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! 

 

 

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28 February, 2017

Beef & Liver Blend

Beef & Liver Blend   

 

Many of you may have wondered what this blend is all about? Maybe you have questioned why we would even offer such a thing? If you would have asked me about this 10 years ago, I would have said you were crazy to even think of such a thing. But fast forward a little bit and here we are now combining our amazing grass fed beef round with grass fed beef liver. I worked with our butcher to develop this unique blend with just the right ratio of each. 

      We created this unique blend to allow more of our customers the option of adding organ meats into their diet without just eating straight up liver. This blend is very kid friendly and since I have 3 little ones of my own, it is definitely kid tested and mother approved! You can't tell the difference between it and our standard ground round when you make it into any dish with a sauce or seasoning. Some of our favorite ways to eat it are: Spaghetti with Veggie Noodles, Tacos, Chili, or Sloppy Joes.  You do not even realize we are eating organ meat! 
       My grandma loves liver and onions and I have always wondered why it seemed to be such a staple in her home while she was growing up. I think her mom had some inside health knowledge that the doctors hadn't figured out yet. Gram for gram liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods. It is a high quality protein and an easy way to absorb iron. Liver also contains all of the B vitamins including B12 and folic acid in significant amounts; many trace minerals as well as the powerful antioxidant CoQ10. Many want to avoid liver because its main job is flushing toxins out of the body but what people do not realize is the liver does not store those toxins there, it marks them to be eliminated via the intestines or kidneys. We take great care in feeding our cows a great no toxin diet however we cannot control the air they breathe. What we do know is our cows have the healthiest livers available and in turn you are able to reap all the benefits of a healthy liver too.

 

~ Katie 

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02 February, 2017

February is "Heart" Month

We think of February for Valentines day and a short 28 day month. But February is Heart Health Month. Theheartfoundation.org states:  Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. Make a difference in your community: Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart healthy lives.

We at John Henry's echo that cause. We exist to help people make healthy choices and make a difference in our community. Heart health has become a huge issue to me in the last few years. I had concerns for my dad when he had his first heart attack. But it became real when my cousins wife suddenly died at age 40 of a sudden heart attack. It's sad that many of the symptoms we did not know, may have prevented her death. And I have come to realize that the symptoms are different for males than it is for females.

For Men it is mostly:

1. Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

2. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

4. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

For Women:

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

5. As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

6. Most women feel they have acid reflux or the flu.

I had experience with my dad having two heart attacks in his 70's and with quick response and proper care he was ok. Shortly after my cousins wife died, my brother turned 40 and he had his first heart attack. Again, knowing the symptoms he was treated and is ok. He is 47 now and has had 4 episodes that he went in right away, procedures were done and he is "fine" now. About a year and a half ago, my first cousin (male) at the age of 40, died suddenly with a heart attack and this summer we buried another first cousin (female) at 52 with a heart aneurysm.

So I want to share with you what I have learned to help you make Heart Healthy Choices.  While your dinner plate should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, fish and poultry add delicious flavor and can provide lean protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins. Protein may help people feel full and satisfied until the next meal. Protein is essential for building muscle and keeping strong - especially as a person ages. The American Heart Association recommends eating skinless poultry and fish cooked using healthier methods. If you choose to eat red meat, select the leanest cuts available.

Poultry

Healthiest choices are:

* Skinless chicken and skinless turkey with visible fat removed

* Lean ground turkey or chicken

* Some ground turkey can add saturated fat to your diet. Choose at least 90% or 95% lean.- John Henry's is    breast and thigh meat- no fillers.

* Wild game can be lower in fat than animals raised for market.

Budget Tips:
 * Buy chicken or turkey parts with skin-on or bone-in, which tend to be    less expensive. Just remove the skin and all visible fat before cooking.

* Even better, buy an entire chicken or turkey and cut apart the pieces yourself. Choose birds that have not been injected with anything.- (Our Poultry is free range and has never been fed Soy, GMOs or antibiotics in their feed, their special diet and active life makes them very lean.)

Pork & Beef

If you choose to eat red meat, select the leanest cuts available (Our grass fed & finished cuts are great options.)

A portion of meat should be 3 ounces cooked (4 ounces uncooked). This is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards.

Instead of frying, prepare lean meats by baking, broiling, roasting or stir-frying.

Healthiest choices are:

* Beef and pork labeled "loin" and "round" - they usually have the least fat.

* For hamburgers or meatloaf, choose 95% extra lean ground beef. If you have to purchase ground beef that is 90% lean or less, pour off the fat after browning.

Budget tip:

The healthiest cuts of meat that are also the least expensive are beef sirloin, lean ground beef, flat-iron steak and bone-in-pork loin chops.

