Sunday, February 28, 2010
Healthy Foodie Rules to Live By: Rule #1, No Supermarket or Fast-Food Meat
This is the first in a series outlining my rules, principles or "commandments" about how to be a healthy foodie. Please note that my version of "healthy" is not extreme nor all that strict, because I'm also a committed foodie--someone who loves to eat (and to shop, cook, dine out, drink wine -- the works).
If you have watched "Food, Inc." or "Fresh," read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma or some of his other books, you know that our nation's industrial food system is terribly unhealthful and environmentally irresponsible. One of the worst offenders is how we raise, slaughter, distribute and consume meat -- not just beef and pork, but also poultry and seafood.
Unless you're vegetarian, it's almost impossible to opt out completely from the industrial meat system. For instance, when eating out you're highly likely to be served meat, poultry or fish that was inhumanely raised, fed ingredients that the animals don't naturally consume, handled in ways that promote dangerous food-borne illnesses and/or farmed (in the case of much seafood). It's daunting, when you think about it.
My response has been twofold. One, I absolutely never eat fast-food meat of any kind, including stuff I used to order occasionally such as an Arby's roast beef sandwich or a grilled chicken sandwich at one of the fast-food joints that seem to be your only choice sometimes. Frankly, this has not been hard since I have never been a fan of fast food.
Second, I will not buy meat or poultry at the supermarket, and I'm also very careful about where I buy fish.
When possible, I buy meat and poultry from local farmers who raise their animals naturally and handle their products with extreme care.
It's very hard to be 100% pure even in these halfway measures, but it's a step in the right direction.
I welcome and encourage comments and suggestions about how to cope with and ideally to change the industrial food system. Meanwhile: no supermarket or fast-food meat, healthy foodies!