You’ve heard the saying, you are what you eat, right? Well, I know I don’t look like the blueberries I had for breakfast, but I do know that my cells are happier for the vitamin C, vitamin K1, manganese and potassium and plant antioxidants, my gut loves the fibre and my mouth loves the sweet taste. But what if my blueberries were conventionally grown? What if I didn’t buy only organic berries? Well, that would add to the burden of chemicals that my microbiome has to stay steady despite their influence, that my liver has to breakdown and detoxify and my cells have to protect themselves from. The part two to this is this is that conventionally grown blueberries, or any crop for that matter, follow farming practices that are producing food with up to 50% less nutrients than years gone by. So while blueberries are known to contain those nutrients I first mentioned, just how much is in those little purple berries these days? Hard to know exactly, but it’s not as much as it once was. I’m only using blueberries as an example here, as all food that we eat, from meat and poultry, the dairy that we eat as well as the plant based versions like oat, almond, rice, all those greens and veggies that I keep telling you to eat. Well they all grow in soil and they can only give us what is available to them as they grow. Everything that we eat is impacted by the state of the soil. The chemical load from herbicides and pesticides, has a negative impact on the microorganisms in the soil. It’s those that produce the nutrients that get into the plants, that are then fed to the chickens, get into our eggs, into the cows and into milk, and even run off into streams, lakes and the ocean and affect the fish you’re trying to eat to get all those omega 3s and protein from. I know, I know, it sounds all doom and gloom and as you’re focusing on eating all the colourful produce, adding greens in where you can, avoiding the processed stuff, sugars and all that I suggest on this podcast, and now I’m going to layer in how deficient and what a mess the soil and farming methods are? Ugh. Yes, it can feel heavy and like you just can’t win. But as I so often say, knowledge is power and knowing what you can do better, knowing how to choose the best you can from what’s available to you and within your budget, because knowing what to spend your hard earned dollars on to give you and your family the best you can, is powerful and impactful.
Coming across a new saying that soil health = human health, a new way of farming that’s happening that I’ve just learned about, seems appropriate. As usual, as I come across something new and want to learn about it, I’m taking you along with me. Regenerative farming, even called regenerative organic farming by my guest today, is worthy of a conversation to broaden our understanding what’s out there. So today on EAT THIS with Lianne, a chat with a Stephanie Alexandre, founder of the first and only regenerative organic dairy farm in the US, to share what we need to know about it, how to find foods farmed this way and what it can do for you.
One thing that’s been on my mind more of late since getting my DNA results back from TheDNACompany.com/eatthis and going over the results in episode 111, is that my body isn’t crash hot on detoxifiying the stuff that it takes in through food, through breathing and through what I put on my skin. I’m aware that there’s the potential for all sorts of things to go wrong if I’m topped up with hormones, chemicals, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides and who knows what else, so I’m shifting my attention to what I can control, and that’s what goes in and on my body. I already use clean skincare, shampoo and make up, so I’m doing what I can there. Cleaning products are 70% there, and food is always a work in progress, because I’m still learning things like this topic for today’s episode – putting my attention and focus on farming methods. I usually buy all my greens from the market, from small producers and farmers and can ask about their practices, so I make the most of that. There’s no one next to the box of spinach at the supermarket or Costco to ask about the farming practices, so it’s better to go local for foods like that. And as I continue to make batches of my salads for lunch each day, I want to know that what I’m adding is the best that’s available to me. So I thought, why not find out more about what seems to be best practices in farming? And to do that, my guest today is Stephanie Alexandre, who, with her husband Blake are the founders of the Alexandre Dairy Farm which is a recent winner in Whole Foods Market Supplier of the Year awards. The Alexandre Family Farm is certified as the first and only regenerative organic dairy farm in the United States AND their farming practices help reverse global warming as well. So let’s ask Stephanie all about regenerative farming methods so we know what we are looking out for, what questions to ask at your local market, and hear her story of she and her husband, their five kids are impacting farming and health. Welcome Stephanie.
