Summary

If you eat meat, but are looking for meat that’s more ethical and sustainable, read on. Learn what makes some meat sources more sustainable than others, and how you can make more sustainable choices to include meat in your diet.

You’ve got a lot of eating choices to make: cook or order takeout? Tacos or pasta? A sweet snack or a savory one? Local market or big box store? One more piece of chocolate? Cream in your coffee? Keto or paleo? 
If you eat meat, one of the most important choices you can make concerns the meat buy. Instead of buying whatever is on sale at the supermarket, look into sustainably sourced meat. In doing so, you’re making a more ethical and environmentally-friendly choice. We’re here to help you do it.

What Is Sustainably Sourced Meat?

Organic. Natural. Certified Humane. Free Range. Grass-fed. Pastured. rBGH-free. What does it all mean? Only some of these food labels speak to whether meat is sustainably sourced. Simply put, sustainable meat is raised via regenerative practices that improve the environment and lower resource depletion and carbon emissions. Pasture-raised or free-range poultry and pork and ocean-friendly seafood are considered to be the best options for sustainably sourced meat. Let’s break it down:

Sustainably Sourced Meat Is Raised a Certain Way

The most sustainably sourced meat is pasture-raised. And at Thistle, we purchase meat that has been thoughtfully raised, without antibiotics, hormones or growth stimulants, artificial ingredients or preservatives. Unlike the factory farming model, which is largely responsible for the world’s deforestation as it raises livestock in large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), pasture-raised animals are found on smaller farms that peacefully coexist with the ecosystem. Pasture-raised animals enjoy free access to the outdoors where they forage and replenish the soil.

  • Pastured poultry enjoy access to the outdoors, where they can engage in natural behaviors like foraging for seeds and insects. 
  • Factory-farmed poultry spend their entire existence indoors, and are fed an all-grain diet in overcrowded cages where they can’t engage in any of the natural behaviors of foraging, wing-flapping, and dust-bathing. This makes for a physically and psychologically stressed bird and results in meat that’s both less tasty and less nutritious. It’s also environmentally problematic. In just one example, researchers found that more than one million pounds of nitrogen pollution from the waste of factory-farmed chickens enters the Chesapeake Bay each year.

Sustainably Sourced Poultry in Thistle Meals

One of the sources for our poultry is Golden Gate Meat Company, a wholesale distributor that procures sustainably sourced meat from two poultry producers we love: Rosie’s Chicken and Diestel Family Ranch. Golden Gate is dedicated to partnering with farmers following best practices that bring wholesome, good food to your plate. 

Sustainably Sourced Seafood in Thistle Meals

What about seafood? While fish is something that vegetarians, or pescatarians, eat on occasion, concerns about overfishing and harm to marine life are well-founded. One of the most trusted resources to consult is Seafood Watch, an organization dedicated to helping consumers choose seafood that’s healthiest for the oceans. Their Consumer Guide helps you make the best seafood choices.

We’re happy to be working with Del Pacifico, a seafood company that sources sustainable wild caught shrimp from artisanal fishermen cooperatives that have the industry’s lowest bycatch and fuel usage. Their boats are powered by sails that use the wind and tide to drift a highly selective net, making it one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world. It’s also the only Fair Trade Certified shrimp in the world.

Sustainably Sourced Meat Comes From Certain Animals

As for the types of meat that are most sustainable, seafood, chicken, and pork outperform beef and lamb. The former are less resource-intensive, emit fewer greenhouse gases, and are less likely to pollute air and waterways. This is especially true when the meat is sourced sustainably.

Beef is the most problematic. Cattle require tremendous amounts of land, feed, and water. Cattle are responsible for 75% of the greenhouse gases emitted by livestock. This is why we don’t serve beef and similarly resource-intensive lamb on Thistle’s menu. 

Top Tips to Eat Meat Sustainably 

Understanding what makes meat sustainable is one thing; becoming a faithful sustainably sourced meat consumer is another. In a world where the factory farming industrial model is king and labels are confusing and misleading, eating sustainably sourced meat takes a little effort. Ask your local grocery stores and restaurants about these sustainably sourced foods. 

Here are some other ways to make sustainably sourced meat a regular part of your diet:

Eat Less of It

The first step toward eating meat sustainably is simply to eat less of it. This might mean eating smaller portions or skipping it all together most days. Here are some reasons to eat less meat:

Health

Americans currently eat over 213 pounds per year. The American Heart Association’s guidelines state that one serving of meat is 2-3 ounces - and they recommend two servings of meat a day. If you look at meat portions served in restaurants, there’s a big disconnect. At Outback Steakhouses, the NY strip steak is 14 ounces, and their T-Bone steak is 22 ounces, which is far greater than the recommended 5.5 ounces. Overconsumption of meat poses an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. And when you do eat meat, the nutritional difference between factory-farmed meat and sustainably sourced meat ought to convince you to choose the latter. Take pastured chicken as an example: less saturated fat, more vitamin A, and more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, compared to factory farmed poultry. 

