Many of you know that eating meat is a bit of a conundrum for me. While I struggle with the ethics and sustainability of it, I find that my strength training results rely heavily on eating *some* meat. (I can't eat eggs, and usually have one meat dish every 1-2 days, drinking Sun Warrior protein and eating legumes, kale and unprocessed soy to supplement my protein intake.) Here's why it's such a difficult choice for me: http://www.meat.org/ (DO NOT CLICK if you are sensitive. It's tear jerking and nauseating and awful.)
This post isn't about meat or no meat - that's something most Americans will never even discuss. This is about making choices that support farmers and distributors that promote the humane treatment of animals, rather than blindly consuming what's most easily available on your grocery trip.
I'm not asking you to go vegetarian. Or even eat more vegetables. (OK. eat more vegetables, da**it...they're good for you.) Just know where your food comes from and what kind of treatment it had before it landed on your plate. Here are some easy ways to learn how:
1. Eat Well Guide 2,500 hand-picked, locally grown listings
2. Local Harvest Real Food. Real Farmers. Real Community.
3. Monterey Bay Aquarium "Super Green List" : ocean friendly, human friendly fish
4. Certified Humane Where to find certified humane meat in your area
5. Whole Foods Animal Welfare Standards All meat is rated 1-5 according to animal treatment (1 being worlds better than most meat you'll find at your local supermarket)
The best thing you can possibly do is purchase your meat directly from a local farmer who practices humane, animal-centered farming. We're planning on getting some next year from a family member, and any "special occasion" meat (like brats...it's Wisconsin after all!) I purchase are bought from my local Co-Op. I get to ask about the farm and the animals there... they even have farm tours on a regular basis!
I have not yet found a local farmer for chicken, and I started buying Coleman Organic Chicken at Costco because it was a budget-appropriate choice for non-"steroid chicken" (as my roommates and I used to call it.) Since chicken is pretty much the only meat we eat (sorry hubby), I decided to research Coleman to ensure that they didn't practice de-beaking or caging... and was so pleased to find that they're a leader in providing happy chicken in the larger market by working with small farms who treat their chickens humanely!