One of the questions I get asked most often is this—“What is different about grassfed beef?”
Many people seem to think the only difference is that grassfed beef is “always tough,” and that grassfed beef lacks the “great flavor” that is supposed to come from “corn feeding.” I have found that properly cooked grassfed meat is very tender, has much more flavor, and a much better texture than conventional beef.
There are many important differences between grassfed and conventional meat. The very composition and content of the meat is very different.
Because of the vast difference in the qualities of the meat, grassfed meat is best when cooked differently than conventional, “corn-fed” meat.
How Grassfed Meat Is Different
Grassfed Meat Is an Ancient Food
Grassfed meat, coming from herbivorous animals eating their natural diet of grass and meadow plants, is one of the oldest foods of mankind, maybe the oldest. This means that the human body has adapted over uncounted thousands of years to digest and process this meat. Our bodies know the composition of grassfed meat, and how to absorb nutrients from it, and expect to find all those nutrients there when they digest the meat. Conventional meat has a totally different nutritional profile, and had not been eaten by humans until the twentieth century. Grassfed meat, fat, and bones are perhaps the most primal of foods.
Grassfed Meat Has Superior Nutritional Value
Grassfed meat has the proper balance of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids, containing far more omega-3s than conventional meat. Grassfed meat is also rich with CLA, a valuable nutrient that has many benefits. Conventional meat has a much higher ratio of omega-6 fatty acids, one that does not occur in naturally-fed meat. Conventional feedlot beef has far less CLA and omega-3 fatty acids than grassfed meat. Grassfed meat is also richer than conventional meat in many other nutrients.
Grassfed Meat Has Far Less Water and Should Be Cooked Differently
Grassfed meat is denser than conventional beef, and shrinks far less in cooking. Conventional meat is often quite watery, and that water cooks away when the meat is cooked, resulting in much more shrinkage. The need to deal with the water has led to the development of modern meat-cooking techniques, which will ruin grassfed meat. Because grassfed meat has far less water, it is best when cooked differently than conventional beef.
Grassfed Beef Tastes Much Better
Properly cooked grassfed meat is not tough, but tender, and has much better flavor than conventional meat. I can no longer stand the taste and texture of conventional meat, because grassfed meat tastes so much better. Grassfed meat from different breeds and producers taste different, in many wonderful ways, providing a wonderful variety of deep, rich flavors. The best comparison is with the many varieties of fine wine, which have many different tastes. Conventional beef always tastes the same—blah.
Grassfed Meat Cooks Faster and Easier
Grassfed meat cooks much faster than conventional meat, and is much easier to cook. This statement may surprise some people, but grassfed meat has so much flavor that it needs far less in the way of spices and sauces to be absolutely delicious. When you know the right techniques for cooking grassfed meat, it is very easy to cook. Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo are both full of easy ways to cook delicious grassfed meat.
There are many other differences, but these are the major ones. Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue both cover the subject in detail, pointing out the many differences in the composition and cooking qualities of grassfed and conventional meats.
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jimmy Moore about my new book, Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo. We had a blast talking barbecue, the grassfed kind!
We talked about many things, including: how traditional barbecue avoids the factors that create carcinogens, how traditional barbecue differs from modern grilling, and is ideal for grassfed beef, bison, lamb and pastured pork. About how grassfed meat is ideal for Paleo and low-carb diets, and how the book supports those diets in the best possible way—delicious food. And we discussed “The Jimmy Moore” and many other things. Here is a link to the podcast:
One of the almost inevitable issues created by the Thanksgiving feast is what to do with the leftovers. One of the recipes in Tender Grassfed Meat is the best solution I have come up with. Not only does it solve the problem, it gives you a delicious, flavorful broth full of nutrients.
This is a traditional broth, using only real food. Even the salt is unrefined. In fact, this recipe works great for those on Paleo or Primal diets. The only exception would be those whose version of a Paleo or Primal diet excludes salt. I am convinced that the cave people ate salt. First, if you do not get enough salt, you die. They survived and thrived. Second, every hunter-gatherer group ever studied added salt to their food, at least some of the time. They got their salt from the same source the cave people probably did—salt licks. They found the salt licks the same way—by tracking animals, because they knew the animals would know where to find salt. Yes, even wild animals eat salt, and they know where to find it.
