Cows, Milk and Corn

      44 Comments on Cows, Milk and Corn

On the way home from Chicago last week, we stopped in Indiana to visit a facility that’s a combination theme park and working dairy farm.  Outside the barns and other buildings, there were play areas where kids could run, slide, climb and jump … always a bonus for parents looking for ways to get the wiggles out before resuming a long car trip.

Inside the buildings, there were areas where tourists could see cows being milked and calves being born — several are born there each day.   I know humans are one of the few species whose babies are born helpless, but it still amazes me to see calves standing up and walking around mere hours after birth.

There were also exhibits and short films designed to impress viewers with the wonders of modern milk production.   One of the exhibits featured life-sized plastic models of a woman milking a cow in a barn — a representation of the old days.  A talking animatronic rooster explained how much he misses those good old days, when he was allowed to hang out in the barn and eat bugs while the farm wife milked the family cow.

(Bugs?!  You mean chickens like to eat bugs?  Go to a health-food store these days, and most cartons of eggs will proudly announce FROM HENS FED AN ALL-VEGETARIAN DIET.  Since chickens naturally prefer bugs, it’s highly unlikely that vegetarian hens are healthier … but they’re no doubt more self-righteous.)

But, so as not to leave the audience feeling too sorry for him, the rooster then explained that when the farm wife milked a cow, the milk was only good for a day or two.  In today’s laboratory-clean environment, the milk is extracted, homogenized, pasteurized and fortified, and by gosh, it lasts for weeks.  Lovely.

For the record, I don’t believe milking machines and pasteurization are the worst things to happen to the American food supply.   We started drinking pasteurized milk long before the rise in obesity and diabetes began.  If you live in an area where you can buy raw milk from a local farmer, great.  It’s more nutritious.  But if you live in downtown Chicago and buy milk shipped from Wisconsin to your local grocery store, pasteurization may be a good idea. 

We buy cream from a local dairy farm, and they pasteurize their milk, albeit at the minimum temperature and duration allowed by law.  However — and this is what’s important, in my opinion — their cows are raised in pastures and eat grass, not corn.

That certainly isn’t the case on the dairy farm we toured.  The exhibits and films, in fact, brag about how much corn they ship in to feed the cows.  They’re proud of how their dairy business supports the Midwest’s corn farmers.  They didn’t mention supporting the producers of antibiotics and antacids.  Roughly half of all antacids produced are fed to cattle — to offset the effects of eating corn.

In the picture below, my wife and girls are learning about how important corn is to the dairy industry.  (Hey, maybe we should subsidize corn!)

These pictures are from the same exhibit, explaining what cows eat.  Add it up, and you’ll see that an American diary cow’s “nutritious” diet is mostly corn.  It’s a wonder that all those dairy farmers in New Zealand (grass-fed cows only) manage to produce any milk at all. 

After the tour, my wife and girls indulged in some fresh-from-the-farm ice cream.  I didn’t.  Good thing, too, since I was driving … within an hour after eating the ice cream, they all fell asleep in the car.

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44 thoughts on “Cows, Milk and Corn

  1. RacineDKringle

    Tom, if you are down near Indianapolis, you must take you and the family to Traderspoint Creamery:

    http://www.traderspointcreamery.com/

    Grass fed cows, on rotation with, I believe, chickens. They’re not all slickery and movies – but you can take a self-guided tour around their working-farm, have some of their non-homogenized milk/dairy products, eat some of their beef/chicken and other local food at the restaurant – and for the pets they have some non-pasteurized ‘Lulu milk’ at their store.

    We hit their farmers market (everything from pet-product dairy, to handmade kraut, to sauces, homemade baked goods to plants and (once) worms and worm compost) once a month, and sometimes indulge in dinner there. Excellent food, and for those who follow the way of eating, very in line with organic/local food and WAPF eating. You see the owners there all the time helping in the restaurant, in the store and in the fields.

    Inspirational! It’s a welcome antidote to Fair Oaks Farms.

    Indy is on the way to Chicago, so I’ll keep in mind for a future trip.

