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These books are not for the faint of heart!
One of these days I’ll write a more thorough review on each of them, but for now I’d like to talk about meat. Real meat. The kind that is generally missing from most, if not all, grocery stores.
Nina Planck say the following in regard to the “factory farm,” which is where most grocery store meats originate:
[T]he idea is to bring animals to market weight quickly and cheaply. To that end, traditional animal husbandry has been replaced by industrial methods: cheap, often unnatural food, fattening diets, antibiotics, steroids. The less space for animals to move around, the better; exercise wastes precious feed calories, and that costs money. Whether the farmer keeps cattle, pigs, or poultry, the motto on industrial farms is the same: sit down, shut up, and eat.
She goes on to explain how crowded conditions, unhealthy diets of pesticide-laden grains (instead of grass for cattle, and foraging diets for pigs and poultry), steroids and antibiotics (required to treat and prevent the diseases which result from unhealthy diets and crowded conditions) all combine to produce meat that is clearly less nutritious, and indeed downright dangerous for human consumption.
It’s no surprise that real food champions such as Planck and Fallon advocate purchasing organic meat from animals raised on chemical-free, appropriate, natural diets (grass for cattle; free-range foraging for pigs and poultry) and spared from steroids, hormones and antibiotics.
Which, I might add, is not necessarily true of the “organic” meat sold at most grocery stores. (More on that another time…so many rabbit trails to follow here…)
One of the most helpful pieces of advice I found in Real Food:
If you can’t find or afford ecological produce, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables anyway. You many be sure that most studies showing the benefits of diets rich in fruits and vegetables were done on industrial produce…. When I’m deciding how to spend my food money, I use one other rule of thumb: the higher up the food chain, the more important ecological methods are.
Thus I spend good money on grass-fed and pastured meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs, but I am less fussy about fruits and vegetables. That’s because chemicals accumulate at the top of the food chain, especially in fatty tissue. [emphasis mine]
Frankly, eating real food–and avoiding industrial food–can get pretty expensive. At the Yankee Homestead, we’ve decided it’s worth the investment. However, like Nina Planck, we focus our food dollars on the foods at the top of the chain: meats and dairy. (Our eggs come straight from the backyard).
Which brings me to the point of this post:
Have you heard of US Wellness Meats?
It’s one of my favorite sources for quality meat. I’ve mentioned that our main source for quality beef is my dad’s small farm. (Read this post). We buy chicken, sausage and raw dairy products from local farms. (More on that later). I buy organic, nitrite/nitrate-free lunch meat at our local grocery store. (Hooray for Wegmans)!
U.S. Wellness Meats supplies the remainder of our quality meat products. I highly recommend them!
About US Wellness Meats:
In 2000, U.S. Wellness Meats as we now know it was born. Today, the company is a thriving family-owned business still run by its founding families. Their grass-fed beef is recognized for its exceptional taste, quality and health benefits by chefs, health experts, professional athletes, and many others. In addition, U.S. Wellness Meats has joined with like-minded small family farms across the country to expand its offerings to include grass-fed lamb, bison, and goat, as well as grass-fed butter and cheese, free-range poultry, honey, organic nuts, and other wellness products.
- They adhere to organic standards, although they lack the official organic label. (Read about it on their FAQ page).
- Their grass-fed, foraging practices comply completely with the standards outlined by Nina Planck and other champions of real foods.
- I love this company!
Our favorite products to order from US Wellness Meats:
- Beef Sticks–[Pictured above] A favorite on-the-go, high-protein snack. My entire family LOVES these. We often use nuts as on-the-go high-protein snacks, but in some situations we have to keep the boys’ snacks nut-free out of respect to those around us with allergies. These Beef Sticks are the perfect solution! They are allergy-free, high-protein, MSG-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, etc! We carry them in a small, insulated lunch bag with a slim ice pack.
- Liverwurst–Mr. Native Texan and I actually cannot bring ourselves to eat this (yet), but our boys love it. It’s SO good for you! I often serve this to the boys for lunch, with some stevia-sweetened dijon mustard.
- Sugar-free Pork Bacon–Not only is it sugar-free, it’s also uncured (no nitrites/nitrates) and delicious! With a 15% discount code, the price is equivalent to what we’re accustomed to paying for from-the-farm bacon. [Love bacon? Check out this post: The Best Way to Cook Bacon.]
- Salami–Similar to the beef sticks, but bigger. Another good on-the-go snack or meal. Mr. Native Texan loves this stuff.
Tips for stretching your dollars at US Wellness Meats:
- Order with a friend (local friends, let me know if you’d like to go in on any of my orders)–this saves a few dollars, since you can split the $7.50 flat handling fee.
- Take advantage of 15% codes. They almost always have one available, and you can find them:
- embedded in their e-newsletter:
- Sometimes it’s listed in an easy-to-find spot, like the “Breaking News” section.
- Sometimes you have to read a certain article and search for the red letters, which spell the promo code. When this is the case, the newsletter will announce it (the fact that the letter contains a code) in the title or in the highlights at the top.
- by calling Customer Service at 877-383-0051. I’ve done this several times, when I was ready to place an order containing products with no quantity discount available. I just say something like, “I’m getting ready to place an order and was wondering if you have any discount codes available right now.”
- embedded in their e-newsletter:
- Take advantage of quantity discounts, which are offered on some products. For example, if you buy 10-15 packages of Beef Sticks, you’ll receive a 10% discount. Buy 16-20 and receive a 15% discount. (You cannot stack a promo code on top of a quantity discount. So if you buy 16 packages of beef sticks AND use a 15% off promo code, you’ll still only get the 15% quantity discount on the beef sticks).
Good to Know:
- All orders must reach a minimum weight of 7 lbs.
- All orders must reach a minimum total of $75.
- All orders incur a flat handling fee of $7.50.
- All orders arrive via FedEx.
- The shipping schedule is thoroughly explained on their FAQ page, but the general idea is that they ship Monday–Wednesday. If you place an order on Monday, Tuesday or before 10 am on Wednesday, your order should ship ASAP. If you place an order after 10 am Wednesday, or on any of the remaining days of the week, it will ship out the following Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, in the order your order was received.
- My packages have always arrived in about two days.
- Knowing when to expect your order is important, especially in the summer months. Your meat will arrive frozen, with ice packs, and you’ll want to get it into cold storage ASAP.
- You will receive a tracking number via email, so you can check on the estimated delivery date.