How's that for a mouthful? We have all heard people say 'you are what you eat', but what about what it ate? Does that matter & why?
Food is our fuel, it can be our best form of medicine or our slowest form of poison. Every cell in our body can be affected by the fuel we feed them. If we feed our body crappy-quality damaged vegetable oils that is what then makes up our cells or damages them.
So what's the deal with free range v's feedlot animals? I'm pretty sure you have all seen the documentaries on battery hens, not only are their living conditions appalling but they are not healthy birds- why would we want to eat them or their pale-yolked, nutrient poor eggs? Eggs from pastured/free range hens can contain up to 19x the Omega 3 content of caged birds. The same goes for other produce. Cows, pigs, sheep, goats, duck, turkey that are kept mainly indoors out of their natural environment, without adequate levels of Vitamin D, that are not able to move freely and are being fed all manner of cr@p like soy, GM corn & grains are not healthy animals. They are not living as nature intended & they are certainly not producing the most nutrient rich meat, eggs or milk for us to consume.
If we look at grain-fed beef as an example, What are cows historically designed to eat? Grass & whatever other folage they can find. Just like humans, cows thrive on the diet they are naturally meant to exist on. Grassfed cows have a better ratio of omega 6:3, higher levels of B-vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Why? They get better quality food. There is also the animal welfare argument for supporting cattle being able to roam freely in pastures rather than supporting a feedlot lifestyle.
So, how do we make the best choices on a budget? Try & choose free-range/pastured animal products where possible. Choose the cheaper cuts of the best quality meat you can afford & slow cook them, the fats and skin of pastured animals are full of great nutrients so eat that too. Talk to your local butcher or farmer about a co-op & get some friends together to buy a whole lamb. If you can't afford or find free range right now, choose leaner cuts of non-pastured animals and discard the fat (like us, animals store their toxins in the fat layer) and use the best quality fats you can to cook with: organic coconut oil, grassfed butter, ghee. Look for wild-caught fish where possible, the farmed stuff has been fed all sorts of soy, corn & grain pellets which once again will alter the omega fat content.
Make the best choices you can, don't panic about & stock up when you see it on special. Check www.myfoodreligion.com for loads of recipes using a slow cooker & your cheaper cuts of meat.