Someone asked me recently why The Clean Food Club doesn’t publish recipes that contain meat. Well, we publish recipes that use chicken, turkey, and fish, but no red meat. It’s not that we are opposed to red meat, it’s just that we want consumers to be educated about the current production and consumption of red meat in the U.S. to make the most informed decisions about their own cooking and eating habits.
The production of red meat is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions. According to a 2018 New York Times article (link at end), “farming is responsible for the equivalent of 574 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States each year. That’s about 8 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions… In the United States, 42 percent of agricultural emissions come from animal agriculture. Two-thirds of those gases are directly emitted by ruminants: animals like cows, buffalo and sheep.” And according to a 2017 EPA study (link at end), the United States is the second largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
According to NPR’s Morning Edition (link at end), meat has more of an impact on the environment than any other food we eat. Raising livestock require so much more food, water, land, and energy than plants to raise and transport. These animals also produce methane gas when they burp, pass gas, and produce waste. Agriculture is the third largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and one reason is because there are simply so many cows as a response to the demand of Americans to consume so much red meat. The USDA recommends consuming 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein daily, but they forecast that the average person will consume as much as 10 ounces of meat and poultry daily in 2018. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average consumer will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry this year, surpassing a record set in 2004. That’s about 800 hamburgers this year.
Here at The Clean Food Club, we make the decision to support sustainable, local farmers and eat clean food for two reasons: small-scale, sustainable, local agriculture companies do not produce as much methane as large-scale production companies, and eating clean helps ensure that we are eating only food that truly helps us nutritionally. Big companies can also overuse antibiotics and growth hormones, and animal waste can spread diseases if not properly cleaned and disposed.
We try to keep our loved ones and our communities in mind when we purchase meats, produce and other goods from local companies, and we encourage everyone to think about this too before heading out to the farmers market or the grocery store. Meat is perfectly fine for human consumption (all we ask is that you consume responsibly), and so we’re publishing our first recipe containing pork! This salad features other delightful seasonal ingredients too, and they’re all locally sourced.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Sliced Apples, and Crumbled Bacon Salad
Makes 4 large servings
Total time: 30 minutes
In My Basket
2 lbs Brussels sprouts
1 Honey Crisp Apple
2 cups chopped Bacon
1/2 cup candied Pecans
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
2 tbsp Olive Oil (from FIORE, Bar Harbour ME)
From the Pantry
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Wash and dry fresh produce. Thinly slice sprouts, place in single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Crumble bacon (or cook according to package directions, let cool, then crumble). Set aside. Thinly slice apple, set aside. Roughly chop the pecans, set aside.
- In a small bowl, add vinegar and syrup, season with salt and pepper as desired. Whisk to combine. Slowly add olive oil one tablespoon at a time, constantly whisking until desired consistency.
- When sprouts are cool, add to a serving bowl. Top with apple slices, chopped bacon and pecans, and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!
Alice Kathryn Richardson is a new media photojournalist based in Boston, MA. She created The Clean Food Club in 2016, and previously spent two years working on Deserts in the District, a series of short-form documentaries exploring food access and hunger in Washington, DC. She is committed to supporting local and sustainable food businesses by telling their stories with photo and video. Follow her on Twitter @AKR_Pictures.