COVID-19 — tired of hearing about it yet? Though I do not mean to downplay the sad and scary predicament our nation is currently facing, I look forward to the day we can put this pandemic to bed and move onto other issues facing our communities.
Because while this novel virus has essentially put our nation on hold, guess what else is going on?
Animal rights activists and environmentalist groups are still working hard to put us out of business. Global initiatives to coerce our “sustainability” efforts into one direction are still in gear. Anger about the current cattle markets and the control of just a few from the top continues to cause division in our industry. Calls for investigations are underway, and we await word on those findings.
And consumers are concerned about our food supply, with periodic shortages happening at grocery stores due to hoarding and processing plants closing because of the virus. Add insult to injury, but in many states, there are too many laws on the books that restrict direct-to-consumer sales, leaving a gap where service could be provided locally during this crisis.
Plus, it’s politics as usual in Washington, D.C., and don’t think for a minute, I’m taking my eyes off that constantly buzzing epicenter. Now more than ever, strong voices from individual beef producers need to be heard in our nation's capitol.
Meanwhile, our economy has shut down, and a whopping 6.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, making this the second largest number of unemployment claims in our history since this data started being tracked in 1967.
We’re being forced to stay inside and not work, and our liberties are being swiftly and effectively stripped away in the name of public health. Fear drives the media, and while I’m not trying to negate the real danger of this pandemic, the cure has undoubtedly become worse than the virus. I pray for a swift end to this situation, so our nation can finally get back to doing what we do best -- work, create, innovate, invent, design, move and change the world for the better!
For some reason, listing these frustrations out makes me feel a little bit better, but that’s not what I want to talk about in today’s blog.
Today, I want to address how we can safeguard our health today and for future viruses that could impact our lives. In recent years, we’ve seen viruses including SARS, H1N1, Ebola and more, so you can count on more to come.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to be a sitting duck. Just like our grandparents lived frugally during their entire lifetimes because of the hard, trying years they endured during the Great Depression, I imagine moving forward, many of us will plan better for the “what ifs” to come. We’ll put more money in an emergency fund. Maybe we’ll add extra securities to our home. We’ll probably grow more of our own food and learn to can and stockpile as needed. We'll want to cushion or lives and insulate against factors outside of our control.
And perhaps, we’ll work to improve our physical health to fight off these illnesses.
According to the CDC, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include people 65 years or older, people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, people who have serious heart conditions, people who are immunocompromised, people with severe obesity, people with diabetes, people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis and people with liver disease.
This list really drives the point home on why President Trump’s administration is urging people to stay home. Chances are as you read that list you know someone or you yourself might be at high-risk.
One in four people in the United States today are considered “obese,” and in that category, the risks for obesity-related diseases like heart disease and diabetes increases. What’s more, the CDC says that 78% of patients in America’s intenstive care units have an underlying condition, placing them at a greater risk of being impacted by this disease.
Despite these staggering statistics, have you heard one news outlet talking about how diet can promote our health and boost our immune system? It’s been crickets on that end. Yet, now more than ever, I think it’s important to take care of our physical well-being, so we are strong enough to fight off these diseases.
And that’s where beef comes in. Nina Teicholz, author of the Big Fat Surprise and executive director for the Nutrition Coalition, has been a champion for changing the dietary guidelines to once again reflect the health benefits of meat, dairy and eggs in the diet.
In a recent podcast with Dr. Ronald Hoffman of Intelligent Medicine, Teicholz says, “People who are metabolically unwell (heart disease, diabetes or obesity) are people who are dying at higher rates from COVID-19. It is true that diet is what drives these diseases, and therefore, it also drives immune health.”
Focusing on diet, she says, is one way we could improve our chances of fighting off this virus.
Hoffman replied, “It’s not true the COVID-19 is simply a merit system. If you’re healthy and you exercise and you’re stress free and do yoga and take multivitamins, then you’ll be shielded from this virus. Because we do know healthy practitioners who have been exposed to this virus in a hospital setting who are on respirators or have even succumbed to it.”
Yes, anyone can contract the virus; however, the two agreed that co-morbidities, like obesity-related diseases, can contribute to how badly the virus impacts our bodies.
Listen to the 25-minute podcast by clicking here. I promise, it’s well worth your time.
Now I can already imagine I’ll trigger some folks reading this, so let me make it abundantly clear — I’m not picking on anyone or claiming that if you have diabetes, you’re more likely to succumb to this compared to a healthy individual.
What I am saying is it seems to me, our nation is more focused on finding treatments for all of our ailments, instead of really dialing in on preventative measures, such as diet, that would keep us healthy in the firstplace. This mentality applies to all diseases, not just COVID-19.
So as the old saying goes, “Let food be thy medicine,” what I am concluding is if we want to be proactive and fight off diseases more effectively, it starts with us making the best decisions for our health. And despite what the current, skewed Dietary Guidelines for Americans tell us, there is an abundance of evidence that supports full-fat dairy, red meat and eggs should be the center of our diets.
For me, I’m going to grill an extra steak this week, and hope that offers me a little extra insurance against this novel virus. Call it a simple strategy, and I may drop dead tomorrow, but it’s the best thing I can think of to protect myself from any illness that might hit my household.
Stay safe, stay well and stay diligent, my friends. This fight against COVID-19 isn't as simple as us against a virus; larger battles will need to be fought and won for patriots to feel safe, secure and free once again in this country. Start with a steak, and let's continue to move forward.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.