Remove: Conventionally Raised Meat, Poultry, Deli
Replace With: Grass fed, pasture raised meat, organic /natural deli that state no steroids, antibiotics, nitrates. Recommended, Whole Foods in house roast beef and turkey
Steroids, Antibiotics, Toxic Sludge, Nitrates, and Preservatives. Just a few of the things you’ll find in conventional raised animal products. That’s the short version answer. Let’s talk a bit more about animal products.
We were born hunters. We depended on animal flesh proteins to provide energy. For certain genetic types it is essential they have good sources of animal protein to feel their best. Commonly asked question regarding red meat, “can I have red meat more than once a week?” “My doctor says it will make me fat and cause heart disease?” “Isn’t red meat bad for you?” First of all, no natural food is inherently “good” or “bad.” When it comes to red meat, whether or not it’s good for you depends on how your body metabolizes heavy protein, and everyone is extremely individualized when it comes to this. The answer also depends on where the meat came from, which brings us back to the quality and life giving nature of your food. We talked about conventionally raised chickens, well, cows are no different. We have become far removed from the process it takes for a piece of meat to get from where it came from to our plate. Where did your meat come from? Was the cow raised in a slaughter house, injected with growth hormones, and antibiotics? Was the cow fed corn, soy, and toxic sludge to make it as fat as possible? If the answer is yes, think for a moment what might happen to a human body when fed meat that comes from this poorly raised animal. What might happen to your body if you eat meat that came from a stressed out, miserable, abused, fat and sick animal? The answer is, if eaten long enough and often enough, you’ll become fat and sick too! Trace amounts of the chemicals injected into these animals and their feed are in the meat! So instead of getting a healthy portion of protein with all kinds of life giving nutrients from a happy, healthy animal, you’re getting a toxic soup of hormones and chemicals in trace amounts. This is the same for any meat – chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, fish, rhinoceros’s… if the animal is not healthy, eating it, cannot make you healthy.
Ok – that being said, red meat or any meat coming from a healthy, happy animal can be beneficial for our bodies. When cows and other animals, are given the opportunity to roam free, eat grubs, and graze on grass, the meat they provide us with is highly nutritious. Aside from the great source of protein coming from all of the essential amino acids, beef is also a great source of B vitamins, a rich source of iron and zinc, and believe it or not, it can actually help lower cholesterol! Yes, you read correctly, it can help lower cholesterol!
How do I find the right meat, you might ask? Well for starters, cows were designed to eat grass not grains, corn or soy. Therefore when you are at your health food store, look for, or ask for, grass fed beef that has been raised properly, this means no hormones, steroids or antibiotics ever came in contact with that cow, (the meat is also naturally rich in color so no food dyes need be used to make it more appealing to the consumer). If you cannot get grass fed at your local grocer or organic food store (all Whole Foods Markets sell it), then look for organically raised, which means even though the cow may have been fed grains, the grains are free from pesticides and the cow still did not come in contact with antibiotics, hormones, or steroids. Lastly, you can look for Naturally Raised which means the animal was fed grains that may have had pesticides on them, but no growth hormones were used in the feed. If the package, or label at the counter does indicate any of the above options, then meat most likely came from a commercial feed lot, and that’s a red flag . The bottom line is – grass fed, free roaming is best for all animal products you may consume (that means dairy too!) Another alternative is to look into local farms in your area to find the closest ones near you that sell grass fed, or organic meat), or order in bulk online and keep it frozen. (websites options). With all of these options, there’s really no excuse to eat poor quality animal protein from improperly raised and improperly treated animals
It’s important to note here that Whole Foods Market has become a leader in the proper care and raising of animals. Instead of labeling their meats “Natural” or “Organic,” they have implemented a” Step 1-5+” system which requires very strict standards for all farmers they do business with. They will not do business with any farms that do not have at least Step 1 and 2 in place. The Global Animal Partnership 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program outlines specific welfare practices, beginning at Sept 1, which is the first level in the program and a clear departure from conventional practices. At Step 1, farmers and ranchers must focus intently on the welfare of their animals and meet specific standards, including no antibiotics, no animal by-products in their feed, and no added growth hormones. As another example of the strict Step 1 standards, most physical alterations widely used in animal production are prohibited. The progressive nature of the program encourages producers to improve their welfare practices and to attain higher Step ratings.
Throughout the meat department at Whole Foods Market, you will find chicken, beef and pork labeled with the Global Animal Partnership 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating. It’s your way of knowing exactly how the animals were raised for the meat you are buying. They have made it easier for you to identify the steps with simple color coding. Below is a description of what these steps mean for the quality of life of the animals as well as the quality of meat you put in your body.
WF’s Market Animal Welfare (reference whole food market)
- No crates, no cages, no crowding
- No antibiotics
- No added growth hormones
- No animal byproducts in feed
- Animals must have enough space to express their normal behaviors
- Animal must be chosen for the environment where they will be raised
- Feed must satisfy hunger and provide optimal nutrition
- Ill or injured animals must be treated or euthanized if treatment is ineffective
- Lameness must be monitored and corrected
- Maximum transport time that considers stress level of animals
- Enriched Environment
- Enrichment’s required so animals can play and explore
- More stringent requirements for addressing lameness and other ailments
- Enhanced outdoor access
- Continuous, unobstructed outdoor access for ALL pigs, and chickens
- More stringent requirements for addressing lameness and other ailments
- Pasture Centered
- Animals must live on pasture or in foraging areas for their entire lives; may be removed when seasonal or weather conditions pose a welfare risk .
- Pasture must maintain a high percentage of vegetative cover
- Animal centered; all physical alterations prohibited
- Animals live on pasture or foraging areas for their entire lives; may not be seasonally removed
- No physical alterations of any kind
- Pasture requires higher level of vegetative cover
- All commercial animals on farm must be audited
- All domestic animals must be managed according to specific welfare principles
- Animal centered; Entire life on same farm
- No transport in the life of pigs or cattle
- Maximum 2 hour transport for chickens
- Animals must spend entire lives on the same property or on integrated farm
Support the farmers who are putting in the extra time and money to make a better quality of life for the animals we rely on so much for our food. Support Whole Foods for making animal welfare a priority!