In this week's blog I wanted to touch on an interesting topic that I've been digging around in and mentally grappling with for a while now. Kinda like how you'd approach wrestling a 24 hour old half-dead orphaned bison calf... it's half-dead but still has plenty of vinegar to pound you into the dirt! Only this "half-dead orphaned bison calf" was my own long & dearly held prideful notion growing up just knowing we were raising a significantly nutritionally superior product. My nervous approach to this curiosity stemmed from the fact that I realized, depending on the truth I uncovered, this could pound my prideful notion into the dirt without apology and, to some degree, demerit a lot of years of effort. The ecological divide of benefits/consequences between feedlots and regenerative operations are numerous and obvious but the nutritional chasm wasn't proportionate and that caused distant angst in the back of my mind. When you look at the differences between feedlot beef macros and regeneratively raised bison macros, the gap is somewhat lackluster in contrast to what we anticipate based on the polar opposites of how each respective animal is raised. I struggled with this conclusion as it seemed incongruent with everything else I knew to be true. But, I had to see if what I believed in my gut aligned with facts and not just some feel-good lore.
Now, don't get me wrong, the macro nutrient differences are absolutely noticeable and should be noted, but when one truly understands the vast life cycle differences between feedlot meat and regenerative, as-nature-intended meat coupled by the anecdotal biological response differentiation we experience when we consume them, one expects the difference to be as unique as the earth from the moon. Yes, both the earth and moon are round, have sunshine, dust, and mountains but that's about the extent of their similarities... What lacked in macro disparity left me unsatisfied. As I mentally and physically dug into this, it began to become clear that there likely is much more to the story that both scientists and health professionals are now giving significantly more credence to on a much more widespread basis. The devil may lie in the details... Maybe macros aren't where we should be focused??
For those that are unfamiliar, macronutrients, often referred to as "macros", are the major nutrient categories we often think of first (and sometimes only think of) such as protein, fat, carbs, sugars, etc. Micronutrients, aka "micros", are the "little army" of vitamins and minerals that are also present, yet in significantly lower densities, therefor can be easily overlooked. Many leading health professionals are now starting to really connect the dots between these micronutrients and thriving human health. Things like iron, copper, selenium, magnesium, vit E, vit B, etc. greatly affect how our bodies function. Basically, macros can be thought of as "body builders" for the most part while micros are more like "life builders". Macros may give us a body but without sufficient, bioavailable micronutrients, our ability to stay healthy deteriorates quickly. Micros may not make up a significant percentage of our daily intake but the research is indicating they are every bit as valuable as macros. If one zooms out and looks at ancient vs modern foods from a macros perspective, there's no real reason to smash the alarm button. Now, zoom in and begin comparing ancient food micros content vs modern food micros content. The contrast is as stark as the earth from the moon. It begins to be no wonder that populations consuming these micronutrient deficient foods are in the midst of or on a crash course with a widespread human health disaster. Our modern fast/cheap food system has come at a cost; the cost of our little micronutrient army. All good things take time. "Slow Food", grown regeneratively, provides mother nature time and space to function properly, giving us everything we know we need as well as the things we're yet not even aware we need. To believe we can cheat nature without consequence is absolute foolishness.
The macro/micro polarity is a great illustration of the simple "faith" we must put in as-nature-intended raising precepts. I encourage you to quit looking to nutritional panels to determine whether of not all your RDAs will be met. Start focusing on consuming single ingredient, old world, "slow foods" grown/raised regeneratively (this applies to meat, fruits, veggies, dairy, everything!). Do this and the dietary aspect takes care of itself.
If you're interested in going deeper down this rabbit hole, I'd highly recommend reading Soil, Grass, and Cancer by Andre Voisin. Written in 1959, Andre's vision and concern was well before his time but the connection between our food and our health is as old as time and simply cannot be escaped.