What’s the longest you’ve marinaded on something?
Marinating in your mind, not in meat. I’m talking about you.
How long have you had an idea float around in your head, letting it toggle back and forth between the pros and cons, between goods and bads… possibly even letting it sit on the sidelines for a while to see if the idea morphs into something better, or simply go away?
The idea of organic chicken, organic butter and organic eggs has been marinading in my head for about three years.
The fall after my husband and I were married, we took a couple classes together at a local community college. We learned about the endocrine system and how hormones worked in our bodies.
While we didn’t remember much from our Anatomy & Physiology class, one lesson that did stick around was the fact that our bodies were created perfectly – we are given the correct and proper hormones necessary for whatever our body will be doing for its duration on the planet, including growth.
By consuming additional hormones, either through meat, dairy or prescriptions, we are altering what our body does naturally.
Fast forward three years, just a couple months before my daughter was born, and my husband and I were having a discussion about girls and boobs that I’m sure is fairly common among parents of girls. We didn’t know if the baby was a girl or boy at the time, but we discussed that “it” could be a girl and girls were growing boobs at a much younger age nowadays than they used to. As the parents of “it,” we were concerned. And just like that, we made a decision to start buying organic milk.
Can changing milk alone rid our children, and ourselves, of the harmful effects of artificial chemicals and hormones?
No, it cannot. But we were a small family on a small budget and we were making a decision for the better. It was only a baby step, but it was a step in the right direction.
We had a gut feeling that animal farming was rigged. Federal regulations prohibit the use of adding hormones, but still – conventional meat is bigger as a whole. The products that came from organic farms are smaller, but truer, and those farmers had to charge more to compensate for the smaller “crop” and the work that goes into properly raising animals.
Honestly, we felt like we didn’t have a choice. The prices alone scared us. We thought that if we bought organic chicken, we wouldn’t be able to afford anything else for the month. Buying anything else organic just wasn’t an option.
But the thought still hung around, like the flavor of a good marinade, and that flavor has been lingering around inside my brain ever since.
A few months ago we started making our way through the plethora of documentaries available on Netflix. We watched the big foodie ones: Food Inc., Food Matters and Forks Over Knives.
These documentaries (despite the controversies of skewed view points and speculation of partial truths), opened our eyes to the food we put in our bodies, where it comes from, how it’s really processed, and how it ends up at our table. The marinade started swishing around some more and was even seeping in a bit. I hadn’t been concerned about how my chickens were raised. I never thought to look past the price tag of my butter. The myriad of egg choices just confused me since eggs couldn’t be hormonally altered, right? I thought to myself, how could you put a needle through an eggshell to pump it full of hormones and the shell still remain in tact?
“Given to the animals” doesn’t just include directly through shots. It also includes indirectly, through grain and feed that’s been modified to produce a better final product, whether that’s eggs or milk or muscle. It includes grass that’s been sprayed with chemicals so that unwelcomed guests don’t make themselves comfy. It could even mean the water that the animal drinks. Some people drink flourinated water; why wouldn’t farmers add chemicals to animal water too?
But then the animal eats and drinks that stuff. And he digests it. And it affects his body. And it stays in his body. And then we eat that body. And if we eat butter, we’re eating concentrated stuff.
And the light bulb went off in my marinated brain.
Our family is still on a small budget, but somehow we needed to find room to buy organic chicken, organic butter and organic eggs. My husband and I had a very, very short discussion on this topic one night over dinner that went something like this:
Me: Hey babe, I’ve been giving this some serious thought, but I think we should buy organic chicken, butter and eggs. I’ve done some research, but it really boils down to the health of our family. I know it’ll be more expensive, but I think we should try to make it work.
Him: That sounds great babe. I couldn’t agree with you more.
And so the decision was made.
There definitely was quite a bit of research that went into this decision and TONS of questions along the way:
- Should we buy organic beef too, or just chicken?
- What about grass fed beef; is that better than organic?
- Is there such thing as organic pork?
- What about cage free eggs; are they the same?
- And free-range eggs? Aren’t free-range chickens cage-free too?
- Does organic butter really cost twice as much as non-organic?!
I found these answers, and so much more, and I hope to share more on these topics and how we came up with our answers in the next few weeks. (No sense in making you wait on the last one though – yes, organic butter really does cost twice as much as non-organic.)
Buying organic chicken, butter and eggs won’t make our family do a 180 in the nutrition department, but it’s another baby step, and it’s a step in the right direction.
Disclaimer: There are families who struggle to eat meat, let alone organic meat – I know this. We are all in different seasons and if your season is survival mode, then make it a goal to survive. However, if you are not in survival mode, consider allowing this marinade to sit in your brain for a little bit. Perhaps it’ll change the way you approach your food or your budget. Maybe it’ll lead to another baby step.