Hi, this is your friendly server admin, writing a guest blog. We tend to do this from time to time.
2014 was running on its end and I was wondering about my meat consumption. Being engaged to a wonderful pregnant woman, who is part of the compact, being a vegetarian and a ‘green’ girl in general, you start to look more critically at your own habits. I have been eating meat since I was little. Standard evening meals contained potatoes, boiled vegetables and some meat. The meat varied, but it was always in one of those plastic containers from the supermarket. When I started living on my own, this behavior did not change.
Lately, I started thinking about how anonymous this meat really is. Pigs/calves/chickens are being bred for their meat, stuffed with antibiotics and butchered without being able to have a real life. I don’t think this is correct, on the other hand, I also don’t think eating meat in incorrect. So I started to struggle with this topic and vented to Cyndi that I would like to start eating more animal friendly.
It’s cumbersome to check at the restaurant where the meat comes from. It’s cumbersome to check where the meat comes from if you get take-out. It’s cumbersome to check where the meat comes from at the office lunch. I am a firm believer that I need to start making changes like this gradually, so I made a resolution in November last year:
I, and my children, will only eat organic meat at home, with no exceptions. Getting eating out right, will be a challenge for a later stage.
This meant that the cheap meat from the freezer or cooler in the supermarket needed to go. We have a quality label supported by Wakker Dier in the Netherlands. Wakker Dier (Awoken Animal in English) is an organization which stands for a better quality of life for all the animals we eat. A 3 star ranking on meat (the highest ranking they give out, reserved exclusively for organic meat) is the absolute minimum for me, as I really want to make a change. In a supermarket, you can usually only find 2 packs of 3-star meat in approximately 10 meters of food display. This is not going to cut it, as I want some variation in my diet. Then I went to Ecoplaza, which is a supermarket for ecological products. The lack of choice disappointed me there as well.
I went for the internets, which never lets me down in my case of need. This is especially true for a professional IT guy, but lets not start about that. I found a few initiatives I liked. One of them was koopeenkoe.nl, which is a Dutch initiative where you buy a cow with a couple of other people. Once the cow is sold, it will be processed and you get a piece of all the types of meat in the cow. They are making sure calves can stay with their moms, cows are of a certain age, and are outside a lot. They also only apply antibiotics in case of illness. I take antibiotics when I am ill as well (I’m taking them at the moment, to be honest) so I did not find this to be a problem. Next to the cow initiative, they also do this for pigs.
I haven’t tried them yet, as I like my pork and chicken too. Ordering part-cow will take up a complete shelve in my freezer and I am the only one regularly eating meat in our household, as my son is here only every other weekend. Let’s face it, organic meat will not be mainstream if you need to alter the way you shop for your groceries for this. It will also not be mainstream if you need to buy 1/12th of a cow when you are going to buy meat and shelve out a lot of money at once.
So how did I resolve the problem, you might ask?
Regarding deli meat, I just do no buy it anymore. I eat cheese, low fat jam and occasionally some peanut butter. This fulfills my daily needs regarding meat. While at work I take an occasional slice of meat. I still consider this eating out, as I am not at my home. However, while I am writing this, I realize I am eating at work as I am eating at home more and more, so this meat intake will most likely seize.
Regarding the meat I eat during dinner, I found an awesome shop in the north of the Netherlands who are selling organic meat only. It’s more expensive than the supermarket, but due to Cyndi’s eating habbits, there is no meat in a lot of our dishes anyway. I think I eat 1 or 2 pieces of meat every week. I bought a introduction box full of chicken, beef and pork. I am loving it, as you really taste that the animal moved around and had a good life. It came frozen to my house, since they put dry-ice in the box. This is a great way of keeping shipping costs down and still get a perfect product at home.
I order at biologischbeter.nl, which is an awesome company providing awesome meat.
There is some downside, as the chicken is really expensive. This cannot be helped, since these chickens actually get to MOVE, and they are not slaughtered when they are little chicks but when they are full grown. This costs money, so I’ll just eat a little less chicken but will make sure to order some every time since I feel it needs support.
Next, the pieces are packed two at a time, and I am a lonely boy living in a meat free world. Next time when I am about to order, I will send them an e-mail asking if single piece packaging is a possibility.
I will continue being a more organic friendly guy the for the near future, and I will probably write about it for the blog as well. So please stay tuned!