Blake and Stephanie Alexandre, along with their five children, have not only been recognized for their progressive and holistic farming practices, but their cows produce organic milk that is 100% digestible by humans — giving former dairy drinkers reason to rejoice! Traditionally, milk contained only A2 protein which is found in breast milk, goat milk and sheep milk and is natural to the human body. However, over the years a mutation has occurred and now most modern milk contains another protein called A1. A1 protein is difficult for humans to digest and has led many milk lovers to believe they’re lactose intolerant when in fact, they’re actually A1 intolerant. For the past 15 years, the Alexandre Family Farm has carefully cross-bred their cows to remove the A1 protein, and now their cows ONLY produce A2. They have hundreds of customers enjoying dairy again because of their A2 dairy products which are available nationwide.
Do you remember talking with a local farmer in episode 63 about A2 milk? That sure was an eye opener as a first introduction for me. I still get the MC Dairy products locally for us, although I don’t eat much dairy, knowing more about the options for dairy that could sort out a lot of issues for people who can’t live without it. Also all that’s involved in regenerative farming is something that has me intrigued and wanting to visit Stephanie’s farm to see all that she talked about! Their website and social channels, Alexandre Family Farm https://alexandrefamilyfarm.com/ and the same name on FB and IG, shows all that they do, which is incredible to see. Wow, if this happened all over the world, we’d be doing a lot more for mother earth than we are right now.
I wonder how this episode will impact you as you head out to your next shop? The expectation to change everything can be overwhelming and would kind of feel like the on-the-wagon scenario of jumping into a diet. How about starting with one or two decisions. Maybe that’s only buying organic berries, maybe it’s trying out A2 milk, maybe it’s finding a local farmers market that has mostly organic produce. Any improvement is impactful, so don’t shy away from one or two things thinking that if you can’t do it ALL then why bother. It all helps.
Do you have a question or topic that you’d like me to talk about, do a deep dive into or find someone to take us on a journey of like Stephanie did today, so we are more knowledgeable about a topic? Share it with me on social media, send an email through liannephillipson.com and sproutright.com and while you’re on sproutright.com, check out my Take This by Lianne supplement line that can help keep your cells healthy and strong while you work towards eating more nutrient packed foods, you can supplement with Kid or Skin Boost superfood powder for instance as you implement what we’ve talked about today. If you can’t find clean enough fish, get that Omega Boost for the impactful Omega 3s. Listen to episode 109 for more about Take This as it was a top episode for sure.
Thanks for being along for yet another learning journey, thanks for sending in your comments, your thoughts and for sharing this with family and friends. We’ve got this as we take these steps towards being healthier, and as always please remember to EAT THIS one mouthful at a time too.
Stephanie Alexandre – co-founder, owner, Alexandre Family Farm
Stephanie Alexandre grew up in the dairy farming valley of Chino, California, with her family and was out with the calves and cows as soon as she could walk. She went to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and earned a BS in Agricultural Business. At Cal Poly, she met her husband Blake Alexandre, also a 4th generation dairy farmer.
Blake and Stephanie Alexandre continued dairy farming, raising 5 kids, who have all followed in their footsteps earning Ag degrees from Cal Poly, and bringing their knowledge back to the family farm.
Strong proponents of sustainable organic farm practices and nutritional education, environmental stewardship is key to the Alexandres’ management strategy. The family operates four grass-based organic dairies in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties with 4,200 crossbred milk cows on 4,300 acres of irrigated pasture.
Almost 2 decades ago, in their quest to learn about nutrient density from grass-pastured cows, the Alexandres learned about the beta casein in milk and its effect on human digestion. They have been breeding their cows for 100% A2 beta casein protein genetics ever since and now have the largest herd of strictly A2/A2 (A1-free) organic cows in the US.
They also operate Alexandre Kid’s Eggs, a successful pastured-based organic egg business that uses the same regenerative organic practices of the dairy operation.
The entire family, along with a dedicated management team, is involved in day-to-day activities on the farm – each with different, bright passions for agriculture.
Stephanie has served the community by being on the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) Board, as a Del Norte County 4-H Club Leader, by being a passionate voice about local education, and she is a nutrient-dense food enthusiast. A community highlight is Stephanie’s Bucket Calf program, which started in 1995, as a way for her young kids to have their friends come to the dairy and learn about the agricultural life, while showing the calf at the fair too.
Stephanie is passionate about nutrition as the foundation of good health for her family and the farm animals. You can find her frequently in the kitchen, creating a new recipe or product formulation, a fabulous meal or a preventative tincture, and her open arms often mean that the Alexandre family dinner table is filled with guests.