by David Sandstrom 

August 16, 2020

In this episode, I share how to recognize healthy food. I go over what the USDA organic standard is and how some food producers are meeting or exceeding this standard. I also share a highly recommended source for nutritious and healthy animal products. 

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Show Notes


Today's Guest...

  • I'm flying solo on this episode

What You'll Learn...

  • How and why the USDA organic standard came into being
  • What is and is not allowed in in organic food production
  • Why grass-fed and grass-finished cattle are far healthier than grain-fed
  • How to ask the right questions to your farmer and/or food supplier
  • The massive loophole in the grass-fed labeling requirement and how some food producers are exploiting it
  • How to keep it real and eat healthy food without busting the budget 
  • How you can support the podcast by using my affiliate links


Scroll through the text below to read the full transcript.

David Sandstrom 0:01 
Welcome to the holistic health matters podcast where it's all about maximizing your health potential in body, mind and spirit, so that you can pursue the abundant life more effectively. I'm your host, David Sandstrom, Naturopathic Doctor and Biblical Health Coach. And this is episode number eight. The first thing most people think about when it comes to making changes to their lifestyle to improve their health is nutrition. But because there's a lot of money to be made, there's a lot of clever marketing that goes into selling food. And as a result, there's a lot of confusion out there. In this episode, we're going to be talking about what goes into producing a quality food and how to recognize a healthy food when we see it.

When I started creating the outline for this episode, I wanted to make the episode about junk foods that are masquerading as health foods. And I thought to myself, well, if I do that, you'll be able to say that fluorescent blue sports drink that's available at the gym is probably not the best choice, because Dave said it's unhealthy. But a better thing to do would be to teach you how to recognize for yourselves what unhealthy food actually is. You've probably heard the expression, give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Knowledge is power. Jesus said, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. In this episode, I want to share some truth with you. I want to teach you how to fish. I want my listeners the HHM community to know how to go to the grocery store, or the farmers market or even shop online and make wise purchase decisions. It's my contention that we maximize our health potential by aligning our lives more fully with God's ideal design for spirit, mind and body. Today we're going to be talking about God's design for how we fuel our bodies with food. We're going to be talking about the ideal. Now the ideal is never attainable, completely 100% but we should seek to get as close to the ideal as we possibly can. Perfection is not attainable, but neither is it required. If we turn to the Bible we see in Psalm chapter 19, verses one and two. "The heavens are telling us the glory of God, and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands, day to day pours forth speech, and night tonight reveals knowledge." That design we see in nature provides knowledge. It's my contention that we can look to nature to learn something about what type of food we should be putting in our bodies and using as fuel. The God given design we see a nature provide knowledge. We also find this in the Word of God. First Timothy, chapter four, verse four. "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude/" In context, this verse is talking about food sacrifice to idols, and if it's been blessed and prayed over, it's acceptable to eat. Now, I'm not saying that when we go to the grocery store, we're buying meat that's been sacrificed idols; these days that's generally not going on. But I want to point out the phrase, everything created by God is good, as opposed to created by man in the laboratory. This is an important point. The litmus test for what qualifies for healthy food is how close it is to the original design produced in nature, the way God intended. The more man gets his hands on our food, the less healthy it becomes. So that leads us to the number one rule for healthy eating. Rule number one, eat food as close to its God given natural form as possible. Processing alters food from its natural form. Most of the time, the healthiest foods have a single ingredient. Food producers add adulterants to our foods such as fillers and binders, chemical coloring, or flavoring agents, chemical preservatives, processed salt, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats or hydrogenated oils, that's a big one. They add emulsifiers texture agents, anticaking agents, and cleaning solvents from the machines make their way into our food as well. We shouldn't need a degree in chemistry with a minor in law to understand what's in our food. It's not rocket science. The healthiest foods have a single ingredient. Single ingredient foods such as a cucumber or a carrot or kale? Or how about this one? A wheat Berry. Wheat in its natural form looks a lot like a grain of rice. After wheat has been pulverized and turned into flour, it's not in its natural form anymore. I found that a lot of people don't even know what a wheat berry looks like they've never seen one. You can get them at the health food store. And it looks a lot like a grain of rice. You cook it like you would rice and then you season it to taste it's far more healthy than eating any kind of bread. More examples of unprocessed single ingredient foods would be a potato or a steak or a fish fillet. Now I'm not talking about the fish fillet you get from McDonald's. I'm talking about an actual fillet of a real wild caught fish such as wild caught Alaskan salmon. All fish should be wild caught and not farm raised because farm raised usually means that the fish are living in sewer-like conditions. Wild caught ensures that the fish are eating their natural diet. One of the worst choices we can make for fish would be tilapia. Because it's almost always farm raised, and it's it's real junk food. farm raised salmon is not red, it's gray. food producers have to add chemical coloring such as red dye number 40. To turn this gray on appetizing looking fish into something that resembles wild caught salmon. I have actually seen red dye number 40 listed on the ingredients list at the grocery store in a piece of salmon. So you need to do your homework.

