Months ago, I watched Food, Inc. and was pretty horrified. I wanted to start raising my own cows and chickens... but my hubby said "no". (I can't imagine why!) Then... I go to the grocery store and it isn't easy. $0.29/lb chicken vs. $5.99/lb chicken... hmm... If money weren't an issue for me, the decision might not be so hard.
Then I read "Skinny B!tch" which is basically a book that says become a vegitarian, don't drink alcohol, and only buy organic. I am going to eat meat. Period.
Then I read an article where a guy talked about the weight he had lost and he basically looks at meat as a garnish to his meals. And I thought that was a really interesting way of looking at it. I mean, how much meat do we really need?
I guess... I am just wondering if anyone else struggles with what to do about meat? Do you buy organic? Go to a butcher? Eat it on rare occassions? I worry a lot about my toddler. I want to feed him the best of the best... but how much is really necessary?
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I am of the personal belief that we donít ďneedĒ that much meat at all, if any. I know there will be plenty who disagree and thatís fine, weíre all entitled to our own opinions and they will always differ.
I went back to vegetarianism after I read Skinny B!tch because after watching the videos on humanekosher.com, I completely lost my appetite for meat. Like, literally, the next time I even attempted to eat beef, it tasted like blood (I know that sounds dramatic, whatev). It changed my perspective and I donít miss it at all. Physically, I feel so much better now that Iíve eliminated meat from my diet. My tummy seems to appreciate the change, my skin is better, I lose weight at a quicker rate.
So, for me, no meat. But if you must, the quality is really important and I do think it should be limited as much as possible.
I love meat! I believe meat is a necessity in our diets but we need to be thoughtful about how we eat it.
I have come to prefer chicken, pork, seafood and turkey over the years. This is even before I changed my lifestyle to include healthier eating. I just don't care for the taste of beef as much as the others.
I try to prepare/eat meat in a healthy manner, but I don't deny myself a hamburger or fried catfish if I really want it. I just try to plan for it and adjust my other foods. Portion control is everything in a healthier lifestyle and I try to stick to small servings, even of the meats prepared in a healthier manner.
I absolutely agree that meat is expensive compared to other forms of food, and high quality, ethically reared meat is even more pricey. Having said that, I manage to eat small amounts of meat regularly (usually one meal a day contains meat), and there is absolutely no way I would knowingly buy meat that was reared in an unethical way (e.g., battery farming of poultry, etc.). I am a full-time student, and support my partner who is currently unemployed, and I rely entirely on a student bursary (the money that the both of us live on is apparently less than I need to have an acceptable standard of living in this country). It's entirely possible to not be well-off, and eat meat that hasn't been produced by means of less farming practices.
If you want to eat meat regularly and avoid meat that is raised in a less-than-pleasant way, I personally feel that it's all about choosing less expensive types or cuts of meat, and cooking it in a way that allows you to "stretch" it out (i.e., not huge hunks of meat making up the bulk of a meal).
I regularly eat:
High-quality pork sausages (as they are, skins removed and made into meatballs, skins removed and crumbled up and cooked just like ground meat, fat drained off)
Free range turkey/pork mince (again, cooked as minced meat, or made into meatballs or burgers)
Free range turkey breast steaks (seasoned and lightly pan fried or grilled, diced and cooked in a sauce, folded around some sort of stuffing and baked in the oven, made into kebabs, etc.)
High quality lean beef steak mince (again, masses of options here!)
Because of expensive costs, I avoid:
Large, whole cuts of meat (e.g., lamb chops, beef steaks)
Unnecessarily processed meat (e.g., pre-sliced chicken breast strips, fresh ready made burgers or meatballs)
As you say in your post, by giving some through to where you purchase meat from, you can make sure that you are eating ethically reared meat, and you can also save money. In the UK, the prices that you find at different butchers shops vary quite a lot - sometimes it is more expensive than at the supermarket, and on other occasions, much cheaper. Obviously, cost varies considerably by product too. I'd really recommend shopping around and talking to your butcher about more economical, but still perfectly decent cuts of meat.
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Food Inc. really does open your eyes to the way food is produced. It's disgusting. At the end of the movie they talk about how we vote with our dollars. If the demand is there for good quality food then the large producers will make it. I've decided to not buy meats unless they are farm raised, grass fed (cows don't eat corn naturally) and without antibiotics. I'm sure some bad stuff is slipped in there but I want to a make conscious effort to change.
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