    Reply
  2. Ellen

    Interesting how they highlight these feeds as healthy, when at least one study shows the opposite. (http://www.organicpastures.com/pdfs/e_coli_study.pdf)

    Feeding cattle grain changes the pH of their stomachs, which allows the proliferation of E.coli bacteria. Check out the numbers from this study:

    Cows fed:
    100% grass and hay diet: stomach pH=7.15 E.coli count: 20,000
    40% hay and 60% grain diet: stomach pH=6.6 E.coli count: 6,300,000
    20% hay and 80% grain diet: stomach pH=5.4 E.coli count: 63,000,000

    In addition, that list leaves out some “foods” they don’t want you to know about: They also feed dairy cattle animal wastes (think chicken excrement) and bakery wastes (old doughnuts, etc) among other unnatural foods. Check out this website for a eye opening list: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/dairy/as1180w.htm

    Not exactly appetizing.

    Reply
  3. M Lewis

    I think that corn silage includes the whole plant that is chopped green and stored in a pit for months to ferment. At least that’s how my father-in-law did it on his diary farm. And if you think about it, maize is a grass. So you have 62% grass fed dairy cows, right?

    I’m not sure about that. I’ve read that the corn raised today is at best a distant cousin to maize, and we know that the omega 3/omega 6 ratio in grass fed cows is much more favorable than in corn-fed cows.

    Reply
  4. TonyNZ

    Some points:

    New Zealand isn’t 100% grass and only grass. The main things fed that aren’t grass are barley, wheat and palm kernal extract (PKE), though these will exceed 20% of the diet compared to grass on maybe less than 10% of New Zealand farms.

    I have more to comment on this but I must go actually feed some cows now. Post again later.

    Thanks, Tony. Fill us in when you can.

    Reply
  5. RacineDKringle

    Tom, if you are down near Indianapolis, you must take you and the family to Traderspoint Creamery:

    http://www.traderspointcreamery.com/

    Grass fed cows, on rotation with, I believe, chickens. They’re not all slickery and movies – but you can take a self-guided tour around their working-farm, have some of their non-homogenized milk/dairy products, eat some of their beef/chicken and other local food at the restaurant – and for the pets they have some non-pasteurized ‘Lulu milk’ at their store.

    We hit their farmers market (everything from pet-product dairy, to handmade kraut, to sauces, homemade baked goods to plants and (once) worms and worm compost) once a month, and sometimes indulge in dinner there. Excellent food, and for those who follow the way of eating, very in line with organic/local food and WAPF eating. You see the owners there all the time helping in the restaurant, in the store and in the fields.

    Inspirational! It’s a welcome antidote to Fair Oaks Farms.

    Indy is on the way to Chicago, so I’ll keep in mind for a future trip.

    Reply
  6. Ellen

    Interesting how they highlight these feeds as healthy, when at least one study shows the opposite. (http://www.organicpastures.com/pdfs/e_coli_study.pdf)

    Feeding cattle grain changes the pH of their stomachs, which allows the proliferation of E.coli bacteria. Check out the numbers from this study:

    Cows fed:
    100% grass and hay diet: stomach pH=7.15 E.coli count: 20,000
    40% hay and 60% grain diet: stomach pH=6.6 E.coli count: 6,300,000
    20% hay and 80% grain diet: stomach pH=5.4 E.coli count: 63,000,000

    In addition, that list leaves out some “foods” they don’t want you to know about: They also feed dairy cattle animal wastes (think chicken excrement) and bakery wastes (old doughnuts, etc) among other unnatural foods. Check out this website for a eye opening list: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/dairy/as1180w.htm

    Not exactly appetizing.

    Reply
  7. M Lewis

    I think that corn silage includes the whole plant that is chopped green and stored in a pit for months to ferment. At least that’s how my father-in-law did it on his diary farm. And if you think about it, maize is a grass. So you have 62% grass fed dairy cows, right?

    I’m not sure about that. I’ve read that the corn raised today is at best a distant cousin to maize, and we know that the omega 3/omega 6 ratio in grass fed cows is much more favorable than in corn-fed cows.

