Peter Ballerstedt PhD — Reality of Ruminants & Liebeg's Barrel Examining New Conventional Wisdom





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Published on Feb 14, 2013

Peter Ballerstedt, Ph.D., presenting at the Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 (AHS12)

The Reality of Ruminants and Liebeg's Barrel: Examining the New 'Conventional Wisdom'

Grasslands are among the largest ecosystems in the world. The proportion of the earth's land area covered by grasslands have been estimated at 3.5 billion hectares (8.6 billion acres), representing 26% of the world land area and 70% of the world agricultural area.

Forage plants are those plants eaten by animals directly as pasture, crop residue, or immature cereal crops, those cut for fodder, and conserved for later use as hay or silage. These crops vary widely in their adaptation and feed quality, but they are typically low in fat, high in fiber, and not utilizable by humans.

The symbiotic relationship between the ruminant animal and the rumen microbial population permits these mammals to thrive on a low-fat, high-fiber diet. The resulting production of high-quality protein and animal fat is a truly sustainable form of agriculture.

The discipline of diet, health and human nutrition has been profoundly influenced by those who believe that eating animal products causes various chronic diseases, and that animal agriculture harms the environment. Researchers and others holding these world views have formed incorrect conclusions from the associations perceived in dubious observational studies. This contamination of the "conventional wisdom" has also influenced the "new conventional wisdom" held within the ancestral health community. Justus von Liebig's "Law of the Minimum" from plant nutrition can be applied to human health and nutrition to evaluate claims regarding grass-fed versus grain-fed animal products.

Peter received his Ph.D. in forage production and utilization. He was the forage extension specialist at Oregon State University and is currently the forage product manager at Barenbrug USA. The combination of his forage-based livestock production system expertise with his understanding of human diet and health produced "Grass Based Health."


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