Updated: Feb 13, 2019
Diggin' right in and going to cover meats and seafood first as this is the one I have spent a ton of time on, adjusting, re-adjusting and I feel like it's a constant work in progress.
First, I am not a meat hater. I like some meats but the older I get, the less I gravitate to meat and this is for a variety of reasons: I just don't get as excited about it as a I used to. At some point I started lacking a desire for it. My family likes steak so I do eat a little when I cook it for them. But, how did I get here?
- The more I read about mass produced meat the more I became concerned about what I was eating. At one point I walked away from it completely and went vegetarian. Now I dabble but I am pretty particular...... I need to know where it is coming from. I rarely will eat "commercial meat."
- I will no longer buy meat from the grocery store. I used to pay extra for organic meat for years but (for me) it was just ok and not worth the price for the level of enjoyment. My only exception is if I am in a pinch, I will do store bought if it is grass fed and organic.
- I started buying from local farms, picking up at Farmers Markets, and ordering and having it delivered. I am very fortunate to have many options where I live.
Over time I began to understand better, what I was eating...... was eating. If that makes sense? I also paid attention to how they were being raised. Knowledge is power...... and so came the next adjustment! At this stage I knew I had to find a meat source I trusted and knew exactly how the animals were raised and fed. Here is where I landed:
- I want the animals I eat to be pasture raised and eating FROM the land they are grazing on. This is so important for me. So much packaging says "organic" and "free range." All well and good but it's a really nice way of tricking consumers. Example: "free range" can literally mean that a chicken can spend it's entire life in a warehouse where the door is open to the outdoors. It doesn't mean it actually gets outside. I'm serious. This goes for eggs too.
- One of my favorite books and quotes comes from Steven R. Gundry MD who says..... "you are what you eat but you are also what the thing you ate, ate." A chicken can be free range and organic fed but all this means is they are not being injected with hormones and they are eating "vegetarian feed" which equals CORN. Chickens are not supposed to eat corn. The are supposed to eat grass and insects and all the yummy things you find in a pasture.
- Now, back to commercial meat.... if it's not organic it's being fed GMO corn and being injected with hormones and antibiotics to grow fast. Oh and it's it locked up in a warehouse with 1000's of it's friends hanging out in their own stink. Watch just one documentary on this and it will break your heart.
I did my research and found a trusted source for my meats that are delivered monthly to my door. Pasture raised meat from farm to table. It is a co-op of farmers all pasture raising their animals to the same humane standards. Shockingly if you are paying for organic meats from the grocery store you will find these meats to be fairly priced. I buy mostly chicken but once a month I sneak in a red meat - this month we got strip steaks and the whole family gave a big thumbs up. I still buy from local farms at the farmers market but I am picky about which ones based on their practices. Most local farms are all pasture raised but some are feeding corn. I do my research.
Ok - seafood. I LOVE seafood, I would eat it everyday if I could. BUT - it's really hard to get fresh WILD CAUGHT seafood. Really hard. I live two hours from the ocean and it's still hard. So I settle.... I will only buy wild caught but sometimes you can only find that frozen. When I am near the water - I eat as much fresh as I can! My best advice here: Organic does not mean WILD CAUGHT. Farm raised fish are often treated with antibiotics, pesticides and fed corn and soy. Yes - corn and soy. CRAZY. Wild caught fish have eaten a natural diet. Period. So I stick to wild caught or pass.
I thought it would be helpful to cover the "what do you do when you eat out" quandary for this series. There is so much control at home. You lose that control when you eat out but if you are like me, you love to eat out. So here's what i do.....
- Try to stick to restaurants I trust. Local, family owned, locally sourced products. (One of those I feature on my FAVES page.)
- Seafood - I will ask if wild caught if the menu does not specify.
- If I am not sure, I go vegetarian.
- At the end of the day I love food and I love eating out. I do my best to not overthink it. I'm not going to die if I am at a ball game and eat a hot dog. LOL.
Lastly - some ask me why? It seems like so much work. It's not work for me because doing my research and reading and understanding is literally a hobby. I enjoy it. But I can see how this might drive others crazy.... which is why this is what I do and it's not for everyone. So much of the WHY is how I feel, there is a consequence to everything you put in your body. I will cover some of this in a future post - hormone and gut disruptors. UGH!
PART ONE complete. Please share your experiences and feedback. I do not want to use these blogs as endorsements..... but if you are ever interested in any suggestions on where I buy and source things feel free to reach out. If I can save you time and research, I am happy to!!