Cheap Food Theory Tested
We've been raising chickens for a while. I like to feed them organic crumbles, oyster shells, organic corn and leftovers from our farm like beet greens and kale that's kinda ratty looking. Right now the persimmons that I don't pick are dropping on the ground. I give some of them to the hens. The girls don't care if they are bruised or have holes, they love them. In other words, our chickens eat well.
A few months ago my godson, Jack, was staying with us to learn about farming. We had a great time touring some of the local farms in his cute blue convertible mini. As a thank you gift he offered to replenish our chicken feed since we had just run out. Jack popped out to the store and returned with a bag of Purina feed. When I saw the bag I remembered a story a Basque gardener - who used to be a shepherd in central California - told me about cheap chicken feed. Jose said that if you buy cheap food the hens won't lay as many eggs. I found this hard to believe, so when Jack showed up with the Purina I realized we had a chance to test the cheap food theory. Well sure enough, after just one week, the girls laid about half the eggs they usually did. Remarkable! Once we switched back to their usual diet it only took a few days before they amped back up to full production.
Since we don't lay eggs like chickens it's hard to measure the affect of cheap food on our health and vitality. When it comes to wheat, what we do know is that white flour is striped of almost all of its vitamins and minerals, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and essential fiber which aids good digestion. However, whole wheat baked goods don't taste that great so we tend not to eat them. That's because modern whole wheat has been bred to have a tough bran layer that's easy to process. The bran tastes bitter and creates a less than desirable flavor in whole wheat products. Good thing for the farmers and seed savers who have held on to the old wheat varieties like einkorn, emmer, and their more recent relatives like Red Fife and Foisy. These older wheats taste nothing like their modern relatives. They are delicious and are incredibly healthy and nutritious.