You Are What You Eat
Much of our modern industrial agricultural/meat industry is smoke and mirrors to normalize very unusual and dangerous practices in respect to the raising of animals for meat, the food the animals are fed and the processing methods done to the animals after slaughter. Let’s focus on chicken today. Chicken is some of the easiest meat to raise thanks to their size and frequency of reproduction but that also means chicken is some of the most misunderstood and mislabeled meat you will find in the grocery store.
In an ideal scenario, if you are purchasing chicken, it should be organic, pasture raised chicken which means it is never enclosed in a pen, is never given antibiotics and is never fed anything other than what the chickens find on the ground as they freely roam the pasture. The reality though is most chicken you will find in the grocery store, even in more high end stores like Whole Foods, is using language to obfuscate your understanding of exactly what you are purchasing.
One of the main issues with chicken easily purchased in a store is their diet. Chickens natural diet is made up of insects, seeds, some plants and even some small animals on occasion like mice and frogs and they will even peck at an animal carcass if given the opportunity. The problem with chicken in the store, even if it is labeled organic, non GMO, is without the word “pastured raised” the chickens are still being fed foods that are not native to their diet and cause a myriad of health issues in the chickens and even the non GMO feed can contain many of the same chemicals found in GMO feed. Free Range is mostly what you will find in the grocery store which simply means the chicken lived in a pen but the farmer left a door open in the barn for an hour or two a day and if the chicken had the wherewithal to escape their pen they were allowed to take a few steps outside before they were thrown back in to to their overcrowded cage. Most of these “free range” store bought chickens are fed Soy and Corn, the two biggest crops available in America in the 21st Century. While it is certainly better to eat a chicken that has not been fed GMO corn and soy, the fact remains that these foods whether GMO or not are not native to chickens diets. We have all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” If you are eating chicken from the grocery store most of the time you are eating soy and corn in the form of a chicken.
The only safe alternative is to purchase your meats from a local farm. As local as you can. Make sure you speak to the farmer about their practices and the feed they provide (or do not provide) for their animals. The farm should be classified as organic and they should be engaging in regenerative practices which make the land healthier for the animals and ultimately for you.
If you are seeking out organic, pasture raised chicken eggs at the grocery store why are you not also seeking out organic, pasture raised chicken? When we eat chicken we want it to be a happy, healthy bird that lived the life of a chicken free from corn and soy, GMOs, antibiotics and pesticides. You will be surprised when you do a little research on local farms and just how accommodating they can be. As we experience shortages in our industrial food supply chain now has never been a better time to ditch the grocery store meat and get back in touch with the land where thankfully there are still some people out raising animals correctly to ensure you are eating the most delicious and healthy meat possible. Your gut, brain and immune system will thank you!