As I read more about health and nutrition, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that a lot of what is wrong with people’s health in the “western world” is the food we are eating. Our grandparents mainly ate what would today be considered a semi-vegetarian diet: fresh, local, seasonal fruit and vegetables, cheese, butter, relishes and pickles, and whole grain bread. At the end of the week was the traditional Sunday roast: beef, pork, or chicken.
If you are on a tight budget, eating meat at every meal is financially disastrous. Although we have the privilege of relatively cheap meat, it’s still expensive enough to impact your food budget drastically. The bottom line is that if you eat frugally for six days of the week, you can afford to have a nice roast on Sunday.
While conventionally raised meat may be cheaper than naturally raised, there are other costs involved. The places where the animals are raised are called CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feed Operations, also called “factory farms”. The meat that comes out of CAFOs is frequently tainted with e. coli, salmonella, and so on. This contamination is inherent to the factory conditions the animals are raised in. The animals are also treated in abominable ways – cruelty and mistreatment is part of the system as no-one really cares about the animals, which are seen as a commodity rather than as a living being deserving of a basic level of decency in how they are treated.
The alternative is naturally raised, or “grass fed”, animal. The problem is that grass fed is also twice the price of conventionally raised – or more! At the end of the day extra price is worth it. According to the National Institutes of Health, grass fed beef is significantly higher in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Instead of swallowing a pill every day, why not get the Omega-3s from oily fish or grass fed beef? Salmon is mighty tasty!
I know that for a lot of people the cost of grass fed looks eye-watering. Heck, I feel the same way! But if you eat frugally most of the time – lots of veggies, fruit, and fish – you can afford to eat the natural stuff from time to time, You gain health benefits, financial benefits, and you also feel better about the meat you are eating as it came from an animal that lead a much happier, natural life. What more can you ask for?