I'm someone who enjoys meat and fish on a regular basis as well as occasional eggs and dairy (aka “animal food”). I notice I feel better with high-quality animal food in my diet. That said, over the last year I’ve been cutting back in an on-going experiment to see how much is just right.
Maybe you’re curious about how much animal food is right for you too? If you currently eat little to none, some reasons to experiment with adding animal food could be if you want to gain or lose weight, heal your gut, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, if you’re a growing kid, if you’re feeling fatigued, or if you have an auto-immune condition.
If you currently eat animal food, but you’re like me, and concerned with the ecological impact, as well as how it affects your health, here’s some tips:
1. To preserve the spirit of PTYD, stick to high-quality as much as possible. Here’s a breakdown of what I mean about quality.
Keep in mind Organic is not necessarily sustainable of raised humanely. There is a Certified-Humane label you can look for on packages. As you can imagine it takes some research to learn about what sustainability means with animal food and the options available to you. This is part of why Local is best, since ideally you just ask the Farmer standing in front of you. The internet is also helpful, and it's worth investing a little time (-:
2. Consider using Farm to Table (Local), Butcher’s Box (National), or visiting one of our local farmer’s markets to get humane, sustainable, chemical-free beef, chicken, pork, eggs & fish. Here practices are vetted by the company or market. With a home-delivery service like Butcher Box or Farm to Table meat arrives frozen in a recyclable box. Meat and fish sold at the farmer’s markets are also sold frozen. This is actually super handy, making the meat available whenever you need it without having to worry about spoilage. Google tips on thawing frozen meat and you’ll always have dinner fixings at your fingertips.
3. Consider fish and seafood! Fish is versatile and cooks quickly. There is debate as to the sustainability of eating any amount of seafood, so like all animal food, this is a very personal question for each of us. Here’s a guide from the Oceanic Society with helpful info and links. I add a 4-6 oz piece of salmon to a PTYD meal about 3 times a month. I look for either wild (because the diet of the wild salmon makes it richer in omega 3 fatty acids), or a responsibly farmed-raised salmon such as Verlasso. Both Central Market and Whole Foods have great Seafood Policies. Check out either stores full-service seafood section and chat up the fishmongers, they’re often highly knowledgeable.
4. When you opt for dairy, go for full-fat & grass-fed whenever possible. Similar to the wild salmon or grass-fed beef cw, the fat of grass-fed dairy is rich in omega 3s in a way grain-fed is not. Full-fat dairy is less processed, and the healthy fats help you feel satisfied with a smaller portion than a low-fat option that may use added sugar to compensate for the missing flavor of the fat that’s been removed.
5. Add even more veggies back into your meal! Since PTYD meals are already packed with plant-based protein, you‘ll want to re-balance your protein-veg ratio by adding an extra handful of greens or cooked veg.
I wish you peace of mind, the spirit of adventure, and many delicious meals in the on-going experiment entitled: “what do I eat?”
Naomi Perryman is a Personal Chef and Health Coach in Austin, TX. Like the folks at Prep To Your Door, she believes that connecting busy people with whole food unlocks it's power to help us feel better, have more energy, and engage more deeply with our lives and the larger world around us.