Food is an investment. It’s an investment in your health, quality of life, even your future. Although, American’s spend less on food than any other country in the world, that doesn’t mean that we feel we can afford organic, pasture raised, grass-fed food. Quality food is expensive. If you’re on a budget, which most of us are, then I’m here to tell you which food, out of all of the foods out there, is worth the extra expense and why.
Survey says…….Protein! Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding (sorry, old Family Feud reference-couldn’t be helped)
Organic fruits and vegetables are never a bad investment, however, if you’ve got to chose between organic produce and pastured/grass fed beef, I’d recommend the beef every time. This applies to all animal proteins, including dairy (which I will save for another article).
The reason why is because toxins, whether they are environmental, from the feed (GMO grains), or antibiotics and hormones, are stored within the fat of any protein (beef/pork/poultry/seafood). Although we’ve been taught (for a very long time) that saturated fat is unhealthy, this simply is not true.
Saturated fat from protein that was raised under the conditions in which it would naturally thrive, eating foods it would naturally choose to eat (graze on grass, root for tubers, scratch for worms) is extremely healthy.
For instance, the lard that is rendered from pigs that have been allowed to free range, feasting on roots and tubers, contains more omega 3 fatty acids, than that of wild salmon! Obviously, when that same fat is filled with antibiotics, hormones, GMO laden feed, and God only knows what from the water source, it is a concentrated quagmire of toxins that is better left on the grocery store shelves.
But It’s Expensive!
Yep, it is. However, conventionally raised protein is actually more expensive than you think it is. Why? It’s well known that corn, wheat and soy (aka commodity crops) are subsidized. The government has taken YOUR tax dollars and decided FOR YOU that 60 billion dollars should be paid out to farmers in the form of agricultural subsidies. This doesn’t mean that our nice, local farmer down the street got a dime of that 60 billion.
Nope, that money goes right into the pockets of a few large Midwestern Industrial Agricultural Corporations to grow commodity crops.
The effects of that subsidy just keep rolling down hill. Because there’s such an excess of those cheap commodity crops (corn,wheat and soy), it gets used as feed for the cattle/pigs/chicken/turkeys/farmed salmon/humans. The animals, which are not meant to eat such things, either at all, or, in excess, get sick. Hence, the whole antibiotics in the feed venue begins.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
If you don’t want to continue to pay for poorly raised, poisoned protein, then you must VOTE WITH YOUR $$!
Every time you buy protein that has been raised by a farmer who has chosen not to take the subsidy (either via actually raising the grain, or by using the cheap grain to feed to his animals), and raise the animal in an environment in which they will naturally thrive, you are:
Feeding your family a truly nourishing source of protein and fat
Supporting local jobs
Voting to get government out of the farming/food business
Promoting healthier, happier animals
History Doesn’t Lie
Protein and healthy fat are what we were designed to eat. Vegans and vegetarians will argue this point. History tells us otherwise. There has been no record of any indigenous tribe living by choice on a solely vegan diet (yep, even the tribes that subsisted off of corn and beans would eat grubs and insects for protein). I say by choice because during times of strife, when protein was not available for one reason or another, people would subsist on what was available (often at great cost to their health).
Saturation is NOT the Issue
For a long time, meat and saturated animal fat have been blamed for just about *every disease out there. And yes, it’s true, the fat and protein from an animal raised in an unhealthy environment, being fed unhealthy food, drinking tainted water will obviously produce…unhealthy meat and fat. It could be saturated or unsaturated.
Saturation is NOT the issue! Saturated fats protect our liver, provide us with a valuable combination of omega 3’s and 6’s, and help us to feel full and satiated (thus effectively turning off the “eat more” signal in the brain).
Luckily we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Buy meat from a reputable source (directly from a local farmer is generally best and budget-friendly), and enjoy every morsel knowing that your body is being truly nourished.
Ideas to make pastured meat more affordable:
Use your tax refund and buy half a cow/pig/lamb
Get a few families together and split the cost of a side of beef
Coordinate a bulk buy in your area. Farmers are often happy to offer a group discount if multiple cows are purchased. One way to keep it simple is to instruct the butcher to grind all of the meat into hamburger, and then each family purchases what they can afford (of course pre-ordering is necessary).
Raise your own chickens for meat (did you know that most meat (aka broiler) chickens are slaughtered at the precise age of 42 days ?). It’s a lot of work to process them, but you know exactly what those hens ate, how they were cared for, and that they were butchered with care and thankfulness.
*If you want to understand more about cholesterol and why the recommended low-fat diet is actually worsening the problem just search “cholesterol” on the Weston A. Price Foundation website. It will keep you busy for hours.