing up in Michigan, during the cold winter months, my body rarely sees the sun from November to April.

I find the deficiency numbers staggering because as I walk into my local drugstore I can see the SUNBLOCK aisle stretching nearly the entire length of the store. It has definitely grown since when my grandma was a little girl. I watch my friends cover their kiddos in the white cream throughout the day unknowingly BLOCKING all those beneficial UVB rays. I am not suggesting sending those babies out to play all day without protection because allowing our skin to burn can definitely cause damage and has been proven to lead to cancer. But while the risk for cancer has grown, sunscreen products do not seem to be the clear answer. Sunscreen, in every form, is found in almost every store around the world, yet the risk is still there. Often the most dangerous forms of skin cancer are detected in places where the sun does not reach, between your toes for example.

So what can be done?

Be intentional to get sun on your bare skin for short periods of time. Don’t sun bath for long periods of time, move to the shade to relax. Find a sunscreen that is full of beneficial nutrients to the skin versus toxic chemicals.  Change your diet to REAL foods and eliminate processed junk. Those who have modified their diet and have eliminated grains, polyunsaturated or hydrogenated oils notice a much higher resistance to the sun. I can definitely attest to this. My littles rarely wear sunscreen yet they never burn. If we happen to be going to a place where extended sun exposer is unavoidable, I will use a natural zinc oxide based cream but those times are very few. I found this so intriguing because my kids are outside all the time, mostly with very few clothes on and barefoot. I used to be concerned until I read Dr. Axe’s book “Eat Dirt”, now I send them out to play and know their little dirty feet are pulling microbes from the ground that will benefit their immune systems.

Why is it so important?

You must have ample amounts of Vitamin D for your body to absorb calcium. I am sure we have all seen the commercials about calcium enriched breakfast foods for “strong bones” in kids. Calcium is so important to our body and bones, without it, children have soft, fragile bones and adults suffer from osteomalacia.

Here is a real world example of how lack of Vitamin D and calcium can affect children:

My son’s best bud was over playing at our house over the summer, he fell from the monkey bars on our swing set and he came running in crying holding his arm. I was so worried and after a long night in his mother’s arms, she knew it must be more serious than a bump or bruise. It turns out, he actually fractured his elbow. His pediatrician told them that it was imperative to get more calcium into his diet because it was a pretty significant break. The need for calcium in our daily lives is very important, however if our bodies are not getting the adequate amount of Vitamin D, it will not and cannot absorb the calcium we are consuming. This knowledge is crucial.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to several kinds of cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain and other conditions. It’s definitely a bad deal and sometimes our bodies do not let us know there is a big problem until something major happens. It is very important that we take control over our health to protect and heal ourselves.

Inflammation – this is a big No-No for those with any form of autoimmune disease. Lack of Vitamin D can cause inflammation in the body. If you suffer from an autoimmune condition or maybe just have symptoms of soreness or achy joints, you definitely need to get in the sun and cut out inflammation causing foods. According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine “Researchers have found that the deficiency may negatively impact immune function and cardiovascular health and increase cancer risk.”  I found this fascinating because exposing 25 percent of our skin to sunlight for 10 minutes a day and a minimum of 3 times a week will help maintain our Vitamin D levels. However, people with beautiful ebony skin may need a little bit more.  This should encourage us to get outside as often as possible and send our little ones out to play even more.

What do we do during the cold months?

When you do not have direct access to the sun for an extended period of time, you will need to supplement. You may want to get your blood levels checked to make sure you are in the optimum range, if not, hit the beach before the winter and start taking a high quality Vitamin D supplement.

These foods provide Vitamin D also:

While these foods do provide Vitamin D, your diet alone is unlikely to give you all you need. According to the Vitamin D Counsel, adults need 10,000 IU/day and children need 2,000IU/day per 25lbs of body weight. Those are some big numbers and I can totally understand why there would be such a large percentage of people deficient in Vitamin D. With the increase in technology, and so many more people living in large cities, adults and children struggle to get enough sunlight. So plan to take a walk, ride your bike, or just plain get outside to enjoy the sun, you’re worth it! 

 

 

Next Drawing July 1st, 2019

Register for a chance to win a "Hamilton Beach Indoor Electric Grill"!

  • Hamilton Beach Indoor Electric Grill
  • ThermoPro Digital Meat Thermometer
  • Small Grilling Meat Bundle

Winner April 1st 2019 Drawing!!!

"Steak Bundle"!
2 Porter House - 2 Ribeyes - 2 Tbones - 2 NY Strips

-Deborah B.

Burton, Mi

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