Uplevel Your Animal Products

As I’ve gotten older, one of the things I’m focusing on in my own nutrition habits is sourcing my food with a little more intention. Like many of you, when I was in my early twenties, my paycheck allowed for frozen bulk cuts of meat, canned chicken, and hot dogs. I was focused on stretching my food dollars about as far as they could go and I wasn’t so concerned about what the food my food ate. Corn fed, grass fed, pasture this or that - it just wasn’t on my radar if it couldn’t be bought in bulk and stay within my monthly budget.

Thankfully, times have changed. I’ve developed a few “rules of thumb” as they pertain to purchasing animal products.

 
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The higher the fat content, the higher the quality. The lower the fat content, get away with lower the quality. 

When buying meat and poultry that’s higher in fat content, spend your money on the higher quality cuts or brands. Let’s say you love chicken thighs more than breasts, or you’d prefer the 85/15 ground meat to 95/5, or you’re craving a marbleized steak. Consider spending more of your food dollars on the higher quality products that are labeled “grass-fed”, “organic”, or “pasture-raised”. The opposite is also true: if you don’t have a lot of money to spend or you are making some basic, run-of-the-mill meals this week, you can get away with buying the budget friendly cuts. Consider buying cuts of meat that are lower in fat, or have a higher percent lean.

The reason is simple: fat tissue is storage tissue. If the animal has a healthy diet, that means you get to reap benefits by getting rarer vitamins and minerals into your diet. If the animal has an unhealthy diet, that means you are exposed to a higher percent of environmental toxins and probably less of those vitamins and minerals.

If you’re in a position to “uplevel” in this area consider the following:

>> Look for 100% grass fed and/or pasture raised meat cuts

>> Look for organic on the label

>> Consider purchasing from a local farmer

>> Consider purchasing from a meat delivery services like ButcherBox

 

Don’t fall for fancy egg labeling: chickens are not vegetarians.

Consider buying eggs from chickens that eat their normal, natural diet. While “vegetarian fed” labeled egg cartons might sound healthier, it’s just a “point-of-purchase” tactic to get you to choose one carton over another without that label. Chickens, in their natural habitat eat a mixed diet including bugs and critters that live in the dirt - which means their normal diet is not “vegetarian”. You can stand to get more vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory fats in eggs (specifically the yolks!) that come from chickens that were “pasture raised” and not eating “vegetarian” feed.

The reason is simple: the yolks contain fat, and that fat could be pro or anti-inflammatory depending on the contents of the chicken's diet. While humans don’t have a very efficient way to make the useable, anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids from plant based foods that we eat, animals do. You’re doing yourself a huge favor by eating eggs from chickens who eat their natural and varied diet, because they have a higher percentage of useable anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids contained right in the yolk. 

If you’re in a position to “uplevel” in this area consider the following:

>> Look for “pasture raised” or "pastured" on the label

>> Look for “omega 3” on the label

>> Consider purchasing from a local farmer who cares about chickens eating their natural diet

 

Pasture-raised and grass-fed are usually better choices than conventionally raised meat and pork.

Pasture raised refers to where the animal grazed (outside on pasture). Grass fed refers to what the animal ate.

Pasture-raised animals are not always grass-fed animals because they might be fed grass indoors by farmers, especially in the winter months (hello Minnesota and Wisconsin winters!). Grass fed animals are not always pasture-raised animals because they might spend a significant amount of time indoors. However, this is rare. Animals that are labeled grass-fed usually spend a lot of time outside in their natural environment.

It’s going to be up to you to decide which is more important to you - where the animal spent it’s life, or what the animal ate. But both of these labels represent a better, more humanely treated animal that ate similar to it’s natural diet.

If you’re in a position to “uplevel” in this area consider the following:

>> Look for “100% grass fed” beef, lamb or goat

>> Look for “pasture raised” pork. Pigs don’t eat grass so it would be odd to look for a “grass fed label”

>> Consider purchasing from a meat delivery service like ButcherBox

>> Consider purchasing from a local farmer or local co-op who cares about cows eating their natural diet and are led out to pasture when appropriate

 

If your head is spinning and it stresses you out to think about purchasing for the best quality, don't worry! Sourcing and upleveling your animal products gets a whole lot easier when you purchase through butcherbox.

 

I realize sourcing high quality animal products is easier said than done. You might find yourself at 3 or 4 different stores grabbing eggs here, meat there, and poultry a town over. And while I might have been in and out of those stores pretty quickly in when I lived in Minneapolis, there’s just no way I can’t make an afternoon event out of grocery shopping since I've moved out of the city and into a suburb.

That’s why I am so pumped to share about ButcherBox - a company I personally use and love that makes finding quality animal products easier. Delivered right to your door every month or two, ButcherBox gets premium (read: upleveled) animal products in your house so you don’t have to hunt for the best cuts all over town.

I’m a partner with Butcher Box because I believe in investing in companies who are doing things right. Sourcing beef, poultry and pork from farmers who care about the health of the animals and the environment absolutely matters so I am putting my money where my  mouth is - and you can too! If you wanna cut the search for high quality meat and stop spending your weekend bouncing from store to store to locate your favorites, check out ButcherBox.

 

Here’s how it works:

>> Select your box: choose from four different types of boxes, all including their amazing grass-fed beef and change your box type anytime. Each box comes with a selection of top cuts and enough meat for 15 to 20 meals, at about $6-7/meal and you will NOT be disappointed with the taste.

>> Customize: Want more bacon or burgers for summer grilling, customize to fit exactly how your family eats. 

>> Set your schedule: ButcherBox is a monthly membership service but you can adjust your frequency to receive a box every other month or every three months. You can also cancel anytime which is a win, win for when you’re out of town.

Are you ready to finally uplevel those meat products? Friends, it’s never been easier. Don’t miss out on trying this out this amazing company, and all the cuts of meat they have to offer.

 
This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy from ButcherBox, I get a small commission but there is no additional cost to you. I personally use this service and I truly stand behind it which is the only reason why you're hearing about it - I love to share!