That is what I love about John Henry's. With the quality of meat we raise, knowing it is grass fed and finished. We know our meats are the leanest available. Our poultry is also very lean and healthy and its from our high quality food and how they are able to roam.  So wear Red on February 5th the day we nationally recognize to wear red and promote heart health. And Eat Heart Healthy John Henry's Meats.

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05 January, 2017

Eat Clean in 2017

With the New Year upon us, many people I know make "New Year’s Resolutions". We promise ourselves we will eat healthier, start to work out and we focus on positive life changes. Then it seems after a few weeks or months, we fall right back into the pattern of old habits. I am for making a life change, and maybe not a "crash diet, life altering change", but a daily goal to change one pattern of old habits a day, or a week and then maybe two, at a rate that is achievable and I won't fail. Before you know it, you are making a habit of a positive change to where it becomes a lifestyle.

At New Years, it seems a lot of people talk about eating healthy. The buzz word right now is "Eating Clean". We at John Henry's have eaten this way for years. We understand the health benefit of "Eating Clean" and hear our customers share their stories and experiences with us about how eating clean has changed their health and life. Commercial farmers have jumped on the band wagon and will throw a few catch phrases now on the packaging to get consumers to buy their product presenting it as clean, but not fully clean. That is why it is so important to know your food source. Knowledge is power. If you understand something clearly, you can make a wise defined choice.  I saw this great article from Dr. Axe and wanted to share it with you as it helps to define the importance of “Grass Fed and Grass Finished". Below is an excerpt from it:

Maybe up until now you haven't thought too much about what the animals you eat today were fed yesterday. That's pretty common for most folks. You may have heard the terms "grass-fed" or "open range" and "grain-fed" not knowing the real difference between these terms. Once you understand the vital differences between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef, you'll look at that burger a bit differently. Today, most of the beef you find on the grocery store shelves has been fed a grain diet. In general, these cows are fed corn and soy, but often there's more on their menu than strictly grains.

It's been reported that some grain-fed cows are actually fed many foods other than grains to keep down costs and promote weight gain. From gummy worms to milk chocolate bars to stale candy still in the wrappers, these poor cattle are fed whatever is the cheapest source that will fatten them up the most, and apparently, it has been going on for decades.

(2)On Oct. 15, 2007, the USDA established a standard definition for the "grass-fed" claim that requires continuous access to pasture and prevents animals from being fed grain or grain-based products.

(3) Let's look at exactly how grass-fed beef nutrition can really benefit your health and is an overall better choice for yourself, your loved ones and your environment.

Grass-fed beef comes from cattle that consume only grass and other foraged foods during the course of their lives. What a cow eats directly affects the types and levels of nutrients and fats you get from eating meat from that cow. Meat from 100 percent grass-fed cows is loaded with even more nutrition than what you get from a grain-fed cow. All that grazing of grass and roughage rather than being on a diet of processed foods really goes a long way.

For example, one lean grass-fed strip steak (214 grams) contains about: (14)

250 calories

49.4 grams protein

5.8 grams fat

14.3 milligrams niacin (72 percent DV)

1.4 milligrams vitamin B6 (70 percent DV)

45.1 micrograms selenium (64 percent DV)

7.7 milligrams zinc (52 percent DV)

454 milligrams phosphorus (45 percent DV)

2.7 micrograms vitamin B12 (45 percent DV)

4 milligrams iron (22 percent DV)

732 milligrams potassium (21 percent DV)

1.5 milligrams pantothenic acid (15 percent DV)

49.2 milligrams magnesium (12 percent DV)

0.1 milligram thiamin (7 percent DV)

27.8 micrograms folate (7 percent DV)

0.1 milligram copper (7 percent DV)

You don't want to settle for "natural" or "pasture-raised." Ideally you want the label to tell you that the beef is 100 percent grass-fed, which means that it was both grass-fed AND grass-finished. If a beef product does not indicate that it's 100 percent grass-fed or both grass-fed and grass-finished, then it could likely be grain-finished. Make sure the label also indicates that the beef is free of hormones and antibiotics. Click HERE to read the full article.

At John Henry's we Grass Feed AND Grass Finish our cows. We raise our own feed, so we are sure no pesticides, hormones or GMO's are ever in their food source. We DO NOT plump them up with grains right before we deliver to your door.  We understand the cost is a little higher to Grass Feed and Grass FINISH our cows, but the health benefit and quality of the meat is more than worth it. Our cows are in the pasture when it is available. With winter upon us, we also offer them dry hay, fomented wet hay and silage. 

