Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Can you afford not to eat organic meat?


Unless you are a vegan you are probably ingesting some meat and dairy that is not certified organic or biodynamic. And maybe you'd like to eat more organic food but it's too expensive? I know that organic produce, meat and dairy can be two or three times more expensive than the pesticide, herbicide, synthetic fertilizer, hormone and antibiotic laden, factory farmed versions... but it's worth asking yourself, can you afford not to eat organic meat? The good news is that there are some tips and tricks that will help you save money without having to compromise on health, safety and the future of the planet.

1. Eat LESS meat. If organic meat is twice as expensive, then buy organic, but eat half as much. Most of us meat-eaters eat way too much per serving. Adults only need a portion of meat the size of the palm of our hand, not including our fingers. If you're eating more than that in a meal then you should be sharing it with someone else, or freezing it for later.

2. Eat meat LESS OFTEN. If you eat meat two or three times a day then substitute one or more meals with organic eggs, dairy, nuts, fish, legumes etc for protein. But beware of SOY, which needs to be fermented to be properly digested.

3. Make your meat into soups/stew with BROTH. When you eat meat that has been cooked on the bone it is more nutritious, and more easily digested, so you don't need to eat as much. Click here for more information on Why Broth is Beautiful.

4. Buy the CHEAPER cuts of meat. Lamb shanks, beef bones, chicken carcasses, etc can be bought very cheaply from most organic butchers. My favorite biodynamic butcher sells bags of organic beef bones for $2. The bags are huge, and the bones still have quite a bit of meat on them. I throw half in a stock pot (freeze the other half) and simmer for a couple of hours until the meat falls tenderly off the bone, and then I cook some diced root vegetables in the broth for 20-30 minutes, add the meat back in and I have a delicious soup that everyone in the family eats, even the toddler! The whole thing costs less than $5, including the organic vegetables! You can do the same with chicken and lamb on the bone.

5. Buy organic meat when it is on SALE and freeze it.

If you are sensitive to amines (ie prone to migraines, asthma etc) then don't cook your meat too long, trim the fat off first, and freeze what you don't eat right away. You should eat meat that is as fresh as possible, and not freeze it for more than a week. it also helps to wash the meat before you cook it as most of the amines form on the surface of the meat.

Finally, unless you want to develop diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease or cancer, do not eat processed meats or fish (even "organic" ones) that contain nitrates or nitrite preservatives. This means, bacon, ham, turkey, sausages, hotdogs, salami, pepperoni, pickled fish etc, unless it says it is nitrate and nitrite free. This is because the amines (proteins) naturally occurring in the meat combine with the nitrates and nitrates to form nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.

Nitrosamines are also a huge problem in cosmetics and other personal care products, but that is a blog post for another day...