If your only choice is conventional meat/poultry... which one is best? - Mothering Forums
Traditional Foods > If your only choice is conventional meat/poultry... which one is best?
Thystle's Avatar Thystle 12:49 AM 09-21-2011

If you are unable to get grass fed/organic poultry or meat... what would you choose from the "conventional" choices at the regular grocery store?

 

 

 



prancie's Avatar prancie 11:51 AM 09-21-2011

I would choose the least processed ingredients possible.  


Thystle's Avatar Thystle 11:59 AM 09-21-2011

Ahhh but if the choices are meat related... would you choose conventional chicken, pork or beef?


LCBMAX's Avatar LCBMAX 12:23 PM 09-21-2011

I like to tell myself that turkey is a teensy bit better since there seem to be regulations on turkey production that are not on chicken or beef. (I haven't actually researched this, so it's purely a self-serving delusion.) I also would choose whole cuts of anything over ground meat products of any kind. 


prancie's Avatar prancie 09:06 AM 09-24-2011

I would personally avoid chicken first.  Plus, you cab get grass-fed beef in wholes,halves or quarters that is less expensive per pound than conventionally raised beef from the store.

 


luckiest's Avatar luckiest 03:45 PM 09-24-2011

My understanding is that a lot of the nasty stuff, like pesticide contaminates in non-organically grain fed animals, accumulates in the fat.  On top of that, grain fed animals have virtually no omega-3s in their fat, only omega-6s.  I can't remember where I read this...probably on Mark's Daily Apple.  So I'd avoid the fat, which would mean poultry over beef.  But I also second the tip to buy a half cow - multiple families can go in together.  Farms near me sell halved and quartered cows, butchered into cuts and sealed, for about $6/lb.  


prancie's Avatar prancie 06:10 PM 09-24-2011

in Alabama I know a farmer doing grass-fed beef for $3-4 dollars a pound.  His free range chickens are $10 each!  So, if you look around, ask around, craiglist, ask at the farmers market, you can find farmers selling beef, pork, chicken, goat, lamb, duck etc for far below grocery store prices.  Some will even custom raise animals for you.   


Wolfcat's Avatar Wolfcat 01:45 PM 09-25-2011

I totally understand where the OP is coming from. Never mind that I live in the middle of beef-country Nebraska, I would have to special-order grass-fed meat online, in bulk, and pay for delivery, etc. On my budget, that is just cost prohibitive. I can't justify spending that much money on food that we can't even store properly. There is a co-op in NE that does grass-fed beef, but not in MY part of the state, which seems to be par for the course for decent foods around here.

 

The long and the short of it is this, I have to choose what I can buy that's "good" and what I have to settle for as "decent". We buy whole grains, real food and fresh meats, but we cannot buy grass-fed.

 

If someone wants to buy it for us, that'd be great! thumb.gif


littlest birds's Avatar littlest birds 08:43 PM 09-25-2011

I also live in "beef country" in KY where there is grass fed beef being raised on hilly pasture all over.  I want to know--where is this plain old beef going?  These are mainstream farmers raising this.  So can anyone explain to me how much of the conventional beef in stores may be coming from pastured cattle anyway?  Looking around me, I think a fair bit of it is.  Pasture saves money especially where land is cheap and businessmen selling beef care plenty about that.  I'm VERY curious about this..

 


Ermintrude's Avatar Ermintrude 08:57 PM 09-26-2011

Hi, I would check out Home Grown Cow (http://www.homegrowncow.com) to see if they had anything there that fits my needs.

 


1love4ever's Avatar 1love4ever 12:05 AM 09-27-2011

Cows that are pastured are almost always "grain finished" in a feed lot with genetically modified, sprayed corn.   They are usually there for a few weeks to months, sometimes longer as is the case with the feed lot about a mile from where I grew up.

There is a federal law that does not allow synthetic hormones to be used in poultry or pigs, and there is a law that does not allow antibiotics to be used in bison.  But all of those things are allowed in cows, so beef would be my LAST choice!  At my local Walmart which is very small and conservative, they sell Harvestland chicken which I would recommend over Tyson any day.  It is not much more expensive but is more humane and healthier!


SageR's Avatar SageR 11:53 AM 09-27-2011

When funds are tight the only meat I buy is chicken.  Our supermarket has a "natural" version is which is more expensive than the regular stuff but about half as much as pastured organic chicken.  I know it isn't ideal but since there are regulations about this stuff at least there are no added hormones, no antibiotics, no animal by-feed,  and no fillers/injections with soy. I buy whole chickens, which equal a couple of actual meat meals, plus a nice amount of stock which we can then use in soups and bean dishes, all for about $10. 

 

I only buy beef and pork when we can afford to get local, pastured organic.

 

You didn't include this on your list but I really like eggs for affordable animal protein and fat.  Even organic pastured eggs around here are under $5 a dozen.  We have some chickens so we don't buy them but if I had to prioritize I would buy eggs before any meat source.  Some weeks we will only have a serving or two of meat but we eat eggs, pastured butter, and chicken stock/bone broth almost every day.  The difference in energy level and behavior we all have on egg days versus non egg days is remarkable!


FillingMyQuiver's Avatar FillingMyQuiver 05:53 PM 10-01-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlest birds View Post

I also live in "beef country" in KY where there is grass fed beef being raised on hilly pasture all over.  I want to know--where is this plain old beef going?  These are mainstream farmers raising this.  So can anyone explain to me how much of the conventional beef in stores may be coming from pastured cattle anyway?  Looking around me, I think a fair bit of it is.  Pasture saves money especially where land is cheap and businessmen selling beef care plenty about that.  I'm VERY curious about this..