Now we've got to remember something we we live in the real world I'm laying out the ideal, but one hundred percent perfect diet is not possible. So we have to accept the fact that some minimally processed foods with multiple ingredients are acceptable as long as they're from enlightened farmers and responsible food producers, so we do need to do our homework. I'm talking about how to do your homework right now. I want my listeners in the Double HM community to know how to do your homework when it comes to selecting healthy foods for you and your family. You know, I'm amazed that in college, even in high school for that matter, that they never teach kids how to study. Have you ever heard of a class on how to do homework? Or how to get the most out of your study time? I haven't. Have you heard of somebody teaching a class on how to take a test. We're just left to our own devices, and we just have to figure it out on our own. Not the best approach. Again, the number one rule for healthy eating is eat food as close to its God given natural form as possible. Now notice I said as possible. In order to do that, we'd have to live near a large body of water and catch our own fish, we'd have to live on a farm and grow our own fruits and vegetables, we'd have to slaughter our own animals, and even then there would be seasonal constraints to what we can consume. So what I'm saying here, it doesn't mean that you have to live on a farm. But it does mean that you should strive to eat organic, or at least something that resembles organic. Up until the early 20th century, all farmers were organic. They didn't call it organic. They just called it farming. But after world war two manmade chemicals made their way into the production of agriculture. You see, there were chemical companies that were manufacturing chemicals that were intended to be used for chemical warfare. Thank God they were never used for that purpose. But when the war ended, these chemical companies had to figure out another use for what they were doing or they were going to go out of business. So they repurposed their products, and said, Hey, this could be used To kill bugs on a farm, or it could be used to kill weeds, so they produced pesticides and herbicides and sold them to farmers. The trouble is back in those days, no one stopped to ask the question, What are these chemicals going to do to our health? Now in the 80s, and 90s, the term organic became quite popular, a lot of food producers were using that term, but it really didn't mean too much. It just meant it was grown in the ground, and that's about it. So a lot of unscrupulous food manufacturers were abusing that term. So thankfully, in 2002, the United States Department of Agriculture came up with the USDA Organic standard, and it's a very good standard. Organic food cannot have certain things put into it in its production. Those things include synthetic pesticides or fungicides. They can't use chemical fertilizers or industrial solvents, or chemical food additives and organic food cannot be irradiated or Genetically modified. You cannot use human sewage sludge as fertilizer. And in the case of livestock, you cannot use synthetic hormones or routine antibiotics. In order for a food to be labeled as organic certified organic, it has to have at least 95% of the ingredients produced in an organic fashion. Now the organic certification process is not easy. It requires farmers to comply with the organic standards for the previous three years and their crops and in the raising of the animals before they can get the organic certification. Now that requires records be kept, and they've got to have federal regulators come by the farm and do inspections. And after the food leaves the farm there are certain food handling requirements that also must be complied with. organic food can have some non organic ingredients 5% of what's in there can be non organic produce Processed organic foods can contain some approved non agricultural ingredients like enzymes and bacteria and yogurt, pectin in fruit jams or baking soda and baked goods, things like that. So you might be saying, Well, that sounds great day, but how do I know when I go to the grocery store that I really getting organic? Well, it'll have the USDA Organic logo on it. And you know, that green logo, it's it's pretty recognizable. If a food producer were to label something as organic and it wasn't, they would be slapped with some heavy fines from the USDA, there's some major penalties for that. And I don't think there's too much of that going on because they would risk going out of business if they did. In addition, grocery store that selling food in that fashion would also risk losing their reputation in the marketplace. So when you're at the grocery store, let's say you're looking at some produce a piece of fruit, fruit will have a sticker on it with a number. If that number starts with a four, it's non organic and if it starts with an nine it is organic. Organic can be expensive. If you can't eat 100% organic. That's okay. Don't abandon the idea altogether. I'll never win Mr. Olympia competition, but that doesn't mean I don't go to the gym. By the way. I don't have as many Mr. Olympia titles as Arnold Schwarzenegger. But I do have just as many Tour de France championships as Lance Armstrong. I mean, who ever would have thought that was possible, right? Which is zero. Yeah, I'm just saying... Lance Armstrong got stripped of his titles after he got caught cheating. But anyway, there is a secondary organic standard as well. It's called made with organic ingredients. And in this case, 70% of what's inside has to be certified organic, and it will not have the USDA Organic label on it. So do eat organic when you can and eat as much as your budget will allow. Just like single ingredient foods are not always possible eating 100% organic is not always possible either. We've got to live in the real world. In some cases 100% organic is not actually even necessary. Many farmers are meeting or exceeding the USDA Organic standard. And they just haven't bothered to go through the certification process. Because it is quite complicated. Farmers tend to be independent, rugged individualists and they don't like the government regulators breathing down their necks telling them what to do. So there are many non certified organic farmers that are doing things right. So if you can find a good, enlightened local farmer, great. Give them your business. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing beef.

