Cut your meat consumption by 2/3 for your health
You may think it strange coming from someone who farms pigs and other animals for meat that I would be advising anyone that will listen to eat less meat! But I think it’s an important step in being a more sustainable society for so many reasons. At the top of the list is for your health!
I’m not going to advise anyone to conform to any particular diet or tout the benefits of veganism or even vegetarianism. If you want to do that, fine with me, but I happen to think we all need some animal protein from a variety of sources to maintain optimal health. However, we found ourselves slipping into a diet that was heavy in meat and dairy. Likely because my husband has reactions to many plant foods and he, for the most part, doesn’t react to meat or dairy.
There’s a ton of new science out there!
Our health is very important to us. Most folks that start a market-type farm are in their 20s or early 30s with lots of energy and … cartilage. And here we are taking it to task as more of a mid-life crisis. We’ve been looking for new science. Something that could guide us to lots more healthy years. That search led us to a book called Lifespan; Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To by David A. Sinclair Ph.D. and Matthew D LaPlante. There is a TON of new science out there!! They’ve really been making a lot of breakthroughs with aging or anti-aging and it’s really exciting. I highly recommend reading or listening to it. But one of the takeaways to live a long, healthy life is to eat a lot less meat and animal products. To eat a lot less in total as well. How much less? About a third of what the average American would eat.
Ok, so what does that have to do with anything? Well… we’re farmers. We kind of have a lot to lose if everyone cuts their meat consumption by 2/3rds, right?! Wrong. One of the other points in the book is to eat more nutrient-dense food. That… my friends is where I come in as your local farmer. Organic/permaculture/no-till/compost-rich styles of farming have been proven over and over again to produce much higher nutrition density in every fruit and vegetable. Pastured pork, pasture rotated chicken, free-range eggs, pasture rotated rabbit, and grass-fed beef all have a higher concentration of healthy fats, a higher concentration of protein, and higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals when compared to their industrialized, CAFO counterparts they sell at the grocery store.
Also, an interesting fact, fruits and vegetables that are imperfect… those that maybe have some pest damage or struggled a little with drought or imperfect soil are shown to be better for you than those that had no pressure and grew easily. So a little cabbage moth nibble on your cabbage or those spots on your apples are an indication that you’re getting better nutrition.
This is not what I thought they
meant by “rescuing” “ugly” vegetables!
Now that is not to be confused with old vegetables. I recently decided to try the new produce website where they deliver “ugly” produce to your door. I was seriously thinking it would be the vegetables and fruit with nibbles and spots and was so excited to get that good stuff off-season after our winter stores are used up. What came to my door instead was just really old food. Like lettuce that looked like the store threw it away. A bag of apples where the one on the bottom was so severely bruised I had to toss it to the pig bowl immediately. The cucumber was frozen, the broccoli was limp. I had to dig out the oxidation spots on the sweet potatoes. This is not what I thought they meant by “rescuing” “ugly” vegetables! I’m all for keeping food from going to the garbage, but give it to the local food pantry… not sell it for near retail price and then ship it across the country!!! Like seriously, the lettuce is from Yuma, AZ! That’s a 2000 mile trip! Plus the date on the bag was almost 2 months ago!!!
Old vegetables and fruit actually LOSE their nutrition with age. Making it less nutrient-dense so that it takes more vegetable calories to give you the same amount of vitamins and minerals. So take my word for it… stay away from these “rescue” produce websites. Just buy the freshest organic produce you can find from the store in the off-season.
The best, though, is when you can grow your own! Get a garden going or keep it going if you’ve already started. It will only get better! After that, your local farm CSA or farmer’s market is the best bet! You’ll be getting the freshest, healthiest produce, meat, and eggs you can possibly buy and they’ll be local to your region. The furthest I travel is about 40 miles from our farm for the farmer’s market. That sure as heck beats 2000 miles!! And I picked your lettuce within a day.
Make it last 2 or 3 dinners instead of just one
If we cut back our meat consumption and buy less food overall, then that reduces our total grocery bill. So then we’re able to afford high-quality food! See where I’m going? Then you can afford to buy MY farm’s produce, meat, and eggs!!! And I’ll be able to serve a lot more of our community members! I really believe our diet has everything to do with our health. I hope you consider swapping that CAFO roast for one of mine and make it last 2 or 3 dinners instead of just one. Serve more fresh, organic vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and whole grains alongside it to fill those bellies because I want you to be the healthiest you too.