Eat Local… Meat

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Today, while reading about Michael Pollan’s new book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, I found myself nodding “yes,” in agreement with his message, which he succinctly summarized in In Defense of Food: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Pollan is preaching to the choir with me, but I did still order the new book — there’s still plenty of room for improvement in my diet!

In fact, I recently acknowledged that most of the changes I’ve made in the last few years — like joining a CSA, planting a garden, and cooking at home — revolve around the “mostly plants” part of my diet. But, as a life-long meat-eater* with no plans to convert to a strictly vegetarian diet, I decided it was time to apply the same standards to my meat choices. Let’s face it: It doesn’t make much sense to be eating organic lettuce and an heirloom tomato on top of a burger that has been injected with antibiotics.

So, about three months ago, I decided that I would a) eat less meat, and b) only eat meat from local sources. My local farm stand, Heron Pond Farm, offers meat from Kellie Brook Farm in Stratham, NH, so this certainly made the challenge easier. And, although the local meat is more expensive than what you pay in a supermarket, the cost was offset by the fact that I was buying less of it.

What I noticed immediately was that local meat looks a little different from “factory-farm” meat; there is more texture and — sorry — more blood. I was momentarily grossed out, but then reminded myself that the whole point was to be aware of where my meat comes from — if I am going to eat it, I should be able to look at it before it’s been turned into a breaded rectangle! (A recent conversation with my four-year-old, in which I realized that she had not made the connection between “a chicken” and “chicken” — despite the clue that it’s the same word — also highlighted this issue.)

I’m also so happy to not be buying the “factory-farm” meat that is contributing to what many cite as the #1 source of global warming (just google “factory-farm meat and global warming” for many sources). And, yes, I know that I am a drop in the ocean (make that a drop in 100,000 oceans), but we can’t NOT do sensible things just because we think our actions alone won’t have an impact.

Admittedly, I have not been totally vigilant. I still often cook with boxed chicken stock. Once, I made for friends a warm beet and bacon salad that turned out to be too delicious to resist. I even forgot my mandate a few times while out socializing. Oops! Mostly, though, I stuck to the plan. I was even able to order meat while dining out, thanks to restaurants like Zampa, in Epping, NH, whose owner buys from local NH farms. I’ve since loosened the reigns a bit to include meat that has been purchased by people whose quality assurance I absolutely trust, like Flatbread Pizza.

Ultimately, I decreased my meat intake by at least half, while increasing its quality. I think Michael Pollan would approve. Just don’t tell him about my dessert habit…I’m a little more resistant to change in that department!

*I recommend watching Food, Inc, or reading Eating Animals if you’re looking for more information. As for whether we should be eating meat in general…that is a whole different discussion!

Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic StudioFollow Maggie Battista on Instagram.

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