I used to work for Wendy's back in high school and in the early 80s there was a Wendy's TV ad that came out it was quite popular. They had this picture close up picture of a hamburger bun. And the announcer says, most hamburgers are served on a big been a big fluffy bun. And then they open the hamburger up into this little tiny hamburger inside. And then this little old lady walks up and says, where's the beef? It's, it's really a good ad. I Remember back then people were walking around with T shirts that said, Where's the beef? Most of us love our beef. It's what's for dinner, right? Here's the problem. Most farmers either don't have the knowledge or the resources to raise cattle properly. Cattle should be pastured and grass fed. That part's not so hard to understand. But real estate is expensive. And in order to feed cattle grass, you've got to have a fair amount of real estate. And you've got to know how to do something with the soil and good soil practices are very important to growing good grass and good grass is very important to providing a nutritious diet for the animals. So again, If you can find an enlightened local farmer that's doing things right. Give them your business. If you can't, you can turn to the internet. But who do you trust?

I've been trusting us wellness meats for years. I've been feeding their products to my family for many years and they are their absolute top quality. And this is a trustworthy organization. Us wellness meats, cattle are pastured, sustainably raised 100%, grass fed, and grass finished. This is an important distinction. So I'd like to spend some time unpacking this concept a little bit. The Bible doesn't have a lot of clear specifics as to what to eat. But there are some clear guidelines. Here's one of them. In Leviticus chapter 11, verse three we find this "Whatever divides the hook, thus making split hoods and what choose the cud among the animals that you may eat." That includes cows. Now a cow is a ruminant animal which means it chews the cud. An animal that chews the cud has multiple chambers to their stomachs. And the food shifts from one chamber to the other, and gets pre digested and fermented in the process. Then the cow will regurgitate the cud and chew on it some more, and then send it back down for more thorough digestion and assimilation. It's a complex process, but it makes for a healthier animal that is more suited for human consumption. A cow is designed to graze on green forage, such as grass and clovers. This produces the right pH in their stomachs in order for proper fermentation to take place. This produces more efficient digestion leading to a healthier, happier animal. The cows on US Wellness meats farms are always pastured grass fed and grass finished. In the wild, a cow would never choose to consume corn or soy. Why should we feed a cow in a manner that is obviously contrary to God's design? factory farmed feedlot animals are fed an unnatural diet of usually genetically modified grains. The digestive systems of these grain fed cattle becomes too acidic. This compromises their digestion and leads to a less healthy animal. This is one of the big reasons why cattle are routinely fed antibiotics. Grain fed cattle tend to be sickly animals. So antibiotics are used to control disease among the herd. A secondary reason antibiotics are used is to help the animals pack on the pounds. Please don't underestimate the magnitude of this problem. 70% of all antibiotics sold in the United States are given to livestock. You are what you eat is true. Well, in this case, you are what they ate. If you don't like ingesting large doses of antibiotics with your hamburger, then eat beef from grass fed and grass finished cattle raised by an enlightened farmer that has the resources to do things right. US wellness meats, farmers never use antibiotics.

