How do I live simply in the kitchen? Where do I start? What do I change first? Will I actually like anything that is actually good for me? Will I spend 24 hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove?
Ever asked any of these questions? I sure did! When I began my journey to live life more simply, I had an inkling that didn’t mean “easier.” I also worked full time so there were massive challenges cropping up all over – like a co-op pick-up smack in the middle of my work day. But I found ways to work around it. And the farther I’ve gotten on this journey, I realize it’s not so very hard once you get used to some of the new techniques.
Recently I shared a few Baby Steps to Natural Living. For a quick review they are:
Pick one area, then one item.
Live Simply – With the Meat You Eat
Ok, so meat. Why make a switch? What’s wrong with meat in the grocery store?
Well, for starters, most meat sold in grocery stores is from animals raised pretty inhumanely. Ever visited a massive confined animal feeding operation (CAFO)? Probably not. Folks, those animals sit and stand in their own waste – all day long. Yum. Cows and chickens rarely get to roam the grassy hills and pasture land. Salmon (and other fish) are not caught in the streams and oceans but grown in a cloudy pen. Pigs, as well as most animals intended for the market, are bred incessantly all their lives.
Animals are fed food that is very difficult for them to digest – food that is full of non-nutrients and even harmful organisms. They are given chemicals and fake foods to cause them to grow faster, so they can be slaughtered or harvested more quickly – to make room for more animals to do the same thing with all over again. Chicken need bugs in their diet but are fed grain. Salmon are fed pink dye to turn their flesh pink like wild salmon (the flesh turns pink when it eats the naturally pink plankton in the wild). Cattle are often given feed that contains candy as a filler. This alters the nutrient quality of the meat that sits in front of you at the dinner table. It also affects your body’s digestion as much of what the animals eat your body has no way to process.
These massive farms (again, “operation” is a more appropriate term) slaughter animal after animal. At a cattle operation, the meat is all mixed together – with thousands of other cattle from other cattle operations and plopped onto those styrofoam containers (which is another story) and covered with saran wrap for you to purchase some time from when the animal was slaughtered. The problem with this can be there is little ability to trace problems like E.coli and Salmonella back to a source. Same goes for pigs, chickens, etc. Smaller farms often sell directly to individuals.
If you haven’t yet heard of “pink slime,” hold on to your horses. Pink slime is the term given to the parts of cattle that have never been intended for human consumption. But now these parts go through a process where they are bathed in ammonia (yes, ammonia!) and then mixed into ground beef in order to kill most bacteria. The problem is, ammonia should never be consumed (says so right there on the bottle, people!) and is not effective in even killing what it was intended to kill off. Salmon is sprayed with chemicals to kill sea lice.
Find The Good Stuff
Now that you’re completely and thoroughly disgusted, what to do? Check out EatWild to find a source for sustainably raised meats. If you live in an area where few farms exist, you may have to join a local co-op and order through them. It may take a bit of work and cost more, but it is well worth it for the extra nutrients and health benefits in your food and the satisfaction in knowing the animals are not raised in unlivable conditions. When you purchase sustainably raised meat (grass-fed beef, pastured chicken or pork, wild-caught salmon, etc.), you also support small business owners and not the corporations. This meat is fresher, safer and just better tasting!
The next areas we’ll discuss will be dairy, produce, dry goods (seasonings, sauces, stocks, etc.), good fats and grains. Be sure to subscribe to our email list so you don’t miss any of the posts on this topic!