30-Day Challenge: Sustainable Meat

pasture raised animal

“Sorry to make the whole room smell like eggs,” I said to my office mate yesterday as I peeled my hard-boiled egg. Pieces of the shell fell on my desk and the aromatic essence of egg filled the room.

“No worries,” she replied.

I was hungrier than usual at 3 o’clock in the afternoon because, all of a sudden, I’d changed my lunch eating habits. For the past 6 work days, I’d only eaten vegetarian lunches.

Urban farm vegetables

Why?? Well, this month, I was inspired to try another 30 day challenge, one that involved changing my meat consumption. Remember last year when I went a month eating meat no more than once a day? Now, for 30 days, I am only eating meat that has been raised sustainably. I started on March 1st.

I’m really excited for this challenge because consuming meat is something I think about a LOT. In all my reading about the food system, I've discovered that experts believe the most beneficial change we can make for our environment and our health is to eat less meat and better quality meat. I don’t want to become a vegetarian, but I do want to eat meat more responsibly and that’s what this month is about.

What does eating sustainable meat mean?

Guess what, there’s no official definition for “sustainable meat,” so I’m creating my own. To me, it means:

  • Completely avoiding consuming any animals that were part of the industrial food chain.
  • Eating meat that’s pasture-raised in animal-focused conditions - animals fed their natural diet and allowed to thrive.
  • Supporting farmers and growers near me and keeping more money in the Southern California area.
  • Willingly spending more for a better quality product, less frequently.
ham prosciutto

Where am I buying my meat this month?

So far, I’ve gotten chicken from Primal Pastures, pork from Family Gathering Farms, and beef from our Blue Apron subscription. I will seek out more vendors throughout the month who make information on their practices readily available.

How hard is this?

I’m confident that this challenge is completely manageable for me at home. My fiance and I can cook pretty well and are happy to quickly grill some good quality pork chops, a steak, chicken, etc., throw together a side dish, and sit down with a glass of wine to enjoy.

tomato salad

I predict that the hard part this month will be eating at restaurants, lunches at work, and in dining with friends. Most of the restaurants I have access to on a regular basis don’t meet my criteria for sustainable meat, so I will be eating vegetarian meals. Seeing as everyone knows me as a meat-eater, will this challenge require me to explain myself to friends and family? (Yes, so let this post be my explanation!) I feel the pressure in social interactions to not be the sticky wheel or the instigator, but truthfully, that’s part of this challenge. And that's what this blog is all about: exploring my beliefs and values, sharing them, and sticking up for them!

Today is Day 8 out of 30; I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

If you see me this month, don’t be alarmed by the smell of hard-boiled eggs emanating from my purse!