Burger King goes cage free. Step in the right direction, or gimmick?

So BK has vowed to now only use cage free eggs and pork.

I think “cage-free” is now going to explode into the next big buzz-word. Much like “Certified Organic”, “All Natural”, “RBST free”, “No Antibiotics”, and the list goes on.

Originally these words meant something. They served a purpose, to inform the consumer that this product was better in some way, but as all things go, the politics win out in the end. For example, in order for a product to obtain an “all natural” certification, it must only contain carbon. Lots of things contain carbon, but that does not make them healthy or beneficial ,does it?

Cage Free doesn’t really mean much in terms of food quality or living conditions for the animal. Cage free literally just means that it wasn’t confined to a small cage. It has no bearing on the animal’s diet, treatment, health, or wellbeing in any other aspect.

You can bet the pork and chicken will still be grain fed, which means the meat and eggs will be sub-par, poor products as they have always been. The animals will still be sick and unhappy. Because as we all know, to have a happy healthy animal you need to feed it what it would normally eat in the wild.

For chickens, that means not grains, but allowing them to forage for grubs, bugs, worms, snails, small rodents, and even each other. Pigs also do better on a free range fed diet, not grains. The meat will have a better nutition profile on a non-grain diet.

Anyway you look at it, this is pretty much just a PR stunt. As always, BK is looking to improve its image and bottom line. Hoping to gain better ground with public opinion. Watch for the other fast food peddlers to follow suit.

The food is still shit.

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Why grass fed? Because it really does matter what your food eats!

Something I have been meaning to get to recently, but just haven’t had in the forefront of my mind until now. Since we are trying to attain optimal health and “look-good-naked” status, [wink] it makes sense to consider not only what you are eating, but where it came from and how it was grown or raised.

Not only is factory farming cruel and dirty, but it raises sick animals by feeding them cheap grains and feed, and it commoditizes our food making it lower quality, sacrificing our health for their bottom line ($$$).

Only healthy happy animals make happy healthy Paleo food for us!

Yes it does matter. Just as you would (or should) choose organic pesticide free fruits and vegetables, locally and sustainably grown, you should also ask “where did this animal come from? How was it raised?  What did my food eat before I ate it?

Residues that accumulate as a result of the factory farming system (pesticides, antibiotics) are fat-soluble, and stored in the animal’s fatty tissues. Consuming the fat from these animals causes us to accumulate these toxins as well. These toxins are also dose-dependent, meaning the more you consume, the more your health is at risk.

Bacon, for example, is one of the fattiest cuts. Bacon from the factory farming system contains some of the highest doses of these toxins. In addition, pigs are arguably the most abused, poorly fed, sick animals in the factory farming system. Therefore, to enjoy bacon and maintain your long-term health in the Paleo context, it should always come from local farms that allow their pigs free range pasture, with a diet free from grains or other commodity feeds.

The fatty acid ratio in factory farmed animals is also pretty bad. There is a total lack of omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed to balance out the omega-6 content. The omega-6 content also sky-rockets from grain-feeding, making the nutrient profile even uglier.

Grain fed animals also suffer many of the same health problems as people who follow the Standard American Diet. Being fed a steady diet of mostly grains results in systemic inflammation, intramuscular fat accumulation, poor nutrient profile, and sick animals who are shipped off to slaughter just before becoming ill or dead from it.

What should my food eat?

Your food should eat what would normally be available to it in the wild. For cows, that’s wild grasses. But, to say grass-fed cows eat grass isn’t telling the entire story. It’s more accurate to say they eat graminoids, which comprise hundreds of different species of sedges (found in wild marshes and grasslands; a famous sedge includes papyrus), rushes (a small but plucky family of herbaceous and rhizomatous plants), and true grasses (cereals, lawn grass, bamboo, grassland grass – the type of grass that produces the leaves Walt Whitman writes about). And that’s just the graminoid. Cows will also nibble on shrubs, clovers, and random leaves if they can get to them. Basically, they’ll eat whatever’s in reach, green, and leafy. Legally, grass-fed cows may also eat cereal grain crops in the “pre-grain stage,” hay, silage, and non-grain crop byproducts

You need to be careful, though, because sometimes beef may say “pastured” on the label, even though many pastures contain supplemented feed bins with grains. The same goes for chickens. Chickens and eggs will often be labeled as “free range” or “vegetarian fed” or some such nonsense. Chickens are not vegetarians, and should eat grubs and bugs to make the healthiest tastiest eggs and chicken wings for us Paleoists!

Grass fed beef is higher in necessary B-vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Studies show that grass feeding results in higher levels of CLA, a healthy naturally occurring trans fat. Grass fed dairy also has more of the beneficial trans fats. Grass fed beef has plenty of healthy fats, distributed more evenly throughout the animal’s subcutaneous tissue, where it belongs (Fat accumulation in muscle tissue is not a sign of a healthy animal).

Grass-fed truly shines in the micronutrient profile for one reason. Grass-fed cows get more nutritious food. Remember: they aren’t munching on monoculture lawn cuttings (let alone soy and corn). They’re eating a wide variety of (often wild) grasses, sedges, rushes, shrubs, and herbs, each with its own nutrient profile.

Plus, it just tastes better!

The clearly superior version of beef, chicken, eggs, or pork comes from grass-fed and finished, or pastured and free-range-fed. Animals that are raised by ranchers committed to providing excellent stewardship of both soil quality (for our food’s food quality), and animal quality. Plus it’s the more responsible thing to do. I know I feel better eating animals that were treated with care, and were happy and healthy up until slaughter, and the point where it became food to sustain me as a healthy animal.

YUM I am hungry.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them