Cheap Proteins, Worth the Savings?
Pasture Raised Meat vs Conventionally Raised Meat
Grass-fed beef and pasture raised meats and eggs tend to be pricier but what they offer in terms of health and well-being is priceless. Where your food comes from and how it arrives on your plate is just as important as what you put on your plate. Think of it this way, you probably wouldn’t pick up a wad of chewing gum off the sidewalk and pat yourself on the back for having saved a dollar or two by not having to pay for it. Sidewalk gum carries bacteria, risk and less flavour. The meat that is conventionally raised in factories and pumped full of hormones may still look like meat, but it’s kind of like sidewalk meat. Read on to learn why high-quality protein sources are important for a healthier, leaner, happier you.
Bleach with your Chicken?
Unless you’re Donald Trump you probably wouldn’t consider ingesting bleach. What you may not realize is that if you’re eating chicken from the grocery store, chances are that’s exactly what you’re doing. That’s right, chickens undergo a chlorine bleach bath before they are packaged and sent to the supermarket to kill pathogens and bacteria. (This practice is banned in the EU, but not the U.S or Canada. Canada even bleaches beef!) Before they even reach that stage, chickens consume feed laced with antibiotics to keep them ‘healthy’. These drugs are passed on to us when we ingest the meat. The next time you hunker down to a plate of roasted chicken you may want to consider what else might be lurking on your plate.
You are what you Eat and So is Your Food
If you eat conventional meat, you may be getting more than you bargained for.
We all know we should eat the rainbow in terms of fruits and vegetables, varying colour on our plates to keep us healthy. Did you know some cows are also eating the rainbow? The candy kind, that is…
That’s right, cows in Wisconsin and other states are frequently fed candy (such as Skittles) by farmers looking to save money! If you are what you eat and what you eat ate (say that three times fast) then it’s pretty depressing to learn that cows are given candy, corn, and conventional feed laced with synthetic vitamins, antibiotics and hormones. All of those chemicals are stored in their fat. When ingested, those toxins are passed on to us.
My Beef with Grain-fed Cattle
Even when cows aren’t fed candy, conventional beef is likely to be raised on a diet of mostly grains, GMO corn, synthetic vitamins and possible hormones. The meat they produce will be higher in inflammatory fats, may contain added hormones which your body will have to process, and will likely promote inflammation which can lead to weight gain and disease!
Pasture raised beef, on the other hand is more nutritious. It boasts higher levels of CLA, (a fatty acid said to promote lean muscle mass and melt belly fat), along with more beta-carotene, B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also has a much healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats; vital to fight inflammation. Last but not least, grass fed beef may carry a lower risk of e-coli and bacteria than conventional meat.
Crack down on Conventional Eggs
Eggs are the basis of many weight loss diets out there, especially low carb and keto diets. While some people swear by these diets, others are confused as to why it doesn’t work for them. The answer may be that the diets are quantity protein diets, but not necessarily quality protein diets. Cage raised hens often don’t see the light of day and are fed high doses of antibiotics. This might explain why eggs from pastured hens are 3-6 times higher in vitamin D, a vital nutrient many of us are deficient in. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to everything from depression to an increased risk of multiple sclerosis according to the Mayo Clinic. These birds are also given antibiotics. Hmm, a delicious healthy egg white omelette with spinach and a side of penicillin anyone?
The concern over antibiotics in animal feed is the increased risk of creating super bugs, by making the population antibiotic resistant. Eggs from chickens that roam around a farm eating insects and grass are healthier overall and higher in nutrients such as brain boosting choline.
The cost to eat organic, ethically sourced protein as naturally raised as possible may not seem worth it, especially if you eat a lot of it. I get it. Eating less meat that’s better quality and balancing your plate with more vegetables can help offset the higher price. Also, consider that the short-term savings from buying factory meat may contribute to hormonal changes, inflammation, weight gain and possible exposure to toxins.
Where to Shop
I like to shop locally, from farms where I can see how the animals are raised, what they are fed, and ultimately what I’m putting into my body. I feel it’s better to eat less meat and have it come from a healthy source than eat more of the cheaper factory raised products. If you have children it may help to reduce their overall pesticide exposure as studies show that children fed an organic diet have lower levels of pesticides in their urine. One of the farms I use is Wild Meadows, a family run farm that offers ethically raised meat sources and eggs.
How to find a Farm Near You
If you live outside the delivery area for Wild Meadows, you can find a farm near you by searching for pasture raised meats and researching local farms in your area. In the U.S, there are a number of websites, including: americangrassfed.org, eatwild.com, eatwellguide.org and localharvest.org, with useful directories for locating grass-fed beef and pasture raised protein sources in your area.
Eat Well Be Well
Eating healthy isn’t hard, it just takes some strategy. Making healthier choices such as choosing cleaner protein sources and organic produce when possible, can make a big difference. Start small. When you start to have more energy from your meals and look and feel better it will motivate you in the right direction.
If you aren’t ready to commit to ordering from a farm but want to make healthier choices pay attention to labels. Choose organic, pasture raised protein sources whenever possible. If you aren’t sure what to look for, I’m happy to share which brands I prefer. Set up a virtual grocery store tour where I can show you the best healthy swaps for your favourite treats, how not to be fooled by labels and ways to shop to keep your body healthy and your tastebuds happy. Just mention that is what you want and we’ll set it up!