Clearing Up Confusion On Food Quality & Price

by | Feb 19, 2018 | Blog

I didn’t always prioritize the quality of the protein I eat. Early in my weight loss journey, it wasn’t about grass-fed, grass-finished, hormone free or organic. I was simply trying to eat less sugar and pump the brakes on overeating. For me, that was the right choice. I’m glad I took a gradual approach. Trying to do it all at once would have been overwhelming and confusing.

If you’d rather listen to this blog, please click here. Otherwise, keep reading below. 

Once I got consistent with eating less sugar and fewer processed foods, I began to add additional nutritional priorities.

My next priority was based on my own health. I was super sensitive to carbohydrates because of my insulin resistance. I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, an issue stemming from estrogen dominance.

I had to start working on my hormonal dysfunction. Because of that, I started paying attention to the quality of the meat I was eating. It would be really hard to move towards hormone balance if I was eating foods that had been treated with growth hormones (and I was!)

Conventionally raised animals are often treated with growth hormones to accelerate the rate of their growth and it became important for me to avoid those hormones. It’s common practice for animals to be administred estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and other hormones! (Side note: many countries, including Europe, have banned this practice. The United States has not.)

In improving the quality of the meat I was eating and working to avoid hormone-treated animals (including in the dairy products I consume), I was also reducing my exposure to toxins.

The meat of onventionally raised animals is higher in toxins and pesticides. Toxins are tougher to avoid in meat products than in produce because toxins are stored in fat. Toxic fat is harder to burn than less toxic fat. Avoiding toxins absolutely makes fat loss easier (and of course improves health).

I started to look for meat from animals that had not been treated with antibiotics. If I need a course of antibiotics, I’ll see my doctor. But, consuming meat from animals who are routinely treated with antibiotics means that I’m routinely being treated with antibiotics. The damage to the human microbiome is real and impacts everything from sleep to mood to metabolism & immunity.

Coventionally raised animals are often fed grains because grain-based feeds are far less expensive and promote more rapid weight gain. This leads to meat that is higher than necessary in pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids. Alternatively, grass fed and grass finished animals have meat that is higher in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.

Making better meat choices has been a priority for me for a few years. But I’ve been spoiled, until recently.

Since moving to Cape Cod (which is an island), I’m finding these products harder to find and more expensive. Everything is more expensive here.

So, I switched to Butcher Box. I am not a Butcher Box affiliate and they don’t sponsor the show. I’m just a regular customer, excited about the quality of the products they buy.

Why did I make the switch? In a recent email to my VIP email list (click the button below to subscribe if you aren’t already on it), I explained that their quality is amazing, the convenience of having it shipped to my door is appealing & it helps me save money compared to what is available to me here.

One reader emailed me several times saying that there’s no way it saves me money and I should be more accurate in my emails.

The cost and accessibility of quality meat varies throughout the world. Depending on what kind of quality you prioritize, where you buy it and how much you buy, the price varies dramatically.

I take honesty very seriously. I have no reason to lie. Butcher Box is not a sponsor. I’m not an affiliate.

For the first time, I can really empathize with people who live in parts of the country where it isn’t that easy or affordable to find really great quality meat. It might not be less expensive for you, based on what you’re spending on groceries right now, but it is, in fact, for me. Your reality isn’t mine. Mine isn’t yours.

If it’s not cheaper and or higher quality – guess what? Don’t buy from them. Haha. It’s really that simple. Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m just sharing what I’m doing and why.

When I lived west of Boston in a big city, that reader would have been right. It would have been cheaper for me to keeping buying meat at the grocery store. It would have been worth it, even if I had to go to a couple places to find the level of quality that mattered to me.

But, not all of us are fortunate enough to live in an area where it’s accessible or reasonably priced.

A couple months ago I moved to Cape Cod. After one 90 minute trip to Whole Foods (33 minutes there, 38 minutes back plus time shopping), I commented to my boyfriend that the prices were so much higher on Cape. He nodded. Yep. Island living. And I’m sure it’s far worse in remote areas of the country!

The higher price of food plus the gas prices to drive to stores that are further away and time spent….yes, skeptical reader, it actually is more affordable for me to buy from Butcher Box and significantly more convenient. But I can completely relate to your skepticism as this is the first time in my life where I felt like it was a challenge to buy the quality I’m used to. I’ve been spoiled.

But it’s not just about the money. When you go into a grocery store to evaluate your protein, all you know or see if what they tell you. You often see “grass fed” but don’t see “grass fed + grass finished”.

Maybe you see “organic” but you don’t see “pasture-raised”.

You only know what they tell you and they usually only tell you what they want you to know.

That’s another huge part of my draw to Butcher Box. They prioritize quality and they tell you exactly what that means to them, for each product. If you aren’t sure, you can call or email and ask.

Their beef is 100% grass fed AND grass finished (that’s hard to find in stores!) and it’s never given antibiotics or hormones. The exclusively work with ranchers who treat the animals humanely and feed them a natural diet.

Their chickens are free range, organic & pasture-raised.

Their pork products (including bacon that does not have sugar added) comes from animals never treated with antibiotics or hormones. They also work exclusively with farms that DO NOT administer ractopamine – a growth accelerator.

You can customize your shipment, which I do. I don’t need or want the super expensive steaks. Give me the chicken thighs and the sugar-free bacon! Plus, you can determine if you want a shipment monthly or if you’d prefer it every other month. You can cancel anytime.

Here’s one other honest consideration about convenience and cost savings when you have your meat shipped to your door: you avoid impulse purchases at the grocery store.

When I can completely avoid the grocery store, my food choices are better. I’m not picking up a pint of Halo Top or a delicious block of cheese or piece of dark chocolate. I’m all about things that make it easier to make great choices.

In addition to helping my waistline, that also helps my budget! Even if some of the items do cost more (while many cost less, for me) I still spend far less on food overall because I’m not buying snacks, processed foods, drinks and desserts. That’s undeniable.

These days, even if it costs more, I’ll pay more for my health. It wasn’t always my priority. It is now. But, as I said at the start of this blog, meat quality wasn’t the priority I started with, and I don’t think it needs to be your priority right now, either.

I completely respect budgeting and that this is a gradual transition for most people, as it was for me. Here’s an episode I did on budgeting and another episode on meals under $1.99.

If you decide to give Butcher Box a try, you’ll have to let me know what you think! I’m pretty excited about the fact that every shipment comes with a re-useable insulated shopping bag!!


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