The Hidden SECRET of Store-Bought Meat

Where did Spring go? As farmers, we are always on the look out for warmer temperatures so that we can start our seedlings as early as possible, since our growing season is just so short. I bet your dreaming about a vacation in some crazy hot island. I'm dreaming about lush grass to put my animals on...

I've mentioned before about the environmental cost of industrially raised meats, where thousands of animals are in one place and there's just nowhere to put all the manure... causing the ''Dead Zone'' in the Gulf of Mexico as an example of how bad it can get.

You might already know that processed meats are loaded with chemical preservatives, just to make sure you're not gone die from an acute infection from E.Coli. What they don't tell you is that these chemicals are just as harmful in the long run.

Then how do you know what's in the meat you buy at the store? Where is it from? There's nothing on the package telling you how it was raised (they like to add some meaningless buzz words like ''air chilled'' or ''fresh grain fed''), which basically means it was industrially raised in confinement, indoors, without ever seeing the sun light (for pigs, chickens and turkeys). Cows are not much better off, you cannot know if they were raised in feedlots with hormones or in a ranch on grass, or if your burger comes from an old dairy cow. The way these animals are treated in CAFO (concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) is just not fair to them. Animals do have feelings and these were never really given the opportunity to interact with humans, to be sacred for the nourishment they provide us. I personally like to thank my animals for the bounty they offer us, as well as the opportunity they give us to live from the land.

On a nutritional basis, industrially raised animals are fed conventionally produced grains (even though cows are supposed to eat mostly forage - grass or hay - they're fed a highly concentrated ration of corn and other grains to get them fattened up quicker). These grains are mostly GMO (soybean, corn and canola being the majority of GMO crops grown in North America - Yes in Canada too!) which are sprayed with the Herbicide Roundup, whose ingredient is Glyphosate. This molecule accumulates in the animal's body, and in turn ends up in your own body after you consume the meat from these animals. So it's not just antibiotics you should be concerned about (even though it's a huge problem feeding chickens antibiotics to get them to grow faster), it's also the glyphosate that will cause leaky guts, kill your gut bacteria and create other digestive issues.

Fortunately there is an alternative! Know your farmer! We make sure that our animals are treated humanely, we don't use any antibiotics or hormones, and buy exclusively GMO free feed. We are very much conscious of the gift that they give us through nutrition. And to name only one, the Vitamin D that they produce from the sun is then stored in their fat, and is available to your body when you consume it.

So please take a few minutes next time you decide what you'll put in your body. You are worthy of feeding it the nutrients it needs, and avoid the poisons that are lurking. I very much hope that this information will avoid some very unnecessary pain and suffering, from the animals but also humans. The extra dollars spent on the grass-fed, free-range and pastured meat is very much worth the avoidance of suffering from chronic diseases and digestive issues. 



Estelle Levangie
How to Make KOMBUCHA

Have you heard about KOMBUCHA yet?

SCOBY starting a new fermentation

SCOBY starting a new fermentation

It's the new trend and yet has been used for centuries in Central and Eastern Europe. KOMBUCHA is a fermented tea, but don't worry, it's a good kind of fermentation! It's full of the good bacteria that you need in your gut to help you digest, fight diseases and be healthy. It can be expensive to buy at the store, or you can make your own. It's easy and all it takes is some sugar, tea and a SCOBY.

What's a SCOBY? The SCOBY, or mother, takes the form of a rubbery disk, and is what ferments the tea. You will need one to get you started.

How to Make Kombucha Tea

1. Gather Equipment for Making Kombucha Tea

  • Quart-Size Glass Jar
  • Plastic or Wooden Stirring Utensil
  • Tight-Weave Cloth or Paper Coffee Filter
  • Something to secure the cover to the jar (rubber band or canning jar rings work well)

2. Gather Ingredients for Making Kombucha

  • Unfluoridated, Unchlorinated Water
  • White Sugar
  • Tea Bags (back or green tea)
  • Starter Tea

If you have just started making kombucha, you can work your way up to larger batch sizes to help maintain proper ingredients ratios and to avoid stressing the SCOBY.

