Friday, May 16, 2008

The Most Compelling Reasons Why You Should Switch To Grass-Fed Beef

The health benefits of grass-fed beef cannot be ignored

I've traditionally been the kind of person who looked at food as a means for satisfying my hunger and giving me the energy to get through the day. Of course, I'm also a bargain-hunter and will tend to lean towards those foods that are on sale more often than not. Yes, I'm a part of the Wal-mart generation who looks for cheap food and I usually get what I pay for.

But ever since I started livin' la vida low-carb, I've found my frugality for food has evolved into a search for substance as it relates to nutrition. All food is not the same and the nutritional content of what I buy now compared to when I weighed 410 pounds four years ago is light years apart. Bye bye sugar! See ya starchy carbs! So long fast food and high-carb crap that used to dominate my pantry and refrigerator. Those things aren't in my cabinets anymore!

Today I make better choices about the foods I eat because I care more about my health now than I ever have. Living healthy is arguably the top priority for most of us who are livin' la vida low-carb. Sure, weight loss is a big reason, too, but I consider it merely a side effect of choosing to live healthier. And it doesn't really take willpower to decide to start living healthier right away as is often suggested by well-meaning people who haven't got a clue. You just gotta do it!

That said, there's even a subset of healthy food choices within the realm of low-carb living that you may not even know about. We all know most meats that have not been injected with sugars are acceptable on low-carb, but is it possible to get more nutritional bang for your proverbial buck when you are shopping for beef, chicken, and pork? Absolutely it is!

Up until recently, I've pretty much relied on the good old store-bought meats and the occasional cuts from the local meat market to stock up the Moore household refrigerator and freezer with healthy high-fat, low-carb meat selections. But what I didn't realize was how much extra nutrition I was missing from my diet because I failed to purchase what is known as "grass-fed" beef and other meats.

What the heck is "grass-fed" meat and what's the point, you ask? GOOD QUESTIONS!

Whether you realize it or not, most of the meat supply in the United States has been tainted with things like hormones, antibiotics, and even steroids to (pardon the pun!) "beef up" the cows so they'll weigh more and bring in more money for the cattlemen. It's BIG BUSINESS these days making meat and you and I suffer the consequences of that lack of quality with the end product. Plus, the mistreatment of animals on these factory farms is absolutely atrocious!

Why else are these cattle and other animals so unhealthy to eat? They are fed a diet heavy in processed grains which leads the meat to become LOADED with omega-6 fatty acids. This is the one the standard American diet has too much of and you want to offset it with omega-3s. The higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats you have, the more inflammation that is created in the body (as nutritionist Monica Reinagel recently shared in my podcast interview with her).

So what do you do? This is where grass-fed meat comes in. It can be extremely difficult to find, but well worth the effort. Why? Although it costs a little more money than standard meat, the nutritional difference is like upgrading from tin to gold! It's more like goldmine when you see all that you're getting from grass-fed meat which is what your low-carb lifestyle could use to kick it into high gear for both weight loss and health improvements.

The most compelling reasons why you should switch to grass-fed beef have everything to do with properly managing your health which everyone who is reading this right now I think takes a personal vested interest in. If you care about your health, then you cannot overlook these important arguments in favor of consuming grass-fed beef and other meats every chance you can get!


Yep, unlike their factory farm counterparts, grass-fed meats only eat grass from a pasture rather than the forced diet of grains, grains, and more grains. There's a reason the big farms feed their cattle grains--IT MAKES 'EM GET REALLY FAT! You avoid the nasty side effect of all those omega-6s and instead reward your body with omega-3s when you choose grass-fed instead.


Again, the big factory farms just don't care about how the animals are treated. It's a business about making meat as quickly as possible so they can make a buck. But organic, grass-fed animals are treated very humanely and not subjected to the poor treatment that is part and parcel of what happens on those other farms.