Silage is when the entire green corn stalk is chopped about 6-8 inches above the ground. Usually the plant is 12-14 feet tall at that time. We grind the entire stalk and it makes it nice and juicy. Then we pack it tight and cover it and let it ferment for about 3 months. This is what provides protein for them in the winter. Cows are still nursing in the winter and require this protein. They are never locked in the barn or fed any grain. When we prepare the meat for you, we never add pink slime or any other coloring or preservative to make the meat look red. Nor do we add water to our grinds for texture or weight.  When we do our grinds, we do one animal at a time. Where as commercially processed grinds there are 1,000 animals from all over the world ground together in one package.  So when our meat is consumed by us and our John Henry's family, we know we are truly "Eating Clean". Knowing your food source is hugely important in understanding what you are truly eating. 

So maybe you eat one "Clean" meal a day, until that is a positive routine in your life. Then you will find adding a second meal- breakfast maybe with some handmade John Henry's sausage, or our amazing bacon, or farm fresh free range eggs. (Our chickens are also raised with the same principles. Free Range, no locking them up and  plumping them up prior to your door, fed all natural corn, alfalfa, oyster shells and bugs for the egg laying chickens, corn, oats, peas and bugs for the fryers and roasters.) By eating clean and implementing this positive routine into your life gradually, it  will help you be successful to follow through and make this a lifestyle change that will change your health and your life.- You can do it! Happy New Year!

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01 September, 2016

What is REALLY in the Chicken You are Eating?

This month it is all about getting my little loves back to school and teaching our customers about our chickens. It's no surprise to many of those who taste one of our chickens that they are some of the best around. But you may be asking yourself "what makes these chickens different from anything I have in the grocery store?". I would like to go into more depth today about some things I have learned since becoming a chicken farmer. In an Article from New York Times,  a Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future   heard there were some concerning things found in the mass produced chickens. So he did a study a few years ago to see what was in commercially farmed chickens. They were looking for antibiotics in the chickens but decided since it didn't cost extra they would ask for the results of any other chemicals and pharmaceuticals as well. The results were staggering. According to the researchers they didn't find anything of IMMEDIATE concern but what they found -Caffeine, active ingredients of Tylenol and Benadryl, Banned Antibiotics and Arsenic, even in trace amounts, ARE an immediate concern to my family and I. If you are dealing with a compromised immune system, leaky gut or any other health issue, you know these things can wreak havoc on your body, lifestyle and finances. Those of you who don't have any symptoms of these life changing diagnoses, also need to be aware to preserve your health both now and in the future. 
 
I remember as I was growing up my mom would tell friends and family members that our chickens were the best. She always emphasized that we grew our own feed and they just tasted better. She would tell them that factory farms used arsenic in there chicken feed, starting off with a minute amount and gradually increasing as the birds grew. Supposedly it helps reduce infections and makes the flesh an appetizing shade of pink.   I didn't even know what arsenic was until I watched one of my favorite classic actors Cary Grant in "Arsenic and Old Lace".  I quickly realized it was a poison and I didn't want any part of that.  According to studies there is no evidence that low levels of arsenic are harmful to people but still... it is definitely not going in my body or in my chickens! 

The scientists had to be clever to find a way to detect some of these chemicals and drugs so they examined feather meal, a poultry byproduct from the feathers of the chickens. The feathers are like our fingernails and accumulate any chemicals or drugs we are exposed to. They found banned antibiotic use. This can be so dangerous because the use of these banned antibiotics can breed antibiotic resistant "superbug" infections in humans. Also when they tested the sample of feather meal they found one third contained an antihistamine that is found in Benadryl, and samples from China's chickens contained the same antidepressants found in Prozac. Some poultry growing literature suggests that Benadryl will reduce anxiety and apparently stressed chickens have tougher meat and grow slower.  Nearly all contained acetaminophen found in Tylenol and caffeine. It turns out that a lot of factory raised chicken farms feed their chickens coffee pulp to keep them awake longer so they can eat more and grow faster. The things these factory farms do to the animals in order to make the most money is crazy and so sad. The chickens we raise are different. We go beyond the normal natural label of no antibiotics and no hormones. We can also assure you there is no Benadryl, Tylenol, Prozac or caffeine in them either.  We feed our chickens non GMO mixed grains and peas for protein along with alfalfa , they have ample space both in the barn for their protection and out roaming the field. I would say their anxiety level is pretty low with no coffee in their system and room to roam, a regular sleep cycle and great healthy food. They are enjoying their lives.

