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...


Melissa Ellen (Making Honey) said...

Three weeks ago I (and my 2 daughters) cut our meat down to 1-2times a week. I've also cut out Gluten. Basically I'm vegan 5 days. Can't believe HOW much BETTER I feel, and how much more energy I have. Thanks for your really informative post.

mherzog said...

Here is a good video on meat:

Kelly said...

We are a vegan(ish) family. The only animals product we eat are the eggs from our ex battery rescue hens, as we feed them and medicate them when know exactly what goes into this food (and when to leave the eggs alone for a few days!)
What is pumped into animlas on a daily basis through antibiotic laces feeds, not to mention living conditions that make an animal streesed (realeasing stress hormones, which is a chemical remember)and also the hygein on some farms and slaughter houses puts the consumer at risk EVEN when it is organic.
I would urge all die hard meat eaters to not get hung up on the organic, but to try and find meat from small local farms or small holdings, a "meet your meat". Buy from places that use small animla friendly slaughter houses.
Or go Vegan, even if its some of the time :)
Great post btw!

KiwiLog said...

Hi! We loved your post over at KiwiLog and decided to feature it as part of our weekly mom blog round-up. Thanks!

Amanda said...

Annie, I just found your blog and man am I glad I did. You and I have a bunch in common. I just recently posted about eating organic during pregnancy and just touched on the topic of organic meat. Your post is very informative for me, thanks!! Stop by my blog sometime:

kay schule said...

Hi, I found a wonderful site that has organic meat in the US for reasonable prices and it tastes great. They also have new Omega-3 beef which is very heart healthy that is all natural (no hormones,implants, etc) which tastes wonderful too.
check it out:
I have eight kids and we pay a little more for great meat, but like you said "can we afford not too"!

sheri said...

I am a vegetarian and my husband is a meatatarian who could care less about organic. I took him to see the movie Food, Inc. It completely changed his mind about eating organic meat and dairy. It is so powerful. I am glad to see you writing about the meat issue!

Sumas Mountain Farms said...

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Sumas Mountain Farms is the only producer of 100% certified-organic, lifetime grass-fed & finished beef in the Lower Mainland of BC (near

Vancouver, Canada). We also offer chicken, eggs, pepperoni, jerky, salami, sausage, farmer sausage, steak and more.

Because our beef is 100% grass-fed & finished, the quality of the meat is exceptional, and the flavor is unsurpassed. Plus, it is more

nutrient-dense and packed with healthful Omega-3's than conventional beef, which is healthier for you, your family, and the planet.

Please visit for more information! We have plenty of recipes for you to try.