Archive for the ‘pork’ Category

Are Vegetarians Happier?

By: DeEtta Bohling, Communications Specialist

Beef and chicken gyro with brussels sprouts and fruit salad

I recently saw an article posted on Facebook from The Huffington Post called “Vegetarian Diet Could Make You Happier and Less Stressed, Study Shows”. I consider myself an optimistic, healthy and happy omnivore, so I decided to take a look.

The article states that embracing a vegetarian diet could make you happier and less stressed because of fatty acids in meat and fish. It states that “diets that include meat and fish are higher in arachidonic acid (AA), an animal source of omega-6 fatty acids. Much of the meat Americans eat today is quite high in AA: The average omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid profile of modern grain-fed meat is 5 times higher than grass-fed meat.”

Shalene McNeill, who has a Ph.D. in human nutrition and is executive director for human nutrition research at the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, acknowledges that “if you feed (cows) grass, you can slightly increase the omega-3 content, but if you look at it in terms of a whole diet, it’s not a significant advantage to human health.”

Though I experience stress (usually self-inflicted), running has become a great outlet for me. Personally, I would become very grumpy (and stressed) without beef, pork and poultry as a regular part of my diet. I think it’s safe to say as a whole, Americans are increasingly overfed yet undernourished so it’s essential that we get the most nutritional value from the food and beverages we enjoy. I enjoy meat. I’m not turning vegetarian.

What are the benefits of consuming meat? Since meat contains a great deal of protein, it repairs and promotes the building of body tissues and produces antibodies that will protect the body from infections, therefore strengthening the immune system. Since meat contains all the essential amino acids, it ranks as one of the best sources of protein.

Meat is rich in iron, zinc and selenium which results in forming hemoglobin that transports oxygen to different parts of your body, tissue formation and metabolism, and breaking down fat in the body. Meat also contains Vitamin A, B and D which promote good vision, stronger teeth and bones as well as support the central nervous system.

What do I think is the biggest benefit of meat consumption? It tastes excellent. Therefore, it keeps this girl happy, healthy and loving life!

Additional Resources:
Kansas Beef Council
Kansas Pork Association
National Cattleman’s Association
National Pork Producers Council


Farm Moms for Responsible Antibiotic Use

By: DeEtta Bohling, Communications Specialist

I tend to be somewhat of a health nut. I am in “half marathon training mode” and know that my body needs fresh fruits, veggies, grains, dairy and lean proteins in order to function properly. I can truly feel a difference in my body when I use filling foods as a fuel as opposed to high calorie foods with no nutritional value. (Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I totally avoid those foods, I enjoy them in moderation.)

I worry about the foods that enter my mouth, especially when I don’t know how they were prepared. One thing I don’t have to fear, however, is antibiotics in my meat. An ad from PEW Charitable Trusts was recently distributed at Neodesha school district in southeast Kansas. The heading of the handout (pictured on left) reads “Moms for Antibiotic Awareness” and calls moms and dads to “help end the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in food animal production”.

Like, Teresa in the video below, farmers and ranchers in your community take the judicious use of antibiotics very seriously. Think about it, the food you are putting on your table is the same food that they are putting on theirs. As caretakers, farmers and ranchers are proud to feed your family.

Healthy animals provide healthy food. When your child is ill, you take them to the doctor and if the doctor recommends an antibiotic, you take the prescription and head for the pharmacy. It’s no different when there is a sick animal. For more than 50 years, veterinarians and producers have administered antibiotics to food animals, primarily poultry, swine and cattle, mostly to fight or prevent disease. Antibiotics are given strategically – administered when animals are sick, susceptible or exposed to illness. This reduces the risk of unhealthy animals entering our food supply, according to Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine. Protecting healthy animals helps to protect human health. Many are unaware that we live in a microbial world where bacteria can transfer between animals and people with some causing disease in humans or animals or both.

The meat aisle at my local grocery store.

Should you be worried about antibiotics in the meat you buy for your family?
The FDA does not allow meat to be sold with traces of antibiotics above strict safety limits. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) performs scheduled, but random, testing of meat nationwide. According to FDA and FSIS regulations, livestock antibiotic use requires specific withdrawal times, or a set number of days that must pass between the last antibiotic treatment and the animal entering the food supply. This ensures the drugs have sufficiently cleared an animal’s system.

Why are antibiotics given to livestock?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), U.S. farmers and ranchers must maintain good animal care, which includes making sure animals are healthy; comfortable; well nourished; safe; able to express the natural behaviors of their species; and not experiencing pain, fear and distress. According to AVMA, banning or severely restricting the use of antimicrobials in animals would negatively impact a veterinarian’s ability to protect animal health and prevent suffering from disease, which can lead to poor care.

In the following video, family farmer and mom, Heidi Vittetoe invites you to uncover antibiotic use on her pork farm. 

Is human health impacted by eating meat from animals given antibiotics?
“The judicious use of all drugs in animals, particularly food-producing animals, is very important. The use of medicated feeds in food-producing animals is evaluated and regulated to prevent harmful effects on both animal and human health,” said Steven D. Vaughn, D.V.M., director of the Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation in FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Looking for more information on antibiotics from farmers? Ask your neighboring farms and ranches or visit

Additional Informational Sites:
Responsible Antibiotic Use
CommonGround Kansas

Kansas Livestock Association
Kansas Beef Council 
Kansas Pork Producers
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
My Plate