Ah yes, I’m eating meat again. Once in awhile that is. With my heavy plant-based diet, there’s room for some sustainably grown meat every now and then. Afterall, we are omnivores by nature.
Animals raised locally without antibiotics and in humane conditions appears to be a healthier practice than the conventional CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) method, which I won’t even delve into at this time . Sustainable practices are healthier for the environment, more humane and safe for workers and farmers, and more nutritious and safe for the people eating it. I think the term sustainability gets thrown around a lot, so let’s clarify: Sustainability in the ecological sense implies that biological systems (farmlands, water supplies, farm animals) remain diverse, healthy and productive over extended periods of time so that we as humans may depend on them for our survival. Conventional monoculture farming practices (growing massive amounts of one crop such as corn, soy or wheat, rather than rotating several types of crops) are rapidly destroying the health of our once fertile lands. If these practices continue, eventually future generations will be left with poor quality soils that will be extremely difficult to grow anything nourishing. Sustainable practices may take a bit more work initially, but the long term outcomes are increased production yields that guarantee nutritious foods for all (well, as soon as the government starts subsidizing nutritious foods).
I love the argument that it will be impossible to feed our country using a sustainable farming approach. This is just not true. There are several scientists, policy panels and experts have suggest that sustainable practices can feed more poor people sooner, begin to repair the damage caused by industrial production and, in the long term, become the norm (read more in this great article by Mark Bittman). And secondly, the average american eats far too much meat as it is today; not to mention the wasted amounts that aren’t even eaten. Even if sustainable methods slightly reduced the amount of available animal products to us consumers, I dare say our health would fare far better. We would be healthier individuals if we not only ate less meat, but if the meat we did eat was a higher quality. Studies show that grass fed cows (one sustainable practice) have a healthier fat ratio; they have less saturated fat and more heart healthy CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
Bottom line, try to choose meat that embodies a healthier ecosystem overall. Or even better, get out there and hunt it yourself.
Grilled Oregano & Citrus Chicken
1 whole chicken, butchered into parts (skin removed if desired, or leave on to keep better moisture levels)
Olive oil (I used a mix of tuscan herb and lemon olive oil)
Several small sprigs of fresh Oregano
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup orange juice or 1 freshly squeezed orange (A recent study found that using citrus while grilling decreased the foods carcinogenicity that is otherwise caused by grilling foods)
salt and pepper
-Heat up the grill.
-Place the chicken pieces in a large baking pan and cover with all ingredients so to marinate for 30-60 minutes.
-Throw it on the grill until done!
Grilled vegetables are marvelous. If you’re going through the trouble to get the grill up and going, do yourself a favor and throw on some veggies.
With a little olive oil and salt, kale crisps up nicely on the grill.