I’m an often frustrated consumer. Much of what I see is over-priced, low value, abundantly packaged junk, produced for fictitious needs. On top of that, most of it is shipped from some ridiculously distant location from a company or corporation that has little regard for the well being of anything other than myopic profitable interests. I can’t help but increasingly toil over my buying decisions, in good conscience, as well as in a practical form of protest. Even armed with this perspective, it’s not often I feel content with what I’ve purchased.
But I have to say…
What I just bought makes me feel pretty good.
What is it you ask?100 pounds of local, grass-fed, humanely raised and slaughtered beef.
Ok, I know this probably doesn’t sound too exciting, and probably not even that important.
But it is.
Here are some brief points of benefit for all involved with this purchase, including the animal:
- There exists well documented health benefits of grass-fed and finished beef versus grain fed beef. It’s significantly higher in omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid than its grain-fed counterpart. This can equal less inflammation and a decrease in developing a correlating host of diseases.
- It’s free from the hormones and pesticides existent in factory farm raised cattle.
- This animal was raised and slaughtered in an infinitely less oppressive and tortuous environment than a factory farmed, grain fed, animal.
- It was purchased locally thereby reducing the unnecessary costs and environmental damage associated with shipping a product long distances.
- It creates connection. To those whom produce and grow our food as well as the landscape and animals we are eating. It degrades the barrier which allows us to become dissociated from our food. There are real people, and real living creatures involved. This type of purchase can fortify our relationship with both.
- It represents high value. I’ve been purchasing locally raised animals for some time, however; this bulk purchase represents great value. A variety of cuts averaged about $5 per pound. It’s hard to find anything in a grocery store especially meat, for $5 per pound let alone such a high quality food. Many argue that eating healthy simply costs too much and I realize finances are a real obstacle for some. However, considering the longer term costs of ill-health, this represents an astronomical bargain. Even from a purely financial perspective.
So start building relationships with local producers of food!
Talk to people who already do so, go to farmer’s markets and ask around until you find what you’re looking for.
To conclude, I’ll get all philosophical with you. A student of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus once asked him about eating. He responded that how you eat is reflective of how you live. That in eating and living you should strive to “be just, cheerful, equable, temperate and orderly.” Our food purchases, better yet, all of our purchases, provide us with a chance to develop, practice and fulfill personal principles. This is something that we need to feel. That our choices align with our beliefs as much as possible. That our actions matter if not for worldly good, instant gratification or future possibilities, then to practice our beliefs right here and right now.