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Whole Grain Benefits

While beef prices skyrocket, ranchers on the Western Slope aren’t seeing the benefits



The cattle of the Dry Fork Ranch survive a snowy winter. The beef cattle are eventually sold to feeders who then sell to packers at prices set by the oligopoly industry, which sells beef for more than ever but pays nowhere near as much to ranchers and feeders.
Courtesy / Kacey Green

Kacey Green, part of the Green family’s Dry Fork Ranch, doesn’t buy their beef from the grocery store.

When shopping for groceries, she sometimes stops by the beef section and is appalled at the high prices some of her neighbors pay for cow products. Despite the lucrative business that beef production has become lately, Green, whose children will be the fourth generation to run cattle in the Yampa Valley, says local ranchers see no turning point in the beef boom.

“It’s sure to go somewhere else,” said Green. “We don’t see this win.”

The problem with packers

Americans eat record amounts of beef, and the money they cost for it has also reached record highs. The average cost of a pound of ground beef was up to $ 5.26 as of November 2021 (the latest available data from the U.S. Department of Labor). Just a year earlier it was $ 4.59 – a 14.5% increase over the course of a year.

The question of why beef prices have increased in grocery stores is a complicated one, Green said. With costs rising from supply chain issues, labor shortages due to COVID-19, or higher processor prices, it’s difficult to give a single reason why consumers are paying more for meat.

The four largest and largest processors are Tyson Foods, Cargill, National Beef Packing Company, and JBS.

According to the New York Times, the country’s top four meat packers accounted for about 36% of all processing in the beef industry over the past few decades. But these meat packers are now heavily consolidated and process more than 80% of the industry.

“My husband has a really good analogy. He said, ‘You know, they can either sell a pound for $ 5 or five pounds for $ 1,’ “Green said. “You will get your share. You will get your winnings no matter what. In the last quarter in particular, I read that the revenues of the large packaging plants increased by 32% compared to last year. And ranchers have raised maybe 30% in the last 20 years. “

Mike Camblin, who serves as the Northwest Representative for the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, said the fact that few packers control this part of the market creates a “bottleneck” situation – especially in recent years. His wife is a fourth generation rancher and he said the family business is fundamentally changing its business model. Instead of relying on beef, the Camblin family ranch will now rely on grass instead.

“One of the bottlenecks is that we only have four (processors) when we need more,” said Camblin. “Several important things have happened in the past three years: COVID was one. They lost the ability to sustain their production. People were home sick or closed. ‘

Camblin also pointed to a fire at a Tyson packaging factory and a cyberattack on JBS as unique, malicious events that had an outsized impact on the entire industry due to the bottleneck.

Rising beef prices are putting a strain not only on the finances of local consumers, but also of ranchers. Green said she has friends who decided to leave the ranch business after the economic roller coaster ride caused by soaring prices coupled with dire drought conditions last summer. Hay prices rose exponentially during the drought and many ranchers had to haul water to their herds, adding an extra cost to an already expensive business.

“It has put a lot of people out of business – especially in difficult years like this,” said Green. “It was like the perfect storm of soaring prices, droughts and not big livestock prices when they sold this fall. It’s actually a scary time to be in the beef industry. It’s really difficult when you go into the store and we see these prices and you think, ‘Wow, I don’t know who can afford to eat beef at these prices.’ “

Some of Kacey Green’s cattle run in a line through the snowy landscape.
Courtesy / Kacey Green

The beef supply chain

Many ranchers on the Western Slope are cow veal producers. In industries like pork or poultry, it is common for the cattle to be raised by the same company that harvests them. There are segments for beef: cow veal, feeder and packer.

In cow calf surgery, a cow will have its first calf when it is around two years old, Green said. After nine months of gestation, the cow is reared by this rancher until it is weaned – usually when the calf is around nine months old. It is then sold to a supplier who feeds the cattle with grass or grain for about three to four months before the cattle are slaughtered at 12 to 20 months of age. Cow calf producers don’t usually care about the big packers (that’s below), but any additional costs incurred by the feeders eventually go back to the producers – as well as the deflated price points set by the packers.

