Let’s talk about the shit I’ve seen. Literally, the shit I’ve seen (aside from my own). I’ve had the privilege to see cow shit in both Nepal and Japan. In Nepal and Japan, shit popped up five times.
First encounter: I stayed at an AirBnb in Pokhara. The family there had a cow they milked every morning and evening. I watched the Mother scrape the cow shit with a thin piece of wood before washing her hands and milking the cow. *Exhibit A
Second encounter: volunteering at another family’s garden in Kathmandu. Here I got a chance to get some hands on experience with milking a cow. *Exhibit B
Third encounter: volunteering in the Ramechhap district Nepal at the Burkey Project. To build the earth bag school we hand gathered cow shit from the fields with our bare hands. Later other volunteers (thankfully not me) would stomp on this shit with water to loosen it up. Buckets of this shit sludge would be mixed with pine needles, sand, dirt and rice hulls and we would continue to stomp on this to create the plaster which we slung against the walls before smearing it into the cracks and crevices. *Exhibit C
Fourth encounter: at Netra’s home in Astam. He kind of rescued me from my hike. I was lost and without water for a few hours with the sun beating down on me and my 20 kilo backpack. Netra and his wife also had a cow they milked. *Exhibit D
Netra’s wife, Tara (means ‘star’ in Nepali), taking care of the goats and cow.
Now, it’s not logical to rate cow shit using the Bristol Stool Chart. Different species. But it is logical to compare cow shits with cow shits. Exhibits A, B, and D were all very similar. Mostly solid, but more watery than Exhibit C. Exhibit C resembled most like the image that comes to mind when you think of cow pies: those things people used to collect on the prairie for using as fire fuel. Hands down the best shit I’ve seen, excluding my own, Exhibit C.
Fifth encounter: The plethora of cow shit at Kiyuna Farm, touted as the only grazing farm in Okinawa. Exhibit EM and Exhibit EN (for Milking and Non-milking).
Exhibit EM (some cows just keep walking) …
…from one of my fav. cows too:/
In comparison to Exhibits A-D, Exhibits EM and EN are a sad story. At any given time of the year, the cows at Kiyuna Farm are split between milking and non-milking cows. Currently there are 14 milking cows and 9 non-milking cows. A cow is designated milking if it has recently given birth, and is therefore producing milk. The milking and non-milking cows are fed both Australian imported grass (kusa in Japanese) and animal feed (esa). The esa is a mixture of tofu, okara (the leftover soypulp from the tofu process), ground up rice hulls, vitamins and minerals. Because Australian grass is expensive and space is limited in the cow pen, non-milking cows are returned back to the field after two feedings of kusa and esa. The milking cows alternate eating the kusa and esa the whole day.
Exhibit EM is completely different than Exhibit EN. Sometimes its goopy. Other times it’s runny, its mushy, and at times it just dribbles out of the cows. On the contrary, Exhibit EN can be inspected at 6:30am sharp after the girls have been herded back to the pens from the fields. This cow shit is darker in color and quite solid. It strongly resembles Exhibit C from Nepal. Judging by the cow shit here at Kiyuna, it’s healthier to be a non-milking cow than a milking cow. And when comparing Exhibit EN with Exhibit C, the shit says its better to be a 100% grazing cow than a 95% grazer. (There’s bound to be some runny cow shit from the non-milkers out in the field too.)
So what’s the relationshit between your shit and cow shit?
There’s an adage, ‘you are what you eat.’ But, you are also what the animal ate and what the animal shits like.
Do you drink milk?
Are you drinking 100% grass fed milk?
Cows are meant to only eat grass. The cow shit is the sign. Diarrhea is a body’s natural response to expel something the body wants to get rid of.
The milk from Exhibit A and Exhibit EN were delicious. With the milk from Exhibit D, we made lassi and then made butter from that lassi – 5 minutes of easy work and you have some calories to enjoy afterwards (who needs a gym when you’re live an active lifestyle…………..).
At Canaan Slow Farm, another wwoofing farm here in Okinawa, a friend was frustrated with the fact that consumers are not curious about the process behind the products they are consuming. They simply buy anything off the shelf that has the ‘Organic’ label without question or concern. Like I told my Dad once, ‘when I buy ‘Organic,’ at least I’m paying for the chance that it’s ‘Organic.’ (Yes, I admit I am not the best consumer out there either.)
I urge you (dare you) to call up the company your milk comes from and ask them, “what’s your cow’s shit look like?”
Teacher to students*: “Attention class, please raise your hand if you drink milk from a cow that has diarrhea 24/7.”
What are we feeding the kids at school????????????????
Images of the cow shit I’ve seen would be great for a Chick-Fil-A commercial.
Got Diarrhea? Eat more chicken. (Factory chicken – a-whole-nother story.)
The 100% grass-fed movement back in the US has yet to take affect in Japan, the 3rd strongest economy in the world. And after seeing the cow shit here on Kiyuna Farm, I can understand why the 100% grass-fed movement is gaining traction and deserves to. The 100% grass-fed movement is an example of how human intervention was never needed. We have learned a valuable lesson by tampering with their natural diet of grass (and the grasshoppers and the spiders and crickets found in the fields). The lesson is that it was a mistake to give the cow anything else but grass. (What other ‘steps forward’ in society have we made that are actually steps in the wrong direction?) We thought we were stepping forward when we were able to produce milk on a massive scale.
Okay. Calm down. Don’t be afraid and start shitting your pants. Look, just because you drink non-grass fed milk doesn’t mean you’re bound to have diarrhea (24/7). Otherwise Kiyuna Farm and the countless other dairy farms and milk factories across the world would have gone out of business long ago. People would have stopped coming back for more. But, the human is a magnificent creature of adaptability. Think about the spectrum of the food consumed all across the world. If it comes from the ground, we’ve tried it (and died trying it). If it flies or swims, likewise. But do you want to adapt to the milk of a sick animal? Let’s think about the opposite case: would you want to drink milk from an animal that hasn’t pooped for a week? It’s simply a matter of choice. You can choose to drink milk from a healthy animal or an animal that has diarrhea everyday. Or you can choose to cut out milk completely. Remember, every time you spend that dollar you are casting a vote for what you want to exist in the world.
Here’s to our relationshits with the other shit from the other animals we eat (if we choose to eat animals).
My secret to healthy poop:
Eat the esa. I’ll miss Kiyuna.