We tried it: Butcher Box

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Have you ever mentioned something to your significant other, just thinking that they might want to consider it, and then before you know it they’ve already ordered it? That was sort of our experience with Butcher Box. I should have known that anything to do with beef would immediately get my husband’s attention. If you’re a vegetarian, I’m sorry — obviously it won’t be of interest to you.

Fairytales and Fitness

Why not buy local?
I enjoy beef, but I could easily live without ever eating it again. My husband, on the other hand, often quips that a veggie meal would be great . . . if it had some meat in it.

If he’s going to eat beef, I want to make sure that what we’re eating has been humanely raised (as much as that is possible) and as healthy as possible — which is why I prefer grass fed beef. Cows are meant to feed on grass, not corn (no matter that they sure are tasty when corn fed).

Over the years we have tried a variety of local sources for grass fed beef. At farmer’s markets. Occasionally even going to farms. Some of it was tasty and some of it really wasn’t. All of it is very expensive.

I always figure that you can pay more $$ for good food, or you can pay more $$ to your doctors. Granted, you can get sick no matter what you eat, but you have a better chance of staying healthy if you eat a healthy diet — just like cows are healthier when they eat the diet they were born to!

According to the Butcher Box Website:

We guarantee that ButcherBox Beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.

That means our cattle are free to range on grassy pastures throughout their entire lives, suckling from their mothers for the first 6 to 9 months, then eating their natural diet of grass. Thanks to the climate, they graze year-round, with access to shelter when needed. They are never fed grain or kept in feedlots. Besides being delicious, the health benefits of eating grass-fed, grass-finished meat are abundant. 

All the meat we tried from Butcher Box was good. Most of it was really good. The only cut I thought was just so-so was the sirloin tips.

So what’s in the box?
It varies every month. You can create your won custom box (which would probably be my preference, but that does cost more: $149 — it does include slightly more than the curated boxes, though.).

You can choose any one of four different “curated” boxes for $129 (Classic Size; the Big Box contains more and costs more), and you get what you get:

  1. The mixed box
  2. The Beef & Chicken Box
  3. The Beef & Pork Box
  4. The All Beef Box

Mr. Judy chose an all beef box for our first box, which we received in March. We also got a deal that added 2 lbs of ground beef to all our boxes — although so far all our boxes have included 2 lbs of ground beef, so we’ve received 4 pounds of ground beef in both boxes.  Our May box included:

  • 2 Filet Mignons
  • 2 Flat Iron Steaks (each one is 4ish small servings)
  • 2 Sirloin Tips (each one is 4ish small servings)
  • 4 lbs Ground Beef

The boxes are available in 2 different sizes, Classic (approximately 8-11 lbs of meat) and Big Box (approximately 16-22 lbs of meat).

We have our subscription set up for every 3 months, so we have already received our second box. This time we chose the Beef & Chicken Box. It included:

  1. Chicken Thighs (with skin & bones)
  2. One Whole Chicken
  3. 2 Flat Iron Steaks
  4. 2 Rib Eye Steaks (each 2 small servings — and very thin)
  5. 4 lbs Ground Beef

The whole chicken is still in the freezer, but I made the chicken thighs which were tasty. We grilled one of the rib eyes for the Fourth. They were very good, but — very thin. Which makes them difficult to cook, since think steaks cook fast (Mr. Judy did a good job).

It is interesting to note that our first box came very quickly, but for some reason the second box took almost a week after it got billed. I am not sure if the first box is just sent quickly because it’s your first, or if there was just some glitch with the second box. Everything was also still frozen in the second box, which we received in June (so much warmer).

The Add Ons/Monthly Specials
There are three (at this time) add ons you can choose: add ons are additional items that will be added to your box each month (although you can change that in your account):

  1. Wild Alaskan Salmon
  2. 2 lbs of Ground Beef (two one lb packages)
  3. Bacon

We chose ground beef as our add on for our first box.

