Meaty Choices - Page 3
The problem: Animals are druggies
Today, most livestock that ends up under shrink-wrap spent their lives in extremely cramped and filthy conditions, breading grounds for disease. To stay alive and productive, they are given antibiotics—a staggering 29-million pounds yearly, according to the FDA. And that doesn’t include what’s tossed into salmon farms—the feedlots of the seas. Overuse of antibiotics on farm animals leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could diminish the usefulness of antibiotics that treat us.
Plus, much of the beef produced in the United States is pumped with natural and synthetic growth-inducing sex hormones in the name of faster profit. Residues of these hormones then taint the meat, which has raised the concern for heightened risk of reproductive cancers. Yet, meat is still not monitored for hormone residues and studies looking at their impact on human health are surely lacking.
Your move: Go for the big O
The USDA Organic label is your guarantee that the animals were not given any antibiotics or hormones. A recent study in Environmental Health Perspectives determined that organic poultry operations, which are not allowed to give antibiotics to their birds, had significantly lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria than their conventionally raised counterparts. If you’re concerned with antibiotics in salmon, choose wild swimmers.
The problem: The oceans are under siege
A raft of studies suggests that reeling in more fish for dinner can help slash the risk for many diseases, particularly if you nosh on sardines, sablefish, salmon and others that are chockablock with omega-3 fatty acids. These same omegas have demonstrated to have exercise performance benefits as well. Sadly, overfishing and destructive fishing methods are rapidly transforming our oceans into a humongous ghost town as species such as bluefin tuna are on the brink of collapse. Plus, harmful mercury and other pollutants are turning some fish species into swimming bullets.
Your move: Cast your line for sustainable options
Concentrate on eating seafood deemed “Eco-Best” by the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector at www.edf.org. The guide features fish and shellfish that get high-water marks for health (low toxin risk) and sustainability (not overfished) such as sablefish, wild Alaskan salmon and Pacific sardines. Among others, you’ll want to cut bait on red snapper, imported shrimp, bluefin tuna, farmed salmon and Chilean sea bass.