Friday, August 13, 2010

an emotional day and whole chickens

i should be writing about how today was one of the most stressful and emotional days that i have had in a long, long time (i will even admit that i cried a little today... and i cant remember the last time i cried. it was probably soon after we moved to cali).  but alex already wrote about that, and i don't know if i could add much to what he said.

for some reason i feel inspired to write a blog about why i have chosen to switch to start using whole chickens.  maybe it because of despite everything that happened today, at the end of the day i am a mom, and being a mom i have to think about things like preparing chicken for my family.

"she rises while it is yet night
   and provides food for her household" proverbs 31:15

after everyone went to bed, i was up late de-boning a chicken, and thinking about how happy i have been with the decision that i made several months ago to only buy whole chickens from now on (rather than individual cuts).

i want to share with you my reasons here, and i hope that you too might make this decision that i see as very wise.

1) because its frugal.  after doing a lot of research recently, i am firmly convinced that the best decision i can make as the household manager for my family is to buy organic meat.  in my view, it is much more important to get organic meat than to get organic produce.

unfortunately, organic meat is very expensive.  especially the cuts that are in higher demand, such as the boneless skinless breast meat, which goes for about $6.99/lb here.  i pay just $2.50/lb for a whole chicken.  fortunately, i am now convinced that the whole chicken is actually more nutritious than just the breast meat, which works out to our favor financially as well.

2) because it is more nutritious. i used to be a 100% boneless skinless chicken breast gal.  but we definitely cant afford that now that we are eating organic.  however, after doing more research i am not as afraid of animal fat as i once was, and i even view it as a healthy part of our diet.  so, fortunately for me, since most americans are still scared of animal fat, i benefit because i get the fattier cuts (ie everything that is included with a whole chicken besides the breasts) for much cheaper.  furthermore, i get the added nutrition of the whole chicken.

i make bone broth with my leftover bones (which is cooking right now, after i de-boned the chicken earlier), which is very, very nutritious.  in fact, i am sad for all of those years that i avoided the bones, because i was missing out on a lot of good stuff.  bone broth is very high in calcium.  it also has nutrients that are good for joints.  in addition, it contains essential amino acids that help the body use the protein in the chicken more effectively.

furthermore, whole chickens come with the organ meat, which contains much higher levels of nutrients than the other parts of the chicken.  i just mix this in with the other meat when i make soups and stir fries and it is not even noticeable. 

3) because it is greener. (and as i have posted before, i believe that doing things that are good for the environment honors God).  chickens have been bred to have abnormally large amounts of breast meat, to the point that many adult chickens on a non-organic chicken farm cannot even walk because their breasts are so big. this is unnatural and not right to make chickens live this way (and yes, i believe that it is biblical to care about the well-being of animals: proverbs 12:10 "whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast")

furthermore, the best thing for the environment is to use all of the products we take from it.  formerly, when i would only eat chicken breasts, i was requiring that many chickens be killed in order to satisfy my need.  this meant that lots of other parts of the chicken went to waste, so to say, since i only wanted one part (ok, i know that the other parts were sold for cheaper prices to encourage people to buy them in our market economy, and that people would end up buying and eating the other parts.  but still the point remains that overall, more chickens have to be produced to satisfy the demand for that once specific cut).  i am glad to now be using most of the chicken that i require to be killed for my need.

update: i forgot to include in my original post  that whole chickens also require less packaging, which is also greener.

4.) because it is delicious.  since we have switched to organic, i have had to buy conventional chicken here and there when the budget is tight.  i definitely notice a difference in taste, which surprised me!  i really didn't think i would notice a difference.  in fact, conventional chicken makes my stomach turn a little, but i manage to eat it.

furthermore, i have discovered that using meat from all parts of a chicken makes the flavor of the dish more complex and tasty.  our meals taste so much better now that i use whole chickens!

next time you are at the store, i challenge you to buy a whole organic chicken!  i bet you will be instantly hooked, as i was.  :)

[ N.B.: its late and i am tired, so i didn't bother to link to all the websites that i could about why organic meat is more important than organic produce, and the nutrition in whole chickens, etc.  but if you are interested to read the things that i did in my research, send me a message and i am more than happy to point you there. ]

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