    Reply
  8. Frank Hagan

    Corn silage is the chopped stalks of the corn plant, usually done before they bear a lot of the ears we associate with “corn”. Most corn silage is grown with corn plants that are not bred for their ear producing qualities, but for the protein the corn stalk produces. The amount of grain included in the silage is less than 10%, IIRC. My uncles used cane and corn, and when they chopped it into silage there were no ears I could see. There’s more at:

    http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G4590

    If I’m doing my math right, 10% of 52% is about 5% of the total, and adding that to the “corn” listed on the chart means the cow is getting about 15% of its feed from corn. Its eating better than most Americans!

    They might be using “corn silage” with the intent to fool people (oops, I mean market their products to people). A lot of people buy into the “100% grain fed beef is better” marketing emphasis that certain national beef producers have been selling the last 40 years.

    So perhaps they’re not as corn-fed as I thought. That would be a relief.

    Reply
  9. Husker82

    When I was a kid, I was in charge of raising the chickens on our farm. Usually we raised about 150 equally split between hens and roosters. Trust me the top delicacies for a chicken was 1) worms, 2) grasshoppers.

    BTW we never fed our chickens once their downy fuzz was replaced by feathers -they were on their own to eat wild seeds, corn and oats that got spilled, worms, insects, mulberries, along with whatever inedible vegebales I found in our garden (bruised/cut/overgrown tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, ect. The eggs yolks were a very dark orange with a brown shell as opposed to the store bought eggs with bright yellow yolks. Dressed chickens always had an orange skin not the pasty white skin you see in the grocery stores. Grocery store chicken is sickly white skinned because of the low quality mash they are fed. That is how you can distinguish between true free range chicken and factory raised chicken.

    The difference in taste is beyond belief. My dad refused to eat store bought chicken since to him it tasted “like mud.” Man, I miss our old style chicken dinners.

    We bought some free-range chickens from a local farm, and the taste was so much richer. They were smaller, of course — no hormones.

    Reply
  10. TonyNZ

    Some points:

    New Zealand isn’t 100% grass and only grass. The main things fed that aren’t grass are barley, wheat and palm kernal extract (PKE), though these will exceed 20% of the diet compared to grass on maybe less than 10% of New Zealand farms.

    I have more to comment on this but I must go actually feed some cows now. Post again later.

    Thanks, Tony. Fill us in when you can.

    Reply
  11. hans keer

    Again a very good example of how crazy the world is made by men. It is good people like you stand up against it. If only it would help. VBR

    Reply
  12. Frank Hagan

    Corn silage is the chopped stalks of the corn plant, usually done before they bear a lot of the ears we associate with “corn”. Most corn silage is grown with corn plants that are not bred for their ear producing qualities, but for the protein the corn stalk produces. The amount of grain included in the silage is less than 10%, IIRC. My uncles used cane and corn, and when they chopped it into silage there were no ears I could see. There’s more at:

    http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G4590

    If I’m doing my math right, 10% of 52% is about 5% of the total, and adding that to the “corn” listed on the chart means the cow is getting about 15% of its feed from corn. Its eating better than most Americans!

    They might be using “corn silage” with the intent to fool people (oops, I mean market their products to people). A lot of people buy into the “100% grain fed beef is better” marketing emphasis that certain national beef producers have been selling the last 40 years.

    So perhaps they’re not as corn-fed as I thought. That would be a relief.

    Reply
  13. TonyNZ

    1: I’ve seen chickens clean up a leg of lamb before.

    2: New Zealand chickens are all hormone free, if not all free range (but free range has a relatively big market share).

    3: Hygienically harvested milk that goes into the fridge straight away will last a good 4-5 days.

    4: Grain feeding farmers in New Zealand feed barley, because corn in an open market is not cost-effective. As far as I know, there are no 100% grain dairy farms in New Zealand. It seems to be generally accepted (at least in my acquaintance) that any more than 5kg of grain per day in a cows diet (supplementing about 12kg dryweight of grass) is the limit for feeding a cow without sending the into acidosis. As such, all milk in New Zealand would generally be at least 70% grass fed. Most routine grain feeders only feed 2-3kg of grain with 12-15kg dryweight grass so we’re looking more like <20% grain feeding. Take into account that less than half grain feed like this, the percentage goes down more. Also, most farmers only feed grain in the slower growing periods, even less grain. So whilst the grain/dairy market exists in New Zealand, it is essentially grass when compared to the states.

