The Meat of the Matter
At the end of 2008, I along with many other bloggers, posted a few resolutions for the 2009 year. Most of mine had to do with this website or food in general. I think that I’m doing really well on them for the most part. I’m on pace to hit 300 posts this year, I have a new camera that I’m wielding with decent proficiency, and I’m shopping for produce at local markets and researching CSAs to join this spring.
The one resolution I openly struggle with is the resolution to eat only organic meat or grass-fed beef. Sometimes I have the will power to not eat the item in question if I can’t confirm that it is from a source I trust, but sometimes I fail miserably. I could make a lot of excuses for why this is hard, but ultimately it’s my fault. I wanted to spend a post exploring this resolution: Why I made it, why I’m failing, and what I hope to do about it.
Meat is the Matter
I made this resolution because I think the United States is obsessed with meat. To take it a step further and differentiate Americans from some other countries like Argentina and Italy, Americans are obsessed with cheap meat. On a daily basis we say yes to quantity over quality. Most Americans are eating large quantities of meat injected with substances we wouldn’t want our children, pets, or baseball players to come in contact with.
Why is that? I’m not entirely sure and I think you will get a different answer depending on who you ask. The sociologist might tell you that it is because we have grown up as a culture with cheap meat at our fingertips and we expect it. The farmer might say that it is because we have lost touch with where are food comes from. The psychologist might say that it is because we can compartmentalize – AKA “There’s a problem, but I’m not a part of it.”
I’m really not sure if it is any of those things or a combination of all of them, but for some reason people like cheap meat. At the same time most people don’t like cheap cars, cheap TVs, or cheap dates.
Why I Tried a Change
For the last year or two I’ve been learning a lot about the food industry in our country and I decided to try not to participate in the parts I didn’t fully support. I wanted to be healthier and feel good about the foods I was eating. A part of me even wanted to know that the cow I was eating lived a reasonably happy life. So this was the resolution I embarked on.
I Love Meat
I’m having a really hard time with this resolution I think mainly for personal reasons: I just happen to absolutely love meat. I have a hard time not ordering a meatball sub on a cold day even though I’m positive that the cow in question had never set foot on grass. I have a hard time skipping the pepperoni on a slice of pizza after a night out. BACON is my utter downfall.
Any moderate Macheesmo reader can quickly confirm my love for meat. But that is not an excuse. If I really believe in these things, I should be an example. Note that all of the stuff you see on Macheesmo coincides with my resolution. Since January I’ve only used meat on the site that is organic, sustainable, free-range, etc. It’s what goes on behind the scenes that is the point of this post.
Am I failing?
I think the answer is sort of. I’ve had a few slip-ups. I’ll be the first to admit it. But in general I’m eating almost entirely organic, free range, or grass fed meat. I could probably count the mistakes on my fingers since I made the resolution. There are a few signs in my opinion that I’m at least on the right track:
- I would estimate I eat 50-60% less meat now than I was eating a year ago. A general decrease in the amount of meat was a by-product of the resolution since it is way more expensive.
- Everyday I get more and more knowledgeable about my food choices. Some days I mess up, but I’m learning as I go.
- I’ve lost a few pounds and feel like I have more energy day to day. I’m not sure if this is directly related to consuming less, but healthier, meat, but it probably is.
What about now?
I’m definitely not giving up on this resolution. I want to keep working on this one and I will probably write a few more posts on it as well.
In fact, I’ve actually added one part to the resolution which helps keep me in line: I can only eat meat for one meal a day. There are no exceptions to this, organic or otherwise. If I’m planning on having chicken for dinner, then it is salad for lunch. Sushi for lunch? Pasta for dinner.
What do you guys think about this? Does anyone have an opinion one way or the other? Anybody else trying and/or succeeding at something similar?
Photo by splorp.