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The Healthier Choice

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

I like my meat to be made in a pasture, not a petri dish and I don’t like being shamed for it.

I don’t care if anyone is vegetarian, vegan or carnivore. We are fortunate to live in a country with a healthy and safe food supply with countless choices of food to choose from. One can get their protein from several sources and that is something we are lucky to be able to do in the United States – have safe, healthy options for whatever type of meat, dairy or produce one may choose.

What I do care about is that consumers understand how their food is produced. What is truly going into “sustainable” choices? How many ingredients are used and what kinds of processing occurs to try to mimic a product that is already perfect? Where are all of these ingredients sourced from? How nutrient dense is this product?

We know the more food is processed, the less healthy it is. Why aren’t we addressing these concerns when it comes to meat alternatives?

Consumers want to know the protein they are consuming does not have a large impact on the environment, and fake meat companies are capitalizing on it.

 The Impossible Burger’s website states, “What’s the most effective way to reduce your environmental footprint? We’ll give you a hint: It starts with your plate. That’s right – adjusting your diet can be better than getting solar panels, driving an electric car or avoiding plastic straws.”

Yes, I am 100 percent serious. But wait, there is more.

The site continues, “Water consumption is reduced by more than 79 percent as a result of avoiding the irrigation used to cultivate feed crops for beef cattle.”

They don’t discuss the irrigation used for the soybean meal, canola oil and sunflower oil used to make the burgers though. Apparently, this doesn’t need to be discussed.

My point in sharing this is to provide a glimpse into how big companies are bullying and shaming people with false information, resulting in consumers guilted into buying their products. There is some hope however, as many consumers want to talk to the farmers and ranchers who grow their food.

Your voice is needed and consumers are willing to listen, we just have to keep sharing our stories. Share the truth. Share the what, how and why. Many consumers don’t know who to go to for information.

The next time you have a conversation with a friend, family member or customer, here are some fast facts.

Between 1977 and 2007, cattle farmers and ranchers produced each pound of beef using 19 percent less feed, 33 percent less land and 12 percent less water.

Between 84 and 86 percent of livestock feed is non-edible by humans, while 90 percent of cattle’s diet – grass, hay, silage and grain – is non-edible by humans.

In the U.S., corn going to feed beef cattle represents only 10 percent of harvested corn, where 34.8 percent of corn acreage in the U.S. is used for producing fuel ethanol.

I tell our beef customers to not feel guilty about eating meat. If anything, they should feel proud; proud to support American ranchers who are constantly working to raise their animals with regenerative and sustainable practices, who are utilizing plants humans cannot consume and turning it into the best source of protein for our bodies. This is something to be celebrated.

Enjoy your steak and enjoy your vegetables. But, please, don’t be persuaded to think highly processed foods are the better, “healthier” choice.

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