    Example, assuming the farm I am on is typical (reasonable assumption), then the yearly in-milk feeding ratio would be about 97.5% (with the other 2.5% feeding being PKE). (PKE is the byproduct when palm oil is removed. More low digestable substrate than grain). So almost grass only, and no starch. Many farms are grass-only.

    Wintering (feeding when not milking) is typically done on either hay/grass/silage or on brassicae/hay/silage. Brassica crops (swedes, kale etc.) are a good choice for wintering based on certain yield, climate and geotopical considerations. They have high sugar ratios compared to grass (but still lower than grains, GI ratings of grass/kale/grain would be something like 5:15:80 (disclaimer: guesstimate)). Even so, cows are always fed a minimum of 1/3 of their diet from hay/silage, to maintain digestive health, as they will be going back on grass soon.

    5: I’ve never seen cow antacids in New Zealand. Gut antibiotics exist but I’ve never needed to use them on an adult cow. (Out of curiosity, are they on anibiotics while in milk? We have pretty strict rules on medicating in milk cows in New Zealand, anything thats treated has it’s milk down the drain for a period of time to prevent contamination. The harshest quality assessment is inhibitory substances (antibiotics) in the milk and people can and have lost their contract to supply milk from them being found frequently enough and in high enough concentrations.

    6. Selective breeding means that stalk and green matter of grain species is pretty lacking in nutrition. Barley straw (leftovers from barley grain harvest) is available as feed in New Zealand, but I’ve heard it described as “the next best thing to sawdust”.

    7. Alfalfa actually ain’t that bad for cows. Gotta have one positive.

    Did it mention what the total amount was, or the production per cow or average size of each cow? I’d find that informative.

    Now for comment comments:

    Ellen: Interesting about the E. coli. I’d be interested to see how that transfers to milk. I’ve always imbibed on raw milk but it is routinely tested for E. coli and I’ve never had it detected. Maybe raw milk is only dangerous from grain fed cows…

    Frank: You raise some good points, though I can’t imagine the stalky portion being as good as grass silage in terms of quality. Also, is that grain the weight percentage content or dry matter percentage content? If it’s the weight content then your calculation would come out as about 15% rather than 5%.

    Anyway, I’m sure there’ll be more discussion on this. Phew.

    Thanks for the clarification. Sounds as if cows in NZ have a diet that’s very close to what an all pasture-raised, grass-fed cow would eat here.

    They didn’t get into specific numbers at the dairy, except to say that today’s dairy cow produces twice as much milk as the cow milked by the farm wife. (The talking rooster said so.)

    Reply
  14. TonyNZ

    From Wikipedia:

    “Almost all the glucose produced by the breaking down of cellulose and hemi-cellulose is used by microbes in the rumen, and as such ruminants usually absorb little glucose from the small intestine. Rather, ruminants’ requirement for glucose (for brain function and lactation if appropriate) is made by the liver from propionate, one of the volatile fatty acids made in the rumen.”

    Sound familiar?

    Reply
  15. Husker82

    When I was a kid, I was in charge of raising the chickens on our farm. Usually we raised about 150 equally split between hens and roosters. Trust me the top delicacies for a chicken was 1) worms, 2) grasshoppers.

    BTW we never fed our chickens once their downy fuzz was replaced by feathers -they were on their own to eat wild seeds, corn and oats that got spilled, worms, insects, mulberries, along with whatever inedible vegebales I found in our garden (bruised/cut/overgrown tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, ect. The eggs yolks were a very dark orange with a brown shell as opposed to the store bought eggs with bright yellow yolks. Dressed chickens always had an orange skin not the pasty white skin you see in the grocery stores. Grocery store chicken is sickly white skinned because of the low quality mash they are fed. That is how you can distinguish between true free range chicken and factory raised chicken.

    The difference in taste is beyond belief. My dad refused to eat store bought chicken since to him it tasted “like mud.” Man, I miss our old style chicken dinners.

    We bought some free-range chickens from a local farm, and the taste was so much richer. They were smaller, of course — no hormones.

    Reply
  16. TonyNZ

    1: I’ve seen chickens clean up a leg of lamb before.

