The privilege and burden of life in the 21st century is knowledge. Humans today have access to a virtually endless store of information — far more than we could ever process. The more we know, the more we have to consider when making decisions. The results can be confusing. With food, we wonder about what types of foods are better than others: Grass fed and free range chicken, organic beef, wild caught Alaskan Salmon, free range pork — what do they all mean?
Are grass fed and free range chicken (or beef, or pork) really better for you?
The short answer seems to be yes. The average American eats about 90 pounds of chicken and over 65 pounds of beef each year. With such an outrageous demand, the supply lines for meat are terrifying. Animals are treated in all kinds of inhumane ways in an effort to get food to the consumer as quickly as possible. The fallout is that mass-production of meat has incredible side-effects. Almost 75% of antibiotics in the United States are believed to go to livestock feed, increasing Americans’ resistance to antibiotics. Similarly, salts are regularly injected as preservatives, contributing to poor health in most of the United States.
While there are dozens of other side effects, what’s important is that grass fed and free range chicken and beef miss out on a lot of those negative side effects. The result is healthier meat. For example: the human body converts something called beta-carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin A is good for our skin, our digestive tract, our eyes, and our immune system. Grass fed beef contains as much as seven times the levels of beta-carotene as grain fed beef. Grass fed beef also offers more vitamin E and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids — affectionately referred to as “good fats.”
These healthier meats are more expensive at your grocery store than the mass-produced stuff. The reason is simply that they’re more expensive to raise. So where should you go to buy it?
There are countless ways to bring down the cost of grass fed meat, but the easiest is buying it online. Hundreds of farmers around the country will sell direct-to-consumer meat: Chicken, pork, beef, salmon, lamb, and much more are available at the click of a button with the added effect of direct-to-consumer prices.
Cutting out the middleman, supporting sustainable farming, and reducing your intake of man-made chemicals? Sounds like everybody wins.