Common Ground: The Most Practical Meat to Eat

Common Ground: The Most Practical Meat to Eat

by Eric Steinman

Ground meat has gotten a bad rap of late, and deservedly so. With reports about “pink slime” dominating the headlines, along with the various pathogen outbreaks from ground beef contaminations, and the fact that a single pound of conventional ground meat is barely traceable back to its source (likely originating from 100+ animals spread over six different states), there is substantial reason to avoid the stuff (even if you are not a vegetarian or vegan). However, for the intrepid meat eater who is not deterred by such findings, ground meat is one of the most inexpensive, flexible, and a more ecologically wise choice than those more pricey cuts of meat.

This is at least the opinion of Brian Halweil, the editor of Edible East End and publisher of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn (and a colleague of mine) along with Danielle Nierenberg, the director of Nourishing the Planet. Both co-authored a recent New York Times opinion piece on the subject of ground meat being the “kindest cut” of meat available. The logic behind this argument is, once an animal is butchered and the popular cuts like steaks, chops and roasts are utilized, the rest of the meat is ground — 26 percent of a hog, 38 percent of a beef cow, 41 percent of dairy cows and 46 percent of lambs (science has yet to figure out how to breed a cow that is comprised of only filet mignon). Because such a high percentage of what is left over can only be ground for consumption, eating ground meat becomes a more cost efficient and practical way to consume the whole animal. As the article states, “In the same way that nose-to-tail butchery can save a household money, buying ground meat can encourage small-scale, diversified livestock farming, since it helps supplement income from the pricier cuts.”

But what about all of the pathogens, pink slime, and health risks that are associated with ground meat? Well, if you purchase and consume conventional feedlot ground meat, you are taking your chances and decidedly contributing to all of the problems that go hand-in-hand with feedlots, the mistreatment of animals, etc. However if you purchase grass-fed, local, and/or organic meat from a small (or environmentally and ethically responsible) producer, you are more likely to be consuming a safer and higher quality product (albeit a bit more expensive one as well). Still, eating meat is not for everyone (nor should it be) and the production, and harvesting of animals remains the most energy- and resource-intensive ingredient in our national diet. So if you have to have that meat fix, you are better off not paying top dollar for some top round trucked in from who knows where, and instead, source out some ethically- and environmentally-raised ground meat that utilizes the entirety of the animal.

If you are not a vegan or vegetarian and actually have a taste for meat (and are not boiling mad at this point) do you think you could be convinced to drop the steak and go ground? Is the low cost nature of ground meat unappealing to you?

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10 Steps to Simpler Living

10 Steps to Simpler Living

  • Chaya, selected from Networx

By Kevin Stevens, Networx

When chatting with some friends or clients, it’s not uncommon to hear them say that they are envious of my “simpler life.” My response is generally that what is perceived as “simple” has a lot to do with my attitude; while some days are simple, others are not. Being a small business owner and trying to coordinate multiple clients, projects and schedules can be pretty draining and hectic. I have made some great steps to make my life simpler but there are still days when it can be a bit overwhelming.

I recently completed some custom bookcases for a client. During that project, a typical day might involve making the 30 second walking commute to my basement workshop for the “work” portion of my day. I must admit that building custom furniture is pretty much an ideal gig and I’m often in the best state of mind. But like many folks, this portion of my life is just a slice of what a week or month may bring. On a less than ideal day, I might have to commute 4 hours between 3 or 4 job sites, finish up a punch list, spec out some new project and fit in a few materials runs to the lumber yard or home center.

Given the fact that my life can actually get quite hectic, I have found these practices to be very helpful. They work for me; they could work for you.

1. Work is work and home is home. For most folks this is one of the first steps to simpler living. Being able to punch out at the end of the day and leave the work baggage behind is one way to make your life feel less stressful. Granted some jobs and career choices can influence this ability to disconnect your work life from “living,” the sooner you can remove this overlap, change can start.