    2: New Zealand chickens are all hormone free, if not all free range (but free range has a relatively big market share).

    3: Hygienically harvested milk that goes into the fridge straight away will last a good 4-5 days.

    4: Grain feeding farmers in New Zealand feed barley, because corn in an open market is not cost-effective. As far as I know, there are no 100% grain dairy farms in New Zealand. It seems to be generally accepted (at least in my acquaintance) that any more than 5kg of grain per day in a cows diet (supplementing about 12kg dryweight of grass) is the limit for feeding a cow without sending the into acidosis. As such, all milk in New Zealand would generally be at least 70% grass fed. Most routine grain feeders only feed 2-3kg of grain with 12-15kg dryweight grass so we’re looking more like <20% grain feeding. Take into account that less than half grain feed like this, the percentage goes down more. Also, most farmers only feed grain in the slower growing periods, even less grain. So whilst the grain/dairy market exists in New Zealand, it is essentially grass when compared to the states.

    Example, assuming the farm I am on is typical (reasonable assumption), then the yearly in-milk feeding ratio would be about 97.5% (with the other 2.5% feeding being PKE). (PKE is the byproduct when palm oil is removed. More low digestable substrate than grain). So almost grass only, and no starch. Many farms are grass-only.

    Wintering (feeding when not milking) is typically done on either hay/grass/silage or on brassicae/hay/silage. Brassica crops (swedes, kale etc.) are a good choice for wintering based on certain yield, climate and geotopical considerations. They have high sugar ratios compared to grass (but still lower than grains, GI ratings of grass/kale/grain would be something like 5:15:80 (disclaimer: guesstimate)). Even so, cows are always fed a minimum of 1/3 of their diet from hay/silage, to maintain digestive health, as they will be going back on grass soon.

    5: I’ve never seen cow antacids in New Zealand. Gut antibiotics exist but I’ve never needed to use them on an adult cow. (Out of curiosity, are they on anibiotics while in milk? We have pretty strict rules on medicating in milk cows in New Zealand, anything thats treated has it’s milk down the drain for a period of time to prevent contamination. The harshest quality assessment is inhibitory substances (antibiotics) in the milk and people can and have lost their contract to supply milk from them being found frequently enough and in high enough concentrations.

    6. Selective breeding means that stalk and green matter of grain species is pretty lacking in nutrition. Barley straw (leftovers from barley grain harvest) is available as feed in New Zealand, but I’ve heard it described as “the next best thing to sawdust”.

    7. Alfalfa actually ain’t that bad for cows. Gotta have one positive.

    Did it mention what the total amount was, or the production per cow or average size of each cow? I’d find that informative.

    Now for comment comments:

    Ellen: Interesting about the E. coli. I’d be interested to see how that transfers to milk. I’ve always imbibed on raw milk but it is routinely tested for E. coli and I’ve never had it detected. Maybe raw milk is only dangerous from grain fed cows…

    Frank: You raise some good points, though I can’t imagine the stalky portion being as good as grass silage in terms of quality. Also, is that grain the weight percentage content or dry matter percentage content? If it’s the weight content then your calculation would come out as about 15% rather than 5%.

    Anyway, I’m sure there’ll be more discussion on this. Phew.

    Thanks for the clarification. Sounds as if cows in NZ have a diet that’s very close to what an all pasture-raised, grass-fed cow would eat here.

    They didn’t get into specific numbers at the dairy, except to say that today’s dairy cow produces twice as much milk as the cow milked by the farm wife. (The talking rooster said so.)

    Reply
  17. TonyNZ

    From Wikipedia:

    “Almost all the glucose produced by the breaking down of cellulose and hemi-cellulose is used by microbes in the rumen, and as such ruminants usually absorb little glucose from the small intestine. Rather, ruminants’ requirement for glucose (for brain function and lactation if appropriate) is made by the liver from propionate, one of the volatile fatty acids made in the rumen.”

    Sound familiar?

    Reply
  18. Tracey

    @TonyNZ – nice to hear good ol’ kiwi beef is fed right 🙂
    I did see on that Petra Bagust programme (What’s really in our food) a visit to a huge farm in North Canterbury that grain fed cattle. It looked scarily similar to the US farms in Food Inc. The *good* news is that it was beef produced for export to (I think) Korea – because they liked the increased fat content in the meat.
    This series was sponsored by the ‘Heart Foundation Heart Tick’ by the way – and so no connection between grain fed beef = fat cows and grain feed people = diabetes and obesity. Go figure.