There are a lot of benefits to feeding cows a natural diet. All beef contains omega three and omega six fatty acids. However, grass fed beef contains much more omega three, which brings the omega six to omega three fatty acid ratio into the ideal range for human consumption comparable to wild caught salmon. Very few health and nutrition experts would argue that the fat from a wild caught salmon it's not a healthy fat. It is and so is fat from a grass fed and grass finished cow. The ideal omega six to three ratio in our diets is something like two to one. That's two grams of omega six to one gram of omega three Depending on who you talk to, some say a healthy ratio could be as high as four to one. But what everyone agrees on is an omega six to three ratio of over ten to one is pro inflammatory. Systemic inflammation is the root cause to all kinds of deleterious health conditions including the number one and number two causes of death, heart disease and cancer. Grain fed beef has an Omega six to three ratio of somewhere between nine to one, and eighteen to one, depending on what farm the animals came from. In addition, grass fed beef is leaner thin grain fed beef. Fat has more calories per gram than protein. Therefore, grass fed beef is naturally lower in calories. Feeding cows grains, takes what could be a very healthy food low in calories and packed with nutrients and turns it into a food that is far less healthy. Maybe even disease producing. Grass fed beef is also higher in vitamin B-12, which is an important nutrient, and other important antioxidants including the carotenoid precursors that produce vitamin A, as well as vitamin E that both serve as important antioxidants. Grass fed beef has high amounts of CLA or conjugated linoleic acid. What is CLA? It's an important fatty acid that helps you build muscle and burn fat. It's been shown to lower blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity, and it's also an anti carcinogenic, which means it helps to remove cancer causing compounds from our bodies. As more and more consumers are becoming educated on this subject, many beef producers are anxious to get on the 100% grass fed labeling bandwagon.

The trouble is the words 100% grass fed beef on the label don't mean what you think they mean. There's a loophole in the USDA labeling standard big enough to drive a Mack truck through. The labeling standard allows beef labeled as grass fed to be fed grains, quote, under certain circumstances. So even if the label says 100% grass fed beef, don't believe it unless it's from a trustworthy source. Let me explain how this labeling loophole came into being. All cattle are grass fed for the first six months of life. During this time, a calf will suckle on its mother's milk and graze on grass. To an unscrupulous food producer. That's enough to call it grass fed beef. they've met the legal requirement to the USDA standard, but not the moral requirement. Most cattle are factory farmed after this six months or so in the pasture. Factory farms cattle will then be shipped off to a feedlot, where they're not allowed to run around. They're kept in a confined space and fed genetically modified corn based grain feed. ranchers call this finishing because the cattle are finished on grains. This helps them pack on the pounds. And of course, beef is sold by the pound so there's a strong profit motive to finish cows on grains. When the grass fed standard was first introduced, the idea was to allow the grass fed label only with cattle raised out on the pasture grazing on a natural diet. However, the beef producers and perhaps rightly so complained and they said in my state, we have snow on the ground for several months out of the year. So grazing on grass fresh grass is impossible year round. As a result, the USDA final wording for the grass fed standard only requires animals to have access to the pasture quote, "during the growing season" In the winter the grass fed standard allows cattles to be confined to a feedlot and fed hay which is fine, and quote, "other forage." That other forage can contain GMO corn which is a grain and GMO soy. Both foods that a cow would never consume in their natural environment. Beef producers that are legally allowed to label their beef as grass fed, are back to their old way of doing business of finishing the cattle in a feedlot using a grain based feed. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, right?

The source I trust for beef, bison, and lamb is US wellness meats. You don't have to worry about any of these games being played when you purchase from US Wellness. US Wellness meats will ship pastured sustainably raised grass fed and grass finished beef bison and lamb straight to your door with factory farmed beef produced in a feedlot on a grain based feed You'll see strips of fat running through the steak. Beef producers call this production of extra fat marbleized expensive restaurants will brag about their beef being grain fed and highly marbleized. The lack of movement from being kept in the confined space of a feedlot tenderizes the muscle meat, much the same way a human couch-potato gets tenderized by playing video games all day long sitting around in their backside. Grass fed and grass finished beef will be leaner and a little more tough, and it'll have a more gamey flavor to it. This is of course the way beef should taste. For me the flavor is out of this world. I've had a hamburger from a grass fed cow that tastes better than an expensive steak at our high end restaurant. At US Wellness meats the cattle are never given antibiotics or growth hormones or GMO grain based feed. The animals are treated humanely from birth to processing their farms use rotational grazing practices that don't require herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. Us Wellness meats has the finest, nutrient rich, grass fed meats available. Their animals are always grass fed, and grass finished.

