WHY FREE RANGE MEAT IS BETTER
Free-range meats, wild fish and fowl are important for two reasons:
1. It is more humane to allow animals to roam in their natural environment.
2. They contain a higher content of Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as n-3 fatty acids).
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for health. They are classified as dietary essentials, because our body cannot produce them, meaning we can only get them through the foods we eat.
Omega-3 fatty acids are precursors for numerous normal body functions such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain. They act in the prevention against heart disease, stroke, cancer, violence, depression, memory problems, weight gain, eczema, allergies, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Omega-3 deficiencies have also been tied to many children’s learning disorders such as ADHD and dyslexia. They are a family of fatty acids, and the ‘parent’ molecule is called alpha-linoleic acid (abbreviated as LNA or ALA).
Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in the green leaves of plants, like grass, phytoplankton, algae and seaweed. This is the food the animals we eat are designed to eat!
LNA from plants is converted by fish or animals into the ‘anti-inflammatory’ Omega-3’s called EPA and DHA by a long and metabolically draining conversion process. It is the fish and, to a lesser degree, land animals that we eat that do all the metabolic ‘hard work’ to convert the plant-based ALA into concentrated EPA and DHA for us.
We suck at converting plants into Omega-3. From an evolutionary standpoint we just didn’t need to. So bless you meat and fish! When our food (even farmed fish) is grain-fed – designed to fatten up the animal and improve taste – the Omega-6 or ‘inflammatory’ fats stay the same and the Omega-3’s (essential fats) decrease or in some cases become nonexistent.
This is a recipe for increased systemic inflammation and the numerous lifestyle related diseases that go along with it. As Boyd Eaton suggests, ‘Omega-6 fatty acids may act as promoters in carcinogenesis (cancer), a property seemingly absent for Omega-3 fatty acids’.
Because our ancestors ate nothing but free-range meats, wild fish and some nuts and seeds, and didn’t eat grain, they had an Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio of 1:1 or even 2:1. Compare that to a ‘normal’ Westerner’s commercial foods diet that has ratios as high as 1:20–1:30! If you think of protein for muscle growth and calcium for bones and teeth, then Omega-3 is for normal brain and cellular function.