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Thread: Meat label help, please page

  1. #1
    calicowgirl's Avatar
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    Meat label help, please

    I have been vegetarian for a couple of years and before that I always just bought whatever was cheap at the store. For the past two weeks I have been eating wild caught fish daily and today I went in to Trader Joes to see what they have in the way of good meat. I am going to incorporate good meat back into my diet while at home and eat vegetarian when out. Problem is, I have no freaking idea what I'm really looking for. So thought I would ask here.

    What exactly am I looking for when I look for beef, pork, chicken, turkey etc? From what I've read organic, grass fed beef is good, but how about the others. Is turkey and chicken to be organic and free range? How about what they eat, does that matter? Does organic mean no hormones and stuff or does it need to say that seperately? One package I saw for beef said it was vegetarian fed, but I have no clue of what that means. I'm now wondering if I would just be better off sticking with fish and leaving it at that. lol

    I want to try a sausage pumpkin soup recipe I found online and so was looking for breakfast sausage, but could only find chicken sausage links and the label didn't say it was free of hormones and other crap so I didn't get it.

    I ended up getting a pound of organic, grass fed ground beef instead in hopes of being able to season it in a sausage-like manner. So if anyone has ideas on how to do so I would greatly appreciate the help.

    Thanks for any help. It's all so confusing.

    Cali

  2. #2
    ProtoAlex's Avatar
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    You say it's confusing but based off the questions that you are asking you're already light years ahead of most people. First off, most of the meat at trader joes is junk even if they have some decent deals on macadamias.

    "Vegetarian Fed" only means that they're not feeding the cows ground up pieces of other cows (a valid concern with anyone looking to avoid creutzfeldt-jakob /mad-cow disease). Unfortunately as a former vegetarian you can probably confirm that a diet consisting entirely of corn wheat and soy fully qualifies as "Vegetarian Fed" and in the case of these meats it's invariably what it refers to. The best label you could hope to see would be "100% grass fed" when buying ruminant meat (cow/lamb/etc), the 100% helps to avoid the misleading cases of "Grass Fed" meat that is grain finished negatively altering the nutritional quality of the meat just before slaughter. "Organic" doesn't really mean a whole lot as many food items don't contain high levels of pesticides and many farmers don't find it economical to go through all of the certification hurdles to get the official organic stamp even if their meat/veggies are 100% organic. In many cases and if you had to choose between a non-organic but 100% grass fed piece of meat or a 100% organic but grain fed meat, you should ignore the organic status and go with the grass fed one.

    Ruminant meat is bound to be healthier for you in the long run as it's less likely to tip your body into a mildly inflammatory state but when you are going for poultry try to find brands that have free range chickens. Unfortunately the labeling for chickens is intentionally kept confusing and pretty meaningless from a regulatory standpoint so it won't give you much to go off of unless you use your phone to look up the farm it's coming from. Since poultry shouldn't be a huge part of your diet anyways you don't have to worry all that much about something you eat once every other month or so. Birds that truly are raised outside eating grass and bugs are quite tasty however and definitely the preferred type.

    For the sausage: mix it with fresh ground/cracked caraway, fennel seed, pepper, sage leaf, some cayenne and salt.
    "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
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    Organic means organic feed, all-vegetarian, no hormones or antibiotics. Grain-fed.
    Grass-finished or 100% grass-fed means the animal spent its entire life eating grass.
    Free-range and all-natural don't mean anything at all when dealing with chickens. Apparently neither does "pastured", in any real sense.
    Pastured pigs don't live in a crate and get out and about, but doesn't mean anything with regards to what it ate -- you can feed these pigs in a trough in the pasture.

    This is what the labels legally mean. The best thing is really to know the farmer and know how the chickens and pigs are living. As Melissa said in the post, the exception to the pastured chicken rule is heritage breeds, which are smaller, stringy, pretty much all dark meat, and delicious. How do you know? Its fat will be yellow, the breastbone will be bone and not cartilage, and it'll look anorexic compared to regular chickens (pastured modern breeds just look like smaller versions of supermarket chickens).

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    You say it's confusing but based off the questions that you are asking you're already light years ahead of most people. First off, most of the meat at trader joes is junk even if they have some decent deals on macadamias.
    TJs pisses me off with their focus on " organic" beef but not grass fed. Why pay a premium when it still has crappy PUFAs? Nothing but a marketing ploy.

    Verde Farms ground beef from Costco is now 100% grassfed. Got an email from them on this this week.
    Last edited by Adrianag; 11-09-2011 at 01:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrianag View Post
    TJs pisses me off with their focus on " organic" beef but not grass fed. Why pay a premium when it still has crappy PUFAs? Nothing but a marketing ploy.

    Verde Farms ground beef from Costco is now 100% grassfed. Got an email from them on this this week.
    The Trader Joe's near me carries organic grassfed beef for $6.29/lb. Is Costco's grassfed beef any cheaper? Never been to Costco's, but getting curious by the minute.
    I'm retraining and strengthening my taste buds, one primal meal at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
    The Trader Joe's near me carries organic grassfed beef for $6.29/lb. Is Costco's grassfed beef any cheaper? Never been to Costco's, but getting curious by the minute.
    Oh yes, it is definitely cheaper and very nicely packaged into 3 1# vacuum packs.

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    Wow! Thank you all for all the information! I shop at Costco so will keep an eye out for the Verde Farms ground beef. Is this in the freezer section or is it in the actual meat/butcher section?

    The ground beef I got from TJ's says it is 100% grass fed with no antibiotics or hormones. They were out of regular so I got pre made patties I plan to just squish back together to make my "sausage". It was $6.99 for the pound.

    Once again, thank you for all the help. I now have my boyfriend and one of my daughters on board for a 30 day grain free challenge. My hope is that from there it will be easier to start move more toward a primal diet.

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    Heidi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrianag View Post
    TJs pisses me off with their focus on " organic" beef but not grass fed. Why pay a premium when it still has crappy PUFAs? Nothing but a marketing ploy.

    Verde Farms ground beef from Costco is now 100% grassfed. Got an email from them on this this week.
    Thanks for the info. I'm going to check them out soon. Went on Verde Farms website and looks like they didn't update it yet about the 100% grassfed. Also went googling and came across Sommers Organic meats that are grassfed and from farmers in the USA. Looks like Kroger carries this brand, so I'll see what the price is next time I'm there.
    I'm retraining and strengthening my taste buds, one primal meal at a time.

  10. #10
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    costco also carries ground buffalo. at least mine does. 2 pounds is about 16.99.
    "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt." -- William Shakespeare

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    started @400+pounds
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