Grass-fed animals don't need any antibiotics in them like their grain-eating counterparts do because they don't deal with the health complications that high-carb diet brings on.


Conjugated linolenic acid, or CLA, is a powerful fat that is created in the stomach of a grass-fed animal which is extremely healthy as an anti-cancer agent.


When you select organic meats, the risk of consuming E. coli tainted meat is next to nil. E. coli generally exists inside of animals with a highly acidic environment which is typical of grain-fed cattle. The lack of acidity in grass-fed beef make it less likely that E. coli could even exist there.


You want a cow to get bigger, you inject it with steroids or growth hormones. This has become so routine these days that nobody stops and thinks about the consequences of what happens when humans begin ingesting all that into their bodies. Again, it all comes down to trying to make a buck as quickly as possible instead of insuring the safety of the food supply.


An organic meat farmer does not risk contaminating his cattle with animal by-products which can subject the meat to things like Mad Cow Disease. Just the grass, man, just the grass.

(Special thanks to Dr. Jonny Bowden for sharing that great list of reasons for choosing grass-fed beef over store-bought beef!)

I gotta tell you about an great company I recently heard about that sells very high-quality, grass-fed meats. They are U.S. Wellness Meats and I encourage you to check them out if you want to take your low-carb lifestyle to the next level. There is a health benefits page on their web site you should check out for even more compelling reasons to choose grass-fed meats over the ones in your local grocery store. (NOTE: U.S. Wellness Meats is not a sponsor of my blog--I was just very impressed by what they have to offer consumers).

Do you have any comments to add about grass-fed beef, chicken, and pork? Have you seen the health benefits in your own life from switching to this kind of meat over conventional cuts? Share your comments below so we can hear how it has changed your life. Hopefully now everyone understands that all meat is not created equal. Make those better choices for your health starting TODAY!

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Blogger Dave said...

Personally, I find grass-fed beef to be much more flavorful than grain-fed. Grocery-store beef is pretty bland by comparison. I suggest looking for a local producer as well. A good source is

There are some cooking tips that are useful to know. Grass-fed beef is considerably leaner than grain-fed. One consequence of this is that it cooks faster. It also can be tougher, especially if overcooked. My favorite way to cook grass-fed steaks is slow, in the oven. I do it in a roasting pan on a rack, so it doesn't boil in its own juice, and roast at about 250 until the internal temp hits around 135. Then I give it about 1 minute on a side in a screaming hot pan, just to brown it up.

To tenderize further, use a Jaccard. If you do use a Jaccard, it makes lots of little holes in the meat, which is a good opportunity to rub in some olive oil and other flavors.

The leanness of grass-fed beef makes it a great target for a nice buttery sauce. I like Bordelaise, made with grass-fed butter. My kids eat this like ice cream. Yummy!

5/16/2008 7:41 PM  
Blogger Tuulia said...

So is all organic beef good then? Or is grass-fed labeled "grass-fed"?

All meat is not created equal, indeed. I thought for years all salmon is good for you (as it is advertised) but it's actually only the wild salmon that contains the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Plus it tastes better. It can be kind of expensive, but it's good for you. The farm-raised fish is not good for you, and it's loaded with hormones and god-knows-what.

Good post! I'm gonna buy organic now, I never thought of this but it makes (and it should make) sense.

5/16/2008 8:08 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Great post, Jimmy! We are fortunate to have a couple of farmers at our local farmers market who specialize in pastured/grass fed beef. The taste is remarkable and, as you've pointed out, the health benefits are undeniable. Plus, how can you not feel great about doing something healthier for the animals, too?! Just a word of caution to anyone who ventures into the grass fed world: cooking times/methods vary with these special meats as a result of their drastically different make up. A quick Google search will fill you in on the best preparations. Would hate to see someone's purchase not turn out as remarkably as it should.

5/16/2008 8:45 PM  
Blogger swatkins said...

