I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. After a snow-filled winter that at one point was on track to set a new record and a spring that seemed to never stop raining…we were rewarded here in Boston with a beautiful long weekend. We jumped fully into summer with temps in the 80’s. That meant plenty of biking and running, along with my first open water swim of the season. The water wasn’t even cold (we had on wetsuits, of course). The only thing that interfered was the concern that we heard thunder when we were about as far from the start point as we could be…so everyone swam a bit faster back to the boat launch. In the end, no thunderstorm.
So today I just have some random food resources for you. A week or so ago I gave you a resource to find farmers’ markets and CSAs near you. Today I am giving you a link to find grass-fed meat and dairy products, along with poultry and eggs that have been raised in a pasture-based environment free of antibiotics and added hormones. You can search by state (when you do, you will get a list of farms along with a map ~ get the larger version of the map, then zoom in to see what is closest to you ~ also note that some farms will ship, or will make periodic deliveries to urban locations). Go to Eat Wild to find out more.
While you can find farm-fresh eggs from the above link, also note that some CSA farms and farmers’ markets will offer eggs (mine does) ~ if you can get fresh-from-the-farm eggs where the chickens have been allowed to roam freely, do so. You might pay $5 a dozen, but trust me, the eggs look different (a dark orange yolk instead of pale yellow) and taste different. Well worth it. Eggs are really an amazingly cheap source of protein, so do not hesitate to pay the premium. For those who cannot get their eggs this way I am providing you with a way to evaluate the eggs found in your local supermarket. I find supermarket eggs very confusing. I can buy omega-3 eggs, cage-free eggs, organic eggs, “free-range ” eggs…yet not all of the above it seems. I know that “cage-free” and “free-range” don’t necessarily mean anything…many chickens are now raised in conditions similar to cattle feedlots where the chicken housing is enormous and there are tiny doors at the far ends of the housing. Chickens are not encouraged to go outside, nor is it easy for them to do so. So what to do? Here is a great resource to evaluate the quality of the egg options in your local supermarket, an organic egg scorecard put together by the Cornucopia Institute, a progressive farm policy research group based in Wisconsin. They evaluate the way the chickens are raised and fed, which obviously has a direct bearing on the quality of the eggs said chickens bear.
Just as the conditions in which a chicken is raised and fed has a direct bearing on the quality of the eggs it produces, so is the quality of dairy products impacted by the life of the dairy cow that produces it. Just as the nutrient profile of grass-fed beef is superior to that of corn-fed beef (discussed in my blog post “King Corn“), so is the nutrient profile of grass-fed (“pastured”) dairy products superior to that of more traditional dairy products. While I find that my local Whole Foods is now carrying a wide variety of grass-fed cuts of beef, I find it a bit more challenging to find pastured dairy products. Butter is definitely available (previously discussed in my blog post “I Can’t Believe It’s…Butter!”), but other dairy is more hit-or-miss. To help you in evaluating the quality of organic dairy, the Cornucopia Institute has an organic dairy report. If you click on a particular farm, it will bring up a host of statistics, including how much pasture time the cows are given. This is a great resource because “organic” is only part of the story, and often does not mean something is much better than non-organic. You can thank the Cornucopia Institute for doing all the leg-work for you. Now all you have to do is spend a little bit of time looking at their reports.
I will post again this week…I am hoping to get together a good post about women lifting and nutrition, based on a couple of great reads I came across last week. Will work on it, hopefully for Thursday or Friday of this week.