I am sure by now many of you have heard of "Meatless Monday" which is campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to "improve their health and the health of the planet" (aka to lessen animal cruelty.) While that is a sweet thing to do, to make people feel better about themselves, it doesn't really address the real problems with consuming store bought factory farm meat. Because on Tuesday, that steak those Meatless Monday folks cut into, still comes from the same place as the meat they didn't eat on Monday. So what is the consumer to do if Meatless Monday is in my opinion, just a feel good movement that does not really help your health or the planet (animals)? I say educate yourself and try something better.... Mindful Meat Monday.
What is that you ask? Well it is part of the Ethical Omnivore Movement that asks people not to give up their meat, but to know their meat. I mean really know their meat. Where does it come from? Is it factory farm raised or the farmer down the road who raises the animals in pastures eating good quality food, with love and care. Being mindful of the food you put into your mouth, to me, does much more for this world then taking a day of from eating crap only to go back to eating that crap a day later. Meat is not bad, there are humane options for meat, which is your local farmer, or *gasp* you raising the animals yourself!
Yes, we are planning on raising our own meat chickens after we found out the USDA plans to let chickens be slaughtered and shipped to china to be processed and then sent back to the States with no labels letting the consumer know where that bird has been. Instead of supporting a system where the chickens spend their short lives in cages, ours will free range, hunt bugs, and be raised with love. And isn't that better not only for the animal, but for my family's health?
While we can't raise a pig or a cow, we have found local friends and farmers who can. We know where "our" pig is and how it is being raised. We know the farm "our" cow was born on and where it is going to be raised. While it does make me a little sad to know a life will be given so my family can eat, it also makes my heart happy to know these animals will have good lives before that day comes. And I believe it is good to be a little sad at the loss of an animal life, because it means I respect my food. I am conscious of and respect the process. I think before wasting even an ounce. Maybe if more people were connected with their food supply, instead of thinking animals just come in prepackaged, cellophane wrapped packages, more people would honestly care..... be more mindful.
If you don't want to know your meat as much as we do there are other options.....
Choose free-range meat where animals graze in pastures. Local farmer's markets are a great source of these meats. Talk to the vendors, learn their practices, enjoy making a new friend and tasting quality meat. You the consumer, have the power to use your dollars to make a impact with each meal, not just with meat but with everything you put on your table. The key to everything in life is to be mindful of what your doing and the impact that it has. And that my friends is why MY family chooses Mindful Meat Monday! and Tuesday and Wednesday.... well you get the point. Be mindful everyday, in every way.