This was a very informative post, I knew it was better, but had no idea about one fact, that's the CLA fact. We've really dieted ourselves into a sick country over the past 50-100 years. Sugar, sterioded meats, etc. - we've just got to get back to the "real" food.

5/16/2008 10:16 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'd encourage everyone to at least give a thought to ordering from local farmers. I tracked down all the ranchers in my state who raise grass fed beef and ordered a half a cow last year. This requires a lot of freezer space but a stand alone freezer isn't that expensive and I think it probably works itself out in the end.

5/16/2008 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Cheerwino said...

Our local Whole Foods offers grass fed cuts. Also, they said the bison is pasture fed, too. Local independent butcher shops can also order grass fed for you. Our local chain New York Butcher Shoppe said they can get it.

To improve the Omega 6-to-3 ratio in regular beef, the Drs Eades recommend trimming the visible fat and marinating in olive oil and red wine for a day.


5/17/2008 8:10 AM  
Blogger mrfritznyc said...

I've been buying ribeyes, strips, filets, and ground beef from US Wellness Meats for the past couple of years, they are great. I also recently tried out a hanger steak from them, it was damn good, and cheaper than other cuts too. I agree that grass fed has a more interesting taste, the only problem that that they can be tough and chewy. Sometimes very tough and chewy, esp. when cooked using conventional methods.

Fortunately, I just discovered a great way to cook them. As Dave said, low and slow is the key. Here's the lowest and slowest method of them all... Prep your steak using EVOO and seasoning (or whatever way you like to doctor up your steaks-marinades, rubs, etc), and put it in a vacuum bag (or just any bag if you dont have vacuuming eq.-just squeeze out the air as much as you can). Put it in hot water as close to 130 degrees as you can manage, and leave it there for an hour, or two, or eight...

this method is called "sous vide", or in big green egg grill forums, it's known as the "hot tub" method. Yes, some folks actually put their steaks in the hot tub for awhile. I use my rice cooker-which has been completely neglected since I started low carbing six years ago, hahaa. I set it on low, fill it with hot water, and let it cook all day while I'm at work.

(there's lots of ways to keep the water at the right temp. My rice cooker, set on low, is just right for steaks the way I like em, 130 degrees. You could also take a sturdy pan, heat up the water on your stove, set the oven to 130, and drop it in there. There is also some very fancy equipment available that will precisely control things like crockpots, rice cookers, etc. to any temp you want.)

Then fire up the grill (or the pan on the stove) as hot as you can get it, and sear the sucker on both sides about 90 seconds, and then you're ready to tuck into the most tender and most evenly cooked grass-fed steak you'll ever taste.

I've only dones this a few times, and it seems, so far, to work better with fattier cuts like ribeyes, but I am still conducting my "research."

btw, jimmy, I have a bunch of pictures of this entire process, if you're interested I can send them to you to post

5/17/2008 9:33 AM  
Blogger swatkins said...

Cheerwino, Thanks for the tip on the marinating. I have read a few books on Eades, but have missed this tip on improving Omegas. I wonder if the more of the omega's are in the actual visable fat, hence the trimming. I'll be giving this tip a try.

5/17/2008 9:38 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Sure Mr. Fritz! Send away! My blog is locked again, by the way. Blogger has identified it as a "spam" blog again less than a month after doing it the first time. Click here to learn more about how you can help unlock my blog so I can write new posts.

5/17/2008 12:33 PM  
Blogger The Vitamin Tutor said...

I added a reply to your complaint, Jimmy. I hope our members' collective clout helps to hasten the correction.

Be well,

Harry, The Vitamin Tutor

5/17/2008 3:56 PM  
Anonymous em said...

I live in Ireland and most beef here is grass-fed. Ironically the fat looks much yellower due to the cattle getting more beta carotene (IIRC) in this diet and consumers in other European countries think it looks unhealthy compared to the whiter fat of stall-fed cattle.

5/19/2008 1:53 PM  

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