2. Less is more. I feel that one of the biggest burdens to happiness comes from too much stuff in your life, whether these are material things or activities. Having more is not always better. Consumerism is contagious and a hard habit to break. People often equate “things” with happiness, but a life-long pursuit of more and more only leads to less happiness. Working 60 hours a week to pay for a too-big house filled with stuff you don’t need or use is a trap.

3. Time never sleeps. People often say their lives are too busy because they “don’t have enough time.” Time is a fixed thing. Each day only has 24 hours. It’s not the day that is too short, but the list of things stuffed into the day that is too big. Here priorities will allow you to thin the list to what will fit or needs to fit. Some things can wait ’til tomorrow, or even go away completely.

4. Bye-bye TV. Some numbers to think about: The New York Times reported, “Americans watched more television than ever in 2010, according to the Nielsen Company. Total viewing of broadcast networks and basic cable channels rose about 1 percent for the year, to an average of 34 hours per person per week.” 34 hours per week is like having a second job. If you’re having trouble with the “time” issue above there is a pretty easy fix. Push the “off” button on the TV remote.

I terminated my satellite TV service back in January, and I have not missed it a bit. The 3 shows I have grown to love are viewed on demand via my internet connection. Saving the $60 to $100 a month is a bonus, too. Some people like to watch the morning news, but I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition, and for weather reports I look out the window.

5. Don’t swap one time waster for another. As I mentioned above, my TV service is gone. The trick was to not fill that space with other equally distracting events. I still watch a DVD now and then, but dropping your TV service and replacing it with endless streaming content or stacks of DVDs is not an improvement.

6. Limit online social time. This can be emails, Facebook, Twitter or simply texting (a new thing for my 12-year-old daughter). Fitting in a set time for this, and limiting that time, will do wonders. Twenty years ago people got by just fine with out any of these “conveniences.” Just because you can, does not mean you must.

 

7. De-clutter. Distractions can make your brain work harder than it needs to. An active working brain can keep the Alzheimer’s away, but the difference between “thought” and “noise” is key. Physical clutter can add visual stress and frustration to your day. Most people will agree that walking into a tidy room (whether it is the kitchen, living room, office or bedroom) puts their minds into a more peaceful state. When the space is clean maintaining it, in its clean state, is much simpler. (I’m pretty good in the kitchen, living room and bedroom on this; it’s just my desk that can get a little troublesome).

A few years ago I realized that letting go of stuff is very enlightening. I have seen more stuff leave the house lately than come in. I have been collecting stuff for 20 years in this house. I’m now working my way down the other side of this mountain by getting rid of things. If I have not used it in a year or more it gains a spot on the “out list.”

8. Have some hobbies and personal time. A good example of someone who uses this practice to keep life sane and simple is my fiance. She has a hectic work schedule and occasionally has to work at home. When she does finally get to punch out, she heads to her crafting/studio space and works on her “fairies and miniatures” or kicks back to listen to an audio book. This is a cleansing and Zen-like practice for her. A good portion of my work is in a field I enjoy so my hobby/work boundary is a little more fuzzy than hers is. If you can spend your time doing things you love, your life will feel simpler and more fulfilling.

9. Foods for thought. Just as a hobby can provide a retreat, many also find solace in the kitchen. The body’s basic need for nutrition and sustenance could be met with basic beans and rice and some tossed greens, or it can be meet with a 7 course meal of escargot, stuffed mushrooms, carbonnades flamandes, cognac shrimp with Beurre Blanc — well you get the picture. Spending a few minutes Sunday night with dinner ideas for the rest of the week may have you streamlining your evenings. One of my tricks is to make a large batch of something on the weekend that can be munched on during the week, like a large pot of stew or gallon of homemade pasta sauce. A little reheat and dinner is served. Clearing out the fridge at the end of each week keeps things from getting buried and allows for less clutter.

