This season, on ABC’s hit show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,”  Jamie is attempting to overhaul a local L.A. fast food joint’s menu to include healthier ingredients, such as ground beef that has been raised organically and slaughtered  humanely, as opposed to the “mystery meat” that comes from factory farms. (If you haven’t had the chance to watch “Food Revolution” yet, please do. I think it’s a wonderful way to see first-hand, the terrible mis-education of America’s population in regards to food and health. It’s definitely family friendly, so check your local TV listings, sit down with your children, and begin a food discussion!)

I often hear that the price of meat, and I mean meat raised and slaughtered to my standards, which includes an animal being fed its natural diet (usually foraging on grass), given space to freely roam, and slaughtered humanely, is too expensive. But meat should be expensive, shouldn’t it? It is, after all, a living animal that needs space, food, and the opportunity to live a good life. Of course meat from factory farms is less expensive. But I don’t know too many people who, given the financial opportunity and basic knowledge of the tragedies surrounding factory farms, would opt for a large, unnatural chicken breast to consume for 50¢ over a chicken that was raised the way God intended, and sells for about $20 in its entirety. How much, truly, is a living being’s life worth?

From a purely economic standpoint, a majority of the U.S. population is unable to afford organic food prices, and therefore, unable to make the decision to eat a healthier diet. In fact, many don’t earn enough to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Sadly, it is cheaper to order a low-quality fast food meal than it is to buy a few apples or grapes! Not only is consuming meat expensive, by many recent studies have indicated that it is not all that good for your body either. However, statistically, most of us consume meat at least once a day. So when the cost of quality meat becomes an issue, perhaps our health and finances could both benefit by cutting back to eating meat just two times a week and consuming more vegetables.

Currently, there is an interesting documentary playing across the country entitled, “Forks Over Knives.” This film documents two scientists and their claims relating to the culprits of the most fatal diseases afflicting society today. They claim that meat-based and processed diets are the leading causes of degenerative diseases currently afflicting us, and that following a more plant-based diet has numerous health benefits, such as the reversal of Type-2 diabetes. To see if “Forks Over Knives” is playing near you, click here.

As an omnivore, I truly believe that when I consume an animal, I am consuming its energy. It only makes sense to consume animals that have been raised and slaughtered the way nature intended, if you choose to eat the meat at all. It certainly costs more to buy meat from a local farmer, but the benefits are great, so if you are fortunate enough to have access to naturally-raised, high-quality meat, try fitting it into your budget by consuming less of a good thing. Your body (and wallet) will thank you for it!

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