My heart is greatly moved this morning. More and more… as the days go on, I am adjusting to new nutritional convictions. My way of viewing the world is changing and my way of eating is changing with that. (If you haven’t read my post about going from herbivore to carnivore… It’s here!) I am gradually coming to terms and accepting that I am inseparably intertwined with Mother Nature… with the food chain… with the circle of life. Unfortunately, when I withdraw myself- like I did for many years, there are undesirable consequences in both my own body and the world around me. Everyone wants all living things to live forever- with a happy and joy filled life. Unfortunately, this is not reality nor would it be a sustainable system. In order to have life, there must be death. In order to nourish and protect our dwindling farmland, we must have grazing animals and foster a healthy and natural ecosystem around it. Again, this includes both life and death. We are all living mater that will eventually leave our current bodies and our matter will become that of something else. Death is unavoidable so I want to do all I can to make the way I eat as humane as possible while promoting the natural way of things.
First, I will continue to eat local meat. I will continue to support local ranchers and growers and keep my hard earned money away from Big Ag. We have all seen the horrors that Big Ag and CAFOs (Commercial Animal Feeding Operations) have to offer. Avoiding these meats is something that I have done for years but I am learning more and more each day just how INCREDIBLY important this. If we want change in our food systems, we MUST support those who are raising animals correctly and humanely. We must support those who are not just farming one animal or growing one crop. This is neither a sustainable nor an environmentally favorable system. Vegans and carnivores can all agree on this: CURRENT AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES ARE NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE. They are draining our resources and polluting our planet. (However, many vegans would argue that animal agriculture is wrong all together- I will address this in another blog post soon as I have done a lot of reading and research on this topic to guide my own journey.) In order to change the current food system- that of factory farmed animals, we MUST create a consumer tipping point. As consumers… money is our voice. We must SHOW the government and Big Ag that we will not stand for this kind of detriment being done to animals or to our ecosystem. It is absolutely devastating.
Furthermore, I will continue to grown upon my conviction of local and sustainable fruits and vegetables. Even though a food is “vegan”, it does not automatically make it environmentally sustainable and without consequence. These foods can still have positive or negative consequences and you can influences these by what you buy- from who, when, and where. For one example, a diet founded on large commodity crops and GMOs is not bloodless. These fields of corn, soy, wheat etc. are filled with little creatures that are then killed when the tractors come plowing through. Bees and bugs and butterflies are also killed due the heavy spraying of pesticides. The natural ecosystem and biodiversity of the soil is extraordinarily compromised as round-up is continually sprayed. It leaches and binds to minerals and thus, degrading the nutrition of our foods even more. With the same crop grown year after year and the lack of animal agriculture to re-inoculate the soil (since they are majority in CAFOS), we are basically raping our soils of all they have to offer. The amount of land that is available for growing crops is dwindling due to the lack of bio-diversity in our soils. This kind of big, non-organic mono crop method is another huge issue that must be addressed and spoken against from all parties.
This is why I think food dogma can be more devastating than helpful (at least one of the reasons…). Everyone gets to busy waging war on each other and pointing fingers that we are distracted from the bigger issue. We can all unite on the fact that the current agricultural system is not sustainable and must be changed. Regardless of food convictions, we can all work together to bring about change if we put our biases aside.
TURMERIC BONE BROTH STEW
This stew was super easy… And you probably do not need a recipe for it. But never the less…. Here it is.
I made this stew in three separate steps. White it was very easy, it took about 4 days to prepare all of the components. I like this stew because all of the components are kept separate until right before consumption. This is primarily because I don’t love left over cooked vegetables… in any form. Roasted, soup, steamed.. whatever. With this method, I just made the vegetables as I desired and added them to my already made base. I can also adjust the amount of bone broth I used in each serving- depending on my mood.
If you have not made bone broth before… It’s the easiest thing in the world… so don’t be intimidated! Here is your chance!
STEP ONE: Make the bone broth. There are many methods for making bone broth…. But this is what I do because it is the absolute EASIEST. I don’t roast my bones before hand… I don’t add vegetables… I just get straight down to business.
- 3 to 4 pounds meaty bones (I use local beef bones. If you go to a store, you can usually fine bones designated for this purpose- called broth bones or stock bones.)
- Pink Salt, 1 tbsp
- Apple Cider Vinegar, ¼ cup
Simply add the bones, garlic, vinegar, and salt to the crock pot. Fill with enough water to cover the bones. Cook on low for 48-72 hours. Check the slow cooker occasionally, skimming off any foam that collects on the surface and adding additional water as needed to keep the ingredients covered. The bones will also start to crumble after very long cooking. You will know when it is done with the broth is dark and flavorful. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer. I usually pour mine into mason jars and allow to cool at room temperature and then refrigerate. As the broth chills, the fat will rise to the top and solidify- you can scrape it off and use it for cooking or discard.
Broth will keep refrigerated for 5 days or frozen for up tot 2 months.
STEP TWO: Make the stew meat! This method is excellent for those tough cuts of meat because you’re going to cook it for a long ass time.
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2-3 pounds beef stew meat
- ~32 oz beef Stock (not your broth!)- just enough to cover the beef!
- 2 bay leaves
- Pink salt, 1 tbsp
- Ground black pepper
Again, simply add all of the ingredients to the crock pot. Cook on LOW for 10 hours or on HIGH for 6-7 hours. Add more stock as needed.
STEP THREE: Make the turmeric veggies! You can do this 30 minutes before serving. I just prepared enough for 2-4 servings because like I said, I don’t prefer “left-over” veggies. I already have the broth and stew meat ready, so this is easy to do before dinner throughout the week! You can really do any vegetables you want… but this is what I did:
- Leeks, cleaned and sliced, ½ cup
- Onion, ½, chopped
- Butternut Squash, 1/2 cup, cubed
- Zucchini, ½ cup, cubed
- Carrots, ½ cup, chopped
- Oregano, 2 tsp, dried
- Paprika, 2 tsp
- Ghee, 1-2 tbsp
- Turmeric, 1 tbsp
- Ground black pepper
Add ghee to a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add onions and leeks. Cook for a few minutes. Add butternut squash, and carrots. After a few minutes, finally add the zucchini, oregano, and paprika. You can add a tablespoon or two of water intermittently to help with the cooking process. Once done, stir in the turmeric, and fresh ground black pepper.
Now you have all the components of your meal! To prepare a serving, scoop desired amount of stew meat with the stock into a bowl. Add ½ cup of bone broth and desired amount of turmeric veggies. Heat stove top or in the microwave. Top with fresh oregano.