I have gotten very positive feedback on this recipe. If you do not have giblets, the soup will still be great. Here it is:
This broth is THE solution for leftover turkey, for all of it. The leftover turkey bones become a valued asset, contributing minerals, natural gelatin, and many nutrients. I always save the turkey drumsticks for this broth, as the drumstick’s meat and many tendons transform into a wonderful gelatin in the broth. You can also use turkey wings, which are often sold separately. Turkey wings are wonderful for broth due to their high natural gelatin content. Turkey broth, much like chicken broth, is delicious and nourishing.
You will need a large stockpot for this one. Make sure that it is stainless steel, not aluminum. The long cooking time is necessary to combine the flavors, and to get the nutrients out of the bones.
Makes 6 to 8 quarts
Leftover bones and carcass from a roasted turkey, or 4 to 6 pounds turkey wings
Turkey neck, (if available)
Enough filtered water to cover the bones by 2 to 3 inches
½ cup raw organic apple cider vinegar
ASSORTED ROOT VEGETABLES
1 large organic onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 stalks of organic celery, coarsely chopped
4 large organic carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves of organic garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
Several chicken giblets (if available)
Turkey giblets, (if available)
1 bunch of organic Italian parsley, each stalk cut into 2 or 3 pieces
2 tablespoons coarse unrefined sea salt
- Put the turkey into the pot, except for the giblets. Add the water and the vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Add all the vegetables, except the parsley. Heat the pot until the water begins a strong simmer. This will take a while due to the large volume of ingredients and water.
- When the water is close to boiling, remove all the scum that rises to the top with a skimming spoon. This can also take a while, but is necessary.
- Once the scum is gone, add the giblets, parsley, and the salt.
- Cover and simmer gently for 12 to 14 hours.
Using a ladle, strain into jars, cover, and refrigerate once the bottles have cooled down. The fat will rise to the top, and will solidify in the refrigerator. This fat cap will help preserve the broth. The fat should be removed before the broth is reheated.
This recipe was inspired by the broth-making techniques demonstrated in Sally Fallon Morell’s wonderful book on traditional cooking, Nourishing Traditions.
Tender Grassfed Meat contains many traditional recipes for broth, as well as grassfed meat.
Anyone who reads my books or this blog will soon realize that I am a passionate advocate for the benefits of eating animal fat.
Anyone who has seen me in the kitchen knows that I practice what I preach, NEVER trimming off any fat from the meat, using large amounts of natural lard, pastured butter, grassfed beef tallow, lamb tallow, bison suet, uncured fatty bacon, and duck fat in my cooking.
Anyone who has seen me at the dinner table will know that I put my fork where my advocacy is, eating huge amounts of pastured butter, grassfed animal fat, well-marbled grassfed meat, chicken skin, turkey skin, duck skin, goose skin, pastured pork fat, and the crisp wonderful fat from all kinds of roasts.
When people learn about my fondness for animal fat, they almost always ask this question, in one form or another—“But what about the cholesterol? Doesn’t that fat contain plenty of cholesterol?”
Yes, it does. And that is one of the reason I eat it—for the cholesterol.
The Blessings of Cholesterol
I recently had the pleasure of watching a DVD entitled “The Oiling of America.” This DVD was made during a lecture given by Sally Fallon Morell, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The lecture was based on research done by Dr. Mary Enig, the renowned scientist who discovered the danger in artificial trans fats. I highly recommend this DVD to everyone, and it is my source for this column.
Some of the most important facts I learned from this superb DVD are as follows:
- Cholesterol is vital for life and the natural functions of the body.
- If you had no cholesterol, you would be dead. It is that simple.
- Cholesterol is used by the body to keep water out of our cells, so they can function properly.
- Cholesterol is used by the body to make Vitamin D, in combination with sunlight.
- Cholesterol is used by the body to make many vital hormones, including all the sex hormones.