Environmental impact

We talk about this a lot at Thistle, and for good reason! Eating less meat is one of the most beneficial things an individual can do for the planet. If everyone ate a plant-based diet even just a portion of the time, our collective carbon footprint and resource consumption would drastically change for the better. Sustainably sourced meat farmers use regenerative practices to raise livestock with the planet’s health in mind. On sustainably sourced meat farms, there’s less water pollution, better soil quality, and everyone breathes easier.

Bottom line: Consider the facts, and decrease the amount of meat you eat. And when you do eat meat, think about where it comes from and how it’s raised.

Get to Know Sustainably Sourced Meat Labels

When grocery shopping or, researching a farm to buy from directly, look for meat products labeled “pastured” or “pasture-raised,” terms that require oversight and approval from the USDA, and consult the Seafood Watch Consumer Guide. There are also helpful labels like “Certified Humane Raised and Handled,” which are regulated by independent non-profits. As for labels like “natural” and “vegetarian fed,” they’re either not specific enough or entirely unregulated. Know the labels, and know which ones matter. This will make shopping for sustainably sourced meat guilt-free and more efficient.

Befriend Sustainably Sourced Farmers and Fisheries

To learn more about the meat you eat, visit a local farm and see the animals and land for yourself. Get to know some of the farmers and fisheries at your local farmers market. Take a tour. Ask questions, don’t be shy. Ask if you can buy directly from the farm. Small scale sustainably sourced providers are passionate about what they do and they love to talk about it.

Enjoy Sustainably Sourced Meat on Thistle’s Menu

If you want to eat sustainably sourced meat but you’re too busy or not a fan of cooking, Thistle can help. Our plant-forward menu loads you up with all the veggies your body needs to thrive and we offer a sustainably sourced meat option for all lunch and dinner entrees. If you order a meal with meat, the meat portion is about 3 ounces, keeping the entire meal still mostly plants.  

To get another boost of protein into your Thistle delivery, you can add hard boiled eggs to your order. We get our eggs from Chino Valley - they’re cage-free, free range, and organic. Adding eggs to our lunches and dinners, as part of your breakfast, or even just as a snack is a great way to get some extra protein.

Because your diet doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to eating sustainably sourced meat, Thistle offers a Flex Plan. It allows you to select a mix of vegan entrees and sustainably sourced meat entrees for the week. Subscribe today.


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Nov 12, 2020
 in 
Nutrition
 category.
Summary

If you eat meat, but are looking for meat that’s more ethical and sustainable, read on. Learn what makes some meat sources more sustainable than others, and how you can make more sustainable choices to include meat in your diet.

You’ve got a lot of eating choices to make: cook or order takeout? Tacos or pasta? A sweet snack or a savory one? Local market or big box store? One more piece of chocolate? Cream in your coffee? Keto or paleo? 
If you eat meat, one of the most important choices you can make concerns the meat buy. Instead of buying whatever is on sale at the supermarket, look into sustainably sourced meat. In doing so, you’re making a more ethical and environmentally-friendly choice. We’re here to help you do it.

What Is Sustainably Sourced Meat?

Organic. Natural. Certified Humane. Free Range. Grass-fed. Pastured. rBGH-free. What does it all mean? Only some of these food labels speak to whether meat is sustainably sourced. Simply put, sustainable meat is raised via regenerative practices that improve the environment and lower resource depletion and carbon emissions. Pasture-raised or free-range poultry and pork and ocean-friendly seafood are considered to be the best options for sustainably sourced meat. Let’s break it down:

Sustainably Sourced Meat Is Raised a Certain Way

The most sustainably sourced meat is pasture-raised. And at Thistle, we purchase meat that has been thoughtfully raised, without antibiotics, hormones or growth stimulants, artificial ingredients or preservatives. Unlike the factory farming model, which is largely responsible for the world’s deforestation as it raises livestock in large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), pasture-raised animals are found on smaller farms that peacefully coexist with the ecosystem. Pasture-raised animals enjoy free access to the outdoors where they forage and replenish the soil.

  • Pastured poultry enjoy access to the outdoors, where they can engage in natural behaviors like foraging for seeds and insects. 
  • Factory-farmed poultry spend their entire existence indoors, and are fed an all-grain diet in overcrowded cages where they can’t engage in any of the natural behaviors of foraging, wing-flapping, and dust-bathing. This makes for a physically and psychologically stressed bird and results in meat that’s both less tasty and less nutritious. It’s also environmentally problematic. In just one example, researchers found that more than one million pounds of nitrogen pollution from the waste of factory-farmed chickens enters the Chesapeake Bay each year.

Sustainably Sourced Poultry in Thistle Meals

One of the sources for our poultry is Golden Gate Meat Company, a wholesale distributor that procures sustainably sourced meat from two poultry producers we love: Rosie’s Chicken and Diestel Family Ranch. Golden Gate is dedicated to partnering with farmers following best practices that bring wholesome, good food to your plate. 