    Reply
  19. Tracey

    @TonyNZ – nice to hear good ol’ kiwi beef is fed right 🙂
    I did see on that Petra Bagust programme (What’s really in our food) a visit to a huge farm in North Canterbury that grain fed cattle. It looked scarily similar to the US farms in Food Inc. The *good* news is that it was beef produced for export to (I think) Korea – because they liked the increased fat content in the meat.
    This series was sponsored by the ‘Heart Foundation Heart Tick’ by the way – and so no connection between grain fed beef = fat cows and grain feed people = diabetes and obesity. Go figure.

    Reply
  20. Ellen

    TonyNZ, yes, the cows are sickened from the unnatural diet they are fed here, and the milk they provide is sick, hence the use of pasteurization as a band-aid fix.

    That same study showed that if you take cows off of grain and put them back on grass, their gut heals in about 5 days, and e.coli populations return to normal. But the American diary industry doesn’t want to implement that simple solution. Somehow spending large sums of money on antibiotics and pasteurization makes more sense to them. Fortunately, we aren’t all crazy over here. The Weston Price Foundation here advocates for raw milk from clean, grass fed cows, and there are quite a few small diaries making a living providing that product.. The USDA is doing its level best to destroy access to raw milk, but I think the informed consumer will win in the end.

    Reply
  21. Walter Norris

    I’m eating Trader’s Point Creamer cottage cheese right now and intend to have some of their yogurt shortly. It really is top notch.

    The real stuff is not only better from a nutrition standpoint, it tastes better too.

    Reply
  22. Ellen

    TonyNZ, yes, the cows are sickened from the unnatural diet they are fed here, and the milk they provide is sick, hence the use of pasteurization as a band-aid fix.

    That same study showed that if you take cows off of grain and put them back on grass, their gut heals in about 5 days, and e.coli populations return to normal. But the American diary industry doesn’t want to implement that simple solution. Somehow spending large sums of money on antibiotics and pasteurization makes more sense to them. Fortunately, we aren’t all crazy over here. The Weston Price Foundation here advocates for raw milk from clean, grass fed cows, and there are quite a few small diaries making a living providing that product.. The USDA is doing its level best to destroy access to raw milk, but I think the informed consumer will win in the end.

    Reply
  23. Walter Norris

    I’m eating Trader’s Point Creamer cottage cheese right now and intend to have some of their yogurt shortly. It really is top notch.

    The real stuff is not only better from a nutrition standpoint, it tastes better too.

    Reply
  24. TonyNZ

    @Tracy

    All my info is relevant to the dairy industry here, which I am involved in, rather than the beef industry. I know feedlots for beef exist in New Zealand, mostly for the east asian market. Theres also a lot of rearing/culling activity around halal and kosher and those sorts of things that I don’t know much about. The only beef I raise are ones that run around on pasture only for about 20 months before being culled on site (no transporting of animals that stresses the meat) and appearing after sufficient aging in my freezer.

    I did tune into that programme at one point, I think they were doing the sandwich spreads thing. I remember laughing at all the evidence that peanut butter had children more attentive and active and all those sorts of things, then warning about the fat content. I’d be more worried about the fact that most peanut butter these days is made with franken-oils but there you go. I avoided most of that series in the interests of my television set’s right to not have things thrown at it.

    I believe they are doing a ‘What’s Really In Our…” series now that looks at non-food items for harmful stuff. Haven’t seen it but I’m sure it will be butchered in the typical fashion by our journalists.

    Reply
  25. TonyNZ

    @Tracy

    All my info is relevant to the dairy industry here, which I am involved in, rather than the beef industry. I know feedlots for beef exist in New Zealand, mostly for the east asian market. Theres also a lot of rearing/culling activity around halal and kosher and those sorts of things that I don’t know much about. The only beef I raise are ones that run around on pasture only for about 20 months before being culled on site (no transporting of animals that stresses the meat) and appearing after sufficient aging in my freezer.

