Eating Healthy on the Farm

| 11/7/2014 8:30:00 AM

Amy ConleyI grew up in a generation of fast food, junk food, my mother cooking everything with butter, just an unhealthy existence. My parents have been overweight most of my life, and I refuse to be in that position. I thought I was eating healthy, except for my urge to have ice cream every night for dessert, which started when I was a child. About three years ago I was feeling terrible, no energy and depressed. I was a stay-at-home mom with little ones, my youngest only 2 at the time. I didn’t exercise much and ate OK, so I thought. I decided it was time to find a doctor and get a check up. I got a huge wake up call when she told me that my HDL (good cholesterol) was really low and my LDL (bad cholesterol) was too high. I also had vitamin deficiencies, which accounted for the low energy. She scared the crap out of me, saying stuff like heart attack and stroke. I was only 37, I was not old enough for that talk yet, or was I?

My parents and in-laws take handfuls of pills (sorry, guys, but it's true), and I did not want that to be me. I decided right there I was going to change my diet and start exercising. That is not easy with little ones but I made the effort of doing exercise videos every day and taking walks with my little one in the stroller. I cut out anything that had saturated fat over 2 grams, which is a lot. No more butter, cheese, ice cream, everything that I loved. I missed it at first but it didn’t take long to start shedding the pounds. Holy cow, I lost more than 10 pounds quickly and was at a weight and size I had not seen in my adult life.

Sheep and Chickens

So fast forward a couple years when we decided to have a farm. We had chickens back then but that was it. After tons of research, I have found that raising pastured animals and consuming raw milk is so much more healthful for you. Meat, eggs and dairy from pastured raised animals is lower in fat and calories, and richer in antioxidants and vitamins. Eggs from pastured hens contain up to 10 times more Omega 3s than from chickens in cages that get no greens. Granted, we do give our animals some grain but our goal is mostly pasture. Meat is very expensive and not very appealing to me at the store, so why not raise it ourselves? My husband is a hunter, and we also eat a ton of venison, which is very low in saturated fat. It is a lean red meat. I have not bought beef in many years and won't, unless we raise it ourselves, which is a future goal.


So far, we have successfully raised chickens, turkeys, geese and a pig for meat. It was sad to say goodbye to Piggy, but those are the best pork chops I have eaten in a long time. Next year, we are thinking of raising two pigs and offering less grain and more pasture. I am also going to try my hand at making lard from the back fat. Lard from pastured pigs is much healthier than the stuff you buy in the store that is hydrogenated. I am all about using good fats.