I want to touch on one more thing, chicken from China. I don't know about you but my Facebook news feed has been blowing up lately about these recent developments and sometimes I have to stop and scratch my head as to what is the USDA thinking?! A while ago I read this article about the USDA allowing US poultry to be processed and cooked in China and then sent back here to be put into our food supply.  You may be wondering why this is scary, other than the fact that a once living animal raised here in the US is then shipped (plane or boat) to China to be processed and cooked? I am not sure how that makes sense, it is obviously all about the money but what price are we willing to pay? It seems that the reason this has come up is the desire to open up trade for US beef. Luckily, no US factory farms have taken advantage of this opportunity as of yet. The USDA is however auditing China's processing facilities and chicken from China could be in the US food market in the future.  Why is this so concerning?  Because China's track record is not too good. Children have suffered illness do to melamine- tainted milk powder, mercury has been found in baby formula, rat meat has been sold as lamb, fast food restaurant chickens were fattened with large quantities of illegal drugs, and we have all been warned of the dangers of feeding our pets treats from China. The Chinese food industry has had some big, ugly issues they have needed to rectify. I am hopeful they are taking steps in the right direction, but that doesn't mean I am OK with eating their chickens or US chickens processed there. 
Something you may not know about our processing. I have taken a lot of calls lately about if our chickens are ever bleached. I was pretty appalled the first time I was asked that, I think I even clarified with a "are you being serious?" remark. I found this interesting article about how  poultry processing faculties in the US use a chlorine bath to help kill off bacteria instead of preventing it. Chemical washes are used to make up for poor hygiene on farms  and in transportation crates. We take prevention seriously around here. There is no need for us to use such measures like chemical washes because everything is cleaned and sterilized before our chickens ever come into contact with it. From the moment the chicks are put in their new home until we take them to our neighbors to be slaughtered everything is monitored for health and safety. Because we strive to never need to use antibiotics the health of our animals is of the utmost importance to us and on the forefront of our minds. I am glad we do not  use bleach on our chickens. My mom always told me cleanliness is next to Godliness so we scrub away and give our chickens the cleanest environment without the use of harsh chemicals. 

This brings awareness to the main issue of knowing where your foods is coming from. Not only do we want all of our meats to taste great but more than that, we want to help. We want you to know where your meat is coming from and feel good about feeding it to your family. When you sit down to a dinner of chicken we want you to know that it lived a great life, ran around in the grass and sunshine, ate it's fair share of bugs and was butchered humanely. 
 
                                                                 -Katie
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05 August, 2016

Adventures In Bone Broth

 
Health issues have plagued our nation for years. It breaks my heart to see families ripped apart with the loss of a loved one, but it doesn't have to be that way. Our bodies were designed to heal themselves, but as my mom always says, "garbage in, garbage out". The standard American diet does far more harm than good and we are the products of what has happened to our food. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was a wise man when he said "All disease begins in the gut". The reason most things start in the gut is because a very large portion of our immune system is located in it. For more information check out this great article from  Authority Nutrition. A survey was taken in 2013 that showed 74 percent of Americans are living with GI discomfort. That's a huge number, and a percentage I really don't want to be a part of. 
 
I have taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, and transformed my eating habits along with many others here at John Henry's. According to the American food charts of healthy eating, USDA , my family was eating healthy. I, of course, have access to the most amazing Grass Fed Meats, Free Range Chickens and Pastured Pork. Our meat choices have always been the best because we raise it ourselves and take pride in using organic practices and giving our animals the best and happiest lives possible. I always choose organic options at the grocery store. My family followed the 80/20 rule where 80 % of the foods we ate were very healthy and nourishing, the other 20% was just ok. But we ran into some snags when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and my son developed large patches of eczema that no cream could tame.  No natural remedy we tried seemed to help us, so we sought out some guidance from a great holistic doctor. He told us to change our diet and eliminate grains along with other things that cause inflammation in the body. I then found Dr. Axe's  "Heal Your Gut" program and started feeding my family all gut healing foods and introduced bone broth. Within a few weeks, my autoimmune symptoms were gone, and my son's eczema rashes cleared up. I was so skeptical that these changes would even do anything because I felt like we ate healthy. But what we were missing was the foods to help us heal. Sometimes we took our 80/20 rule and probably let 20% grow to 30% or 40%, but that doesn't happen anymore. We have kept the nourishing foods at the center of our diet. We have reintroduced some things and will never reintroduce others, but we are ok with that because we have seen such amazing transformations. Bone broth continues to be a staple for me and with every cup of hot liquid I know it is going straight to work on my gut, helping to feed the good bacteria, and keep that intestinal lining strong. 
  
