Hunting has been in decline for the last 40 or so years but recently has become increasingly more popular. And you will never guess who is leading the charge? Millennials of course. And just in case you thought it was a typo, it’s not. It is the millennials leading the charge. That technically savvy, civic-minded, health-conscious, woke, broad-minded group of individuals. Who knew? These new-age hunters and lifestyle athletes are much more concerned with a quality source of natural meat more so than mounting a set of trophies on their wall or just for the sport of it. Who's ready for wild boar ragu or maybe some green chili dove enchiladas? Stuffed quail gumbo anyone? Seriously though, the reason these new-age hunters are taking up the sport is simple. They are seeking to connect directly to what they eat. And why not?
Wild game meats have some amazing health benefits compared to meats from domesticated or factory-raised animals. The fact that wild game animals eat a natural diet and are very active in the wild makes this meat very low in fat, and it has fewer calories than factory animals. Also, eating greens, the animal version of veggies 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. Having constant inflammation in your gut can lead to a bunch of problems like fatigue, headaches, constipation, and even diseases like cancer. A final point worth noting is that wild game meat is a good source of protein and minerals like zinc and iron which are antioxidants important for your immune system function and digestion.
Factory-farmed animals live very stressful lives. This includes regular antibiotic and hormone injections and living and growing in small areas that are often overpopulated. They are fed grains and corn on a schedule, and then they are sent to the slaughterhouse where they wait in line and stress out. I know what you may be thinking, “why do I care if the meat I’m eating was stressed when it was alive, and furthermore why should I worry about what it was injected with?” That’s a fair question.
When an animal is raised under stressful conditions, just like humans, there is a physiological response. Muscles tense, you get sick, depressed, and the list goes on. This makes the meat less tender and tastes different. Aside from this you are also eating meat that has been injected with animal hormones, pain killers, and antibiotics to help them grow faster and not get sick which is then transferred in small doses to you every time you consume it.
Oh, and one last thing about selecting wild game as your protein of choice. Besides some pretty crazy health concerns to humans, factory farming of the meat you have been eating forever is taking a huge toll on the environment. Some of what we know includes the spread of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, damage to our rivers, lakes, and streams, and polluting soil, groundwater, and our air with all sorts of nasty stuff like heavy metals, pathogens, ammonia, and methane just to name a few. Damn, I feel sick already but I will press on. Let’s face it, factory farming harms the planet as much as it hurts humans and animals and that is kind of terrifying actually. I bet you didn’t know that!
In closing, I think the millennials and those who were waking way before being woke was cool, are on to something. But you don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy the benefits of your protein being sourced just like the hunters and gatherers of yesteryear. You can buy it nowadays at a number of stores near you. Not being a hunter is no longer a reason for not eating wild game and reaping all the benefits that eating it brings to the table. So put on your camouflage, and head down to your local Whole Foods or Natural Grocers and give some a try.
And finally, if you are thinking about becoming a hunter you may want to talk to current hunters to help yourself understand what it all entails. There is way more to it than just aiming and shooting.
Timney Triggers Wellness Coach
NASM – CES, EXOS – XPS