Monthly specials are exactly what they sound like: items that are not included with the box that can be added; they do not get added into future boxes automatically (as the add ons do). The monthly specials change, well, monthly.

In addition to the Subscription boxes, there are limited addition gift boxes.

The Box Itself
I was very impressed with the packaging. No styrofoam. All the meat, which is vacuum packed individually by cut, comes in a cardboard box. There is another cardboard box with dry ice in it. Aside from the vacuum packing for the meat, it’s all recyclable.

The dry ice in our box hadn’t melted at all and all the contents were still frozen. I just happened to be at home when it was delivered, but I’m quite sure it would have stayed frozen for many hours. Keep in mind, of course, that we got our first box in March and it was still probably cold enough to keep it frozen even without the dry ice!

There is a nutrition label on every cut. Shipping is free. Or as Mr. Judy likes to say, included at no additional cost.

How the Subscriptions Work
Butcherbox is a subscription service, which means that the boxes will come at an interval you set up, although you can change that interval and you can also suspend your subscription for up to six months. From the Website:

ButcherBox is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription service. You can pause for up to 6 months or cancel at any time before your next order is billed. No hidden fees or penalties. You can also easily change your box type and your box frequency prior to billing.

One thing that bothered me is that you can’t see much information about the whole service without creating an account. I personally like to know more before I hand my email over to someone but Mr. Judy had no qualms (mmmmm, beef!).

Navigating the Website
The Website looks well done, but it’s not as user friendly as it could be. You can get information about the boxes, the pricing, the subscriptions, what was in last month’s boxes, recipes, and how meat is sourced without creating an account. If you want to know exactly what is available, you’ll have to create an account.

There is a Help Center, which is extensive, but you have to go scroll to the bottom of the Web page to access it (it really should be a link at the top!).

A nice touch is that when you log into the Website, there’s a banner on top that reminds you how long before your next billing date. You will also receive several emails reminding you that your billing date is coming up. You can change your box, the size, what’s in it (if you chose a custom box), and so forth as long as you do it before your billing date. Afterwards you cannot make changes.

We have not tried to cancel our subscription (we’re happy with the service) so I can’t speak to whether or not that is difficult, although it’s not supposed to be. If you want to Pause your subscription, it’s a small link at the bottom of your account page. I’d like to see this be a button at the top of the page, where the change your box options are, rather than buried at the bottom of the page in a small link.

But how does it taste?
We both liked all of the meat, with the exception of the Sirloin Tips. They weren’t bad, but they just weren’t as tender as the rest of the cuts. That may just be the way we prepared it, but we have a second package of them to experiment on. In fact, despite getting a second box since I started writing this post, we still have the second sirloin tips in the freezer!

But what about the cost?
Generally we only make beef about once a week — I’ve even been trying to get that to every other week (with minimal success) recently. Most of the beef I buy is at Trader Joes, which carries grass fed beef — from New Zealand, though, which means it has a large carbon footprint (although beef can be from Australia with Butcher box, too) — and it isn’t always available, either.

The bottom line is I believe that it costs us about the same through Butcher Box as it did buying it via Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or Farmers’ Markets.

Final Thoughts
Aside from the Sirloin Tips, all the meat was very tender, not too fatty, and tasted really good. The chicken also tasted good. I do wish that there had been some skinless option for the chicken, even though I am not afraid of (and do eat) chicken skin. I like the relatively eco friendly packaging.

I also like that most of the meat is US meat. Most of the chicken is from the US or Canada. The pricing isn’t outrageous for quality meat. I am not an ambassador or in any way affiliated with Butcher Box, just a happy customer. Mostly, it just plain tastes good. Butcher Box gets 2 thumbs up from me and Mr. Judy.

Does Butcherbox sound good to you? If you’re interested in trying out, I’d appreciate it if you used my referral link here.

Do you have any food-type subscription boxes?

Have you tried Butcher Box?

Do you think  you’d like to try it after my review?