10. Downsize everything. I’ve worked with clients who have begun the process of downsizing their lives. Many are doing it for green reasons; others are transitioning as empty nesters. A smaller home = a simpler home. When we take trips to our cabin (it is a small 200 sq foot, off-grid retreat) our basic needs are met in a simple way. We have a small PV system that provides some lights, we cook on a camp stove or over the wood stove, water comes with us in 5 gallon jugs, a cooler keeps the food fresh and a sawdust composting toilet handles the other end of business. A week will pass with reading, music, hiking and playing with the dogs. Sometimes a little more work gets done on the cabin itself, or to the surrounding landscape. The cabin provides even more relaxation and simpler living than car camping. Life at the cabin can exist without TV, cell-phones, a giant mortgage, utility bills and a closet full of shoes.

If you have ever traveled much, you have probably seen countless small cabin “Vacation Resorts” that cater to those looking for a little down time, or to take a break from their overstimulated lives. Think about it: people pay money (and in some cases a lot) to do what most can do with some basic lifestyle changes. Why is it that people feel so relaxed after one of these vacations? I’ll tell you a secret — it’s the simple and uncomplicated lifestyle that recharges our spirits.

Overwhelmed? Try An Intuition Check

Overwhelmed? Try An Intuition Check

  • Christy Diane Farr

It is easy to be overwhelmed when you can’t decide out of a whole world of possibilities which things are actually true for you.

When I woke up this morning, my mind was swirling with all of the choices. So many, in fact, that I felt a bit off balance. It’s the beginning of the week of Christmas and there are packages to mail, cards to write, and I’ve got to get a bit crafty because a major car repair two weeks ago devoured anything that might have resembled gift money. And except for the holiday greetings we’ve begun to receive, there’s not a single decoration in sight.

Plus it’s a work day. I have my own business and there are emails waiting for a response, a newsletter that needs to be written, and a book that I vowed would be submitted to the publisher by the end of this year. I have checkbooks to balance and marketing to be done for the clutter clearing class that starts again in January.

The floor at my office, which converts magically back into a home when the children arrive at 3:00 pm, needs to be tended, as does the laundry and the half bath. If the dust was glitter, it would look like fairies live here. For the record, the difference in dust since we took out carpet and installed hardwood floors (a most generous gift from dear friends this time last year) makes me wonder if carpet isn’t the nastiest thing on this planet. Seriously, the dust level seems to have tripled since the carpet came out.

Anyway, all of this and more was swirling about in my head when I woke up this morning, “Pick me! Pick me!” My impulse was, I like to think rather understandably, to go back to bed and hide from it all. The reality is that there is no way all of this can be done today. It isn’t even an option. I’m sure that many of you felt the same way this morning. There is so much to do. Much of it is even important. But, this isn’t about being a diligent list writer. This is bigger than staying on task. Some of these things need to be chosen, and a good chunk of it needs to be left behind for another day, another person, and perhaps another lifetime.

Instead of wondering how I’ll get this all done, the question instead becomes, “At this moment, what is the best use of my time, energy, brain power, and other assorted resources?” This is my power position, with great emphasis on in this moment and best use. When I say “best use,” I’m looking specifically for the action that is going to cultivate the best results for me today.

 

While my brain was buzzing with overwhelm, I searched for the courage to pause–for just a couple of minutes, sometimes only seconds. I had stop and wait for guidance. I had to wait for clarity, a knowing from somewhere deeper, about how best show up in the world at this moment, on this particular day.

I need an intuition check and so, I wrestled myself into a moment of silence.

I do not use the word wrestled lightly here. It’s still a struggle most days, although I hear that eventually some of the resistance will pass. Lots of days, I don’t win the big fight but today I did.

And, it turns out, most of that to-do list isn’t true for me today and I now understand what few things are. I know about connecting with those who’ve written to inquire about working with me. I know to do what I promised I would do for my existing clients. I know that while I will balance the checkbooks, I can’t waste another moment freaking out about the bills that I’m unable to pay today.