 


Most cattle is started off on pasture, but then for their last 90 days are grain finished. So, the farmers whose cows you see are probably selling them to feedlots when they reach a certain size (I don't recall off the top of my head what that weight is).
Koalamom's Avatar Koalamom 08:09 AM 10-04-2011
I would choose chicken if I couldn't afford organic meat (which I can't). I would also pick Perdue over generic. I can totally see the difference in the fats and meat. I just got chicken legs for 50 cents lb and trimmed off the spine for stock, trimmed the fat for rendering, and have beautiful cut for baking now. I get grass fed beef for $5 a lb and when we eat it I mix it with beans to stretch it.
Thystle's Avatar Thystle 02:16 AM 10-09-2011

Yep... some do not have local access to the "good stuff" and some cannot afford them. What might be cheap for you in your area might be many times the price in another. And add to that, many people live where there is no "grass" (desert locations for instance)... so free range is scarce and VERY expensive.

 

 

For example... "free range" chickens in my location actually cost upwards of $7 a POUND. As in a 4 pound chicken costs $28 dollars. Same "factory" chicken at the store will cost $3-$6.  greensad.gif

 

 

This isn't a question on if it's worth it at "any price"... I never said it wasn't. I simply asked an open question as many on here simply can't afford it.  shrug.gif


elus0814's Avatar elus0814 10:46 AM 10-12-2011

I understand where you're coming from, I'm in the same place. It doesn't matter to me that grass fed beef can be had by the half animal for $4/pound because I don't have a deep freezer and buying huge quantities doesn't make much sense when we could get word at any time that we have two weeks to pack up and move to another state (it's happened to us before and I had to give away or toss a ton of food). 

 

I buy all conventional meat at the grocery store, conventional hormone/antibiotic free milk at the grocery store, and I buy eggs from pasture raised chickens at the farmers market. I could buy raw milk, grass fed beef, pastured chicken, and pastured pork but it would cost an arm and a leg to buy in small quantities and I would have to drive two hours each way to pick it up - not going to happen with a bunch of little ones in tow, not to mention the cost of gas. 

 

chicken: my understanding is that hormones and antibiotics are not allowed to be used on meat chickens, I do worry about pesticide from their feed getting into the fat so I buy lean cuts, like skinless breasts and add olive or coconut oil while cooking; I also try to avoid chicken with "retained broth", tyson usually has it on the package that their meat contains it

 

pork: we only have conventional generic pork at the on base grocery store (the nearest off base grocery store other than walmart is a 30 minute drive), we don't eat tons of pork so I don't stress about it, I just buy leaner cuts and trim excess fat

 

beef: we have two options, generic beef or laura's natural ground beef for twice the price. I buy the generic stuff. When I get ground beef I buy 97% lean and I look for leaner steaks and roasts. Many beef cows are raised on grass and "grain finished" on a feedlot, while this is not ideal it still means that the cow was only eating nasty feed for the last few weeks or months so I don't have a problem eating the beef.

 

fish/seafood: I buy only wild caught but I don't worry about the type of fish (unless I happen to the pregnant at the time, in which case I avoid bigger species such as shark and swordfish to lower my mercury intake).

 

other meats: We eat turkey only occasionally and I try to get birds that haven't had anything injected for flavor or moisture. I really like lamb and the lamb I can get is great and grass fed but it comes from down under so it's super expensive and is a rare treat. I've been getting into cornish game hens, I have no idea if they'er better for you but I can't imagine they're worse than chicken. We used to eat buffalo all the time when we lived on the high plains because it was cheaper than beef but it's difficult to find here and expensive when I do find it.


JElaineB's Avatar JElaineB 11:23 AM 10-12-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

chicken: my understanding is that hormones and antibiotics are not allowed to be used on meat chickens, I do worry about pesticide from their feed getting into the fat so I buy lean cuts, like skinless breasts and add olive or coconut oil while cooking; I also try to avoid chicken with "retained broth", tyson usually has it on the package that their meat contains it

 

 

Antibiotics are allowed in poultry production in the U.S., but a number of producers have supposedly chosen not to use them. Most that don't use it will indicate "antibiotic free" on the label.

 

For the OP, I would recommend that you look for antibiotic-free chicken if it is available and you can afford it, if not then go with conventional chicken. Conventional lamb is generally good, if it is available and you can afford it. For beef I would avoid ground beef in tubes. Larger cuts/steaks/roasts are best, but if you need ground beef I would try to get it in packages that have been wrapped in the store, or directly from the meat counter rather than in the tubes or in packages processed with carbon monoxide (the ones that have the very tight plastic wrap around them, usually with quite a bit of "air space" between the wrap and the meat). For pork I would go with fresh pork again, not packaged pork products that have been injected with who knows what. I will admit we do buy the supposedly nitrate-free "premium" Oscar Mayer weiners on occasion, DH has never found a healthier hot dog that he likes, and he likes hot dogs.


serenbat's Avatar serenbat 01:36 PM 10-12-2011

my deep concern is with commercial chicken and their diet - corn/soy and we don't want that - so no to commercial chicken and no to some organic commercial chickens/turkeys

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Larger cuts/steaks/roasts are best, but if you need ground beef I would try to get it in packages that have been wrapped in the store

 

 

most not all stores that grind their own are using better cuts (only scraps) and this is a good reason to go this way

 

 

 

did you try and ask your local grocery stores directly or thru the corp offices to get organic meats? without demand there is little incentive for a store to carry even corp organic meats--- also contacting some companies directly - if you are into hotdogs/lunchmeats get in-touch with http://www.applegatefarms.com/  they do coupons and store promotions

 

many companies give coupons- it helps a bit

 

I see laura's natural ground beef coupons all the time too

 

some chains even have their own brand of "naturals" for meats


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