In my previous post, I discussed the benefits of healthy fats, hinted about the “true” cause of heart disease and provided examples of foods and supplements that are very important before and during pregnancy. You can read that post here.
Today, I am discussing the need for a unique fat soluble vitamin that used to be prevalent in our diets and is now VERY challenging to obtain in the Standard American Diet! Our farmers used to raise cattle, chicken and pigs in a humane and environmentally friendly way. For example, their chickens roamed the farm eating bugs and other insects that they were created to eat. Now, they are “corn fed”. What happened? Greed, money and power! Today across America, we have huge feedlots with chickens that have breasts so large and heavy that they fall over! They live in extremely crowded quarters with very little to any time outdoors. These chickens are fed genetically modified corn that is subsidized by your tax dollars! Do you REALLY want to be eating these chickens? Even worse, the chickens that are allowed to be labeled “organic” and “cage-free”, live in confined quarters that you and I would never qualify as such and would actually consider inhumane! Small Footprint Family has a good article with pictures over here that is eye-opening.
This change in farming practices has changed the nutrient profile of our food. The fat soluble vitamin I want to discuss if vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Not to be confused with vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), which is key for a persons blood to clot if they get cut. Vitamin K was discovered in the early 1930’s and it wasn’t until the mid 70’s that scientists realized that vitamin K1 and K2 had different activities. Mainly that vitamin K2 was not involved in clotting and that there was a vitamin K2-dependent protein called osteocalcin that plays a key role in drawing calcium into the bones and the teeth. Even more astounding, it wasn’t until recently that scientists reported that vitamin K2 was critical to ensure healthy calcium deposition in bones and teeth and critical in the prevention of calcification of arteries. Specifically regarding pre-pregnancy and pregnancy, what role does vitamin K2 play?
In the late 30’s, Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist, “discovered” vitamin K2, which he called “activator X”. Dr. Price traveled the world studying people who were truly healthy and observed their cultural practices and dietary habits. He studied tribes and people who were “isolated from our modern civilization” and what he found was a common thread in each village and culture. Those who maintained their traditional diets that were passed down from generation to generation had no tooth decay, beautiful wide faces, perfectly straight teeth, very few illnesses, easy labors and were really happy. When he observed individuals who had left the isolation of the tribe and began to consume foods of the modern civilization, health began to decline.
The first thing that Price observed when people left their traditional ways was tooth decay. Followed by gum disease, chronic disease, deformed and narrow faces and crowded teeth with a narrow dental arch. The pictures on the left are 2 children from the same tribe. The beautiful Indian Princess whose mother and her consumed traditional foods has a wide face , no dental decay and straight teeth. The boy has a narrow face and crowded and crooked teeth. This occurs in-utero and is why consuming a diet high in these nutrients is imperative during pregnancy. Dr. Price also observed that the children were more susceptible to infections, were unhappy and had behavior issues never seen before. All of these cultures had what Price called “sacred” foods that they would have their young people of child bearing age eat. What did these foods contain? Vitamin K2! In fact, these foods had at least four times the amount of minerals and water-soluble vitamins and at least ten times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins. And that was in the 1930’s! Interestingly, Dr. Price noted that the women were experiencing much longer and more difficult labors. He also noted that they spaced their children out so that the mother could replenish her nutrient stores. Here is another picture of two boys from the same tribe. Which mother ate the traditional foods and which one adopted a modern diet?
Thankfully, there are farms that are raising chickens, cattle and pigs the right way. They are free to roam the farm, eat grass, consume bugs and live in an environment that is low stress. Animals that are “stressed out” contain stress hormones in their meat! I think we have enough stress in our lives and don’t need to be adding stress with our diet. Additionally, a study comparing calves finished in feedlots with calves that stayed out on grass showed that grass-fed animals had less E. coli overall, and the E. coli that did show up was a different strain that was much less likely to infect humans. None of the grass-fed calves had the potentially lethal O157:h7 strain, whereas all of the grain fed calves had this type of E. coli. Grass-fed cattle produce wonderful butter, milk, cream and meat that is highly nutritious and contain vitamins A, D, and K.
Some may argue that a study by Purdue University has disproved the prevalence of E. coli being lower in grass fed beef. Primarily, the USDA only requires that the cow graze on grass for 80% of its diet and the remainder can be other “food stuffs”. Hmm, “food stuff?” According to an article written by SonRise Ranch, …”when a Bovine is fed Corn, it increases the pH level of the rumen, and permits dangerous e-coli strains such as O157:H7 an environment to flourish in. This change in pH, shifts the digestive tract of the Bovine to more closely mirror ours, and in effect allows acid resistant strains of e-coli to proliferate within the animal and transfer to us in a state that is much more resistant to our acids – and subsequently, far more harmful to humans.”
If you are not convinced regarding the science, the article from SonRise goes on to say, “… apart from the numerous other studies that suggest otherwise, do you really think that beef from a Steer living knee deep in manure on a confined feed lot is just as susceptible to e-coli contamination as one who spends it’s entire life on pasture? Just from a common sense perspective – you’d be a fool to think otherwise.” So, the bottom line is, know your rancher! I have been very pleased with the meat I have been getting from Morris Grassfed and they have a great price too!
Free-range chickens provide delicious eggs that are higher in vitamins A, D, E, beta-carotene, K2 and omega 3’s. The chicken meat is also more nutritious and less likely to contain E. Coli!
If you are planning to become pregnant, are pregnant and/or nursing, feel free to contact me and I can guide you down a healthy path.