Omega 3, 6, and the Alpha and Omega

“So I see that your eggs are produced from grass fed chickens. Does that mean they are omega 3 eggs?” The farmer at our local market’s quizzical look edged with annoyance told me he did not concern himself with the omega content. “Sure they’re grass fed but we supplement with high quality feed or they’d never lay enough eggs.” I pointed to the carton,”Look, it says they are.” He shook his head and glanced at the folks lined up behind me who were anxious to buy more than just a half dozen eggs. “I don’t know anything about the omega. We reuse other folks’ cartons.” I took my half dozen and hoped for the best.

What the farmer at our market had not cared to realize is that the omega 3 content in eggs and meat is two to five times higher if the animal is grass fed, and in better balance with the omega 6 content. Corn and soy meal feed can throw off the beneficial balance of omega 3 and 6 which should be about one-to-one or one-to-two. It is one of the many reasons why some doctors and dietitians recommend omega 3 eggs and grass-fed animal products.

Our diets are high in the inflammatory omega 6 fatty acid but it is not totally due to eating conventional (corn and soy meal fed) meat, chicken, and eggs. The imbalance also comes from other saturated fats and processed oils. Switching from saturated fats like butter and cream to unsaturated ones like olive oil and nut creams is the first step in a healthy diet. There are many oils to choose from: soybean, cottonseed, corn, vegetable (usually a mix of these three), olive, and flax seed oil, just to mention of few. Each of these polyunsaturated oils contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are necessary for our overall health, but not all oils are equally beneficial. Vegetable oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil are all poor choices since they are too high in omega 6 fatty acids. These processed oils are also used in most processed foods because they are so cheap. Consuming high amounts of omega 6 by cooking with these oils and by eating processed foods, can produce inflammation in the body and contribute to all sorts of illnesses: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and various cancers.

Instead, use oil that is low in omega 6 like canola oil. Canola oil is good for cooking because it can withstand medium-high cooking temperatures. Flax seed (very high in omega 3) and olive oil are good choices for recipes that do not call for cooking, for example, most salad dressings. In addition, eat foods high in omega 3 like fatty fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, and caviar), nuts and seeds, and leafy green vegetables, to improve the body’s overall intake of omega 3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory.

Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet and is now used to mean “the last in a series.” God used it in a pairing with the first letter of the Greek alphabet, the Alpha. He said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” He said it three different times in Revelations. The first is his proclamation that he is who he is, was, and will be. The second is that he is the beginning and the end, and then Jesus finally says that he is the first and the last.

Between the alpha and the omega are all the other letters that in various combinations form the finite words of scripture about God. People from every age have spent quite a deal of time contemplating these words and trying to illuminate and understand the true God. Jesus is determined by St. John to have embodied the very word of God. His actions here on earth, the words he said, the stories he told, and the incredible miracles he did have been recorded and meditated upon for incalculable amounts of time by those trying to discern who God is and what He wants from us. Who can count the number of books written about scripture, either to teach, preach, or encourage? Despite the small amount of scripture that we do have, we have certainly gotten a lot out of it.

However, God’s most important message is fully revealed in the life of Jesus Christ and the scripture we do have about him is sufficient to bring anyone to faith. Jesus is the extraordinary work of the Alpha and the Omega. Nothing is known of God that he has not chosen to make known through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the first and last expert on himself and on us, his creatures who live humbly in grace thanks be to Jesus Christ and who live for his everlasting glory.

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were everyone of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

Our Meat Supply and The Bread of Life

Eat grass-fed cattle for better health.

Eat grass-fed meats for better health. (Photo: Smith Meadows Farm)

The cattle industry is taking the heat for livestock feed-additives that increase weight gain. Hormones, antibiotics (which also combat disease), and newer beta-agonist drugs added to cattle feed can increase the final weight of an animal at slaughter time. Since fatter cattle result in more money, the temptation to do this is great and, as you might suspect, the practice is common.

Aside from these additives, corn-fed beef, which also results in fatter cattle than grass-fed, contains genetically modified corn which is able to withstand more pesticides. This logically results in more pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and, now, beta-agonist drugs in our meat supply. None of this is good for us and our cattle are showing signs of stress and are showing up at the slaughterhouse in less than optimal health.

Organic, grass-fed beef has none of this and it contains healthy omega 3s that corn-fed beef does not. If there is an opportunity to buy products from grass-fed livestock, it is a far wiser choice than conventional meats and dairy products. The milk takes some getting used to but the other grass-fed products are more tasty than conventional products.

When it comes to money, both the buyer and seller have a choice, and it seems like the demand for grass-fed products is growing. Consumers are becoming wiser about the healthfulness of grass-fed livestock. The more healthful food we buy, the cheaper it will become and the healthier we will all be, including our livestock.

Like the food industry and all the different choices we have, religion offers a smorgasbord of worship opportunities and belief systems. Some folks enjoy traditional church services while others want a more contemporary setting with upbeat music, light shows and Powerpoint presentations. Walking into a traditional Catholic church is a different experience than walking into a traditional protestant church or a contemporary community church. Some Christian religions center on the death of Christ and dress in black for mourning Him as we all await His return. Others focus on the life-giving Holy Spirit and dress the church in red carpets and beautiful handmade tapestries. Still others eschew all decorations as distractions, even words are rarely used. How can one Christ be the orgin of such diversity?

The understanding of who Christ is and how to worship Him is a very personal journey. The call to evangelize the world can become a conflicting command where one form of Christianity simply evangelizes the other. Divisions, arguments, and bitter resentments can form in a church and cause painful splits, broken friendships, and closed minds. St. Paul says in his letter to the Corinthian church: I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided?”

Today, Paul might say “I follow Wesley,” or “I follow Calvin,” or “I follow St. Peter.” In fact, we are all following only one: Christ. If one interprets scripture with a different understanding than we do, whichever one is right shall be made known in the end. It is a sincere contrition that Christ seeks more than who is right about this or that. For now, all the great Christian fathers know the same thing: Christ loved us and gave himself up for us that we might live with Him forever, and in this understanding, we participate in a communion service of all our brother and sisters. When we partake of the bread and wine of Christ, we must examine ourselves, our motives, and our faith that Christ in his future coming will be able to unite us all just as He promised. For there is no one that understands completely.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12