You can actually support this podcast by using my affiliate link to purchase from US Wellness. If you go to my website, And if you click on any of the links on that page, you'll be taken to the US Wellness website. If you make a purchase from them, it won't cost you anymore. And I'll make a small commission. So you may be saying right now. Oh, so that's why you're recommending US Wellness meats? No, I'm recommending US Wellness because I 100% believe in them and I want the double hm community to avail themselves to the healthiest food possible. I make my living flying airplanes And it's a good living. However, there are costs associated with producing a show like this and you can help support the podcast by making purchases from my recommended resource page.

Getting back to how to recognize healthy food, the healthiest foods have a single ingredient. If it has more than five or six ingredients, it's suspect. Potentially healthy foods get converted to unhealthy foods when they're highly processed. They're heated, pulverized, puffed up. There's chemicals added chemical coloring and flavoring MSG. MSG is a big one to look for. Monosodium glutamate is a preservative but it's also a flavor enhancer. So food manufacturers love to sneak it in when you don't know it. So they have all kinds of different names for it. It can be called glutamic acid hydrolyzed protein, calcium caseinate yeast extract, torula yeast texturized protein, autolyzed yeast, and many more. So be careful when you're reading those ingredients labels. Again, you shouldn't need a degree in chemistry with a minor in law to figure out what's inside your food. If you can't pronounce the ingredients, it's probably worth putting it back on the shelf. If you couldn't buy the ingredients yourself at a regular grocery store, you should probably avoid that product.

So the number two rule for eating healthy eating is buy food that spoils and eat it before it does. I'd rather eat a non organic apple than a processed certified organic apple chip and a bag with an unlimited shelf life. Cancer in dogs and cats as a real problem. According to the veterinary Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs counts for 47% of all deaths and dogs, especially dogs over 10 years old and 32 2% in cats. Could it be that that processed dried food that looks something like a meat nugget that's sitting on the floor of the pantry and has virtually unlimited shelf life? Could that food have something to do with the high rates of cancer and dogs? I believe that it could. A dog is a carnivore. They're descended from wolves and in nature, they would eat raw meat. That's God's design. When we get away from that ideal design, their food becomes less healthy. The same applies to us. A couple of years ago, we took a family vacation up to Alaska, and we saw some of the healthiest Huskies we've ever seen in our lives. These were dogs that were training for the Iditarod race we were there in June. So obviously the Ididerod is already over. They do it obviously during the winter, but during the summer, they train these dogs to prepare for the race. Now the Iditarod is an amazing race. It's 1000 miles in the dead of winter in Alaska, only the healthiest, strongest dog mushing team is going to make it even to the finish line. So this place that we visited, they came up with a really creative system. They trained the dogs in the summer by towing tourists around a big cart with about 10 people in it. And these dogs love to run. So they got their exercise that way. And they fed them, of course, an all natural diet consisting of raw meat. These are some of the best looking, healthiest, most energetic dogs I've ever seen. I asked one of the guys that actually participated in the race, how would you compare the iditarod to race to climbing Mount Everest? And he laughed and he said, Everest, those wimps? I thought that was kind of funny. So the takeaway is this. We should be consuming animal products from animals that are fed a natural diet because the healthier the animal is that we consume, the healthier we will be Well, I think that's enough for one episode. I hope you enjoyed this teaching. If you did, you'll probably enjoy my book the Christians Guide to Holistic Health. It's available at Amazon in paperback, Kindle and Audible formats. Thanks for tuning in. And as always, I'll talk with you next week and be blessed.

About the author 

David Sandstrom

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a Naturopathic Doctor, and a Biblical Health Coach. I am also an Airline Captain for a major airline based out of Atlanta, Ga. I've been helping people maximize their health potential by nurturing their body, mind, and spirit since 2005.

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