It’s getting hot in here: Spilling over tea/coffee July 2019

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Summer continues its a-little-too-enthusiastic grip on us, but that didn’t stop me from racing this July 4! It might have if it wasn’t for my running friends, though, I runfess (wait — wrong linkup!).

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date — I have lots to share: the weather is always a good topic amongst runners, what to do with leftover cookies, looking at the world through rain colored glasses.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I tend to be a glass half full gal. Yes, I can get as down as the next person about all the rain. And there has been plenty of it. In between the rainy days, though, there have been some beautiful ones. Those are the ones I hold onto.

Always hot & we stay in the AC as long as possible!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell that Firecracker 4 seems to be a good barometer for global warming (or so it seems anyway). It’s always hot, but it seems to be getting hotter and hotter every year.

Cookies be gone!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you I finally had an aha moment with those cookies I runfessed about last week (read it here) and realized that Mr. Judy could take them to his next target shooting match. I’m sure they’ll all appreciate it, and my hips and thighs will thank me!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that it seems like we jam all the fun things into summer, which is rather short in these parts (especially this year!). It’s so hard to motivate yourself to get out as much in Winter (which is long) when it seems like it’s perpetually dark and definitely cold. Gotta make hay while the sun shines, right?

Can’t sleep in in summer with these two to walk!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you it’s harder to juggle the dogwalks with the running in summer. Lola, who is 13, is not very heat tolerant anymore so she needs early walks. Of course, I’m not all that heat tolerant either, so it’s hard to get them out and also get myself out at a decent hour for my run!

If you celebrated, how’d your 4th go?

Fun fourth of July races?

Has there been an unusual amount of rain where you live? 

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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Will I Swim again?: Runfessions June 2019

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I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and here we are, halfway through the year already! It’s time to get off my chest those odd and pesky little runfessions for June.

I swimfess . . .
I was completely oblivious to the fact the community center I swim at closed. The horrors! Where will I swim now? Apparently they closed last October, but yeah, I don’t like to swim in Winter and you know how cool it was for most of Spring!

Not the hill outside my neighborhood, but another I’m not avoiding

I runfess . . .
That I used to run down the road outside my neighborhood quite often. It’s a really long hill out (several, actually), and you know what that means. I’ve gotten back to running it. Hills make you stronger people!

I runfess . . .
I actually never even opened the box of Freihofers’ cookies from last month’s 5k. I did eat the small sample package I picked up at the expo. Let’s just say for the most part sugar and I do not see eye to eye, and there’s no reason to open Pandora’s box.

I have the zucchini brownies I made, the chocolate chip cookie dough balls I made  . . . but I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with those cookies!

Had a good time despite going solo

I runfess . . .
I tried like heck to get someone to run last week’s trail race (read about it here) with me, and I was totally unsuccessful. If you read my recap, you know I met some new people and had a good time anyway.

I runfess . . .
That I recently found out my chiropractor will no longer be taking my insurance going forward. I’m not sure whether I want to stick with her or see if I can find another one that does. With minimal racing it’s not as important right now.

Do you enjoy winning food from races? I’ve never won any AG awards, but the two times I came close both were food. Not all runners are that food crazy!

Ever belonged to something that closed and you didn’t realize it for months? In my defense, I didn’t actually belong to that community center. I just swam there occasionally.

How important is your chiropractor to you, if you see one?

What do you have to runfess from June? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

“I Can’t”: What Does it Mean?

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“I Can’t” has many meanings. Can’t simply means can not. According to Merriam Webster, can is defined as:

be physically or mentally able to

That is just one of the many definitions of the verb can; so can’t means that you are not physically or mentally able to. We say can’t all the time. We often believe that we are physically unable to, but usually there’s a deeper meaning there – a mental reason we believe we cannot.

I’m looking at a couple of translations of can’t.

Fairytales and Fitness

I don’t want to
How many times have you heard from people that they can’t run? Either they tried, and it’s too hard, or they can’t because they’re too old, too heavy, too busy, and so on.