Just yesterday, I walked into our office space where my mom was happily gathering her supplies for the bone broth we were going to make. I just talked her into buying an Instant Pot, which is a super awesome electric pressure cooker. She had bought me one for Christmas last year and I have been raving to her about how I can never be without it. My husband actually makes fun of me because it has found a permanent home on our kitchen counter top. I just can't seem to put it away because I make a batch of bone broth about every other day. 
I consume bone broth to: 
1) Treat leaky gut syndrome
2) Overcome food intolerances and allergies
3) Improve joint health
4) Reduce cellulite 
5) Boost my immune system 
Nutrition researchers Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel, of the Weston A. Price Foundation, explain that bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and others. Chicken broth also contains amino acids that reduce inflammation in the respiratory system and improve digestion. Keep in mind that you will not reap these amazing benefits if you are buying a box of "stock" or "broth" at your local grocery store.  American food these days has been so commercialized that most of the time you will find flavored water and some grocery store "broths" are loaded with neurotoxins like MSG. You definitely do not want to be drinking that! The real deal bone broth is referred to as nature's multivitamin. Homemade bone broth is packed full of over 19 bio­available ( easy for your body to absorb) essential and non­ essential amino acids, collagen (which helps to keep all your connective tissue in good health), other nutrients that support digestive functions, immunity and brain health. Bone broth is a game changer! It can help you heal so you have the strength to go out and make the world a better place. 
 
Here is my tried and true Instant Pot Bone Broth Recipe.   Some important things to note if this is your first Bone Broth adventure: 
Bone broth made in the Instant Pot takes about 4 ½ hours from start to finish. If you chose to make the broth in a stock pot you would want to bring the broth to a boil and then reduce the heat to a very low simmer, allowing it to cook for a minimum of 12 hours and preferably up to 24 hours for chicken or 48 hours for beef. Turn off the heat and allow the broth to cool. Strain it through a fine strainer lined with cheese cloth, the bones and any meat can then be discarded or given to your cat or dog. Our cat, Skywalker, loves broth day! Put the cooled stock in containers for storage in the refrigerator or freezer. Bone Broth can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and it is good in the freezer for several months. Be very careful if freezing your broth in mason jars. Unfortunately, I lost about 10-12 jars of broth; I don't believe the jars I had were meant for freezing because they would break every time. I have since purchased these great BPA free freezer containers. They work amazingly and I have not experienced any cracks or breaks. Remember to leave a space at the top of your container as the broth will expand. A word of caution, do NOT microwave your bone broth. The microwave changes the molecular makeup of the gelatin in homemade broth and it becomes toxic to the liver, kidneys and nervous system! I have a small 1 quart stainless steel pan I use to rewarm my broth. If you know that your body has some healing to do I recommend 2-3 cups of bone broth a day. Sometimes, it is helpful to have 1 cup with each meal. If you are in good health and looking to keep your gut healthy, 1 cup a day is a good rule to live by. 

John Henry's offers so many different bones for broth. Here is a breakdown for you:
Chicken Feet - They are very high in collagen; even similar to what is found in green leafy vegetables. Click here to see an article discussing the health benefits of chicken feet. 
Necks & Backs- All the different small joints in these bones make them the gold standard broth. You cannot go wrong with a mixture of these bones
Whole Fryer - If you do not have any of the special bones listed above, you can always use a fryer chicken. Super simple! Just toss the whole chicken in the pot and start the adventure. The meat that is left over is mostly mush but perfect for your dog or cat. They gobble it up and are also reaping the benefits of the broth still locked inside the meat. 
Soup Bones -These are beef neck bones. They do have some meat still left on them and they are great for your standard beef broth. 
Knuckle Bones - Bones from the beef knuckle- these make great broth because of the tendons and other connective tissue still attached to the bones. 
 Marrow Bones - A great Super food. Bone marrow is nutrient dense and full of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and lipids. Consuming bone marrow will help improve brain function, maintain healthy bones, support immune systems, speed up the healing process of any injury. 
Oxtail - Just like the name suggests this is beef tail. Believe it or not, the oxtail makes a delicious soups. All of the connective tissue, tendons, ligaments along with the marrow goes through the tail. There is plenty of meat on the tail for a soup or to make a great meaty flavored broth.
 
Look for our John Henry's "Bone Broth" class coming in the fall to your area.
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05 July, 2016

What Makes Our Chickens Different

 

Look around your local grocery store and you will see a variety of meats available. Some certified organic, some free range, some natural and some just plain conventional. There is nothing coventional about our chickens and that is why they taste different and why you need to prepare them a little bit differently then store bought chickens. Let's first talk about what makes John Henry's chickens different. Our chickens live their lives without cages, crates and crowding.  My husband built our chickens the most amazing home, in our barn, to protect them at night, shelter from the elements and provide them plenty of space to spread out. Our chicks arrive in the mail and from their very first moments on the farm each one is carefully introduced to the food and water. I actually hold each chick to show it where it can go to find food and water.  They also have great nipple waters. These nipples keep their bedding dry and give them access to fresh, cool, clean water all day long.  It is a bright yellow nipple with a gravity pin in it that keeps the water from coming out until the chick pecks at the pin. Chickens are pretty cool and can do amazing things with their beaks. They somehow manage to wiggle the pin just right and the perfect amount of water makes it's way right into their beak. 

