Sunday, February 6, 2011

Holistic Ranching/Living

The word Holistic comes from the root word whole.  I use the term Holism in my ranching business the same way I suggest people use it in all parts of their life.  Rather than being only production oriented, that is striving to build the biggest, produce the most, buy a bigger house, live life in the fastest lane; people who operate or live a holistic life tend to look beyond these simplistic short term goals.   A Holistic life is one that takes into consideration as many other details or affects that may come about from the decisions made in one area of life and how they may harm or alter another area.  This is another way of saying to take into consideration what happens to all the other things in life, or on this ranch, when:

A.I go back to school or
B.Mow the pasture or
C.Take a second job or
D.Feed my calves a grain supplement
or hundreds of other possibilities that come up in our daily lives that generally have many more consequences than what first meets the eye.  When I look at things more Holistically my decision making improves.

We are using the Holistic approach to life when we first consider that maybe a pizza, soda pop, and a bag of corn chips might not be the best choice for a daily lunch.  Modern man has gained plenty of knowledge to understand why the above may not be a good choice.  But we do it anyway.  As we build on this Holistic System we start looking at other problems that may arrive when we neglect what appears to be common sense.

We know that eating poisons surely could not be good for us.  But many of us continue eating foods drenched in pesticides every day.  We can do plenty to reduce or eliminate most of these harmful chemicals by making better decisions.  When we choose to eat grass fed meats and drink milk from grass fed cows only, we all but eliminate one of the most powerful pesticides used today called Glyphosate.   Cattle that are fed grain anytime in their lives have more than likely eaten grains that have been sprayed or genetically modified to accept large quantities of this very lethal weed killer.  Generally these grains are raised in the same fields year after year where the residues of these harmful chemicals build up even more.  So once the grain reaches the feed trough for the cow she is eating a much more powerful dose of poison than the year before.  And since so many of these weeds have built up some resistance to glyphosate, the quantity applied has also increased. 

In this case the Holistic farmer might take a closer look at how this practice of feeding these grains effect the health of his customers.  And the customer should, which includes most households, should consider grass fed meats and milk as an alternative.  When the price conscious consumers buys the cheapest grain fed ground beef at the discount store, he is not living a life involving Holism.  Some might argue that those not practicing a Holistic life could take some of the blame for their poor health.  We know that pesticides cause cancer and other immune deficiency diseases.  In both of these cases, personal decisions were made.  Know one is forcing pesticides on the farmer or forcing the consumer to buy pesticide laced beef. 

There are also many other health benefits in eating grass fed meats and milk.  Real foods should not only not poison us, it should provide the best nutrition available.  Grass fed animals provide us with a diet high in the healthy Omega 3s like we see in fresh water fish.  And since these animals have no access to grains, problems with gluten may be dismissed. 

Living Holistically can have tremendous benefits within a family, a ranch, our community, our country and the world at large.  If you are interested in reading a little more about Holistic Systems I encourage you to order my recent book called,' Ranching Full Time on Three Hours a Day'.  I believe it might shed more light on living a Holistic life even if you are not ranching like we do. 

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