Eating chicken intentionally. What exactly does that mean?
This is a topic I’ve been wanting to share about for a while. Especially with those that are members of my menu plan on a budget to explain why there aren’t many chicken recipes included.
Don’t get me wrong, there are chicken recipes included such as these adobo chicken tacos that I may share later this week 😉
However, I’m speaking more about all of those wonderful looking chicken breast recipes that we’re highly encouraged to fit into our diet.
Today, chicken is one of the cheapest cuts of meat you can buy at the grocery store. You can buy 18 packs of drumsticks, thighs, or even giant bags of frozen breasts all under $6.00. What a bargain, right?
Since it’s promoted as the best, low fat, source of protein, and can be purchased at such cheap prices, many households eat chicken most days of the week.
Because of this approach in eating and that it’s highly promoted as a “healthy” meat, these chickens are raised in places like this scattered all throughout our nation.
Besides the nutritional differences in locally raised versus industrially raised chicken, my reasoning for feeding my family locally raised, organic, and home raised chicken is about stewardship.
Many people that have been following my website for awhile, know that I raise my own chickens for eggs and meat. I started raising my own chickens because it was a cheaper alternative than buying locally raised or organic chicken meat at the grocery store. It was an economic solution to providing the best meat for my family.
The one thing that I didn’t realize I would discover is the humanity level in raising chickens.
Chickens are sweet animals. Yes, they are a bit dumb but brilliant at the same time. Now that my husband has been the key caretaker of the chickens since Little Mama was born, they trust him.
They know he’s the hand that feeds them, so they don’t peck at him like they used to. They wiggle their rumps and come flocking to him as soon as they hear our backdoor open. They follow him at his feet as he swings the coop door open to bring in their feed and fresh water for the day.
As he checks their nesting boxes, they allow him to gently prop up their sitting booties to check for freshly laid eggs.
They’re smart, docile, and gentle. They’re a living animal.
Today, the majority of us live in urban areas and are dependent upon other people for our food. We are unintentionally ignorant to how food makes it to our dinner table.
I know, most people are now aware of buying local and the importance of knowing where our food comes from, but, are we really. Are we making the changes necessary to create change?
I feel that in order to truly understand what eating chicken intentionally means, we need to get closer to this.
It takes a lot of work to raise a chicken in the way God intended. To continually check on them, feed them, and tend to them when they’re sick can take approximately 12-16 weeks of hard work.
This hard work is both about promoting sustainability and ensuring the nutritional value in the meat and fat itself.
When you spend this kind of time, commitment, or money it’s easier to correlate the value with the meat and start to think about it responsibly and intentionally – it becomes quite apparent that each chicken only contains
- 2 legs
- 2 thighs
- 2 wings
- 2 drumettes (part of the wing)
- 2 breasts
- backbone (stock)
- wing tips (stock)
- 2 feet (stock)
Eating Chicken Intentionally
At the very definition, eating chicken intentionally is about being responsible about how much of it that we eat.
For me, the best thing that has saved my family money has been creating my menu plan on a budget. I’ve been able to stretch meat farther than I could have ever imagined.
These are my techniques to eating chicken intentionally that I have been teaching others.
- Chicken is going to cost money, however, it can be stretched to 2-3 meals which then becomes economical.
- Chicken should mostly start with stock. The nutritional value in it alone, will save us money in other areas. Such as frequent trips to the doctor for illness’s, especially during the wintertime.
- Buying local is best, but organic is also okay. I purchase organic drumsticks and thighs from Trader Joes or Costco. Not on a frequent basis.
- There is much more flavor and moisture in dark meat with bones in – It’s also more economical to buy organic.
It’s been heart warming to hear from families using my menuplan how this new approach of eating chicken intentionally makes them feel aware, responsible, and genuinely happy knowing they’re taking part in sustainability and feeding their families the best quality meats within their budgets.
Sure, we don’t get to eat a lot of grilled chicken breasts or 20 piece wing servings but our families are being nourished and at the same time we’re making lifestyle changes creating an inner peace that we are tending to God’s animals in the way he intended and at the same time are being responsible to this Earth that we were called to steward.
Have you considered raising chickens for meat? Spring time is here and the perfect time to order chicks. If you’re interested in learning, check out my series on urban chicken keeping.