It’s finally time to go back to school! For families with children, the focus is often making sure they are getting enough sleep and eating healthy to perform well in their daily activities. If eating healthy is good for our children, it’s likely that it’s great for us adults as well.

The freshness and quality of ingredients cooked at home help determine if we are doing our best to eat healthy. Getting our fair share of fresh fruits and vegetables is always the first thing we hear in terms of eating healthy, but have we considered the importance of produce that is grown without excess pesticides and herbicides? What about when it comes to our proteins? It should come as no surprise that eating fresh, local proteins is just as important.

Here are Joe’s top three reasons why eating fresh, high-quality protein matters:

Fresh proteins taste better

It’s simply a fact that cooking with fresh proteins makes your food taste better. The preservatives, excess sodium and added sugars so often used in processed food mask its true flavor. Pre-packaged grocery store meats are often altered, pork is injected with sodium solutions to keep it moist and ground beef is often packed in modified gases that keep it looking red far beyond the date it is truly fresh. Seafood is often treated with sodium tri-poly phosphate (STP), especially for shellfish such as scallops, to keep it fresh longer. It’s a common practice in grocery stores—one of which most consumers are totally unaware. At Joe’s, our chicken, pork, beef and seafood are all natural and never enhanced or modified, and our shellfish is never treated with STP!

Buying local matters too! The further the food must travel, the more likely it is to include unnecessary chemicals. Why? Because it needs to be preserved in order to not spoil. Salt (saline) and modified packaging helps keep protein from going bad during the travel time to the grocery store. This process, combined with the addition of preservatives, causes proteins to lose their natural taste. Our beef, chicken and pork are all Indiana-raised. This ensures the travel time from the farm to your plate is shorter. While our seafood travels a bit farther, we make sure to filet our fresh fish nightly!

Freezing food is the best way to retain natural flavor, but the forming of ice crystals can impact food’s shape and texture, which may make it less appetizing. Our case-displayed seafood, beef, pork and chicken is never previously frozen, to ensure the taste you get is second to none.

Finally, our local proteins do not contain antibiotics and hormones and the quality of life for the livestock is far better than the commercial farms that are operated to supply chain grocery stores.

Fresh local proteins are sustainable

Consuming fresh, local protein is more sustainable. Doing so reduces supply-chain costs, preserves local farmland and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels needed to transport proteins a long distance.

Buying local fresh proteins also means buying seasonally. For example, the demand for out-of-season fish often requires the use of more resources, which is not only expensive but unsustainable. Want walleye in December? Not at Joe’s!

Buying local proteins also supports farmers in the region and boosts the local economy.

High-quality proteins improve health and wellbeing

Our brains burn energy and require considerable fuel to function. Eating high-quality proteins helps provide the energy necessary for us to operate at a high level. Nutrient-packed food can produce stronger bones, boosted immune systems and healthier hearts. On the flip side, consuming proteins with a high fat, sugar or sodium levels can cause energy spikes and crashes.

You may be wondering, Joe, why does protein from local farms matter in terms of health? From the moment fresh protein is produced, its nutrients start to deplete. So, the shorter the journey from farm to table, the more nutrient-packed the food will be and the more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber the body will absorb.

Eating fresh local protein matters. Beyond fresh fruits and vegetables, is one the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy! At Joe’s you will always have confidence that our all-natural proteins, trimmed to exceedingly high standards, ensure you get more for your money in terms of amount and quality. Next time you go grocery shopping for you and your family, stop by Joe’s for the freshest proteins in Carmel!