With the modern day ritual of “hunting camp” hunting does not always get associated with health and wellness. Perhaps it is because at camp there are usually more calories consumed in liquid form then sold, many items in the cupboard would survive a nuclear apocalypse and a pound of butter is the standard unit of measurement for most recipes. Hunting camp aside there is an amazing benefit modern hunting offers the hunter and his/her family when it comes to their wellbeing. I am referring to seeing your meat in the field before you see it on your plate.

 

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and spent my whole life in metropolitan areas until I was almost 23 years old. If you were to ask me, “were does your beef come from” I would answer you “Meijer” and then look at you like you had a third eye growing out of your head. What I was really saying was I have no idea, where my meat comes from, what’s in it, what it as eaten, how it was raised and how long it has been since it met its demise. These are important things to know! We eat what our food eats, what is put into its body we put into ours. That can be a laundry list of things I would never consciously consume but do every day because I don’t know it’s there.

 

When I went out to my wife’s (future wife at the time) parent’s beef farm for the first time they sent me home with a Wal-Mart bag overflowing with fresh beef from a cow they had just sent to the butcher.  I was thrilled to get it home and slap it on the grill but when I opened it all I felt was disappointment.  The bright red hue that I had grown accustomed to seeing from my supermarket ground beef was not there so I assumed it was bad and called MB over to inform her that her folks were pedaling rancid meat. She then looked at me like I had a third eye and said, “that is the color it is supposed to be, haven’t you ever seen real beef before?” I guess I haven’t, but I instantly began to wonder what made the other meat so red and was it something that I wanted to ingest?

It was then I began realizing how much goes into our “fresh” food that really shouldn’t be there.  Luckily there are others who demand untainted sources of protein so markets like Whole Foods and other local grocery stores and butcher shops have made it easy for consumers to obtain organic and or grass fed animals that are not mass produced.  Like anything else if you want quality you are going to have to pay for it and these healthier options come with a steep price tag in comparison to their steroid pumping brethren.

That brings us full circle back to where the conversation began, hunting in all its forms provides us with an opportunity that is so rare in our modern world; to see it, shoot it, dress it, butcher it, prepare it and plate it.  One of the greatest meals of my life was eating back straps that had been walking in the field not 12 hours ago with my brother in law (who is an amazing trained chef; hence the positioning on the great meals list)

The secret to nutritional success is to take responsibility for it.  To not depend on others for your nutrition is the ONLY way for us to be at our best when it comes to fueling our bodies.  I have found no better way to take charge of the food my family eats than to get out in the woods and fill our freezer with the life giving sustenance of the land that has allowed mankind to not only survive but thrive throughout its history.