Category Archives: Whole Food

Chicken Poop and Cookies: Food for Cows?

At one time someone posted a comment on my Raw Milk facebook page explaining how while he was in college (can’t remember which one) he did some kind of animal husbandry internship where it was his job to try to get cows to eat chicken litter. They had to try all kinds of things because the cows were not naturally inclined to eat it. For those of you wondering what chicken litter is, it is basically straw or wood shavings  and chicken poop that is scooped up off the floor of the chicken coop while cleaning it. Yum.

I had some skepticism when I first read that cows were fed old chicken house bedding that contained chicken manure, because it seemed so crazy to me, but after a little research into “feedstuffs” for cattle, there were all kinds of unsavory things that cows are fed. Here is an incomplete list of the things that I discovered on various university extension and cattle industry websites:

Chicken litter (Chicken manure and straw or wood chips)

Shredded newspapers soaked in molasses

Blood meal (dried blood from slaughter house waste)

Animal byproducts: fish meal, meat and bone meal, poultry by-product meal, etc. (slaughter house waste – wait, isn’t this what caused mad cow disease??)

Hydrolyzed Feather Meal (AKA chicken feathers – also slaughterhouse waste – this REALLY eliminates the humor in those chic-fil-a commercials)

Stale candy: gummy bears, gummy worms, m&ms, etc.

Pasta (old surplus pasta)

Surplus french fries and potato chips

Cannery waste (waste from canning factories where canned vegetables etc are processed)

Stale bakery goods: breads, donuts, pastries, etc.

Soy cakes (left over after making soy sauce)

Brewery waste: spent grains from making beer (this is what caused the problems that led lawmakers to decide that milk needed to be pasteurized after milk from cows that were fed brewery waste sickened and killed hundreds of people.)

Rotten potatoes that never made it to grocery store shelves. (This only after potatoes useable for making frozen french fries are separated out. My father used to work at a factory that made frozen french fries, and the place smelled like a sewer. The potatoes used for fries were rotten, but not completely mush yet. They would soak them in a solution to harden them again, then bleach them, then cut them into fries and flash freeze them. The potatoes that couldn’t even survive this process are sold as animal feed.)

Soy hulls (a byproduct from the soybean milling process)

Corn, cottonseed, soy, peanut, and other ‘meals’ (leftover from making oils)

Cotton gin trash (leftover from harvesting and milling cotton)

Peanut shells

Grain middlings (left over from milling flour)

Citrus pulp (leftover after making orange or grapefruit juice)

Cane byproducts (leftover after making sugar)

Beet pulp (from sugar beets in sugar production)

Sweetos a cheaper substitute for molasses. Sweetos guarantees the masking of unpleasant tastes and odor and improves the palatability of feed according to Monsanto spokesperson (so that cows will eat all of the unnatural feedstuffs that they are being given)

(See this list of cattle ‘feedstuffs’ from the University of Wisconsin)

Which of these cattle would you prefer as your food source?

Cattle Feed

If we are what we eat, (and so are our cows) what have you eaten today?

 

 

 

Book Review – The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast

I have recently read the book “The Art of baking with Natural Yeast,” by Caleb Warnock and Melissa Richardson. 10 years ago, I was asking myself “Why is milk, once one of the main staples of civilization, now condemned as “bad” by many medical professionals, including natural doctors who should know better? What has changed?” The answer to that question came pretty easily, since milk processing is pretty obvious. Milk, once straight from the cow/goat/etc. is now pasteurized, homogenized, and then even ultra pasteurized in some cases. Anyway, those same questions came to my mind about bread. Once considered the staff of life, now even whole wheat bread (which should be more healthy, because it is a whole food) causes a myriad of health issues, (sometimes even more so than white bread because of the use of rancid flour) and it is not so easy to see the answer. It can’t be easily explained by GMO or hybridization, because people with allergies to wheat or with gluten sensitivities often can’t even tolerate heirloom varieties of grains, even if they soak them and/or grind their own flour. So over the last while, I had been asking myself “What has changed?” This book has an answer to this question that actually makes sense.

The Authors assert that in 1984, all of the yeast produced by commercial industry went completely synthetic to accommodate industry and consumers who wanted quick rising yeast, and now many of the problems associated with bread and grains are actually a reaction to the synthetic yeast as well as the lack of soaking or pre-digesting more than it is a reaction to the grains themselves. I knew that un-soaked grains were a problem, but the issue of the synthetic yeast was new information for me. Natural yeast is made up of lactobactili and wild yeasts much like the bacteria found in kefir grains. (This makes it a probiotic strain of bacteria, and so it does not cause the same issues for people with candida and systemic yeast overgrowth.) When the yeast in breads changed, the sensitivities to wheat and gluten skyrocketed. Not to say their were not some problems before that point, but before that, these conditions were rare. Anyway, with natural yeast, the dough must have between 6 and 24 hours to properly rise, and during that time, natural yeast not only breaks down the phytic acid in the flour, but it also pre-digests the gluten without losing the elasticity of the dough. Quick rise synthetic yeast, which can rise in an hour or less does neither of these things. In the book the authors state that “several people with celiac disease have tried bread made with natural yeast and told us that they had no reaction to it.”

Another interesting study referred to in the book cites research done on natural yeast that found that people who ate a piece of bread made with natural yeast had a lower glycemic reaction to the carbohydrates in their food, even hours later. As it says in the book, “one woman in Pleasant Grove, Utah recently told us that her husband, who is severely diabetic, was able to eat bread for the first time in years with no glycemic spike when she began making bread for him with a start of natural yeast we gave her.”  This could explain the sharp increase in obesity and diabetes over the last 3 decades.

Also, bread made with natural yeast is actually a living food! How? Because the heat of baking stimulates the yeast to send out spores right before it dies, which can survive even the most uninhabitable environments. Once the temperature gets back to a safe level, the spores hatch and repopulate the yeast colony inside the bread. (something that I did not know before.) The co-author tells about how she discovered this with a great stoke of humor, and little things like this made the book a lot of fun to read :) at the end of this section, she says, “So next time you take your Frankenbread out of the oven, you can hold it in the air and cackle, “It’s Alive! It’s Alive!” Or you can just eat it, but where’s the excitement in that?”

Another great point that the authors made was that bread was the STAFF of life, and not the CRUTCH of life, meaning that it was never the main part of the meal, and if you can’t have a meal without bread or grains, then you are relying on your staff way too much. Caleb has a yeast starter that comes from a 100+ year old start of pioneer yeast, and he will send a start of this yeast for free to anyone who buys his book – all you have to do is send him a request with a self addressed stamped envelope. The yeast is an actual yeast start, and not a sourdough starter, and so it looks, tastes, and smells like yeast bread.

I hope that you all will find this as useful as I did! Not only was it very useful and enlightening, it was a fun read. 😀