Cluck, cluck! Chicken is a wonderfully versatile source of protein that can be prepared in many, many ways. You'll love this chicken chili recipe!
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods highlights chicken as a good source of niacin, selenium, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and phosphorous. The white meat is the leanest and comes from the breast meat. The dark meat parts include the back, legs, thighs, and wings. Different types of muscle create the two types of meat. The healthiest and most humane approach is to purchase free-range, organically fed chickens.
Why Organic or Free-Range Chicken Matters
You'll want to avoid chickens that are battery-raised. Unfortunately, mass production of chickens and their eggs in the US has led to inhumane living conditions for the animals. They might live in overcrowded houses, so antibiotics are used to prevent infections in such close quarters. The chickens lack exercise, are fed excessively, and are given hormones to their increase size. Don't fall for the marketing ploy "All Grain Fed" either! Non-organic, grain-fed chickens (their eggs) are given wheat, corn, oats, barley, and soybeans that are often bio-engineered/genetically modified (GMO) and sprayed with pesticides and antibiotics. This type of feed creates much less healthy chicken meat and eggs.
On the other hand, free-range animals are allowed to roam the land and eat their natural diet. For chickens, that includes bugs, worms, and seeds. They may be given supplemental feed. Organically fed chickens are raised on organic farms farms and given feed that is free of pesticides and GMO's. Organic chickens are hormone-free and antibiotic-free.
Note: While the FDA has not approved the use of hormones in poultry and pork, it is not illegal. The food manufacturers simply buy the hormones over the counter and use them in their manufacturing in many stages of the process. Therefore, it is important to avoid conventional chicken and look specifically for hormone-free. (Source)
In a nutshell, I mean eggshell, YES, it is worth the extra cost to buy organic, free-range chicken! Always buy the freshest chicken possible. Whole chickens tend to be better choices for freshness (less pieces are exposed to air) and the most economical. Whole chickens are easy to roast in the oven and can feed a family for several meals. (For a 4 lb chicken, roast for approx 75 min at 425 degrees.) The carcass is great for making bone broth, too!
To order the healthiest chicken (and other great meats), Tropical Traditions organic, free range chicken is pastured on green Wisconsin summer grasses and raised by small family farmers. Watch the little video below & order yours HERE!
Jenny Yelle, MHNE Holistic Wellness Educator
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