Eating Healthy on the Farm

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

Tags: Eating Healthy, Vegetable, Pastured Meat, Pastured Pork, Raw Milk, Goat Milk, Conley Farm, Amy Conley,

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.

11/20/2014 3:06:06 PM

I have so much to say about being healthy on a farm. The first thing I noticed was that it was not easy to get good exercise! What, you might say? Well, think about it. What do you do when you have to go somewhere? You get in the truck! You canNOT walk into town and a lot of chores are done by truck. I think women get less exercise than men. Usually they're in the house doing domestic work. I became pre-diabetic so after I found out my A1C and cholesterol I bought a used exercise bike for night time TV watching and stopped getting in the truck for every little thing around the ranch. I have always eaten very well so the biggest health change I made was walking and biking every chance I get. Great article! - Renee B.

11/18/2014 9:55:50 AM

Amy, I'm glad to hear about your turn around in life. I'm trying to stay as active as I can but winter living in urban USA is a bit confining. I'm in the process of refining my food consumption as well. Much of my menu is from cooking at home which I'm finding out is not really a single person's way of eating in our culture today. I'm working toward eating from my own garden and less from the store. Have a great healthy day.

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