3. Select Ingredient Ratios for Making Different Amounts of Kombucha

One-Quart Batch:

  • 2 tea bags
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2-3 cups water
  • ½ cup starter tea

Half-Gallon Batch:

  • 4 tea bags
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1 cup starter tea

Gallon Batch:

  • 8 tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 13-14 cups water
  • 2 cups starter tea

4. Follow Instructions for Making Kombucha Tea

  1. Combine hot water and sugar in a glass jar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The water should be hot enough to steep the tea but does not have to be boiling
  2. Place the tea bags in the sugar water to steep.
  3. Cool the mixture to 68-85ºF. The tea may be left in the liquid as it cools or removed after the first 10-15 minutes. The longer the tea is left in the liquid, the stronger the tea will be. 
  4. Remove the tea bags from the liquid.
  5. Add starter tea from a previous batch to the liquid.
  6. Add the SCOBY.
  7. Cover the jar with a tight-weave towel or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
  8. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed at 68-85°F, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste.
  9. Pour kombucha off the top of the jar for consuming. Retain the SCOBY and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as starter tea for the next batch.
  10. The finished kombucha can be flavored and bottled, if desired, or enjoyed plain. There is no limit to the flavoring possibilities. For a fizzy finished kombucha, try bottling it in a tightly-sealed container.
Estelle Levangie
3 Tips on How to Heal your Gut

Did you ever feel like you have no energy, that what you ate for dinner didn't agree with you? Or are you trying to eat a healthy diet but those cravings are getting the best of you? What if I told you that something else is controlling those cravings?

Research shows that there is more bacteria cells in our body than there is of our own cells. And most of these bacteria are in your gut. We are just touching the surface on the importance of your microbiome. It sends messages to your brain about what to eat, so you want the good guys in there, not the bad guys. Your gut is also where 75% of your immune system works.

So if you ever took antibiotics in the past, which kills all bacteria in your body, you want to pay attention to what comes next.

Tip #1: Repopulate your gut with the good guys

Most of our food supply is ''dead'' food, which means it has no life in it. It has been cleaned, cooked or irradiated to make sure it has a long shelf life. So make sure you consume one of these fermented food and beverages on a regular basis.

- Kombucha is a fermented tea, you can buy it in the store or the cheaper way is to make your own thanks to a SCOBY -Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Find a friend with one, they're easily divided.

- Kefir is the oldest way to keep dairy - and the best way to make cheese! Once you have the grains, you can use them to ferment other liquids like apple juice, grape juice, coconut milk, etc... but they need milk to grow.

- Kimchi or Sauerkraut, or any other fermented vegetables. Here is a simple recipe for making Sauerkraut:


  • 1 Medium Head of Cabbage
  • 1-3 Tbsp. sea salt
  1. Chop or shred cabbage. Sprinkle with salt.
  2. Knead the cabbage with clean hands, or pound with a potato masher about 10 minutes, until there is enough liquid to cover.
  3. Stuff the cabbage into a quart jar, pressing the cabbage underneath the liquid. If necessary, add a bit of water to completely cover cabbage.
  4. Cover the jar with a tight lid, airlock lid, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
  5. Culture at room temperature for at least 2 weeks until desired flavor and texture are achieved. If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure.
  6. Once the sauerkraut is finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to cold storage. The sauerkraut's flavor will continue to develop as it ages.

Now that you got the Good Guys in there, you need to feed them with Tip #2.

Tip #2: Feed your body real food

No need to turn upside down your whole kitchen just yet... Taking baby steps for this one will save you some headaches. Incorporate more and more vegetables into your meals, snack on fruits, seeds and nuts, and use a clean source of protein: beans and other legumes, free range chicken and pastured pork, grass fed beef and eggs from your neighbors hens. Cut down on the amount of processed food, which feed the bad guys in your gut, and incorporate lots of fibers which feed the good guys (Chia seeds are the best when it comes to fiber).

Tip #3: Use Ginger

Ginger is one of these powerhouse spices that you can easily include into your routine. Not only it boosts your immune system and improve your circulation, it is also great for digestion.

- It is Anti-inflammatory which protects against many chronic diseases like Alzheimer and cancer

- It Helps with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

- It Relieves heartburn (one of the ways it works is that it kills off harmful bacteria, such as helicobacter pylori). For best results, it’s recommended you drink one cup of ginger tea 20 minutes before a meal.

There are several ways you can consume ginger – add ginger root in your cooked dishes, or brew ginger tea. The good news is they all seem to have a calming effect on the digestive system.

Ginger Tea Recipe:


  • About 2 inches of fresh raw ginger (use more or less, depending on how strong you want it!)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups water
  1. First, prepare the fresh ginger by slicing it thinly to maximize the surface area. This will help you make a very flavorful ginger tea.
  2. Boil the ginger in water for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger and tangier tea, allow to boil for 20 minutes or more, and use more slices of ginger.
  3. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and honey to taste.

Once you start with any of these tips, it only gets easier to make healthier choices.

To your health


PS: Hope to see you soon at the Cape Breton Farmers Market! And get your fresh ginger while you're there (Hint: you can store your yearly supply in the freezer so you always have it on hand!)

Estelle Levangie