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Read Before Ordering Another Burger

With all the confusion and misinformation about what to eat for weight loss and optimal health I’m always looking to simplify things for you.

If you’ve followed my coaching tips for a while you know that I’m all about focusing on eating natural foods. As a general rule if God made it eat it, if not leave it alone.

Unfortunately with the modernization of food production on multiple levels, the idea of what’s truly natural is even cloudy.

You try to eat healthier by stocking up on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and other Primal foods but now you’ve also got to look at the source of where it came from.

Even the “natural” foods can be laden with pesticides, dangerous chemicals, hormones, and other tag-a-long substances which you’re better off not ingesting.

Beef is a natural food…right?

A perfect example of this would be beef products. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with eating beef in moderation. Contrary to some people’s opinion, I’ve found no empirical evidence to convince me that eating red meat in moderation is dangerous to my health.

No offense to the vegetarians…if that’s your thing more power to you. I’ll be the last person to judge and as far as I’m concerned “to each his own.”

I grew up in farm country in Northeast Ohio where I witnessed many a robust, strong, and healthy old farmer living into their eighties and nineties without ever eating a meal of wheat grass, bean sprouts, and tofu. I’m just saying…

The times they are a changing…sing it Bob Dylan!

Having said that, things aren’t exactly the same as they were in the old days. These men ate beef from their own farms or from a nearby neighbor which were free of hormones, chemicals, and all the other junk. Plus the cows were mainly grass fed which kept the omega-3 fat ratios high.

Today, most of us have no idea where the beef we eat comes from. A good example is the beef found in fast-food restaurants and discount grocery stores.

I found an interesting article recently by David Zinczenko, the author of “Eat This, Not That” that should make you think twice before eating another fast-food hamburger.

I’ve included an excerpt below:


“The great American staple. Don’t worry, burgers really do come from cows—but have you ever wondered how those giant chains process and distribute so much meat so cheaply? And . . . are you sure you want to know?

The Truth: Most fast-food hamburger patties begin their voyage to your buns in the hands of a company called Beef Products. The company specializes in taking slaughterhouse trimmings—heads and hooves and the like—that are traditionally used only in pet food and cooking oil, and turning them into patties.

The challenge is getting this byproduct meat clean enough for human consumption, as both E. coli and salmonella like to concentrate themselves in the fatty deposits.

The company has developed a process for killing beef-based pathogens by forcing the ground meat through pipes and exposing it to ammonia gas—the same chemical you might use to clean your bathroom.

Not only has the USDA approved the process, but it’s also allowed those who sell the beef to keep it hidden from their customers. At Beef Products’ behest, ammonia gas has been deemed a “processing agent” that need not be identified on nutrition labels.

Never mind that if ammonia gets on your skin, it can cause severe burning, and if it gets in your eyes, it can blind you. Add to the gross-out factor the fact that after moving through this lengthy industrial process, a single beef patty can consist of cobbled-together pieces from different cows from all over the world—a practice that only increases the odds of contamination.”

Not just limited to beef from fast-food restaurants…

And here’s the thing…as you’re probably already thinking this problem isn’t limited to fast-food restaurants. I have no idea where places like Wal-mart get their ground beef but I’ll bet dollars to donuts it’s someplace like Beef Products, Inc. and not your local farmer!

So where does this leave us? I understand the dilemma as you can go broke trying to buy nothing but organic meat from the local health food grocery store. But then again I don’t want to ingest all kind of harmful substances by relying on the “trusted” USDA stamp at the regular grocery store.

The ideal solution would be to get yourself a good freezer and go buy a side of beef from a local farmer who can have it butchered and processed for you. The only way to get around the cost side of thing is to obviously buy in bulk.

Another option would be to buy grass fed beef from someplace like Omaha Steaks and once again stock up in your freezer.

If nothing else look to buy organic, grass feed beef whenever possible. The same thing goes for chicken, turkey, and other lean proteins. Will you always be able to eat free-range varieties of meat? Probably not, but I’m certainly going to make a conscience effort of doing so as much as possible.

I can tell you this…I’ll be thinking of ammonia the next time I consider eating a burger out. Sad to say it but even our natural foods have been altered to the point that we can’t simply go by the “if God made it eat it, if He didn’t leave it alone” rule.

In all man’s wisdom we continue to find ways to mess things up.

Going “organic” when you can, as often as you can, is certainly in our best interests. The world is just a different place today and if you want to really be conscience of your health you have to take a careful look at what you eat.

I wish I could tell you to just eat lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and omega-3 oils and everything would be fine. Unfortunately, since most of us don’t get our food from the local farmer we’ll have to do a little more homework. 

Until next time…eat primal, exercise with purpose, and live with passion.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial to his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.     

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Category: Shane's Commentary.