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How to have your meat guilt free

Local food policy educator Eleanor Boyle in her recent book High Steaks: How and Why to Eat Less Meat says that on average, North Americans are eating too much meat — more than is good for the planet or our health.

Most of us already know this. But Eleanor emphasizes that our earth cannot sustain itself for much longer if we continue to use up our vitality (health, land, resources, water, fuel to name a few) just to satisfy an excessive demand for cheap and toxic meat.

On the flip side, small-scale livestock production that is super respectful of our animals can enrich ecosystems and nourish families. It’s possible folks, just by making a few simple changes:

1. Commit to eating vegetarian once a week: small step, huge benefits. When enough people participate in a meatless day, we free up a tremendous amount of resources that can be re-purposed towards enhancing life. I have my chicken or meat meals mostly for dinner and aim to eat vegetarian at least two days a week.

2. Purchase organic meat: I wrestled with this one for so long because anything organic is much more expensive than the conventional kind. When I finally made the leap over the summer to buy only organic animal products, I didn’t go broke or end up with an empty pantry as I feared. I just ate meat less frequently and in smaller portions. Then I stocked up on very friendly oven baked squash and yam fries.

If you can’t afford to buy all organic or ethically raised meat, start off with just a little at a time.

3. Support affordable, lovely restaurants that serve local dairy and meat from ethically raised, grass-fed animals like:

The Ethical Kitchen, North Vancouver  

Pao de queijo: Tapioca buns made with local raw milk cheeses and milk from Gorts dairy. L: $2.50, Sm: $1.80 (Barbara Schellenberg)

Crazy creative and a talented chef, Barbara Schellenberg uses nutrient dense local and organic ingredients in her kitchen. I say this is my number one casual spot to get a beef burger (the yam sandwich looks way tasty too). Barbara’s tapioca buns and meat pies sell out fast and she’s always coming up with new sweet treats based on traditional recipes from the 1930’s.

Feature image: Ethical Kitchen’s beef burger on a sweet potato bun with lettuce, house ketchup and ginger kraut. Plus a side of tzatziki just for me. $10 (Tastwitt)

Aphrodite’s Organic Cafe and Pie Shop, Vancouver

Savoury and sweet pies made here with love, farm fresh and seasonal ingredients. Get a grounding turkey pot pie to go for $30 when you don’t feel like cooking, or sample the town’s best vegan mac n’cheese dish or spelt pizza.

Chef Rachel Lovick just created the restaurant’s new dinner fresh sheet menu featuring potato crusted wild coho salmon on vermouth beurre blanc and tagliatelle with elk bolognese. Finish off with a chocolate pecan or banana cream pie.

So glad I don’t live close by.

P.S. What are your thoughts about eating meat? Did this post help you to make a more informed choice one way or the other?

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Linda #

    I’m delighted to see this piece. As you may already know, I am very much in favor of supporting good farming practices that respects animal lives- I have worked on farms and in a slaughter house and I believe we can rear and kill animals respectfully for our table. I usually get a hard time from friends because I also fully supporting shooting game in a sporting manner- these are the same friends who buy intensely reared supermarket chickens.

    November 26, 2012
  2. Tasleem Bhanjee #

    This is why I’m so motivated to write – so that people have the right information to work with. Great to get your feedback as always.

    November 26, 2012
  3. drjeff7 #

    Some great ideas. I feel as though turning to organic, grass fed beef is a move in the direction of organic/ vegetarian. I am not a big fan of GMO products, pesticides, etc. That is why we started our homestead. Drop by if you are interested. http://heritagebreedsfarm.com. We have a lot of articles and ideas. Again, we are meat eaters and now meat producers, but I feel that we can do it in a much better way than factory farming. Thanks for the blog! Keep up the great work.

    November 27, 2012
    • Tasleem Bhanjee #

      Thank you for writing in. I really appreciate your methods of raising animals and will be sure to drop by again.

      November 27, 2012

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