- Cholesterol is what the body uses to repair damage. Cholesterol actually repairs tears in arteries, rather than clogging them. The body uses cholesterol to repair other wounds and damage as well.
- Cholesterol is used by the immune system to fight off infections and disease.
- Cholesterol is crucial for the proper functioning of our brains—much of the brain is made up of cholesterol.
- Cholesterol is used by the body to make serotonin, the chemical used by the body to prevent depression.
- Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant, used by the natural functions of the body to protect itself from free radicals. Free radicals have been implicated in many diseases, such as cancer.
These are just some of the blessings of cholesterol, there are many others.
Some of the other facts I learned from The Oiling of America:
- Cholesterol does not cause heart disease.
- Cholesterol does not clog arteries. In fact, when arteries or damaged or clogged, the body sends cholesterol to fix the problem. That is why some cholesterol is found in clogged arteries, along with much larger amounts of other substances that actually clog the arteries. Blaming cholesterol for clogging arteries is like blaming firemen for the damage caused by a fire they fight.
- Women and all elderly people with higher cholesterol live longer and are healthier than women and elderly with low cholesterol.
- Eating cholesterol does not increase the cholesterol level, as the body will make the cholesterol it needs and does not get from food. Trouble comes when a weakened body cannot make enough cholesterol, and there is not enough cholesterol in the diet.
- All the cholesterol made by the body and included in natural foods is good, and is used by the body. The only bad cholesterol is an oxidized form found in some processed and refined foods.
But What about the Studies?
Yes, there are a number of studies that are interpreted to support the common belief that cholesterol is bad for health and causes heart disease. Most of these studies are funded by drug companies, or other organizations that have a direct financial interest in perpetuating the error that cholesterol is bad. Because of this conflict of interest, they do not persuade me.
Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig do a great job of exposing the statistical manipulation, cherry picking, tricks, and other misleading mechanisms used to misinterpret the results of these studies, going through this in great detail. After seeing the calm and convincing debunking of these studies, it is clear that they have been manipulated for a reason. And that reason is profit.
Finally, all of the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price ate foods rich in cholesterol, in amounts much greater than any modern people. None of them had heart disease.
My thanks to Sally Fallon Morell for giving me permission to use the information in The Oiling of America. You can purchase the DVD Oiling of America here.
I will continue to enjoy my delicious diet rich in natural animal fats, knowing it is great for the natural functions of my body.
“MyPlate” is the new brainwashing concept introduced by the U.S. government, since the horrid “food pyramid” did not convince enough people to eat the way the diet dictocrats dictated. “MyPlate” has bothered me ever since Jimmy Moore exposed its many problems in this great blog post: Harvard’s ‘Healthy Eating Plate’ Only Marginally Better Than USDA’s MyPlate.
“MyPlate” has somehow managed to be even worse than the “food pyramid,” which is quite an accomplishment, being a true route to dietary disaster, severe malnutrition, and rampant disease. However, the dietary guidelines have been effectively debunked by many, including the Weston A. Price Foundation in Comments on the USDA Dietary Guidelines.
I have also been thinking about the Weston A. Price Foundation Conference, which will begin this Friday, November 11, 2011, all the wonderful real food they will serve, and wishing I could be there.
So I thought I would present “My Real Food Plate,” made up of what I actually eat, based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, the recommendations of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and what makes me feel good and healthy, while tasting wonderful. You can see “My Real Food Plate” in the above photo. After the photo was taken, I brought the plate to the table, and happily ate every bit of it. So you can see that I back my writing with my appetite, unlike the diet dictocrats. (You NEVER see them eating what they attempt to impose on the rest of us.)
These are the foods on “My Real Food Plate” (clockwise starting with the grassfed meat at the top):
- Grassfed beef and fat. This leftover roast beef, made from 100 percent grassfed and grass-finished beef (from U.S. Wellness Meats) has a perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, large amounts of CLA, and a wonderful range of vitamins, amino acids, and other valuable nutrients. I eat the little pieces of fat you see around the meat. The nutrition in grassfed fat is great fuel for our bodies. Grassfed meat is one of the oldest foods, going back to the Paleolithic Era and the very beginning, and our bodies welcome it. And it tastes so good!
