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that organic whole milk from pasture- fed cows contains 62 percent higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventional, or non-organic, whole milk. The striking difference is accounted for by the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national organic program legally requires that organic cows have access to pasture throughout the grazing season. The more time cows spend on high-quality pasture, which includes grass, legumes and hay, the more beneficial the fats will be in their milk. On the other hand, when ruminant animals, designed to graze on pasture, are fed a steady diet of corn and soy, both their milk and meat contain less beneficial fat.


According to Captain Joseph


Hibbeln, a lipid biochemist and physician at the National Institutes of Health, American diets have become deficient in omega-3 fatty acids over the past 100 years, largely because of industrial agriculture. Hibbeln believes that consuming more omega-3s may be one of the most important dietary changes Americans can make to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve mental health and enhance children’s


brain and eye development, including boosting their IQs. Coldwater fish such as salmon,


mackerel, tuna and sardines provide excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, dairy and meat from animals raised on pasture can improve our intake, as well.


Faith How might eating with the “creation” in mind influence food and agriculture trends? Barbara Ross, director of social services for Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, believes, “People’s common denominator is that we are all part of and integral to the creation.” She considers how “Food, agriculture, environment and economy are bound together in a way that requires we think, plan and act for the dignity of each person and the common good of the human family.” Ross explains that the choices we make in these vital areas affect the richness of our soils, the purity of our air and water and the health of all living things.


Marie George, Ph.D., a professor


of philosophy at St. John’s University, in Queens, New York, agrees, “The serious


ecological crises we see today stem from the way we think,” and “reveal an urgent moral need for a new solidarity” to be better stewards of the Earth and its creatures. For example, George sees it as contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer; that’s why she opposes gestation crates and the push for cheap food that exploits animals and the environment in the process. Kelly Moltzen, a registered dietitian


in Bronx, New York, shares a passion for addressing food justice and sustainability from her faith-based perspective of Franciscan spirituality. She believes that, “When we connect our spirituality with the daily act of eating, we can eat in a way that leads to a right relationship with our Creator.” By bridging spirituality with nutrition and the food system, Moltzen hopes to raise awareness of how people can care for their body as a temple and live in right relationship with the Earth, which she perceives as “the larger house of God.” Fred Bahnson, director of the


Food, Faith and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity, in Winston- Salem, North Carolina, is the author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith. His book takes the reader on a journey to four different faith communities—Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal and Jewish—to explore connections between spiritual nourishment and the cultivation of food. Bahnson speaks about sacred soil and the communities of mystical microorganisms that lie within and create the foundation for sustenance. He also describes the special power of communal gardens, which welcome all and provide nourishing food, yet come to satisfy more than physical hunger.


Regardless of religious denomination,


Amanda Archibald, a registered dietitian in Boulder, Colorado, believes, “We are in a new era of food—one that embraces and honors food producers and food systems that respect soil, environment and humanity itself.”


16 Natural Awakenings San Antonio


Melinda Hemmelgarn, aka the “food sleuth”, is a registered dietitian and award winning writer and radio host at KOPN.org, in Columbia, MO (FoodSleuth@gmail.com). She advocates for organic farmers at Enduring-Image.blogspot.com.


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