What they really mean is they don’t want to look foolish, they don’t want to give up something to invest the time in learning to run, they don’t want other people to be laughing at them.

Turn can’t into can: if you want something badly enough, you will prioritize it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you — besides, most people are far too busy worrying about how you are thinking about them to pay you much mind. Don’t ever say can’t until you’ve actually tried something — if you truly can’t, or you find out you truly don’t want to — there’s no shame in that. The shame is in the not trying.

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Was I afraid to tackle something longer than 13.1? Especially with a time limit? In summer? A really hot & humid summer? Of course I was. But I never thought I can’t — and guess what — I could!

I’m afraid to
It’s so easy to ignore that fearful voice inside by simply saying you can’t. What are you truly afraid of? Hurting yourself? Join a beginner runner group or hire yourself a trainer/coach. Being last? It’s possible, of course, but chances are pretty good you won’t be (spoiler alert: in most races the walkers are the last people, and they’re usually having a pretty good time). Looking foolish? Read a few blogs, books, and magazines about running. You might still look foolish, but at least you’re unlikely to make as many rookie mistakes.

Turn can’t into can: as Nike says so wisely: Just do it. Feel the fear, and just do it anyway. I guarantee you you will feel so empowered by conquering your fears.

Can’t crops up in all areas of life
Of course this advice applies to all life, not just running. Changing careers. Moving. Starting a family. Losing weight. If you believe you can’t? Guess what: you probably won’t. But what if you stopped listening to the stories you tell yourself and believe you can?

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.
— Walt Disney

When in your life have you used “I can’t”?

How did that work out for you? Do you regret it?

What will you start telling yourself you can do?

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Part II

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Everyone has one: something they struggle with in their life. Usually their whole lives. Weight is definitely one of my struggles. Many of my local friends don’t really get it, because while they’ve seen the photos, they never knew me as a very heavy person, or it’s not a struggle for them. By the way, you can find the first post on this subject here.

Still, we all struggle with something. I read something recently — we all have speed bumps along our journey. If we didn’t, we might speed right into an accident.

Fairytales and Fitness

A little course correction
Like many people, I have times when I can easily maintain my weight. I have times when I really struggle to maintain my weight. Once in a blue moon, I even have time when the weight seems to just melt off of me.

I’ve had times in my life when I’ve been very sick. We all know that the weight we lose when we’re sick doesn’t stay lost, right?

Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it’s actually been the catalyst for weight loss for me, like my nasty stomach virus a couple of months ago. It was a speed bump that helped me in my journey toward a more comfortable weight for me, and also in a new direction: practicing intuitive eating. No tracking, just eating. I hope that I can continue to maintain my weight and intuitively eat what I need.

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You can keep your wine. Food’s my drug of choice!

Hitting reset
One of the hardest parts about losing weight is that we can’t eat the way we’ve been eating. There are plenty of programs that promise you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight, if you just eat it at midnight standing on your head and rubbing your stomach (or so it seems).

Fad diets never work, and truthfully, if I could just eat whatever I wanted and still lose weight — well, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have struggled with my weight as much as I have my whole life.

Whether we struggle with weight or not, we all need a little reset from time to time . We let foods that we know are not our friends creep back into our lives, because they taste so good and make us feel so good — temporarily. Except somewhere down the road we realize we really don’t feel so good.

Then it’s time to hit reset. Minimize the foods that aren’t your friends, maximize the foods that are (this is different for every body). Never starve yourself, never cut out a whole food group, and never beat yourself up when you slip up: it’s all part of the journey — remember the necessity of speed bumps?

What do you need to hit reset on?
It’s not just food that people need to hit reset on. Maybe you stay up too late. Maybe you’re on your devices too much. Maybe you buy too much. Maybe you exercise too much. So many things can give us pleasure when done in moderation, but cause us pain when we go overboard. Then it’s time to hit reset!

What’s gotten out of moderation in your life?

Do you practice resets on a regular basis? 

Any reset tips? 