- Traditional sauerkraut. This traditional lacto-fermented sauerkraut is made from nothing but cabbage and salt, and the fermentation process. It is also full of nutrients and enzymes, enhanced by the fermentation process. These enzymes help with digestion, and it is delicious. Sauerkraut is one of the oldest and most traditional foods in the world, going back to ancient China and beyond.
- Sourdough spelt bread. This bread contains only three ingredients: spelt, water, and salt. The grain is grown without the use of chemicals. A sourdough starter is used in making this bread, consisting of nothing but spelt and water. This bread is absolutely delicious, and easy to digest. It is covered with pastured grassfed butter, and bison liver pâté, as I always eat grains with plenty of good animal fat. This is one of the most traditional of breads, and is full of valuable minerals.
- Pastured grassfed butter. Real butter, full-fat, from grassfed animals, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, and utterly delicious. Butter is full of fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Grassfed butter also is the best source of Vitamin K2, and contains many components that are great for our bodies. This kind of butter is one of the most valued and traditional foods in Europe, where people would eat it at every meal if they could get it.
- Homemade grassfed bison liver pâté. Liver is one of the most nutritious of foods, if it comes from healthy, grassfed animals. Liver is full of the perfect range of B vitamins, and many other vitamins and nutrients including Vitamin A and Vitamin D in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. Liver also has many amino acids and helpful substances, and high-quality fat and protein. Grassfed bison is one of the healthiest of animals, and its liver is a superfood. The large amount of pastured butter I use in the pâté helps make it delicious as well as even healthier. Liver pâté is yet another traditional food. Even people who hate the taste of liver can enjoy liver pâté.
- Raw cheese. This full-fat traditional cheese, made from unpasteurized, raw milk, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. It is full of good fats, easily-absorbed quality protein, and many vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes. Since cheese is a fermented food, the nutritional value has been enhanced through the fermentation process. Raw cheese is one of the most traditional foods in Europe, and many other parts of the world.
- Organic apple wedges. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is ancient wisdom. Since I consider doctors and their poison drugs, radiation, and surgery to be the biggest single threat to my life and health, I do want them to be kept away from me. And I have not needed them for over eight years. In addition to protection from doctors, organic apples have many wonderful nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and special substances that help reduce inflammation and fight the effect of free radicals on our bodies.
- Smoked wild raw salmon. The delicious meat of wild salmon has been traditionally cold smoked to preserve it, which gives it wonderful flavor. The beautiful orange color of the fish is real, unlike farmed salmon, and the raw fish is full of minerals and nutrients abundant in the sea such as iodine and magnesium, and helpful enzymes. Smoked wild fish is one of the most ancient of foods, going back thousands of years.
- Homemade fermented vegetable salsa. Chopping various organic vegetables into tiny shreds and lacto-fermenting them is a traditional way to enhance their nutritional value and digestibility. The traditional fermentation process makes the vegetables easier to digest, and increases the vitamin content, while adding beneficial probiotics. This kind of salsa not only provides great nutrition, but aids digestion.
My real food plate is 100 percent free of GMOs, soy, modern refined foods, modern vegetable oils, modern grains, and all the other factory foods that comprise the Standard American Diet, known as SAD. Instead, my real food plate makes me HAPPY.
We had a wonderful dinner last night. Grassfed rib steak marinated with herbs, and sautéed in pastured butter. Organic potatoes roasted crisp and tender in a shallow lake of pastured pork lard. Carrots fresh from the farmers’ market, simmered in water so full of butter that the carrots caramelized when the water evaporated. Homemade fermented salsa, full of nutrients, and tangy, refreshing flavor. Everything was beyond delicious. But some food was left over. As wonderful as it was, all three of us stopped eating when we were satisfied.
One moment, I was hungry for more of these wonderful tastes. After I swallowed the next mouthful, it was enough. The hunger ended instantly, and I stopped eating. My desire to eat more was gone. Naturally enough, I stopped eating. I was satisfied. I was content.
I was not stuffed. I was not bloated. I felt great and renewed. I just was not hungry anymore.
