Bonnie Modugno, MS, RDHealth Blog - Nutrition

Living the grass fed life: healthier and happier

Published on 2010-02-03 by Bonnie Modugno, MS, RD

February 3, 2010

Almost five months have passed since I switched to mostly grass fed animal products. I feel much the same as I did when I discovered that I benefited from a higher fat and protein diet–I can’t go back. I feel better, I am happier. I feel more resilient when the tough stuff happens. No one has erased my Italian heritage, but I don’t seem to engage the same. There is less of an obsessive, perseverating quality to my emotions. I feel them and they resonate, but they don’t overwhelm my thoughts.

My office colleagues are mental health therapists. They know about the study and research in their realm is crossing my desk. It is stunning. There is ample evidence that omega three supplementation has benefited many. Less depression, less anxiety, even less psychosis and schizophrenia. It makes me wonder what would happen if there was less omega 6 in the diet in the first place and adequate omega 3 came from foods it should come from: milk,cheese, yogurt, beef, eggs, chicken, as well as the fish.

In one study, an omega three supplement was as effective at treating schizophrenia as the psychoactive drugs known to cause insulin resistance and triple the risk of diabetes. Most psychoactive drugs change glucose tolerance. Side effects include weight gain, dislipidemia (elevated total and LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and depressed HDL cholesterol), as well as hypertension and diabetes; Basically the primary parameters of metabolic syndrome.

We have unprecedented numbers of people taking antidepressants in this country. There is far less incidence of depression and other mental health disorders in third world countries. They don’t tend to feed their animals corn and I bet they eat a much higher omega three content feeding off their grass fed animals and animal products. Is there a connection?

While I pondering these correlations, countries like Argentina–the largest beef exporting country in the world is transitioning to using CAFOs–Centralized Agricultural Feeding Operations–and feeling their grass fed cows more and more high omega 6 grain. It is a wildly profitable venture if you only look at the operational side of the equation. What will it mean down the road?

It is really expensive to treat mental health disorders. Diabetes alone accounts for 12% of the annual health care budget in the US. This phenomena deserves much more scrutiny. Studies need to be done.

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