As our society becomes more conscious about where we source our food from, sustainable meat — free range, organic, etc., — is becoming an increasingly popular option among those who aren’t crazy about going vegetarian or vegan, but want to make sure that the food they’re consuming was responsibly raised and packaged. On average, Americans eat a little over 65 pounds of beef a year and around 90 pounds of chicken per year, but we want to make sure that what we’re putting in our bodies isn’t pumped up with antibiotics and other questionable items. Grass fed steaks and free range chicken, for example, can also be better you. Free range pork or salmon harvested during salmon season can have better flavor than pork from massive farms or farmed salmon.
Why Is Ethical Meat and Fish a Better Nutritional Choice?
In 2001, a shocking report showed that between 60-80% of antibiotics that were made in the United States were actually fed to livestock to make them more resistant to disease. The plump poultry and sides of meat are often pumped up with fillers to make them look bigger and more appealing. Needless to say, none of that is great to be consuming on a regular basis.
If you look at grass fed beef, it has as much as seven times more beta carotene when compared to grain fed beef, even though right now it accounts for less than 3% of all beef sales in the United States. Farmed salmon has three times the amount of saturated fat compared to wild salmon. Even with just general fat, there’s about 13 grams of fat in a half filet of wild salmon, versus 27 grams in farmed salmon. Furthermore, wild salmon has over 30% fewer calories than farmed salmon, per the National Nutritional Database.
Pasture pigs also have 300% more Vitamin E and almost 75% more selenium in their milk, which creates healthier litters and healthier meat. Free range pork can be leaner and have a higher quality taste.
What are the Other Benefits of Grass Fed Meat?
However, there’s more than just nutritional benefits to eating responsibly. For those who dislike factory farming and consider it unethical, but aren’t quite willing to give up all meat and fish, grass fed meat and wild caught fish can offer a good alternative. The animals are treated more humanely, are eating natural products, and are antibiotic free.
It can also be better for the environment. Beef is not a terribly eco-friendly product, thanks to cows releasing methane, which is a strong greenhouse gas. However smart grazing can help curb those side effects. Furthermore, if we relied on wild caught fish and the amount of meat that can reasonably graze and be fed on the land we have, it may encourage people generally to eat less meat and fish and live within natural constraints without overtaxing the environment’s capacity.
Where Can I Find Sustainable Meat and Fish?
Sustainable meat and fish is becoming more popular and some supermarkets may carry it now. However, local farmer’s markets are a sure bet to find local meat and fish that’s raised by farmers or fishers in your area — and it offers you a great chance to support them directly! You can even chat with them about how the animal was raised and what their process is like. If you particularly like a farmer or fisher, you may even be able to buy from them outside of the farmer’s market.
Thanks to the Internet and faster methods of preserving and shipping, you may even be able to order free range pork or wild caught Alaskan salmon online now and have it delivered right to your doorstep. This can be a useful option if you live quite rurally or in an urban area that doesn’t offer too many opportunities for visiting farmer’s markets.
Whether you’re looking for free range pork, grass fed and free range chicken, or grass fed beef, know that you’re making a healthier, more environmentally friendly choice that can directly impact your local economy, health, and the world around you.