We all know the importance of balanced diets in our meals and most especially the need to have some proteins, this we have been taught all through our educational and nutritional lives. There is no rejecting the fact that indeed protein plays a major role in the body’s well being.
“Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.” www.webmd.com
This blog is aimed at helping us become aware of how to remain in good health, with much emphasis on what we put into our bodies. The way food is grown or processed in these times leaves a lot of questions for the one who digs deep and is curious enough, especially knowing the source of what we eat.
I present three sources of proteins and why we should be concerned about where they are coming from and what dangers we put our bodies if they come from wrong sources.
How many of us know the words farm grown, free range or wild caught. These words mean a lot in relation to our proteins. Probably only a few people do not like chicken, we find a way to make it into different recipes, in a Nigerian home a meal like fried rice is not likely complete without large portions of chicken on each person’s plate.
Poultry farming is one of the many businesses Nigerians set up, chicken especially is in high demand, because aside its demand in homes, different food sales outlets need it for customers. We are used to the term “agric fowl” what makes this type of poultry different, and is it a good choice?
The popular ‘agric’ chickens in essence refer to those birds grown in regulated spaces and fed specific foods often targeted at making them grow fast to meet market demands. The speed of growth and what these birds are fed is what should scare us.
Antibiotics, artificial hormones, or the bovine human growth hormone, among other genetically modified foods are fed to the poultry we consume, in return we consume this, when we do we open ourselves to health challenges such as:
- Increased resistance to the different strains of bacteria.
- Early puberty in girls, owing to feeding the birds growth hormones which increases the chances of breast cancer in later years.
- Increased susceptibility to some forms if cancer
- Linked to obesity, which in turn is a foundation for all other illnesses linked to obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases or stroke among others.
Farm grown chickens are not limited to their meat derivatives, eggs and other products made from chickens grown in this manner are just as harmful.
We can completely do away with farm grown poultry especially where we are certain or even uncertain that the birds have been grown in questionable environments or with questionable feeds. The only reasons harmful products still exist in the markets is because such products still have consumers. A decline in the purchase of such farm grown chickens will indeed make farm owners listen to the concerns of the people and change their systems to those that will produce safer and healthier to eat birds.
Furthermore, there are free range chickens sold in the market as well as eggs from such chickens, so we are not left without an alternative option.Free range chicken which we call “local chicken” are fed normal grains or simply feed from their environment and grow at the normal pace nature intended for them.
If we are not consuming any other meat products, we are most likely consuming fish since we need protein. The major problem as with farm raised chicken applies to fish. A lot of people simply cannot be bothered about what “wild caught” fish or “farm grown” means.
“At first glance, farmed fish may seem like a good idea to help protect wild seafood populations from over fishing while meeting the nutritional needs of an ever-expanding global population.
In reality, however, the industry is plagued with many of the same problems surrounding land-based concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), including pollution, disease and inferior nutritional quality. It’s getting so bad that fish farms can easily be described as “CAFOs of the sea.” By Dr Mercola
As with chicken, the fish population production is sped up, feeds that act like growth fertilizers are fed the fishes, fishes are raised in not so spacious ponds. Fish has been increasingly linked to inflammation and increased allergic reactions, this is more so with farm grown fish.
“Farm-bred fish have been found to have high concentrations of antibiotics and pesticides Where do farm-bred fish get their antibiotics? The crowded conditions of fish farms cause the fish to be more susceptible to disease. To keep them alive, farm owners give antibiotics to the fish to stave off disease–”
Farm raised fish which contain many pollutants gotten through feeds given to these creatures, can be fatal to health. Do we really want to consume fish that likely has a high amount of cancer causing pollutants, lower levels of healthy nutrients and contains fat where toxic waste fed to the fish is stored? the answer is quite obvious.
When it comes to fish, it’s preferable to absolutely stay away from farm raised fish, so watch how you “point & kill” your catfish for eating. You can always request for fish caught in the rivers on the very day you are purchasing or in need of fish for consumption. Most of the sellers who sell fresh fish by the road side are carrying fish they caught recently in the wild. Wild caught fish feed from nature, they grow at a natural pace and are not confined to unhealthy spaces and practices, this makes them our best alternatives for when we choose to eat fish.
This is probably our number one source of protein, readily available and cheaper. Luckily though, for now in Nigeria, our beef comes from cows that mostly roam free eating from green pastures around the country, and the same cows are supplied daily to our markets . However many supermarkets now sell raw beef too and for large supermarkets one cannot say they do not sell beef raised in farms and fed the same category of foods mentioned earlier which in turn makes the flesh of the cow unhealthy for us to consume.
Bottom line is when it comes to “farm raised” vs “free range” free range will always remain our healthy, tastier option. Yes free range tastes way better.
Illnesses from food is increasing because of what is being done to what we eat, we need to be enlightened about our food sources, to save ourselves and our families from degenerative modern day illnesses.