    I did tune into that programme at one point, I think they were doing the sandwich spreads thing. I remember laughing at all the evidence that peanut butter had children more attentive and active and all those sorts of things, then warning about the fat content. I’d be more worried about the fact that most peanut butter these days is made with franken-oils but there you go. I avoided most of that series in the interests of my television set’s right to not have things thrown at it.

    I believe they are doing a ‘What’s Really In Our…” series now that looks at non-food items for harmful stuff. Haven’t seen it but I’m sure it will be butchered in the typical fashion by our journalists.

    Reply
  26. tony-k

    Tom, have you seen the latest scare-raising from CSPI? They’re going after the tried and true food dyes as the culprit for all the ADD in our children. Never mind that most artificial dyes found in highly processed foods loaded with HFCS or refined sugar, its the green dye in that box of mint oreos your kid just ate that’s giving him ADD! Oh, but this one has a great tagline: “A Rainbow of Risks”!

    http://food.change.org/blog/view/death_by_mm_the_problem_with_food_dyes

    It’s not as catchy as Heart Attack on a Plate, but at least they’re trying.

    Reply
  27. Dave in Ohio

    Corn silage is grass albeit in a large form. It is immature field corn and does not contain the starch and sugars present in ears of corn. These cows were fed about 15% grain with the balance mostly grass. I doubt the cows suffer from such a diet.

    Reply
  28. tony-k

    Tom, have you seen the latest scare-raising from CSPI? They’re going after the tried and true food dyes as the culprit for all the ADD in our children. Never mind that most artificial dyes found in highly processed foods loaded with HFCS or refined sugar, its the green dye in that box of mint oreos your kid just ate that’s giving him ADD! Oh, but this one has a great tagline: “A Rainbow of Risks”!

    http://food.change.org/blog/view/death_by_mm_the_problem_with_food_dyes

    It’s not as catchy as Heart Attack on a Plate, but at least they’re trying.

    Reply
  29. Dave in Ohio

    Corn silage is grass albeit in a large form. It is immature field corn and does not contain the starch and sugars present in ears of corn. These cows were fed about 15% grain with the balance mostly grass. I doubt the cows suffer from such a diet.

    Reply
  30. Mark. Gooley

    Canadian novelist Robertson Davies, writing in his journalist/columnist days just after WW2 as “Samuel Marchbanks,” claimed that in his youth in small-town Ontario, dairy cattle in winter were fed on silage rich in alcohol from fermentation and that “their udders ran eggnog” until there was fresh grass in spring and they were forced to sobriety… presumably something of an exaggeration, but a pleasant thought, contented drunken milch cows. (Grain and hence starch and sugars surely isn’t that large a fraction of silage.) Cycle of the seasons stuff, too: fewer carotenes when fresh grass wasn’t available, pale butter and presumably pale egg yolks, rather than a suspiciously consistent product. (Lileks reminds us with an old ad recently that for a long while in many places, margarine came with packets of yellow dye that one had to mix in for that buttery look, and I recall that researchers in the old days tricked people into mistaking near-white winter butter for margarine and disparaging it for its artificial looks… but I ramble.)

    Now that you mention it, some of the cows we saw were singing a bit too loudly and mostly off-key. Had to be the fermented silage.

    Reply
  31. Mark. Gooley

    Canadian novelist Robertson Davies, writing in his journalist/columnist days just after WW2 as “Samuel Marchbanks,” claimed that in his youth in small-town Ontario, dairy cattle in winter were fed on silage rich in alcohol from fermentation and that “their udders ran eggnog” until there was fresh grass in spring and they were forced to sobriety… presumably something of an exaggeration, but a pleasant thought, contented drunken milch cows. (Grain and hence starch and sugars surely isn’t that large a fraction of silage.) Cycle of the seasons stuff, too: fewer carotenes when fresh grass wasn’t available, pale butter and presumably pale egg yolks, rather than a suspiciously consistent product. (Lileks reminds us with an old ad recently that for a long while in many places, margarine came with packets of yellow dye that one had to mix in for that buttery look, and I recall that researchers in the old days tricked people into mistaking near-white winter butter for margarine and disparaging it for its artificial looks… but I ramble.)

