RFNH = “Real Food Nutrition & Health” Study. My children and I will be working our way through Kristen Michaelis' book, Real Food Nutrition and Health, during the fall and winter months as part of our homeschooling curriculum. If you're following along, or falling behind, no worries! This series will be here for you whenever you're ready. And even if you're not quite caught up, feel free to jump in regardless.
Click here to read more about the study and get the proposed schedule, as well as current and past downloadable discussion questions/activities each week — which you can save for the future if you're not going to participate now.
Chapter 4: Healthy Meat, Seafood & Dairy
Click here for Chapter 4's discussion questions/activities (a free PDF download).
Before we read and discussed Chapter 4, we went back and watched two of the sneak peak videos from Kristen's online class: the video on nutritionism (relating to chapter 1) and the video on corn (relating to chapter 3). Those were good videos that gave us a good review; I recommend you watch them!
Now this chapter — covering healthy meats, milk, and dairy. Well! Where do I start? Just so full of good stuff. You've got to read it yourself. No matter your age. This book is a great and specific supplement to the principles behind what I teach in the Fundamentals eCourse. Remember the dietary guidelines of Lesson 1? This book covers the guidelines in depth, chapter by chapter.
Basically, this chapter discusses protein, why we need it, the healthiest sources of it, and the minimum amount each person needs each day for optimum growth, development, and strength. According to Kristen's materials and the minimum protein needs for a moderate lifestyle, all my children (weighing from 80 to 100 pounds) need around 30 grams of protein per day. Web research told me that 3 ounces of meat is about 15 to 20 grams (depending on which meat it is), which is about the size of a deck of cards or a bar of soap.
My children need to eat about 2 bars of soap worth of meat each day. In eggs, this would be 5 eggs. In whole milk, this is about 4 cups. Good information for them — and me — to visualize! I did some rounding and estimating; of course each child is different.
We are going to carry our discussion of this chapter into the weekend, when we will be doing a first for us — culling ducks to provide our own meat. I plan to take one of the ducks, and cut it up. We will weigh the body portions so the kids can visualize, face to face, how many grams a thigh or leg or breast provide.
Complete and Incomplete Proteins
There are complete proteins (meat, milk and dairy) and incomplete proteins (grains, legumes, and nuts). Our bodies can adapt to having incomplete proteins, but only so far. Protein deficiencies have “profound effects” — and this was very interesting for the kids to hear. You see, we were vegan at one time and family members suffered some of the profound effects Kristen listed. Namely: wasting of body tissues, weakness, and loss of vigor.
Choosing Healthy Protein Sources
Yep, she did it. Kristen brought up CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations):
“It’s a factory farm — an industrial facility — used for finishing livestock, including cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, prior to slaughter. Ninety percent of hogs and 97 percent of poultry are grown on factory farms in the United States. Their primary goal? To make the most amount of meat in the shortest amount of time. It’s about efficiency.”
CAFO produced meat, milk, and eggs are not healthy. Not only do the CAFOs pollute the environment, the food is not healthy to eat because the animals are fed an unnatural diet and they're fed a constant stream of antibiotics and/or hormones. In short, unhealthy animals make unhealthy meat, milk and eggs.
Interestingly, Kristen discussed how some farmed seafood is a better choice than wild due to polluted and over-fished oceans. She pointed us to the Monterey Bay Acquarium's Seafood Pocket Watch Guide. I was newly inspired to search for mollusks, as she pointed out that mollusks are the most nutrient-dense of all seafood options.
Many things were eye-opening for the kids. To read how they can visually recognize a healthy egg — no need for a lab! — was good information. We already knew the yolk would be darker orange, but we had no idea that the whites were different, too. Read Chapter 4 to find out how! 😉
Some shocking information, too. At one point, A. said, “Excuse me, I need to go throw up.” I think we were reading about pus in modern dairy milk.
The kids feel pretty good about our diet. Ever since we watched Food, Inc. and Fresh, The Movie, they've been more than grossed out at the thought of factory-farm meat and have vowed they'll never eat it again. The meat and eggs we purchase are local and pasture raised. We're not that thrilled about the feed that the pastured chicken farm uses, but that is a trade off we're willing to make because the chickens are pastured, eat plenty of bugs, and their eggs boast deep orange yolks.
Soon and Lord willing, our ducks will be laying, putting us in the position of producing our own eggs (and we will mix our own soy-free, corn-free feed). As you may know, our small herd of dairy goats provides us with A2 creamy, rich, and delicious milk, which I turn into kefir and cheese on a regular basis. Perhaps someday we will have a Jersey cow, too!
The Bottom Line
God's foods provide the best nutrition! I cannot say it better than Kristen did:
“…animals fed their natural, God- given diets of lush grasses (and the occasional annoying insect) have more of the good fats, vitamins, and minerals your body needs.”
The girls have lots of thoughts about this chapter, and you can read them here (B.'s post) and here (A.'s post). I love it that we all look forward to what we'll learn next. If you haven't joined us already in this study, may I encourage you to do so? Aren't homeschooling or don't have kids? Doesn't matter! This is a wonderful study for all.
A Story: In The Grocery Store
On Wednesday, when I was in the butter aisle, a lady was standing nearby pondering her choices. She asked me why the Tillamook butter was more expensive than the regular butter and was it really better? A very timely opportunity for me, since Julie had just commented saying that Tillamook butter was one of the top three choices for commercial butter because their cows are mostly pasture-fed.
So I explained to the lady that the Tillamook cows are mostly pasture-fed, which means their diet is more natural and therefore their milk more healthy — while the regular cows are sicker cows on an unnatural diet of grain, thereby producing less healthy butter.
Guess which butter she put in her cart? The Tillamook.
RFNH Online Class
We have signed up for Kristen's online class which takes a multi-media approach to teaching the concepts of the Real Food Nutrition and Health book. Because I'm not asking for my children to be graded, our whole family can use one account. Thus our registration fee is $100, or $25 each — a steal when you consider homeschooling materials. I'm considering myself a student, too, as I'm learning as much as the kids are. And even though we will be ahead, I have no doubt that Kristen's materials will provide excellent visual materials to enhance our understanding of real food, nutrition and health — and I look forward to the additional activities, discussions, and resources, too.
Now it is your turn! How did you like this chapter? What did you learn? How do you feel about your local choices for healthy meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs? Please share!
GNOWFGLINS will earn a commission on sales of the Real Food Nutrition and Health book through this blog. But honestly, we'd be doing this study whether or not we were associated. Thank you for supporting GNOWFGLINS with your purchase. You should also know I'm very thankful to be undertaking this study with Kristen's permission.
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