What happened? My sense of taste and smell directed me to eat the food I needed by making me hungry for it. Since everything I ate was real food, with real tastes, my senses could accurately determine how much I needed to eat to get the nutrients I needed. When I had the nourishment I needed, the hunger ended naturally, at that moment.
Obesity was unknown to the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price, and was rare among people eating a real food diet. But obesity and overeating are an epidemic in the United States today. People eat and eat and eat, and eat some more, and are still hungry. It seems like their appetite is permanently on, and they can never get enough.
Why? I am convinced that the answer lies in the poor nutrient content of factory foods, and the deceptive stimulation of our appetites by chemical flavors made in a laboratory, along with the horrible nutritional guidelines pushed by industry and their servants in our government.
Factory foods lack the nutrients contained in real food, so we are not satisfied when we eat factory foods. Processed foods have no good taste of their own, so industry has developed chemicals to fool our bodies into thinking that we are actually eating tasty and nutritious food. The natural taste and appetite mechanism of our bodies is deceived by these chemicals, and can no longer accurately determine how much we need to eat.
These chemicals, created by chemists in a laboratory, never existed until the twentieth century. These chemicals can recreate almost any taste. I once saw a show on television that went to a lab that made these chemicals. Small glass bottles were labeled with various flavors, including “charcoal-grilled hamburger.” The visitor to the lab closed her eyes, and tasted a small piece of bread that had a tiny amount of the chemical added to it. She said it tasted just like a charcoal-grilled hamburger.
When you see the words “artificial flavors” or “natural flavors” on the long lists of ingredients on a food label, you can be almost certain that chemical flavors have been added to the food. These chemicals are added to almost all fast food. Not only do these flavors make food taste much better, they can make you very hungry for it.
This could be an explanation for why so many people overeat. A chemical deceives your senses into making you hungry for the food you are eating, but the food does not contain much of the nutrients you need. If not for the chemical, your natural senses of taste and smell would make the nutrient-poor food taste bad, and you would not eat it. But the chemical deceives your senses, as it was designed to do, and you want more and more of that food. But, no matter how much you eat of it, you will still be hungry, because it does not actually have much of the nutrients you need. This causes people to eat more and more of the factory food, which increases profits for the seller of this concoction. And the nation gets fatter and fatter.
I also believe that some of these chemicals are deliberately designed to make us hungry, so we will eat more of the product.
The food guidelines pushed by industry and the government ban saturated animal fat, a nutrient that is crucial for human nutrition, and one of the most satisfying of foods. A lack of this fat contributes to hunger. This results in hungry people devouring factory foods that can never satisfy their appetites because the needed nutrients are just not there. Great profits for the food industry, and great suffering for a malnourished, hungry people.
I tested this theory last week. There was a particular fast food I used to love, and could never get enough of. I had not tasted it for ten years, but I still remembered the taste, and still desired it. I went to the fast food place, and ordered a small portion. I had decided that I would eat one bite, and see how it made me feel. Well, I took that first bite. I was astonished to find out that the food tasted EXACTLY the way I remembered it, even though it had been ten years. I then found myself greedily wolfing down the rest of the food, even though I had intended to eat only one bite. I was ravenously hungry for it, and not at all satisfied. I wanted to buy more. Fortunately, I started to feel slightly sick and that helped me leave the fast food place before I bought and ate more.
After all that, I still crave that fast food, even though I felt sick after eating it.
What is the solution? For me, it is to eat no processed, artificial, or fast food, and to eat the most pure traditional foods I can find, cooked from scratch. Foods like organic (or the equivalent) fruits and vegetables; traditional full-fat milk, butter, and cheese; traditionally fermented foods like old fashioned sauerkraut; grassfed organ meats; and, of course, grassfed meat and fat, the most satisfying of all.
When I only eat these real foods, my taste and appetite mechanism functions perfectly, and I stop eating when I am satisfied, which happens with every meal. I eat all that I want to eat, letting my appetite control how much I eat. When I am satisfied, I stop eating. And I find that I am satisfied with smaller portions as time goes on, and the needs of my body are satisfied.