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  1. #1
    jammies's Avatar
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    Compromise on Meats?

    Hey everyone;

    A friend of mine convinced me to sign up for that mint website to track your spending and set financial goals. I am determined to clean up my finances this year so I went ahead and did it.

    I knew my grocery bills were high, but I am spending too much on my groceries. It the only area of spending that I have any room left to cut out so I need to do it. I am breaking my Whole Foods habit on produce and found a nicely priced Asian market in my neighborhood (quality is not as good and not organic, but it will do).

    Here is my issue. I just cannot stand to eat meats that come from animals that have a horrible life on feedlots and with crazy confinement. So I still buy my meat at whole foods. I only buy the cheapest cuts there - the cheapest meats I can buy are $3.50 per pound. Whole Chicken for $3/lb. I eat a lot of meat so it really adds up.

    Is there a compromise in the middle of those two things? I can't do cow share and the farmers markets here are insanely expensive so that is not an option.

    Does anyone know of any grocery store meat that has some type of more humane living conditions for their animals? I don't care so much about the O3 ratios right now. I don't have much in the way of O6 in my diet. I just want animals that had a decent life.

    Thanks so much for your help

  2. #2
    ElaineC's Avatar
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    Look for a small freezer, you can often find used ones for cheap, and go direct to the farm. I can easily fit a quarter of a cow in one that takes up 2'x2' if you are going to an Asian market they are probably direct sourcing their meat, and contrary to popular belief most farm animals have a fairly decent life. Chickens don't, pigs it's hit and miss. Cows and sheep are too expensive to raise not on pasture, and are usually only brought inside to finish off for a few weeks. Even then they are usually only grained, then kicked back outside.

    Poor conditions results in a poor end product and poor return. Animals kept confined means higher overhead in feed, bedding and labour. It really doesnt pay to treat your livestock poorly. This doesn't even get into the fact that most farmers do care a great deal about their animals, and their quality of life.

    Personally I would buy meat at the Asian market. It's going to be better quality than chain stores because of how they source their produce, and if you can find a local butcher. They should be able to answer any questions you have on how their products were raised.
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  3. #3
    jkr's Avatar
    jkr
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineC View Post
    Look for a small freezer, you can often find used ones for cheap, and go direct to the farm. I can easily fit a quarter of a cow in one that takes up 2'x2' if you are going to an Asian market they are probably direct sourcing their meat, and contrary to popular belief most farm animals have a fairly decent life. Chickens don't, pigs it's hit and miss. Cows and sheep are too expensive to raise not on pasture, and are usually only brought inside to finish off for a few weeks. Even then they are usually only grained, then kicked back outside.

    Poor conditions results in a poor end product and poor return. Animals kept confined means higher overhead in feed, bedding and labour. It really doesnt pay to treat your livestock poorly. This doesn't even get into the fact that most farmers do care a great deal about their animals, and their quality of life.

    Personally I would buy meat at the Asian market. It's going to be better quality than chain stores because of how they source their produce, and if you can find a local butcher. They should be able to answer any questions you have on how their products were raised.
    Umm, I see you're in Canada. Perhaps, you've never been to California, home to hundreds of feedlots. My husband grew up on a dairy and can assure you the animals are not always treated well, nor are they thrown back on pasture often. Meat and dairy from Tillamook, Oregon are raised more in the manner you mention but it is an exception.

    OP, why can't you get a cow share? I had a tiny chest freezer in my apartment hidden behind some curtains. A 1/4 will actually fit in a traditional refrigerator/freezer too. Also, do you have cable, a smart phone, or purchase a daily coffee. There may be ways you can cut your other expenses so you can continue having humanely raised meat. Plus, $3 - 3.50 isn't really that expensive.
    Last edited by jkr; 01-03-2012 at 12:06 AM.

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    sixpack-rc's Avatar
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    There is a kosher/halal market near me that gets in a whole grass fed cow from a local farm every week and butchers it themselves. Their meat is good and cheaper than the grain fed meat at the supermarket. You don't mention where you are but you might be able to find something like that. It's just a small corner market with a butcher and I never would have guessed they had such good meat.

    ~rc

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    jammies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixpack-rc View Post
    There is a kosher/halal market near me that gets in a whole grass fed cow from a local farm every week and butchers it themselves. Their meat is good and cheaper than the grain fed meat at the supermarket. You don't mention where you are but you might be able to find something like that. It's just a small corner market with a butcher and I never would have guessed they had such good meat.

    ~rc
    I'm in the Bay area too - care to share your source with me

  6. #6
    jammies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkr View Post

    OP, why can't you get a cow share? I had a tiny chest freezer in my apartment hidden behind some curtains. A 1/4 will actually fit in a traditional refrigerator/freezer too. Also, do you have cable, a smart phone, or purchase a daily coffee. There may be ways you can cut your other expenses so you can continue having humanely raised meat. Plus, $3 - 3.50 isn't really that expensive.
    As far as I can tell, the cow share options here in the bay area are generally closer to $6/lb - so it never really made sense to me to get it. I could get a chest freezer, but I likely only have one more year or so in this area and then will be moving. I don't really want to invest in a freezer if I don't have.

    My other expenses aren't really negotiable right now. I don't buy coffee or eat out more than once or twice a month and never at fancy places. I do have cable but it was part of the agreement to move in to the house I live in right now and the cost is split with several people. I pay an obscene amount for my cell phone/data plan but have another year on the contract. Stupid decision made in a rush a year ago - stupid, but can't be helped now.

    So it's cut down on the groceries for now.

  7. #7
    jkr's Avatar
    jkr
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    Have you checked sacramento craigslist for cheaper cow shares?

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    Get creative, both with choices and sources. We found frozen wild-caught salmon at Sam's. Canned wild-caught salmon is also fairly cheap. See if there's a local butcher that sources from small farms, and ask for beef trim pieces and other cheaper cuts. I'm always looking for cheaper ways to get good-quality protein. Good luck!

  9. #9
    awm8604's Avatar
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    Meat and animal products in general are the last place I would compromise. I would try to find a farm to get meat from directly. Eat Wild

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