Do you start buying organic, battery chickens?
organic confined pork?
organic CAFO beef?
what am I missing?
I'm not making this a poll because I actually want to hear your reasoning.
Cristeen ~ Always remembering our warrior ~ Our is 3, how'd that happen?!?!
We welcomed another warrior in May 2012!!
2012 Decluttering challenge - 575/2012
I used to purchase organic 'free range' whole chickens and/or chicken legs/thighs (I don't have great access to pastured chicken, nor do I have the budget for it), but from what I've read about the omega 6s in the fat of non-pastured, grain fed chicken, organic or not, I now mostly buy antibiotic free chicken breasts, skinless/boneless, and prepare them by adding good fats like coconut oil/milk or using them in salads w/ EVOO based dressing. Certainly not ideal. But I get grass fed beef and pork more affordably and readily, and its the sacrifice I choose to make. (I also will take more fish oil on the days I eat non pastured meat.)
I was reading something recently that beef, b/c it is mostly saturated fat, has less of the O6 problem that chicken and pork do. So perhaps buying organic beef would be the lesser of all the evils? I'm really unsure still. It's something I'm continually researching... There was a post in the forums of MDA (that I can't find at the moment) about this topic...may be helpful?
I think there is a vast difference between pastured and any other meat--organic grain fed, even when 'free range' is not going to be nearly the quality of pastured IMO, and the biggest issue is w/ the fat. So, I'd probably try and stick to lean cuts of conventional meat (when you're going to go that route) and add good fats like CO etc to replace the animal fat...
I traditional foods
also, cows aren't designed to eat more than a smidge of grain, whereas chicken can handle eating plenty of grain. Not great but, it seems a little better. We locally have some pretty good choices for ok but not pastured chicken. Hoffman (might be pastured, or partly pastured or something but I don't know. the prices make me think it's not.), rosie, I sometimes buy mary's. I don't trust their advertising (I bought a "pasture raised" chicken for like 3.50 a pound at berkeley bowl the other day. uhhhh... why can you do pasture chicken for half the price of anyone else), but it's pretty decent chicken if not pastured.
Nowadays we mostly don't eat any meat besides lamb (not organic, but from a good source so not CAFO) and occasional organic beef (here that means it has eaten grass in the summer and grain/hay in the winter and the last few months of its life). Also occasional wild-caught fish. We don't eat chicken at all anymore because non-pastured chickens, even organic, are almost uniformly raised in horrific conditions and we can't afford the pastured ones. Apparently in the US the only difference between "organic" and "conventional" poultry is that the organic has had an organic diet. They still grow up and are slaughtered in appalling conditions. Of course I'm sure it depends on the individual farms, but I personally will not eat non-pastured poultry anymore because the great majority (like 99% in the US) of it comes from factory farms. As for pork, we mostly don't eat that either because we don't have access to pastured. Not only does that affect the quality too much for us to justify buying it, but we feel that pigs are so intelligent that raising them in any conditions but pasture is wrong.
Until quite recently we were getting slacker with our meat choices, mostly due to the budget and convenience. Then I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Zoer. I would highly recommend it. The author is vegetarian himself but doesn't condemn meat eating. His book explores ethical and environmental issues around eating and raising meat animals, and devotes a large portion to describing factory farms and slaughterhouses. Absolutely horrifying in every way. He also describes small family farms that raise happy, healthy animals as well as small family-run slaughterhouses that kill meat animals more humanely, and then goes on to explain how factory farms are constantly running these small enterprises out of business. Not only that, but the "organic" label means very little for most meat, so if you can't buy it from a small farm/pastured it's probably factory farmed at least to some extent.
I suppose I knew all this already, but somehow being presented with it in such a clear and non-ideological way made me reconsider my food choices. I'm certainly going to continue eating meat, because it helps me be healthy and I don't think it's inherently wrong. But I think for my personal integrity I need to limit my choices to only what I know is not causing a mountain of social, ethical, and environmental problems, and unfortunately that weeds out a lot of the choices, particularly in the US (I live in Europe, where it's not quite as bad but still going in that direction). If it means that my budget can't include the variety and quantity of meat that I would like, I have to accept that, not just buy some of my meat from less good sources.
Anyway, I'm really not trying to moralize, just trying to explain what has gone into my own decisions in similar circumstances. If I were going to continue eating all kinds of meat but couldn't afford the best sources for all of them, I would definitely prioritize poultry and pork as those seem to have the worst problems in conventional production. Beef and lamb, even in the States, mostly spend a lot of their lives on pasture even when they are conventional (if I understand correctly) and just go to feedlots in the end of their lives to be fattened up on grain. Still bad, but not as bad as a pig that eats nothing but soy (even if it is organic) and never sees the sun.
Me and DH and sweet baby DD born 08/2011.
In addition to the ground beef, I bought pastured chicken backs, which go for about $1 a pound here. I made stock out of those, and picked the usable chicken out to use in a meal.
That was what we did, and felt very well nourished!
Mama to two sweet boys, a 7yo and a toddler .
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein
And make sure you get bone in cuts and take the bones off peoples plates, stick them in a freezer bag and make broth out of them once there is enough. We basically never buy bones especially for broth. But you probably do this anyway.
Leila, mama to Eleanor (10/08) and Emmett (4/10)
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My mil still keeps buying conventional meat I haven't been able to get her to switch over, so I cook what she buys and cry inside.
I am hoping to be able to use this thread to convince her (not likely, she blocks out what she doesn't want to deal with) or help direct towards cheaper cuts to make it easier to shop with her form the dollar perspective.
I've read about skirt other places, I think I will try that! I already do bone broths & stuff like that, add Jensen gelatin to lots of my meals.