Once upon a time I was vegetarian. Now we own and operate a pasture raised meat business. (Grass fed and finished beef, pasture raised pork and chicken all minus antibiotics or added hormones)

Quite the switch.

When I was ohhhhh around 20 (feels like just a couple years ago) and I went to Alaska for the first time (as a vegetarian), I had the privilege of spending a couple of weeks with a family who was homesteading in the middle of absolute nowhere. The nearest town was 30 miles away by dog sled or snow machine during the winter and by boat in the summer. And that “town”…well if you’ve seen the show Northern Exposure {popular in the early 90’s} then you know what kind of town I’m talking about. You know, where the “airport” and post office are all in one and smaller than my house. You get off the plane outside on the tarmac regardless of the fact that it’s 30 below outside. Oh, and the plane is half cargo. Some of the cargo was fresh produce that people living way up there eagerly anticipated once a month.

ONCE a month! Can you imagine fresh veggies and fruit only once a month??

Needless to say, when the woman of the house {i.e. cabin with no running water and heated only by wood stove} I was staying at asked, “what should we have for dinner?” my first night there and it turned out my options were moose, caribou or….well…moose, I was not surprised.

“My first experience in temperatures so frigid. No store anywhere within reach. Yup, I’ll be eating meat” was how my thought process went. Then, off we went into the “yard” with a chainsaw where she started uncovering something from under a mound of snow. There was dinner. Not even kidding.

My reasons for following a vegetarian lifestyle back then were pretty weak. I was early into my whole health and fitness journey and was very much following trends {and more interested in being skinny than anything else related to health}. So, low fat and vegetarian it was! I would go out with friends and order a pizza with just veggies {cheese was too fattening}. No joke. Thankfully I had good friends who didn’t give me too hard of a time or try to force feed me pepperoni and cheese *gasp*. I will tell you, however, the biggest driver for me was my disgust with how meat was farmed in our country and I really associated it with fast food. Yuck.

Eating meat in the far Northern regions of Alaska in the dead of winter with a family that was completely living off the land, changed my perspective.

After that experience, I moved to a small town in Alaska, not nearly as remote as Kotzebue, however the grocery store was a 2 hour drive away from where I lived (still accessible any time of the year).  {I lived in Healy, just north of Denali National Park}

What I noticed when I lived up there was that people hunted and would feed their whole family for the entire year from a moose they shot; and they were SO thankful. I hunted with friends and the experience was completely different than what I expected. The word honor comes to mind. When you work hard for something versus just picking up a package at the store or ordering it off the menu at a restaurant…it makes you really understand and appreciate what you have in front of you.

This was such a far cry from what I was used to down in the lower 48. Not to mention, wild meat had SUCH a different taste.

There is a lot of confusion today with what is good and what isn’t good for you. What I find that many people overlook WHERE things come from and what that means for the integrity fo the food. I haven’t ate a burger from a fast food restaurant in ….you know I can’t even tell you how many years. But, I was still buying meat from the grocery store and not really thinking much about it until in the recent few years. Then I started getting grass fed beef locally and fast forward to now where we have partnered with Pacific Northwest farms who meet our strict standards and we are selling it!

One of the biggest reasons to go for grass fed over grain fed is that grass fed beef contains far more omega 3 than omega 6. Why do we care about this? On our Standard American Diet {S.A.D.} we eat an alarmingly off balance ratio of omega 3/omega 6. This causes systemic inflammation which is at the root cause of basically any known chronic disease in our modern culture. Meat is not the only culprit; not by a long shot. We get an overabundance of omega 6 from all the highly processed vegetable oils in our processed foods {canola, soy, corn, safflower…}.

According to holistic practitioner Chris Kresser, “Depending on the breed of cow, grass-fed beef contains between 2 and 5 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef, and the average ratio of n-6:n-3 in grass fed beef is 1.53:1. In grain fed beef, this ratio jumps all the way up to 7.65:1”. {For more on this subject AND why meat and saturated fat are not to blame for heart disease like we’ve been told for so long, go here.}

Minus the hormones, minus all the inflammatory omega 6, minus the antibiotics, what do you get?

You get significant amounts of B vitamins, including B 12, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, and vitamin B6. You get vitamin D, iron & zinc. You also get a good amount of other vital minerals such as magnesium, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, chromium, nickel, and selenium. And the best part is that these nutrients from a meat source are far more bioavailable than any other sources {meaning your body will actually absorb and use much more than it will from other sources}.

I totally respect those who choose to be vegetarian. That’s not what this article is about {and I’m not interested in debates. You respect my decision, I’ll respect yours}.

What this is about is my own journey, and digging deep into the science behind health rather than just following trends.

It sure feels good to know exactly where our food comes from, to know that they are happy, healthy, well cared for cows! And I will say that I feel like a happier, healthier, more cared for human being having much more nutrient dense food in my diet every day.

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