We also have very special LED lights for our chicks when they are in the barn. These lights are specially designed for poultry vision.  When they are set to Full Spectrum with enhanced red light, that gets the birds up and moving around when they are chicks. The lights dim to blue to calm them at night and help them rest. Even though we can hardly tell the difference in the light changes the chickens notices it and immediately respond in the morning and at night. 

As soon as the birds grow past the chick stage,  they start losing the cute yellow fuzz and start growing in the adult feathers. At that time the doors can be opened up and they are ready to venture outside. Our farm is centered around our animals being outside. All of our animals and especially our chickens are free to roam. We have lots of land and we know our animals are happy to be able to explore it.  Every morning we take the feeders outside and they come running to gobble up the morning bugs.
Not only are we pasture focused but we also want to enrich our chickens outside environment by planting some grasses and shrubs that they like to peck at. We also have some special  trees and awnings to offer shade from the hot sun. Our birds love roaming outside. We raise our chickens the way God made them to live and eat.

 A great model for chicken care is the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating
program run by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP).

GAP sets minimum standards of animal welfare that all producers, from Step 1 to 5+, must meet. All chickens must be handled in a manner that does not cause injury. No chicken may be physically altered. Among the physical alterations routinely performed on chickens that are banned by GAP are:

*    Beak trimming: The incredibly painful partial amputation of the beak, which contains more nerve endings than our finger tips.
*    Dubbing: Cutting off the chicken's comb (the fleshy crest on the top pf the chickens head) with a pair of scissors, without anesthetics or analgesics.
*    Caponization: Castration that is performed without any pain relief and requires cutting into the abdomen to access the testes. (Caponization is banned in the E.U.).
*    De-Spurring: Removal of the spur bud on the back of the male's leg using a heated wire.
*    Toe trimming: Cutting off toes to prevent growth of nails or spurs.

We do NOT preform any physical alterations on our birds.  for more information on this program visit GAP

If you haven't had a chance to cook one of our Fryers or Roasters using a receipe on our Recipe page will  ensure an amazing chicken. You won't be able to go back to a conventional chicken when you taste the difference in our chickens.  Because of the differences in our chickens it is very important to use a recipe like the one in our Recipe Corner, feel free to tweak it to make it your own but keep the basic cooking method the same to insure you have a juicy tender dinner. 
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24 May, 2016

Freezer Meal Fun

There’s been a lot of talk at John Henry’s about Freezer Meal Workshops and until I attended one I had no idea what benefits this event would be for me. For years I did what I called “power cooking”. I worked all week, spent my weekends playing catch up and rarely got to see my friends. I had a family to feed and when I got home from work there was no energy left to make a home cooked meal. Fast food was detrimental to my budget and my waistline! So my solution was to run to the grocery store at 7 am on Saturday morning (that was before I knew John Henry’s would deliver Farm Fresh Meat right to my door!); and while I unpacked my groceries I started putting together three or four meals for the week. Chicken went in the pot to boil, ground beef started frying with my chopped onion and so on.  Five hours later after all the clean-up was done, my weekly meals were ready and in my fridge. Then it was on to more chores.

Fortunately I was introduced to the Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop. This event revolutionized my life along with so many others I know. It solved my dilemma of cooking healthy for my family, being budget friendly and some much needed “me time” with my friends. I hosted an event in my home, invited ten of my dearest friends and had the time of my life. There was so much laughter and yet we accomplished what didn’t seem like a chore that night-10 meals in 2 hours!! We all went home with a freezer full of food! I guess it reminded me of the good ole days where women would get together and quilt.  They worked with their hands, did something productive but got a chance to talk and have a good time. As my life changed, so did the importance of the Freezer meal workshop to me. I found myself as a single mom of an only daughter. I didn’t think the workshop would fit into my budget and my need to feed more than two disappeared. Then it was brought to my attention that I could package the servings to feed 2 and Make 20 meals that would feed us for almost the whole month with the cost of less than $3.50 per serving. That beat Taco Bell and frozen dinners!!! Not to mention the health and time benefit.

Freezer Meal Workshops are as simple as contacting Katie at John Henry’s and inviting friends. Once you pick out your option of what workshop you want to make meals from http://www.johnhenrys.net/t/freezer-meal-workshops  you are sent a “grocery list” of the groceries that you need to purchase. In the options of meat, my family is not too big on pork and I am not a fish eater. Mind you- the Cajun heritage comes alive if we are talking shrimp, crab or crawfish, but “fish” is not on the top of my favorites. So I just substituted chicken or beef for those recipes and it still tasted amazing. The first workshop that I did, I wasn’t connected with John Henry’s so I had a lot of prep work. Time spent shopping, cutting up meat and labeling the bags to prepare for the workshop. I was used to a lot of prep work but when John Henry’s partnered with Wildtree it has been an overwhelming asset with the service they provide. One call is all it takes and my Grass Fed Meat is cut, bagged, labeled and delivered right to the Workshop!!  I have my choice of meat to use in the recipes and it is always delivered fresh.  My time could be focused on other things in my life. It was such a benefit.