Whatever Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, Part I

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While I was sick, I used some guided meditations focusing on being healthy. One of them said words to the effect:

I allow myself to go through this illness, because I know that I will come through even stronger than before.

Fairytales and Fitness

No one ever wants to be sick. Sometimes, though, we truly need that down time — and we come through the other side even stronger.

You have to allow yourself to go through it . . . 
. . . but sometimes you have to hit pause first, or you’ll be down for the count even longer.

I’ll repeat it: no one ever wants to be sick. It’s why we say things like “I’m fighting off a cold“. Sometimes, though, we just can’t fight our way through it, no matter how hard we fight.

Our body is begging us for rest — and if we don’t give our body what it needs, it will find a way to force you to rest. You will have to rest a lot longer than if you had taken the time to rest in the first place.

Running injuries can be the same way. We’re training hard for something, or we’ve committed to meeting up with a group, or we’ve committed to a run streak; we know we need that break, but we ignore the messages our body is screaming at us.

If we just listened the first time, though, and stopped at the first sign of a problem, we wouldn’t be down as long.

Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.— M. Scott Peck

Once you’re sick or injured though, you have to heal. You have to allow yourself to heal. You will only set yourself back or injure yourself worse if you just try to ignore the fact that you’re sick or injured. You have to go through the problem, not around it.

Coming through stronger
Have you heard of the Japanese art of mending broken pots? It’s call Kintsugi.

Kintsugi uses lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver, platinum, copper or bronze, resulting into something more beautiful than the original.

Instead of simply trying to glue a broken pot back together and trying to hide the fact that it’s broken, they take that broken pot and make something even more beautiful out of it. Something stronger.

I have a little Murano glass cat my brother brought from Italy for me many years ago. It’s seen several moves without incident, but recently a little piece of it was broken off. Mr. Judy glued it back for me, but it broke off again when it got tipped over (very gently).

I wonder what would happen if we tried Kintsugi on it? Rather than trying to pretend it’s still whole, instead letting the beauty in the imperfection shine through?

We are stronger because we’ve gone through hard things. The key is the going through it — not around it.— Chocolaterunsjudy

Next week I’ll be sharing how going through hard things in another area of my life made me stronger.

Do you always try to push through things?

Do you think pushing through helps or hinders you? 

Do you think you’re stronger because you’ve been broken? 

It’s all about that base: Runfessions May 2019

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I’m joining Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and sort of bearing my soul at the Runfessional. Don’t know what I’m talking about? We get together and share all those little things that only runners understand (or care about).

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Could Mother Nature get the memo it’s Spring already?

I runfess . . .
The weather in May, for the most part, was a real buzzkill. Rain, rain, go away! Then of course, as usual, it decides to bring in Spring/Summer right before the Freihofers Run for Women (but just here & there). This year doesn’t look too bad; typically it’s a hot race. A couple of days ago they put back in the chance of rain. I’d prefer it to be dry, but I already had yet more practice running in the rain this week.

I runfess . . .
This was my second month of simply rebuilding my base after illness. I’m generally healthy, though, and I bounced back fairly quickly from a nasty stomach bug. Life is good.

I runfess . . .
I thought I would be racing at some point in May. Between mentoring for Freihofers, illness, and the almost incessant rain, it just didn’t happen. This 5k will only be my second race of 2019 — or what I consider a “real” race (our supported runs/races in the Winter don’t count in my mind).

No big deal, as I tell people all the time, running will always be there when you’re ready for it.

I runfess . . .
Speaking of running always being there, sometimes I wonder why I am still so committed to running even though I have no grand plans at present. Oh yeah, because I want it to be there when I’m ready and I’d rather not rebuild from the beginning. And because I still have roughly 30 states to run half marathons in!

Still getting out there and seeing what’s growing on the run

I runfess . . .
For now I am content with my shorter runs. Especially during summer (whenever that arrives), it’s nice to take a little break.

What season is your favorite to train hard?

Racing a lot or barely racing?

Why do you run if you don’t race?

What do you have to runfess from May? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with: