Meat. Good or bad? Healthy and necessary, or deadly and should never be eaten again? Good news for the carnivores! There is a way to make a healthier choice. It’s not necessarily the consumption of meat that is harmful but more importantly it’s what the animal eats and how it lived that is cause for alarm. This brings about a new set of circumstances for most folks who frequent the grocery store isles. How much consideration are you giving to the food you eat, to the food you are feeding to your children, and to the fuel for your body?
Consider the steps you go through to hire a painter, a roofer, a mechanic, or any other professional product or service provider. Chances are you scrutinize your cable and internet companies or your next cell phone purchase more than you do your food source. Not only do you comparative shop but you’ll spend hours trying to decide which new toy suits your device envy. Reading, watching videos, and consulting friends and family to name a few. Price, functionality, features, benefits, warranties, references, and the list goes on of the exhaustive research that is done.
So why are we so nonchalant about our food? Does it really matter how it’s raised, processed and packaged? Everyone is buying it right off the shelf. Why should I bother to give any additional thought to food? Surely the FDA is protecting us. What’s the difference in industrial raised and pastured or free range anyway?
The major concerns are the diet of the animal and its overall health and well-being during life. New research shows pasture-raised animals are more nutritious than those from factory farms. The cows, pigs, and chickens that live a lifestyle similar to what they would in the wild is preferred. Eating grasses, grubs, insects; walking, running, playing, exercising, and living in an environment with little or no stress is preferred. A humane existence as well as careful rotation and processing brings a healthier option to your table.
This is very different than the mega-industrialized version of meat production. Animals in extreme conditions living in cramped spaces, fed food that their bodies are not equipped to process, and having clipped beaks and tails to keep them from hurting each other are just a few of the stressors that can lead to medications. So you are eating the animal of your choice, along with what they ingested, including perhaps their genetically modified food source and antibiotics. Does this sound like the healthiest option?
There are few things that you can totally control. What you eat and cook for others is absolutely your decision. If you are going to eat meat, know where it comes from, how it was raised, and what you are ingesting. Do a bit of research. Find local sources for your food. Consider a smaller portion size, less frequency, and increase your nutrient level with plant based sources. Trade the beef patty for a lentil or bean burger. Substitute thousands of combinations of plants into your meals and feel the change in your body. You can take small steps to change your behaviors that will lead you to a healthier lifestyle. It’s simply your choice.