Steak, blanquette: how to eat meat while respecting the planet?

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Not everyone wants to go vegan. However, carnivores can also make efforts to consume more “clean” and healthy. Our advices.

The vegans and vegetarians are gaining ground. But not as much as flexitarians who, according to the Xerfi cabinet, are nearly 23 million in France. This new mode of food consumption consists of eating less meat. And the formulas are diverse. Some are satisfied with it every other day, others choose “a day without”, Monday for example in reference to the Meat Free Monday movement. But all semi-vegetarians have the same goal: to reduce meat while focusing on quality. To help you consume less but better, we have found advice in Victor Coutard’s “Manual of the ecological manger” (Marabout edition).

Meat: the right criteria to recognize quality
Check the color and texture: ” Good meat cannot be sold in cellophane!” Exclaims Victor Coutard, who lists the characteristics of quality meat: “a beautiful bright red color with shiny flesh , which does not stick, which is neither dry nor gives too much juice. You should look for a firm and elastic meat, slightly marbled with a very white or very light yellow fat “. Moreover, a good white ham is not pink (a sign of the presence of nitrites) but gray! It therefore keeps for a shorter period, has more rind and a more pronounced taste.
Sort the labels: in the countryside, we can talk to the producer! Otherwise, certified meats should be preferred because they meet precise quality and traceability criteria. “Thus, on the labels, the words” organic “,” grass-fed “and the labels” Label Rouge “or” Organic Agriculture “(AB) are often minimum guarantees of good quality”, assures Victor Coutard. But beware of certain mentions! For example, the “VPF” or “Viande de Porc Française” labels guarantee above all a geographical origin. It is already good to know where the products come from, but this type of label is not necessarily a guarantee of quality in terms of breeding and production.
Flexitarian diet: tips for eating “green” and responsible
Eat local : it’s like fruits and vegetables, you have to limit the intermediaries. The more there is, the less traceable the meat and the more its quality is affected. So, we avoid beef or pork, which come from afar and whose carbon footprint linked to long-distance transport is staggering. If we can, we buy from the producer: on the farm, in peasant markets, via an association for the maintenance of peasant agriculture (AMAP). Or we prefer the local butcher who works directly with the breeders.
Choose the least polluting meat: the type of agriculture is the key to responsible purchasing. Ideally, opt for farm products and skip meats from intensive farming. Not easy for everyone because quality comes at a cost… In addition, you should know that the production of poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) is less polluting than that of red meat. Red meat which, let us remember, is harmful to health because consumed in excess, it promotes cardiovascular disease.
Meat consumption: tips to limit waste
Add value to leftovers: you have to play with culinary tricks and transform the carcass of the chicken into broth, the leftover beef or veal, in stock, in mince or in lasagna . In order not to waste, Victor Coutard suggests “planning your meals, estimating your needs reasonably in order to avoid buying too much and keeping your meat in airtight glass containers”.
Cook home as much as possible: in the dishes that are consumed in restaurants or that are bought from caterers or supermarkets, the origin of the meat is rarely highlighted. And for good reason, reveals Victor Coutard: “Unless otherwise stated, in restaurants, the meat is often of poor quality. In restaurants, demand transparency on the quality of meat served to you. Before buying a cooked dish or a vacuum sandwich, check the list of ingredients on the label and favor the Organic Agriculture (AB) label, preferable to the red label whose specifications bring little improvement in terms of breeding conditions. Otherwise there is a good chance that it is poor quality meat from intensively farmed animals.