In an ideal world, we could all live on a Vegan diet, not have to exploit animals, and everything that cute (or not so cute) could spend its days until ripe old age frolicking in fields, eating lush green grass and drinking water so pure it’s like a nectar from heaven.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Humans are Omnivorous. We eat Meat, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables. This means that our diet needs to consist of vital nutrients which are found in Meat and Fish, as well as the key vitamins found in fruit and veg.
Yes, we have come a long way in terms of being able to choose a Vegetarian or a Vegan diet, supplementing key nutrients with pills such as Vitamin B12 and Iron. But they will only go so far and they can make your urine stink to high heaven!
But for all you meat eaters out there, there is scientific (kitchen science all be it) evidence that happy animals make happy food.
Eggs – There is a UK company called The Happy Egg Co. and their slogan is Happy Hens lay Happy Eggs. And it is true. Free range eggs have a stronger shell, stronger, larger yolk and the white is less likely to end up looking like a cloud as it is more dense and has a firmer consistency. Also as the shell is stronger, you’ll find it breaks in a single line, not shatter. They are on average far more nutritious than from caged hens, and for the sake of about 30p more for 12 eggs. They’re hardly going to break the bank.
Pork – Pork is a tough one in many countries, not only due to religious reasons, but also because people are afraid of the old wives tales (which were actually once true) such as it giving you worms.
Pork when factory farmed are usually kept in squalid conditions, in overcrowded cages (or cells as I prefer to call them). They are also fed a diet of substandard food which causes them to become fat, and without the ability to exercise, they can’t turn this fat into muscle (the meat you actually want to eat). They are also prone to infection and thus are often in need of doses of antibiotics.
Free Range pork comes from pigs that have been allowed to run around, eat a varied, natural diet, build up their muscle mass, catch the sun, lee likely to need antibiotics, and roll around in mud to their hearts content. This basically makes the pork a more tasty (if more expensive), healthy option as there is little fat, and the weight doesn’t need to be bulked up with water.
Beef, Lamb and other Meats – Similar to Pork, you will find that mass produced meat and dairy produce lack colour, flavour, texture, and are usually quite fatty (all bar lamb). Again this is due to over farming, and not having the room to support such a large herd. They also tend to be pumped full of water, so when you cook what looks like a juicy steak, it comes out looking like a rasher of cheap bacon.
Milk – I have an experiment for you. Go to your local supermarket, be that Wal-Mart, Tesco, Family Dollar, Morison’s just pick one of the big supermarkets, and buy a bottle of milk. Then go to a local dairy farmer and buy a bottle of the same type (full fat, half fat, Skimmed). You will immediately taste the difference. The mass produced milk is less rich in vital nutrients and calcium. As cows on free range farms are exposed to a more varied diet (as nature intended), there are some claims that not only is this milk better for you, but could help your immune system. Where are milking cows in mass milking farms are fed a strict, and very bland diet, which leads to a more watery, less enriched milk. The same also goes with goats milk.
Chicken – What happens to chicken when it can no longer lay eggs? Well there are 2 options. You can buy chickens that are no longer able to lay eggs for a few dollars or pounds. Or they get sent to the slaughter house and turned into chicken nuggets, burgers, or simply kept whole and sold as a full bird.
With battery hens, they have a very short laying period, simply because they don’t have the nutrients to withstand laying anymore. However, buying a battery hen, you very well may find that after a few weeks, with no stress, space, a nice varied diet and a more social atmosphere, they’ll start laying eggs like there’s no tomorrow.
Chickens that are adopted from the farmers before they are sold to the slaughter house are afraid of little. They’re tough old birds, but are inquisitive, gentle and make wonderful family pets. Though preparation does need to be made before taking one on. Check out rehoming websites for your area to find out more. There is also the very high chance that you’ll get fresh eggs every day.
Cheese, Butter and other dairy – When, like me and my dad, you are a bit of a cheese snob, you get what you pay for. The best quality cheese is made with the best quality milk. The same goes with butter and any other dairy product. Buying locally sourced cheeses and butter from a local farmer is not only boosting the farmers income, but is also giving a 2 finger salute to the big supermarkets. The cheese is richer and creamier, the butter more yellow and pure and the yoghurt sweeter and tastier. From mass produced farms, the opposite is the case. Also as with all battery vs. free range, free range is far more nutritious.
The strange thing is, buying free range, although more expensive, is literally only £10 – £15 a month more for a family of 4. That’s a subscription to Cable for channels you never even watch! Yet people, because we like a bargain, overlook the nutrition and simply go for the price.
Try doing a week using only free range meat, eggs and dairy, and you may well see you’re having to cook less (and spend less) because you have quality food that isn’t so pumped with water, it comes out of the oven the size of something you’d put in a Barbie house!