I eat a metric ton of meat each week. I’m talking at least 1/2 lb, often a 1 lb at a sitting, probably twice per day. Holly and the kids eat their share but considerably less than me: Cave-Dad. What we usually do is cook a large roast in the slow cooker or 2-lb meatloaf or extra pork chops or what-have you, with the intention that the second part will be for lunch the next day. I hate the time it takes to plan, prep and make food, so by having microwaved leftovers for lunch as the status quo in our house cuts food prep time in half essentially.
Our chest freezer (I think its about 15 cubic feet in size) is completely full after our slaughtered hog came back from the butcher, adding to a half grass-fed steer we purchased a little over a month ago. I take out about 5 or more lbs of meat to thaw at a time since I don’t like microwave thawing and we go through that in a couple days worth of meals. The meat was purchased from a couple of farmer friends we have, but was not cheap. I want to say the beef (all cuts, but usually about 45% burger, 30% roasts and 25% steaks) for Grade A, Grass Fed was something like $7-$7.50 a lb. The hog, which was “free range” (very hippy-dippy type farm, I met the hogs, allowed to wander around the farm, also have a bunch of free range chickens for eggs) wasn’t quite that expensive, but I think it was maybe $4.50 a lb (again, all cuts) which included the slaughter price for the 230# hanging weight hog. Picture of what a whole hog looks like below (photo quality leaves a little to be desired though).
I have to say, the quality of the meat is superb. Bacon to die for. Steaks are just great. We’re obviously paying a premium for this meat, and our pocketbook is much, much lighter. However, it is actually pretty awesome to know where our next meal is coming from. We do a lot of the same, simple meals over and over again. The kids are funny because sometimes it’s “Yay, meatloaf” and others it’s “Meatloaf?! I hate meatloaf!”
Our grocery store trips are really pretty cheap and easy which is a great trade-off for someone who hates grocery shopping. We buy fruits in bulk at Costco (non organic berries, apples, pears), along with other lunchy stuff for the kids. Veggies are a mix of frozen and fresh from the store or our garden (good harvest this year with brocolli, tomatoes, kale, peppers, onions and some other stuff I don’t remember); lots of avacodos again from Costco. Instead of going several times a week, it’s maybe once per week to top off our regularly used items and get me my weightgainer 2000 (whole milk).
Despite my vast sums of meat and food I eat, I’ve actually remained at a moderately lean and constant weight for the last year or so (I’ve actually leaned out compared to this time last year, where I was in the middle of a Starting Strength linear progression and drinking probably way too much of the whole milk). I’ve found that heavy lifting and short, high-intensity work allows for my body to use that fat and protein for recovery and satiation, and limits the cortisol release compared to constant cardio work (which I used to be king). Cortisol is the stress hormone that the body releases and has a tendency to make it difficult to lean out. The short, high intensity stuff, and weight program I’m on allows for decent recovery and the ability to do it day in and day out (with built in rest days). Plus, this type of work outs are man-makers, keeping testosterone high and there’s a great feeling of accomplishing a lift that’s been evading you for weeks or generally challenging yourself in a way that takes 6 minutes but leaves you as a melting heap on the floor. I know that I could lean out more if I wasn’t eating so much, but right now don’t want to sacrifice strength gains, which is the balancing act we play with. This is the inner cave-man I harness and bring out on a regular basis. I don’t hunt, so hunting personal records is as close as I get along with other sports I get to play with my friends for fun.
Now for those of you on a budget, and wondering, “Is grass fed that much better than grain fed?”, the answer is “possibly” due to the omega 3 vs 6 ratio that is different due to the feed and growth of the cows. Whether it’s worth the extra cost for that benefit is another matter. Here’s a nice little article by Prague Stepchild I ran into yesterday that explains things at a basic level with some links to stuff a little more in depth. Good read for those wanting to learn more from a more layman’s point of view that still has some scientific goodness.
[EDIT: Saw that On The Rock had a meat post today too, here’s the link to that, good stuff there!]
..And what is a post about meat without a meat recipe. Here’s my “go-to” meatloaf recipe that is easy as it gets. Add a veggie of your choice as a side.
Average Married Dad’s Meatloaf Recipe
2 lbs ground beef
1 cup almond flour
1 onion, chopped, medium
1 small can tomato paste
Spices (cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, use whatever you want here)
Other veggies (green peppers, mushrooms, tomotatoes, whatever floats your boat)
Mix together in large bowl and put in bread pan, no crumbs or topping or anything dainty like that. Cook at 360 for 1 hour. Enjoy.