pig eating

A Healthy Diet

Paleo or Atkins? Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig? Ketogenic or South Beach? Clean eating? Shakes and supplements?

With all the noise out there, it can be hard to tell what makes a healthy diet. There are specific diet plans that focus on eating some foods while avoiding others, and points that place value on eating certain foods. There are even shakes and supplements that replace food entirely.

As a member of a few social media women’s health and fitness groups, I get insight on fitness programs and encouraging motivation to stay active. Food and nutrition are also frequent topics. I admit; I struggle to keep up with all the diets referenced above because almost all meals in our home include the traditional meat, starch, fruit, vegetable and glass of milk. And I’m the mom who is often scrambling at 5pm to figure out which foods I’m going to throw in each of those slots for our evening meal. So, I’ve been in total awe of the organization, thought, and time some people put into their diet as I follow discussion in these groups! These ladies place great value on precisely mapping their nutrition and are so dedicated to their plan. Meals planned, food purchased, and ingredients completely prepped for an entire week – all part of a plan that results in a specific total of calories, protein, or fat per day. WOW!

Such planning and nutrition mapping makes me think of the diet the pigs on our farm eat. Our feed supplier works with an animal nutritionist to create a diet for the pigs. The pigs are fed specific rations to provide optimal nutrition based on their age and needs. Our pig barn even has an automated system that ensures each pen of pigs eats a diet that provides the nutrition they need. Pretty cool, right?

One of the many positive aspects of raising pigs in barns is giving the farmer the ability to care for the animals with greater precision, including managing diet and nutrition. When pigs are raised in a pasture (outdoors) it’s much more difficult to ensure they eat a specific diet. A rabbit, squirrel, or even a pet could easily slip through a fence and become their next meal.

When you think about the strong role nutrition plays in human health, know that farmers consider the role nutrition plays in the health of their animals, too. The diet plan of a human who calculates nutrition, menu plans, and meal preps is not all the different than the diet plan for our barn-raised pigs!

Originally posted on The Real Housewives of Rural Illinois.

Brett and Krista Swanson

About Krista

Brett and Krista are both the fifth generation in their families to farm. They farm with Brett’s parents and family and live on the farm near Oneida, Illinois, with their three daughters: Bianca, Karina, and Susana, and one son: Brock.

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