Healthy eating has so much to do with listening to our bodies and adapting accordingly. Years ago, if someone would have told me that I would be roasting a whole chicken, I would have said, "no way!" I was once a vegetarian. Now, at 31 weeks pregnant, I find myself craving animal protein and dairy. Being a vegetarian just doesn't seem right at the moment so I am going with it. This actually makes sense. When us ladies are building babies in our bellies we need extra fat and good quality animal products are a great source.
All animal products are not created equal. Those huge chicken breasts we find at the local supermarket are not the same quality as chicken from a local farm. They are typically raised in very cramped quarters on factory farms. Plus, they are fed grains that they have trouble digesting which leads to disease. Not cool. Let's not even talk about how those animals are treated... I don't want you to lose your appetite. Just believe me. It is not pretty.
"Pastured" is the new word. When reading labels, it can be so confusing. When it comes to animal products, I look for the "P" word - pastured. Pasture-raised animals not only roam freely in their natural environment (which is what they are supposed to do!) but they also are able to eat nutritious grasses and other plants and bugs that their bodies are built to digest. Not only is this better for animals, it is much better for us as well. The problem is that pastured animal products are hard - if not impossible - to find at traditional grocery stores. It takes a little looking around to find them. Sure, it is an extra step but I think it is worth it.
Where to look? Check out these sites. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
So, how exactly are pastured animal products better for us? Pasture-raised foods have higher levels of vitamins, and a healthier balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats than conventional meat and dairy products.
Studies have shown that milk from pasture-fed cows has as much as five times the CLA (a “good” type of fatty acid) as milk from grain-fed cows. iii And meat from pasture-fed cows has from 200 to 500 percent more CLA as a proportion of total fatty acids than meat from cows that eat a primarily grain-based diet.
Free-range chickens have 21% less total fat, 30% less saturated fat and 28% fewer calories than their factory-farmed counterparts. Eggs from poultry raised on pasture have 10% less fat, 40% more vitamin A and 400% more omega-3's.
I buy most of our animal food products from a local farm here in the Pittsburgh area called Green Circle Farms. It rocks.
Check out this amazing recipe for a roasted chicken. So good!
Roasted Pastured Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, whole
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Clean the chicken under running water. Rinse off excess water and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub outside of the chicken with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and place in a deep covered baking dish lightly brushed with olive oil. Arrange the remaining potatoes and carrots around the chicken in the baker.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake covered for about 90 minutes. Turn the oven up to 375°F and roast for another 30 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and continue roasting for another 15 minutes (depending on how brown you want the skin to be). Remove chicken from baking dish about 10 minutes before carving.