Transitioning your family over to a whole foods diet can be fun and once you learn what to look for and where to get the healthier options it will be like second nature to you! The first two sessions about healthier drink options and great tasting healthy snack ideas are a good place to start and now it’s time to dive into some substantial protein ideas and how to access clean meats!
Eating clean meat is a lot harder to do now then it was years ago but it’s not an unattainable goal! At the very least, you can make your families’ meat consumption much better then the typical American diet is right now. I try not to be the bearer of gloom and doom, but to understand WHY it is so important to eat clean meats it’s best to learn some of the pitfalls of today’s meats that we have access to in the local grocery store. Thanks to the “industrial meat production machine” which provides a majority of our meat, many times the animals are confined to very small cages or feed lots. Because this sort of living condition only harbors disease the animals must be fed a steady diet of antibiotic laden feed just to help them fight off the infections they are constantly exposed to. Not only is this the reality, but the animals are leading a cruel and painful existence until they are finally slaughtered for the grocery store shelves. I don’t know about you but I love animals and that really disturbs me! The feed has become almost exclusively GMO so the short existence the animal has they are fed a steady diet of inferior food in less than ideal conditions. I know this paints a very bleak picture but sadly this is the reality for most of the meat provided in the United States. Now it stands to reason to me that this would not be the “ideal” meat for me to eat or feed to my family! It can’t be as healthy as a happy animal that is kept out in the sunshine, on green grass, living in a reasonably contented state until the end of their life. Without laying out some traumatic pictures of feed lots for you to see for further convincing, let’s just jump to some ways to find some healthy meats!
Local all the way!
Your local farmer is your best friend! You can usually go take a look at his farm and get to know his practices by speaking to him. Where does he get his feed? Are the animals allowed access to the grass and sunshine? How does he treat them for parasites/illness? I know this takes a little bit of time but once you do this and find a good reliable farmer he is worth his weight in gold! Often times some of the farmers in the area will have a CSA available and you are able to have a certain amount of meat “reserved” for you each month to run by the farm and pick up. This helps the farmer have a more reliable source of income and ensures that you have the healthy meat your family needs.
“All Natural” means nothing
If you are going to get your meat from the grocery don’t let phrases like “all natural” fool you into thinking you’re getting good healthy meat. That literally means nothing and is just something they slap onto a label to make the consumer think they’re getting something good and healthy. “Free Range” is better but may mean the chickens are just able to see the outside and are not crammed into a tiny cage. That doesn’t mean they are not sitting on top of each other in the bottom of a barn and could possibly walk out into a tiny piece of ground and back inside again. “Organic” at least means that the food is not GMO and is not covered in pesticides which is better. The gold standard would be to find “Organic, pastured” meat. This ensures the animal is allowed outside in a pasture and fed organic food. This would be the healthiest option at the store.
Healthier fish options
There are things you have to be careful with concerning fish as well. If you buy fish that is “farmed” think about a land animal stuck in a tiny cage fed antibiotics and that is probably the version you’re getting in the fish world. The fish are kept in small bodies of water and fed antibiotics to deal with illness that living in close proximity, crowded conditions might cause. Look for “wild caught” fish, especially cold water fish like Cod, Salmon and Halibut. These are the fish that are living in the deepest parts of our oceans away from more of the contaminants then the others. The good thing is that Cod and Salmon are easily found and somewhat affordable. I am able to buy them frozen in my local grocery store. Be careful though because there is a lot of “farmed” salmon out there so read those labels!
I grew up with a wonderful hunter in my family. My Dad was always bringing home different kinds of meat to enjoy. Now that I have the AG allergy I am much more limited but still able to enjoy animals such as ducks and turkey! Usually wild game is very lean, grass-fed and a great economical source of protein. So if you know a hunter or fisherman who will share the bounty with you, you are blessed!
I know some of this can be overwhelming which is why I wanted to start with the other two topics first on the journey to changing your families eating habits. But all good things are worth doing a bit of research and leg work to accomplish. There are many families successfully navigating these things and changing their health radically and it is really an attainable goal! You can do this!!
Roasted Rosemary Chicken
1 pastured organic roasting chicken
2 Tablespoons of fresh or dried rosemary
1 tsp. Himalayan sea salt
4 organic potatoes
5 organic carrots
2 tsp. Adobo seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
What you do:
Peel and cut potatoes and carrots. Dice onion. Coat roasting pan with olive oil and rub chicken down with oil. Place chicken in pan and place vegetables around chicken. Sprinkle garlic powder, sea salt, adobo and Rosemary over all of the ingredients. Roast on 350 degrees covered for one hour and then remove cover and roast for another 30 minutes to brown bird.
Next week: Step#4 Clean plant-based foods
Related links: Step #1 Transition to a whole foods diet