Culturally, we’re becoming much more conscious about where our food comes from — and the impact our consumption has on other species and our environment. Perhaps that’s why the push for free range, organic, and wild caught or sourced meat and fish has become increasingly part of the “norm.” From free range pork to wild caught Alaskan salmon, consumers are looking for responsibly sourced food. There are health benefits for us if we do this as well — the impact goes far beyond just the environment, animal cruelty issues, and feeling good about ourselves. If you’re looking to start buying organic or free range, we’ll cover some things you should know, as well as what you can look forward to in terms of benefits. Furthermore, we’ll suggest some general places to look for this kind of meat, fish, or poultry.
What Should I Know About Free Range Meat/Poultry or Wild Caught Fish?
Let’s talk about our terms first. Free range sounds a lot like the term — it’s meat or poultry animals (like cows, pigs, chickens, etc.,) that are allowed freedom of movement to graze or eat. They’re kept in a more natural environment (a yard, pasture, etc.,), not in cages or factory farms.
Wild caught fish refers to fish that are caught out in the wild, not harvested from fisheries or fish farms, where the fish are all kept more or less together.
Currently, grass fed beef makes up less than 3% of all beef sold in the United States (we eat on average almost 67 pounds of beef a year), but that could be changing, as the push for free range and grass fed beef continues to rise.
What are the Benefits of Consuming Free Range Meat/Poultry and Wild Caught Fish?
When you eat free range pork or chicken, you’re doing yourself a favor, as well as the environment! For one thing, meat from these animals tends to be a lot healthier. For example, grass feed beef has as much as seven times more beta carotene as opposed to grain fed beef, has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and provides more in the way of Vitamins A and E. Pasture pigs also have 300% more Vitamin E and almost 75% more selenium in their milk, which means their offspring are healthier.
Furthermore, you’re not ingesting the antibiotics pumped into livestock every year in the United States. In 2001, it was reported that between 60-80% of antibiotics in the United States were given to livestock via their food — which is a horrifying estimate.
In terms of wild salmon, it has less saturated fat than its farmed salmon counterpart (farmed salmon has three times more saturated fat) and over 30% fewer calories, per the National Nutritional Database. Wild salmon has an average of about 13 grams of fat in a half filet, whereas farmed salmon has an average of 27 grams.
Overall, this method of free range/wild caught meat and fish leads to healthier and happier animals, which means better and healthier meat and fish for us to consume.
Where Can I Find Free Range Pork Or Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon?
If you’re looking for say, free range pork, grass feed beef, or wild caught Alaskan salmon, one place to look locally might be your local farmer’s market. You could also support your local farmers/businesses that way, which is an extra win! If you have a health food store in the area, you may also be able to check with them.
However, if those aren’t viable options, it’s also now possible to buy wild alaskan salmon online, or free range pork online, or whatever your heart desires, and have it shipped right to your doorstep! This can be good if you want to try different types of meat or fish or are looking for a lower price point.
Source your food responsibly, if you can. It does make a difference — not only for yourself, but also for the world around you. Make friends with your local farmers and see how eating this way can change your life.