Fall is on its way, and with it comes a myriad of hunting options. This is a post I wrote some time ago — and it’s timely every year as hunting season kicks in. In a nutshell, it’s a huge part of why I hunt — and why I’m an avid supporter of responsible hunting.
My father was a heart surgeon, an avid hunter, and a great cook. Nothing made him prouder than to serve us what we brought home: ducks, dove, venison, quail, even wild pig — but little did ANY of us know just how collaborative, enriching, and healthy his passion was.
Wild game meats have significant health benefits — especially when compared to meats from farm-raised animals. Think about it: wild game eat a natural diet and are extremely active when compared to most farm raised animals, so they have a much lower fat content. Here’s a quote from the Mayo Clinic blog:
In comparison to lean cuts of beef and pork, game meat has about one-third fewer calories (game birds have about half the calories) and quite a bit less saturated and total fat. Cholesterol for wild and domestic meat ranges from 50 to 75 milligrams for a 3-ounce serving — with wild game tending to be in the lower end of the range.
According to Livestrong’s blog post regarding wild game: Game’s eating greens in the wild contributes to a lower content of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and a higher content of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, wild game meat is a good source of protein and minerals such as iron and zinc.
The feeding of corn and grain to farm animals not only increases the total fat content but also the omega-6 fatty acid content. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, omega-6 fatty acids increase markers of inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with health conditions including obesity, diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Wild animals eat more grass, green leaves and plants than their domesticated counterparts, which leads to leaner meat with lower omega-6 fatty acid content.
As if that information isn’t enough … there’s more. A lot more.
Enriching and Collaborative
For any hunter, male or female, there’s a self sufficiency and empowerment that comes with being the hunter gatherer for your brood. My sons appreciate what I do (at least right now I’m still a cool mom….!) and just our time together in the field is the healthiest and most enriching activity there is.
Of course, I hunt and fish because I want to know where my meat comes from and what its been eating. Every one of us deserves to know everything about what goes into our food – and we certainly deserve to know what we’re feeding our children. But with the choice to be a meat eater comes the part that I find most difficult: I love animals. Each one has eyes, and ears, a heart, and, I believe, a spirit. I’m not willing to overlook that by looking for neatly wrapped packages at any store – no matter how fancy or green. So I suppose you could call me the ambivalent huntress when it comes to actually pulling the trigger, but I’ll always do it for my family and because I believe it’s important to really understand there’s a consequence to any meat we choose to eat — and I want my kids to know this too.
For some of us, pulling the trigger or pulling the fish is the complicated side of hunting and fishing. But nothing can overshadow the simple: the joy of being out with your son, daughter, spouse or friend. The salt breeze from the tuna tower. The pup shivering with excitement. The silent dawn.
Omega-6 aside, the health benefits are beyond measure — on every front.