Sustainably Sourced Seafood in Thistle Meals

What about seafood? While fish is something that vegetarians, or pescatarians, eat on occasion, concerns about overfishing and harm to marine life are well-founded. One of the most trusted resources to consult is Seafood Watch, an organization dedicated to helping consumers choose seafood that’s healthiest for the oceans. Their Consumer Guide helps you make the best seafood choices.

We’re happy to be working with Del Pacifico, a seafood company that sources sustainable wild caught shrimp from artisanal fishermen cooperatives that have the industry’s lowest bycatch and fuel usage. Their boats are powered by sails that use the wind and tide to drift a highly selective net, making it one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world. It’s also the only Fair Trade Certified shrimp in the world.

Sustainably Sourced Meat Comes From Certain Animals

As for the types of meat that are most sustainable, seafood, chicken, and pork outperform beef and lamb. The former are less resource-intensive, emit fewer greenhouse gases, and are less likely to pollute air and waterways. This is especially true when the meat is sourced sustainably.

Beef is the most problematic. Cattle require tremendous amounts of land, feed, and water. Cattle are responsible for 75% of the greenhouse gases emitted by livestock. This is why we don’t serve beef and similarly resource-intensive lamb on Thistle’s menu. 

Top Tips to Eat Meat Sustainably 

Understanding what makes meat sustainable is one thing; becoming a faithful sustainably sourced meat consumer is another. In a world where the factory farming industrial model is king and labels are confusing and misleading, eating sustainably sourced meat takes a little effort. Ask your local grocery stores and restaurants about these sustainably sourced foods. 

Here are some other ways to make sustainably sourced meat a regular part of your diet:

Eat Less of It

The first step toward eating meat sustainably is simply to eat less of it. This might mean eating smaller portions or skipping it all together most days. Here are some reasons to eat less meat:

Health

Americans currently eat over 213 pounds per year. The American Heart Association’s guidelines state that one serving of meat is 2-3 ounces - and they recommend two servings of meat a day. If you look at meat portions served in restaurants, there’s a big disconnect. At Outback Steakhouses, the NY strip steak is 14 ounces, and their T-Bone steak is 22 ounces, which is far greater than the recommended 5.5 ounces. Overconsumption of meat poses an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. And when you do eat meat, the nutritional difference between factory-farmed meat and sustainably sourced meat ought to convince you to choose the latter. Take pastured chicken as an example: less saturated fat, more vitamin A, and more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, compared to factory farmed poultry. 

Environmental impact

We talk about this a lot at Thistle, and for good reason! Eating less meat is one of the most beneficial things an individual can do for the planet. If everyone ate a plant-based diet even just a portion of the time, our collective carbon footprint and resource consumption would drastically change for the better. Sustainably sourced meat farmers use regenerative practices to raise livestock with the planet’s health in mind. On sustainably sourced meat farms, there’s less water pollution, better soil quality, and everyone breathes easier.

Bottom line: Consider the facts, and decrease the amount of meat you eat. And when you do eat meat, think about where it comes from and how it’s raised.

Get to Know Sustainably Sourced Meat Labels

When grocery shopping or, researching a farm to buy from directly, look for meat products labeled “pastured” or “pasture-raised,” terms that require oversight and approval from the USDA, and consult the Seafood Watch Consumer Guide. There are also helpful labels like “Certified Humane Raised and Handled,” which are regulated by independent non-profits. As for labels like “natural” and “vegetarian fed,” they’re either not specific enough or entirely unregulated. Know the labels, and know which ones matter. This will make shopping for sustainably sourced meat guilt-free and more efficient.

Befriend Sustainably Sourced Farmers and Fisheries

To learn more about the meat you eat, visit a local farm and see the animals and land for yourself. Get to know some of the farmers and fisheries at your local farmers market. Take a tour. Ask questions, don’t be shy. Ask if you can buy directly from the farm. Small scale sustainably sourced providers are passionate about what they do and they love to talk about it.

Enjoy Sustainably Sourced Meat on Thistle’s Menu

If you want to eat sustainably sourced meat but you’re too busy or not a fan of cooking, Thistle can help. Our plant-forward menu loads you up with all the veggies your body needs to thrive and we offer a sustainably sourced meat option for all lunch and dinner entrees. If you order a meal with meat, the meat portion is about 3 ounces, keeping the entire meal still mostly plants.  

To get another boost of protein into your Thistle delivery, you can add hard boiled eggs to your order. We get our eggs from Chino Valley - they’re cage-free, free range, and organic. Adding eggs to our lunches and dinners, as part of your breakfast, or even just as a snack is a great way to get some extra protein.

Because your diet doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to eating sustainably sourced meat, Thistle offers a Flex Plan. It allows you to select a mix of vegan entrees and sustainably sourced meat entrees for the week. Subscribe today.


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Nov 12, 2020
 in 
Nutrition
 category.