    Now that you mention it, some of the cows we saw were singing a bit too loudly and mostly off-key. Had to be the fermented silage.

    Reply
  32. Yelena

    I just discovered this site and I’m really enjoying it. I do have a question, however. I understand that we didn’t eat grains as hunter-gatherers, but what about dairy? There was no dairy back then either and a lot (if not most) people can’t break it down efficiently still. Why is it a part of your diet?

    Sorry if you’ve already addressed dairy.

    I don’t eat much dairy, but I still enjoy some butter and cheese in my diet. It’s one of those little compromises I make which allows me to enjoy my diet without running up my blood sugar. Most people of northern European extraction have the gene for lactose tolerance. Raw-milk cheese may not be the best food, but as far as I can tell, it’s not doing me any harm. Grains, by contrast, did me harm.

    Reply
  33. Yelena

    I just discovered this site and I’m really enjoying it. I do have a question, however. I understand that we didn’t eat grains as hunter-gatherers, but what about dairy? There was no dairy back then either and a lot (if not most) people can’t break it down efficiently still. Why is it a part of your diet?

    Sorry if you’ve already addressed dairy.

    I don’t eat much dairy, but I still enjoy some butter and cheese in my diet. It’s one of those little compromises I make which allows me to enjoy my diet without running up my blood sugar. Most people of northern European extraction have the gene for lactose tolerance. Raw-milk cheese may not be the best food, but as far as I can tell, it’s not doing me any harm. Grains, by contrast, did me harm.

    Reply
  34. Yelena

    Makes sense. I don’t think I’ve been affected by dairy much either. I’m from Russia, btw.

    I have a friend, who’s had migraine headaches since he was 12 (he’s 32). He’s been to countless doctors and settled with alternative healing for the past 7 years. That person made him eliminate dairy and he’s been dairy free for about 4 out of those 7. He claims he feels a lot better, but guess what – he still has headaches.

    The more I read about wheat, the more I realize that maybe it’s gluten that’s causing his migraines, not the “evil” dairy.

    I think wheat is a good guess. Certainly worth giving up as a test.

    Reply
  35. Yelena

    Makes sense. I don’t think I’ve been affected by dairy much either. I’m from Russia, btw.

    I have a friend, who’s had migraine headaches since he was 12 (he’s 32). He’s been to countless doctors and settled with alternative healing for the past 7 years. That person made him eliminate dairy and he’s been dairy free for about 4 out of those 7. He claims he feels a lot better, but guess what – he still has headaches.

    The more I read about wheat, the more I realize that maybe it’s gluten that’s causing his migraines, not the “evil” dairy.

    I think wheat is a good guess. Certainly worth giving up as a test.

    Reply
  36. kat

    I saw “vegetarian fed” eggs in the store – and I thought, “gee, I had no idea chickens were meat eaters!”
    lol

    the more I read, the more mad I get – on how we are fooled into thinking what is “good” for us. argggg!

    carry on, thank you!

    Reply
  37. kat

    I saw “vegetarian fed” eggs in the store – and I thought, “gee, I had no idea chickens were meat eaters!”
    lol

    the more I read, the more mad I get – on how we are fooled into thinking what is “good” for us. argggg!

    carry on, thank you!

    Reply
  38. kc

    people are really, really stupid if they think chickens fed a vegetarian diet are vegetarian. ALL chickens eat bugs, and unless they are put in a closed cage with no access whatsoever to the outside, they are eating bugs! And anyone eating a meat products (eggs) that require that animal to be a vegetarian is a hypocrite.

    We’ve picked up chickens from a local farm where the chickens run around and eat bugs. They taste fantastic. Meat is so much better when the animal eats its natural diet.

    Reply
  39. kc

    people are really, really stupid if they think chickens fed a vegetarian diet are vegetarian. ALL chickens eat bugs, and unless they are put in a closed cage with no access whatsoever to the outside, they are eating bugs! And anyone eating a meat products (eggs) that require that animal to be a vegetarian is a hypocrite.

    We’ve picked up chickens from a local farm where the chickens run around and eat bugs. They taste fantastic. Meat is so much better when the animal eats its natural diet.

    Reply

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