Whatever prices the packers set, most ranchers have to accept. Green said they are at the mercy of the market and what people are willing to pay for the cattle they raise. She added that the price of beef has doubled in the past 20 years, but the rancher’s income increase has only increased by about 30% over the same period.

“We like to say that we are price takers, not price setters,” said Green. “We really have to accept the price offered. I guess we don’t have the luxury of holding onto our product until a better deal comes up – because a better deal may not show up. “

A bad future

Camblin said the change in the ranching industry is a constant, but the past few years have seen many local ranchers demanding. Although profits were high in 2014, the situation quickly changed and got worse. He said that seven years ago it was possible to get $ 3.40 a pound, but now the same stock trades for $ 1.50 a pound. Camblin said it is common to have a “next year will be better” mindset, but it is not sustainable.

“It really varies from year to year,” said Camblin. “It has been common here in recent years to be balanced or negative. Most ranches rely on government subsidies to survive because they don’t make enough money to do what they do. Usually I (my wife) and I think we’re going to be making a few hundred dollars a head over the last few years. So it’s not very profitable. “

He added that without assistance, longer-term ranching operations could be closed.

“There is no money in the industry without water and grass, and we have a shortage of both,” said Camblin. “I think one of the main reasons is also our calf prices. If we can’t raise our veal prices, a lot of these guys just won’t get the chance to keep going. They are closed. I am not saying that prices have to be high in the market or in a grocery store. I think we just have to find out about this bottleneck. “

A long line of cattle moves together through snow-covered land.
Courtesy / Kacey Green

Washington takes note

Some elected officials in Washington have recently shown interest in ranchers getting their share. In a January 3 address, President Joe Biden shared his own concerns about the lack of competition in corporate meat packaging. In his remarks, Biden cited the packaging industry’s position as a “middleman” for both ranchers and retailers as a major factor driving price increases for consumers – along with problems with the country’s supply chain.

“Without significant competition, farmers and ranchers cannot choose who to sell to,” said Biden. “Or, to put it another way, our farmers and ranchers, by and large, have to pay for everything these four big companies say they have to pay. But that’s only half of it. These companies can use their position as middlemen to overload grocery stores and ultimately families. “

In June 2021, a bipartisan letter signed by 28 members of Congress was sent to the Justice Department asking the Department to review controls on the four leading packers. In particular, the 19 Republicans, eight Democrats, and one independent hope the DOJ will investigate whether control of meat packers in the beef processing market violates US antitrust laws.

The local option

Green said it is easier to go the traditional route when it comes to selling their cattle – even with backend costs rising. The family’s farm includes some – their children show oxen in 4H – but she said they couldn’t keep and feed them all, especially in the face of the 2021 drought. Although she and her husband could choose to keep their cattle as well Continuing to feed them until slaughter would only add to a larger deficit due to the increased costs in areas such as shipping food and transporting water. The decision to ditch the feeders and raise cattle for slaughter is growing in popularity, Green said, but the choice is risky.

However, there are ways that local ranchers can still benefit from resources in the community.

“I think it’s often overlooked, but we have two USDA-approved packaging facilities in Craig,” said Green. “This is a great enrichment for our community. Many churches don’t have these little plants like we do. We can do that when we have three or four heads to sell. We can dismantle and process them. “

Camblin also said he noticed the increasing popularity of non-ranchers reaching out to cattle ranchers directly with meat orders. Customers would mainly buy in quarters, halves and whole, including cuts that are not traditionally used by the normal customer – such as B. beef tongues. Here, too, packers have an advantage. You can easily export to other countries and have the resources to more easily distribute all parts of a cow. Regardless, the hyper-local selling option on social media is widely used as buyers pay more attention to where their meat comes from and how it’s made.

“There’s a lot of direct marketing going on,” said Camblin. “We take an animal and fatten it, bring it to the packaging plant and then sell it that way. This is becoming increasingly popular when consumers want to know where their meat comes from. “

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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