I started to train sporadically'in garages and basements'when I was 14 years old; however, it wasn't till I was 16 and I could drive to the closest gym, Vic Tanny's, that I became serious about working out. From the time I read my first Iron Man, around 1956, I realized that nutrition played a part in creating strength and muscle. I experimented with diets and food plans from the beginning and read all I could find on the subject. The technology of the day and the restrictions of living at home limited that quest.
When I started college, I was fortunate enough to live within walking distance of a YMCA that has a great weight room. That Y became the center of my quest for strength and development. The man who put the gym together and ran the program, Egan Shauer, was a schoolteacher and ran the gym part time. Egan was a very smart and focused guy with a Grimek-like physique. He was very into getting bigger and stronger, but he also believed health should go along with those qualities. He was a great inspiration.
In 1962 Rachel Carson published her seminal book on ecology, Silent Spring, and after reading it, I was astonished that such things could be happening to our food supply. The evangelist in me was awakened. Carson's classic book on the use of DDT and its effect on the food chain accelerated my interest in the connection between our food supply and our health. Adelle Davis' books, Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit and Let's Cook It Right, fueled my fire even more.
Then I met Bob Gajda, the '66 Mr. America. With his prodigious intellect and curiosity, Bob was in another world as far as what was being written about supplements and training in the mid-'60s. His mentor was Rheo H. Blair (born Irvin Johnson), an early protein pioneer and an intuitive genius if there ever was one.
It wasn't until I moved to California in 1965 that I was really exposed to the first blossoming of the organic movement. You could buy certified-raw dairy products, naturally raised beef and chicken and very limited organic produce.
In 1966 I met Vince Gironda, another milestone in my food and nutritional education. Vince was a great believer in organically produced food and an advocate of a high-meat diet. He based his beliefs on the research of Vilhjalmur Steffanson and his book, Not by Bread Alone. What we all didn't know then was that all fats were not created equal. We also didn't understand that growing things organically was not the complete answer. The animal could be organically raised'fed pesticide-free grains'and still be intrinsically not good for the diner's health. In the late '70s and '80s I sought organically grown products, thinking that they were the state of the food-quality art. I was very wrong. I now know that the answer to healthful meat, eggs and milk is grass feeding and grass finishing.
Fortunately, a new day has dawned in my search for truly healthful food. Not long ago Bob Fritz, the creator of Cort-Bloc and a host of other products, told me about his caveman diet and why meat from wild animals is better than standard beef. As usual Bob was both right and ahead of his time. I became aware of the differences in the animals' diet and its effect on what we finally eat.
About three years ago I started to see grass-fed and -finished beef and lamb from Australia and New Zealand at my local health food supermarket. (Grass-fed means the animals spend their entire lives on grass. Grass-finished means the animals spend a minimum of their last 100 days on grass to ensure the CLA and omega-3s are deposited in large amounts'no grains are involved.) I bought it for my family, but only certain cuts were available, so I bought some organically grown but not grass-fed and -finished beef at the same store. Then I got a press release from Grassland Beef. The words CLA and cancer jumped off the page, and so I was submerged in research about the grass-feeding movement.
The evangelist in me has been awakened once again, and I'm on my soapbox preaching the wonders of grass-fed and -finished food products. The difference now is that I can reach hundreds of thousand of people, not just the person I've grabbed by the collar. Revisiting the feeling of discovering an idea whose time has come is a truly amazing experience.
What I've learned in the past year is that there's a group of family-run ranches and farms that are doing it right. They are creating food of the highest quality as far as health is concerned and are not a part of the beef and chicken factories that turn out most of those products in the United States. My family and I will never eat anything but products raised in that way. If long-term health and delicious food are important to you, you'll seek out the best sources for them, and I've found two of the best.
Along my path of discovery I also learned about the wonders of American bison'yes, buffalo. Bison contains less fat than skinless chicken and has great flavor. Grass-fed and -finished beef and bison are both loaded with naturally occurring CLA. If the meat is grain-fed, it contains less than 20 percent of the CLA of bison and beef that are raised and finished on grass.
I buy bison from Northstar Bison and beef from Grassland Beef; both are available in quantities ranging from a few pounds of ground meat to a whole animal, shipped via Federal Express. The flavor and quality of the meat will make you a lifelong customer, and the healthful advantages of it will help to ensure that you're giving yourself and your family the best.
For more info on grass-fed beef and bison, visit www.ironmanmagazine.com or order at www.home-gym.com >>