Andy, Michigan

An athlete discovers bison meat… and becomes a humaneitarian.

Andy, MichiganI’m an animal lover, and I eat meat. I eat meat because I love the taste… and as an athlete who wrestles and lifts weights, I believe meat is nutritionally helpful for recovery.

I always felt a nagging guilt, knowing how most meat was raised and slaughtered. But it was one of those things… I didn’t know where to start to “fix” my consumption pattern. Honestly, it seemed overwhelming.

Two things changed… first, I read In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. Reading this book opened my eyes to the shortcomings of the modern Western diet, especially the shortcomings of processed food. I committed to eating more “real food” and paying attention to the quality and origin of that food.

Second, I got the idea to start cooking with bison, because it’s a lean, high quality red meat (did I mention I love red meat?)  I purchased some bulk bison meat online, from the Wild Idea Buffalo Co. Their bison are grass-fed, and never see a feedlot or slaughterhouse. I love the taste of their products (I recommend the chorizo), but eating their bison also gives me the satisfaction of “voting with my wallet”… that is, supporting ranchers whose values align with my own. Buying this bison helped plant the seed: “Maybe I can do this long term.”

More recently, I’ve purchased humanely-raised beef online from Creekstone Farms, again in bulk. Their lean ground beef is delicious. To make room for all this meat, my wife and I purchased a freezer from Sam’s Club, which we keep in the garage. This extra space allows us to really stock up! The freezer also comes in handy during deer season…  I “shop” for venison in my local tree stand.

Taking the Humaneitarian pledge was a bit “scary,” but it’s actually easier than I thought it would be. The Web has made sourcing humanely-raised meat MUCH easier — beef, bison, and pork are all just a click away. I do buy in bulk, to save on shipping costs (and because I can’t get humanely-raised meat at my local grocery). I’m also exploring buying in bulk from a local rancher.

I probably also eat a (bit) less meat these days, but I still eat a lot of it. There’s no question I feel better about my consumption — and certainly my health has improved since I started eating more “real food” (including more humanely-raised meat).

Two thumbs up for everyone here who is taking the Humaneitarian pledge!

Editor’s note : Andy has created a helpful online list of humane meat producers who ship across the country. Please check out the Elite Beef Cheat Sheet and the Elite Pork Cheat Sheet, as well as more of Andy’s thoughts on choosing humanely raised meat.

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