How much effort do you put into your grocery shopping? Do you know how your food is processed? Do you prefer the ‘the less I know the better’ when it comes to how your food was packaged?
People who don’t hunt also don’t understand the effort that goes into processing your own food and how much less processed a field to freezer mentality really is.
The History of Meat Eating
Eating wild meat and growing your own vegetables began when God created the Earth. After God created the vegetation, the animals, and Man, He then, in Genesis 1:28, gave Man authority over all living creatures. We were given the task of managing and respecting those living creatures.
Before the luxury of the grocery stores and market centres we have today, people would grow and process their own food. Many people had farms and harvesting their own animals or hunting animals for food was a normal, self sustaining activity that was necessary on a survival level. The entire animal was used for creating clothing or blankets out of the hide and meat for food; even the antlers or horns could be made into spear heads or tools.
Bottom line, wild game was given for us to eat, enjoy, and make use of.
The majority of my grocery shopping is in fact done in a grocery store. Even with a large garden, chickens, hunting, and berry picking, there will always be a certain amount of food my family will buy at the grocery store. My preferred shopping location is in a wheat field, high in the mountains, or sitting in a tree stand.
Working for your food, whether it be hunting or gardening, gives people a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Anyone who remembers when they began hunting can attest to the fact that it’s harder than it looks. You must out smart an animal in it’s own backyard. Carefully calculating movement patterns, eating habits, and mating times are all so critical to being a successful hunter. The sense of accomplishment is very satisfying and gratifying when you finally are successful.
Not to mention all the other factors of the hunting such as bonding time, fresh air, exercise, and life skill development. The act of hunting will improve over all well being. So when it comes to picking my grocery store, I chose the great outdoors.
You literally cannot get more organic or more “free range” than harvesting an animal in it’s own territory. Unbothered by animal feeding lots, minimal, if any, human interaction, and no growth hormones, wild game meat is the most clean, unaltered, lean meat on the planet.
This animal that you hunt has no boundaries. They are constantly moving to fresh food sources over a huge range of land. Their muscles are muscles that actually get used daily, the animals are getting plenty of exercise, and they aren’t being fed food that isn’t pumping them full of crap. Using growth hormones and steroids just make the animal heavier so that the supplier gets more pounds out of one animal and therefore their profits increase when the animal is sold at auction. Have you ever been to a feed lot? It’s not something I prefer knowing my food has been to. An animal that moves freely at will, will be healthier and less stressed. Period.
Clean meat processing is field to freezer with as few step as possible. For the last 7 years that I have been serious about filling the freezer every year, I have taken it upon myself to understand all aspects from locating and harvesting an animal all the way to how I cut, wrap, and get that meat into my freezer. Why? Because that way I know exactly how processed my food is. Many hunters I know take their meat to the butcher, which is fine, but I enjoy the cut and wrapping as much as I enjoy the hunt. For me it adds to the reward of being able to solely provide food for my family.
Right now me and my hunting partner don’t have access to a bone saw, so we stick to cutting roasts, steaks, stew meat, and we use a meat grinder for ground burger meat. We each have a vacuum sealer which is great for keeping the meat fresh in the freezer and avoids freezer burn.
Processing my own meat allows me complete control from the time of harvesting the animal to when I put the meat packages into my freezer. No crazy assembly line processing in a processing plant and the least amount of human touch as possible.
The “Meat” and Potatoes of Clean Eating
Wild game meat from buffalo, moose, elk, and deer are the most lean meats on the planet. Due to the high volume of movement and grazing mentality, the deer family is highly sought after for their lean meat. The meat is so lean, my wife literally has to add extra virgin olive oil to the ground meat so it doesn’t dry out in the pan. Most meat we buy from the store is “marbled” with fat. This fat is a form of saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol levels. Raising cholesterol levels can have negative heart health effects by blocking arterial blood flow. Refer to the images below. The image on the left is a lean elk steak. The one on the right is are beef steaks. Notice the white lines in the beef steak, that’s your saturated fat.
If you’re an advocate for clean healthy eating either start hunting or get to know a hunter who’s willing to share! I recommend the former. It’s way more fun and way more rewarding!
If you’ve had the interest in hunting and gathering your own food, but don’t know where to start, I encourage you to ask around. You may be surprised how many people you know actually hunt. Go along on hunting excursions with people, if they are willing to take you, and learn. You can’t just become a successful hunter over night. Someone who’s willing to mentor you in the art of stalking and locating animals, field dressing after the kill, and maybe even processing you own meat will turn you into a complete hunter over time.
And most of all, enjoy the hunt!