Since the time with my friends was so great, I hosted one for the girls at my previous work that I had always said, “We need a girl’s night out to get together”. There was always “need to” in the conversation, but time restraints for everyone seemed to be an issue. There was talk about a painting party, meeting for dinner but when I mentioned the Freezer meal workshop they all went crazy. Everyone likes to do something new, and even though this isn’t “new” it was new to them. It was something that they felt good about knowing it was going to help their family. One of the girls has sensitivity to gluten.  People with food sensitivities seem to feel like the odd guy out. They can participate, but not fully in activities and especially those related to food. I have seen her celebrate birthdays and not eat cake, come to a cookout with a glass dish of food she can eat in hand. It is really hard and fortunately for her and unfortunately for others; more and more people are forced into understanding how it is; due to their own food sensitivities.  Wildtree was founded by a mom whose children had food allergies and she had to create the products so her children could eat healthy meals. We at John Henry’s also share the same reality as some of our families are affected by food sensitivities. There even is a Paleo workshop for those who follow the Paleo diet!!  My previous coworker was in awe when I told her Wildtree was certified gluten free and she could participate fully in all the meals. I thought she was going to come unglued!!! We all got together and were able to see and catch up with those we had not seen in a long time.  My coworker continues to attend and have Freezer Meal Workshops to keep her fridge stocked. Her kids began to eat things because they tasted so good. Her dietary needs and budget needs were met and for the first time in a long time dinner was not a strain on the family. She could cook and eat the same meal as her husband and children.  It changed her life.  All the girls later told me they were impressed with the service John Henry’s provided and the quality of the Healthy Meat, not to mention the fun they had. It started a regular meeting of getting together because that is important for us too. In one of my first workshops that I hosted, my friend’s husband loved the food and the convenience so much he happily watched the kids while she went to “cooking club” every month.

If you find yourself strained for time, strained budget, worried your family is eating healthy or just worn out while you keep going… A Freezer Meal workshop is something that is a must on your calendar. If you feel you “don’t have time” for it, you definitely don’t have the time not to do it!

 

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11 May, 2016

My Paleo Journey

Have your heard of the Paleo diet? Have you ever wondered what the hype is all about? Do you think it’s just another fad?  When I first heard of the Paleo diet, I thought whoever designed it is crazy! How could I ever give up grains?! When I was in school they said grains were supposed to be the biggest part of the diet. I was totally cool with going through life and eating as much pasta as possible. I mean homemade mac and cheese was a lunch staple and seriously, our grass fed cheeses are amazing! How could we not eat it every day?! Unfortunately, recently we found out my son has a reaction to dairy and we have had to cut back for the time being.  According to the dictionary the Paleo diet is based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food. That being said, I don’t know what the early humans ate, other than the fruit from the Garden of Eden. I do believe that God made everything on this earth to help us and nourish us but throughout the years that humans have been on the earth, we have tried to change things and in recent years we have really started messing up agriculture. We started making hybrids to resist disease or yield a bigger crop. GMO’s have been designed to allow extremely poisonous chemicals to be sprayed on crops to kill weeds but not the GMO plant. Our food system has gone through many changes in the last several decades and not all these changes have been beneficial. So many of our grains here in the United States have been hybridized and genetically modified; these changes are big enough reasons to avoid them. Take a look at this great website http://paleoleap.com/paleo-101/ it gives you a list of 15 Do’s and Don’ts of the Paleo diet. My family and I have made major changes recently to improve our health and I wouldn’t have been successful without the Freezer Meal Workshops.

