Village Butcher and The Whole Beast, with their warmly-lit and slightly old-fashioned ambience, has the right touch of modern. I feel both at home and confident that these people are top notch in their knowledge, preparation and storage of meat products.
The wood-planked floors are shoe-worn in front of glassed-in refrigerated display cases containing fresh beef, pork and poultry products.
Shelves are stocked with top-quality seasonings, sauces, syrups and marinades. A stand-up freezer is full of assorted meat products including bone stocks which are prepared right there at the store.
Friendly staff wearing denim aprons busily prep and cut meats behind the glass cases. They are eager to help once you’ve finished planning the delicious dinners you’re going to serve to your family this week.
Their dedication to offering select meats from reputable farms here on Vancouver Island ensures freshness. Not only that but the live-stock has lived well compared to those subjected to high-density factory farming in other parts of the world. The beef is pasture-raised and grass-fed, chickens are free-range, and all meats are growth-hormone-free. Antibiotics are only used when necessary. Organic meat is sourced from farms in BC’s interior.
All of their meats are prepared on site, including all cuts and a numerous assortment of sausages, cured meats and bone broths.
What drew me to Village Butcher
I first discovered Village Butcher and the Whole Beast after a friend raved about this place. She mentioned, “humanely-treated, locally-sourced, grass-fed, hormone-free and free-range.” I was determined to check it out.
Yes, I am an animal lover. I also eat meat so my friend’s words resonated with me. She revealed an interesting tidbit that she had learned from Village Butcher. She stated, “Did you know that the energy of what you come into contact with, including what you consume, can transfer to your body?” It made sense to me, especially after learning about Masaru Emoto’s discovery that “emotional energies and vibrations can change the physical structure of water” (Gray, 2003).
It’s nice to know that Village Butcher is mindful about the well-being and energy of livestock. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d rather consume the meat (energy) of a chicken that lived instinctively foraging in a field, scratching and dustbathing than one that couldn’t express itself while living in traditional barn housing (BCSPCA, n.d.). Furthermore, I would rather support local farms, consume meat that is growth-hormone-free and not regularly pumped full of antibiotics. Plus, I like knowing that by purchasing local I’ve also helped cut down on the harmful food transport emissions that contribute to global warming.
Health benefits of grass-fed beef
Recently, I’ve learned a few things about the health benefits of choosing grass-fed over grain-fed beef. I’ve been on a health protocol prescribed by my naturopath which includes the Paleo diet. I’ve done some investigation. Here’s a little of what I’ve learned about choosing grass-fed beef.
Grass-fed beef has lower overall fat content. It also contains higher levels of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), which helps the body increase its metabolic rate, strengthen the immune system, and regulate cholesterol levels (Solan, 2003). Studies also suggest that grass-fed beef is “higher in precursors for Vitamin A and E and cancer-fighting antioxidants” than grain-fed beef (Daley, Abbot, Doyle, Nader, & Larson, 2010).
A diagnosis changed how I shop
In the past, like many of us, I went to the same grocery store each week to pick out the nicest looking meat for the most reasonable price. Then I’d check out and bring it home to cook and consume without too much thought.
A recently diagnosed digestive condition snapped me out of my grocery store buggy-wheeling routine. Now I read labels and think twice about where my produce and meat come from and what’s in it or on it before I place it in my buggy.
I even tote my own Le Papillon Vert French-style shopping basket and reusable mesh bags (for produce). It feels good to cut down on the crazy number of plastic bags that I used to use. If only there could be a replacement for those nonrecyclable Styrofoam meat trays. Oh yeah, Village Butcher and The Whole Beast wrap their meat in paper…another plus!
Since my diagnosis, I’ve found a few great places to purchase fresh locally-sourced food, one being Village Butcher. And, if you like cured meats paired with red wine for entertaining guests or simply for enjoying while on a hike or a camping trip, The Whole Beast is right there too.
BCSPCA. (n.d.). Chicken farming in Canada. Retrieved from https://spca.bc.ca/programs-services/farm-animal-programs/farm-animal-production/broiler-chickens/
Daley, C. A., Abbot, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9(10). doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10
Gray, D. (2003, July 26). “Message in the water”. Calgary Herald, p. S8.
Solan, M. (2003, January-February). CLA: Can This Fatty Acid Help You Get Thin. Experience Life. Retrieved from https://experiencelife.com/article/cla-can-this-fatty-acid-help-you-get-thin/