When I calm down, freaking out never makes the list. It doesn’t serve me or anyone else. It doesn’t open any doors to allow goodness to flow in. It doesn’t help. Ever. Who can afford to lose another moment to the hysteria?

When I calm down, impossible things don’t make the list either, like decorating today. My back has been acting as if it would like my attention. It doesn’t feel wise to drag the stuff down from the attic, and possibly risking my back wanting even more of my attention. I just need to let it go and trust that a solution will present itself later in the week but today, there are things I can do to bring myself a little closer to ready for Sunday. I can finish that last gift and mail the box of goodies for my people in Colorado, leaving it enough time to get where it’s going.

When I calm down, solutions flow in. People do what they say they are going to do, sometimes even wonderful, generous, helpful things that I don’t expect them to do. The words flow with ease and the time seems to slow and work for me, instead of against me. It’s the same when I do yoga, meditate, journal, dance, or walk in the woods. When I do these things I feel grounded. I can hear my wise self, my intuition, whispering to me about what’s best. I can trust me with me… as long as I remember to listen to my true voice.

Are you listening to your intuition? What does it whisper to you in the still moments? What do you hear in your dreams? What are the activities, people, and places that support your inner dialogue? Are you getting enough of them lately? What do you need to feel supported? What kinds of answers are you looking for? Have you asked for what you need and then, waited for the answers to bubble up from within? If not, are you willing to begin right now?

To bring your enemy evil #2

To bring your enemy evil 2

Ingredients:
Dust from the tomb of an assassin’s victim.
India ink
Vinegar
Aguardiente
Salt
Red wine
Guinea pepper
Chinese pepper
Three needles
Nine pins
Three garlic bulbs
Snake fat
Cooking oil

Write your enemy’s name with India ink on a piece of paper. Pierce the paper with the nine pins and the three needles. Place it at the bottom of a clay pot. Cover the paper with nine pinches of dust, salt and the peppers. Add nine drops of India ink and vinegar, nine spoonful of aguardiente, and the garlic bulbs. Cover the mixture with cooking oil. Insert a wick.

Call a curse on your enemy as you light the lamp. Let it burn for nine days.

Did you know……..

Did you know…

From Wikipedia’s newest content:

A queen sitting on a throne

  • … that, in 1898, the United States government annexed the Kingdom of Hawaii despite protestation from Queen Liliuokalani (pictured)?
  • … that in 1954 The New York Times warned that the Communist Party of French India was likely to seize power in the colony?
  • … that the CFTR inhibitory factor can induce cystic fibrosis (CF) -like conditions in the lungs of a non-CF patient?
  • … that following a landmark decision of the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court, the same judge passed sentence on each of the six politicians in separate trials charged in relation to the 2009 Parliamentary expenses scandal?
  • … that American journalist Charles Franklin Hildebrand earned the Purple Heart and Silver Star for his World War I service in the battles of the Marne River and Argonne Forest?
  • … that the anarchist Revolutionary Avengers group from 1910 to 1914 has been described as the most radical terrorist organization in the history of Poland?
  • … that witnesses have reported ghostly lights and phantom fires emanating from the Dr. John R. Drish House in Tuscaloosa, Alabama?

Today’s Featured Picture

Today’s featured picture

A synagogue on D-Day A synagogue on West Twenty-Third Street in New York City remained open 24 hours on D-Day for special services and prayer. Jews in the U.S. during World War II were mostly unaware of the atrocities of The Holocaust, beyond the basic facts that Jews were being persecuted by the Nazis. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times and a Jew himself, was anti-Zionist and downplayed much of the news. Furthermore, Jewish studio executives of major film studios did not want to be accused of advocating Jewish propaganda by making films with overtly antifascist themes.

Photo: Farm Security Administration; Restoration: Lise Broer