Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Science Tuesday: One of our own members!

Image credit: http://sustainabledish.com/
Today's article is from one of our own, Toby. You may not know him because joined us early last year, but he hasn't been in in a while (he promises to be back soon).

We've written before about how we eat grass-fed, grass-finished beef at our house, and just last Friday we were having a post-workout talk about the research that Kassi - another member - did about the health benefits of grass-fed, grass-finished beef.  Not only is this kind of beef much healthier for you, it's better for the animals - CAFO food lots are terrible places, and it's better for the environment.

Living in Boulder, you hear lots of comments about how eating paleo is unsustainable, and that it might be ok for me to do it, but we couldn't feed the world that way. Plus, the cows contribute to global wa..er..climate change. I have a simple (to a physicist who is used to doing energy accounting) explanation about why grass-fed, grass-finished cows do not hurt the environment - but no one believes that.

It turns out last week Toby just published a new paper that further supports the importance of eating beef that naturally grazes on the land and is not treated with antibiotics. Generally, antibiotics are used for two reasons: the CAFO conditions are dirty and the cows need the antibiotics to stay alive, and two antibiotics are known to fatten cows (and humans).  But if you have cows just out roaming on a range, they won't need the antibiotics, and that's better for them and for you, and for the environment.

Toby's paper (Treating cattle with antibiotics affects greenhouse gas emissions, and microbiota in dung and dung beetles) is about how feeding cows antibiotics changes the nature of the gut bacteria in the dung beetles that eat the manure, which greatly increases the release of greenhouse gases. Gut microbiota is a hot topic today in humans, but this is the gut microbiota of bugs that eat the output of the gut microbiota in cows (how meta is that)?

Think about that for a second. Start by feeding a cow an unnatural diet (grains which require a huge energy input to grow) that makes them sick, confine them in a high density feed lot which makes them sicker, so you give them antibiotics. The antibiotics then affect the gut microbiota of the bugs that follow them around which then causes the bugs to release greenhouse gasses in higher quantities.

Maybe we should just let the animals graze naturally - with no energy inputs.  Support your local rancher, vote with your wallet and create a market that makes it profitable for ranchers to grow health food that's healthy for the environment.


deadlift 2x5


3 rounds for sense of urgency:
farmers walk to stop sign
run 400m
7 burpees

Endurance Option

accumulate 15 deadlifts at 5RM


3 rounds below AeroMAX:
farmers walk to stop sign
run 400m
7 burpees

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