From my previous blog post, Ethical Eating: What’s the Big Deal? that discusses factory farming and the harsh environment in which animals are raised, many people have been asking me about alternatives to such meat and how they can incorporate this in their diet. The main concern I think from all the feedback I’ve been getting is the cost. Adapting to an ethical eating lifestyle has many benefits for the environment as well as one’s personal health. However, it can also increase one’s costs or financial spending.
Free-run or organic meat tends to be double (and sometimes even triple) the cost of “regular” meat. This is definitely a legitimate disadvantage to most people. It will be difficult to maintain the frequency of meat purchases that you were once making with factory farmed meat to now organic meat.
Here are some quick tips that can help you to transition to an ethical eating lifestyle, while still keeping your financial spending in balance:
1. Limit how much meat you are cooking/eating per week. If you were cooking meat 4-5 times on a weekly basis, it might be helpful to now cook once or twice a week.
2. Incorporate free-run meat into your diet. Now that you have cut down on how much meat you are eating in a week, you can slowly switch the factory farmed meat to organic meat. If you are only purchasing organic meat once a week rather than 4-5 times, then you will be able to keep your budgeting in balance. If you are really concerned about the cost of organic meat (because it can be pricey), you can purchase it once a week and buy factory farmed meat for the second meat-eating day of the week. The key point is to cut down on how much you are buying the regular meat. Remember, once the demand has lessened, then the supply of factory farmed meat will also lessen. It can be a slow transition for some people, but you are still doing your part… don’t worry.
3. Look into other options to maintain your protein intake. Unfertilized eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and soy products are great sources of protein other than meat. Since you have cut down on how much meat you are eating in a week, you can fill in the gap with these items on your non-meat eating days. One thing I would like to mention, however, is to be cautious of soy products. Tofu and soy milk happen to be great protein sources but consuming too much of these items can have some negative effects as well. I encourage you to do your research on this matter.
4. Eat more protein snacks. Because the meat intake has decreased in your daily meals, it will be helpful to consume more snacks that are rich in protein. Dried fruits and nuts are a great natural source. There are also a variety of protein shakes and bars available, or that you can make yourself if you feel creative.
I hope these tips are helpful and have inspired you to try ethical eating, at least for a few months or so! I would like to leave you with an interesting note: quinoa is also a great protein source. Most grains contain a small amount of protein, but quinoa is unique because it contains more than 8 grams per cup. So perhaps you can also incorporate this into your diet instead of rice or other grains.
Please feel free to share any other nutritional information that you have in the comments below. I am not an expert on this subject at all, so it will be great to learn from each other! Also, if you have started or are thinking of starting to eat ethically, do not hesitate to share your experience as well. Best wishes on your journey!
Peace & Love ~