Thursday, March 8, 2012

Straight from Nicolette and Bill Niman

Here is "The Niman top Ten List for Affordable Sustainable Eating" extracted from a blog discussion that took place in July 2009. The complete blog is a wonderful read. Here is the link to the blog.

(Some of which are easier to do than others but all of which are worth consideration...)

(*But first, we should note that we think cost to the consumer is a very important question. In fact, it's one of the most important barriers to changing the practices of the current industrialized meat and dairy industries. It is true that meat and dairy from pasture-based, natural farms often costs more money.

The reasons for this are complex and are closely related to government policies (at federal, state and local levels) that encourage industrial production. But that does not help the consumer who's trying to carefully watch his or her budget and eat healthy foods. With that said, here are our suggestions on how to do that.)

1. Reduce consumption of meat, dairy and fish products. Most Americans eat far more meat and dairy than is nutritionally warranted and this is the most expensive part of the American diet. We refer to this as "moving meat OFF the center of the plate." By cutting down on the number of times you eat meat, dairy and fish AND by reducing portion sizes of those foods, you can keep buying naturally raised meat and dairy without breaking the bank.

2. Shop and eat in harmony with the seasons. For every food that is naturally raised, (and wild game, seafood and fish), there is a "season of plenty." During that season of plenty, the foods are available at a lower cost and it's a great time to get bargains on healthful, delicious foods. Various websites now offer guidance on what's in season when. A walk through a farmers market also tells you what's in season.

3. Plant a garden. If you have a yard, terrace, or even a window sill, you can grow your own organic vegetables, herbs and fruits cheaper than you can buy them. It's also a great way to get fresh air and exercise.

4. Keep a flock of laying hens. At the dawn of the 20th century, even cities had loads of chickens. "A 1906 census showed that in urban areas there was one chicken for every two people" (Righteous Porkchop, p. 40). More and more cities are again allowing people to keep chickens -- a great way to get cheap, organic eggs and chicken meat.

5. Cook more. Food that is prepared at home from raw ingredients is cheaper than prepared foods (and better tasting and more nutritious!)

6. Shift budgeting priorities. Americans spend a smaller percentage of their budgets on food than any other developed country. In France, for example, people spend about 14% of their income on food. In the US, we spend about 9%.

7. Buy cheaper cuts of meat. The so-called "middle meats" (e.g. pork loin, beef tenderloin) are the most commonly available in supermarkets, but are not the tastiest and are the most expensive. By learning about the lesser known cuts (e.g. beef tri-tip, pork shanks) and how to prepare them, you can save a lot of money on your meat.

8. Buy whole chickens (instead of parts). Roast the whole bird or cut it into parts at home. You'll save money and get better quality meat. Use what's left to make stock for soup and sauces.

9. Buy foods during low demand periods. For example, at Christmas, prime rib and tenderloin are in high demand while the New York strip steak is in relatively low demand, so this it's a good time to buy it if you're looking to save money. Another good example is pork spare ribs and babyback ribs -- they are in high demand in the summer grilling season and are much cheaper outside of that time period.

10. Eat organ meats. Liver, hearts and kidneys are highly nutrious and can be purchased at a relatively low cost. Even a very tight budget can afford these from naturally raised animals. Learn how to cook them and you'll have great, nutritious food.

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