Since the day my dad told me I couldn’t date if I couldn’t cook until now I have been in a love affair with cooking. I am now happily married to an amazing man who can cook eggs for our 3 beautiful children on Saturday morning but that is about the extent of it. I am ok with his lack of interest because he is always there to help clean up my mess.  Unfortunately, my busy life does not always allow for endless hours in the kitchen. The John Henry’s Freezer Meal Workshops have been a personal life saver.  We have always focused on REAL foods, healthy meats and veggies but we also ate our fair share of grains and not enough fruit. Since our family’s health issues we have had to eliminate grains, conventional dairy and all refined sugar while healing our guts. We have been putting a big focus on Bone Broth to help speed up the healing process and eating a more PALEO diet.  If any of you have had to do a drastic diet change like me and cut out over 75 % of your normal recipes, you know where I am coming from. This has been a BIG change for my little family but the Freezer Meal Workshops have made that transition so much easier. We are seeing great progress in our health and we may continue eating this way indefinitely but I will definitely continue to have my freezer stocked with these amazing Freezer Meal Workshop dinners.  John Henry’s offer’s several great menu options if you are following a special diet. We have combined taste tested Wildtree spices, oils and recipes mixed with John Henry’s grass fed beef, free range chicken and pork cut to the menu’s specifications.  Check out our Freezer Meal Workshop page to see some of our most popular menus.  If you would like to save time and money and host a Freezer Meal Workshop my mom Kellie and I (Katie) will come to your home and help you and your friends and family put the meals together. It is so much fun and I know you will benefit from it just as much as I do!

 

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02 May, 2016

Eggs, Eggs, and more Eggs!!

Spring is finally here and our chickens are laying eggs like crazy!!  I always enjoy going out in the early morning to let the “ladies” out of their coop.  They are always so happy to see me because they know that as soon as I open their two little doors they can come running out single file down the ramp to the outside world.  While some chickens are in their nest waiting to lay their egg, the majority want to get their day started by eating breakfast first.  “Let me see”, they say, “should we spend the day in the pasture with the cows or roam around the yard eating bugs and digging up Kellie’s  flower beds.  Lucy is our very special hen.  She follows us everywhere we go and she especially loves our grandchildren.  Even yesterday while John Henry was laying under a piece of farm equipment working on it, she had to run over and visit with him. 

I love having a variety of chicken breeds on the farm just because I enjoy the different color eggs they lay and love all the different colored feathers that they have.  As some of the new hens begin their laying process, they just can’t quite seem to get the hang of it to lay their eggs in the nest.  So for the first few weeks in spring, it’s just like having a big Easter Egg hunt looking for eggs everywhere but inside the coop.  Once we get them trained to go into the coop and pick a nest to sit on to lay their eggs, we are “GOLDEN” and the hunt is over!

My mom is our #1 egg inspector and washer.  She loves to come over and visit as she handles each egg with care and washes them.  We couldn’t ask for a better inspector or washer, and the chickens love her too!!  We take great pride in our farm and the quality of every item that we provide for our John Henry’s customers. 

Each evening, just before dark the hens go into their coop to roost and sleep for the night.  After they are all in, I close their two little doors so they are kept safe and I say “good night ladies, see ya in the morning!!”

Our eggs can be found at the Farmers’ Markets that we attend, our Home Delivery Route or if you are having a Freezer Meal Workshop and your recipe calls for farm fresh eggs, we’ve got you covered!!   

Next Drawing April 1st, 2019

Register for a chance to win a "Steak Bundle"!
2 Porter House - 2 Ribeyes - 2 Tbones - 2 NY Strips


Winner Jan 1st 2019 Drawing!!!

Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

Megan T. -Clarkson MI

Thank you again for the wonderful gift. I'm looking forward to cooking some great meals with the IP.
Time to stock up on John Henry's delicious meats and start meal planning!

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Hormone Free Grass-Fed Beef, Pastured Turkey Pork, Open Range Chicken

The benefits of eating pasture raised, grass-fed meats are hard to deny. From the extra nutrients to the shaky ethics surrounding commercially raised animals, pasture-raised cows and free range chickens win every time. While we hear the most about steaks and beef, the same benefits can apply to any animal raised without hormones in its natural habitat. Typically pork or chicken is referred to as pasture raised, or free range instead, as these animals are natural omnivores and eat a little of everything. Our family farm produces grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and free range turkey and chicken. Our gourmet meats and dairy products are shipped fresh to customers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and the Chicago, Illinois area. Pastured pork, beef, chicken, and turkey is not only better for the animal, but it’s also better for the consumer too. If you’ve shopped for meats at most grocery stores, you probably saw bright red packages of similar shapes and sizes, which is different from the varying packages of beef you would find when shopping with an small, local farmer. Each animal is unique, and John Henry’s doesn’t use steroids, hormones, or fatty feeds on our farm. This produces a higher-quality cut of meat that can vary in size, shape, and color depending on what muscles were exercised more. Grass-fed beef, and pasture raised turkey, pork, and chicken also have fat that is more yellow due to healthy beta carotenes that are present. We also cut each of our meats fresh and ship it to you the same day! If you haven’t tried grass-fed beef, pastured pork, or free range turkey and chicken you don’t know what you’re missing. Save $10 on your first shipment with promo code “New10” John Henry’s ships to Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennesee, New England, Virginia, West Virginia, THe Carolinas, And more!