Sunday, January 8, 2012

Healthier 2012: Tip #4 --Choose your meats carefully


If you have watched "Food, Inc." or "Fresh," or read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma -- among other sources -- you know that our nation's industrial food system is terribly unhealthful and environmentally irresponsible. One of the worst offenders is how we raise, slaughter, distribute and consume meat -- not just beef and pork, but also poultry and seafood. (Read about CAFO -- concentrated animal feeding operation -- and you'll see what I mean.)

Unless you're vegetarian, it's almost impossible to opt out completely from the industrial meat system. For instance, when eating out you're highly likely to be served meat, poultry or fish that was inhumanely raised, fed ingredients that the animals don't naturally consume, handled in ways that promote dangerous food-borne illnesses and/or farmed (in the case of much seafood). It's daunting, when you think about it.

My response has been twofold. One, I absolutely never eat fast-food meat of any kind, including stuff I used to order occasionally such as an Arby's roast beef sandwich or a grilled chicken sandwich at one of the fast-food joints that seem to be your only choice sometimes. Frankly, this has not been hard since I have never been a fan of fast food.

Second, I try not to buy meat or poultry at supermarkets, and I'm also very careful about where I buy fish. When possible, I buy meat and poultry from local farmers who raise their animals naturally and handle their products with extreme care, or when that's not an option I'll look for organic meat from stores such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

It's very hard to be 100% pure even in these halfway measures, but it's a step in the right direction. 

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