If you have meat in your diet there are a lot of benefits to choosing meat from animals that were given pasture. I stumbled upon the article “5 reasons to Switch to Pastured Pork” written by Diana Rodgers. I agree with Diana’s points. Here is my take on the topic.
We are bombarded with food advertizing, health warnings, and ever shifting ideas about what is healthy. There is a simple rule for knowing what is good for us that cuts through all that. The basic ingredients you cook with; vegetables, fruit, meat – should be flavourful before they are ever touched with seasonings. Our taste buds are designed to identify nutrition in food. Food produced in a holistic system is more flavourful because it is packed with vitamins and minerals. Not only do we enjoy eating that food more but we need less of it to feel sated because of its density. Sure we can be fooled by sugar, salt, fat and a myriad of tricky additives in processed foods, but our bodies tell us something is wrong by the lack of satisfaction we feel at the end of the meal.
It is hard to argue with the notion that animals with more freedom will be happier and supporting that type of farming is a positive thing to do. In other words ‘Do it for the pigs’. Animals raised with access to outdoors have a lot less stress and a lot more fun in their lives. We are what we eat in every way. The vitality of food directly leads to the vitality of the eater. Whatever you eat was recently a growing organism, the healthier the system it came from the better for you.
An important reason to choose pasture raised meat often overlooked is the value it offers the land. When animals deposit their fertility directly on the land they enrich it far more than when it is hauled, piled and later spread. Composting is a great thing to do but some nutrients are inevitably lost and a lot of energy is expended in making, moving and spreading the pile of compost. In other words animals on pasture are much closer to carbon neutral than indoor animals. Yes, you can use legumes to fix nitrogen in the soil and that will protect the organic matter in the soil but legumes without some kind of animal based input or chemical fertilizer do not increase the organic matter in the soil. Animals on pasture do.
In summary what is better for farm animals is ultimately better for us too. Everything is interconnected. The longer we work this land the more apparent this is to us. The pigs that fertilized the soil also turned it, to eat the perennial weed roots and grubs. They did it joyfully while growing and thriving. Vegetables growing in rich soil, singing with vitality, take less energy to grow, have less pests, and are more delicious. Small farms are an integral part of the local economy, when you support them you invest in the future of your community.