We are told to only eat lean meat, and avoid fatty meat. This is part of our culture’s fear of animal fat, due to intensive marketing of this view. The mistaken belief that lean meat is healthier has resulted in farm animals being bred to produce lean meat, and many animals are even given drugs to make their meat leaner. Butchers compound the problem by trimming off as much fat as possible.
The result is tough, often tasteless meat, with American factory pork being a great example.
Our ancestors would have been shocked by this preference, as they preferred meat with fat, the fatter the better. Our ancestors believed fatty meat was healthier and tastier, and would add large amounts of fat to meat that was too lean. Some even threw the lean meat to their dogs, while keeping the fatty portions for themselves.
When it comes to grassfed and pastured meats, this is how I see it:
The fatter, the better.
Traditional Animal Fats Contain Vital Nutrients
Contrary to popular belief, traditional animal fats have many vital nutrients that are important for human health and development. This is what our ancestors believed throughout most of history, and their belief has been vindicated by research. See The Skinny on Fats.
Factory Fat Is Different than Traditional Fat
It is important to know that the modern way of raising most meat animals, which is dependent on processed grains and other foods that are unnatural for these animals, changes the very composition of their fat. Grassfed animals, which humans have eaten for most of history, have a perfect balance of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. Animals fed in modern feedlots and CAFOs have a huge imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. See Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products. An oversupply of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked to many illnesses. Other vital nutrients are also much higher in traditionally fed meat.
Paleolithic and Traditional People Ate Animal Fat
While nobody truly knows what Paleolithic people ate, we do know some of what they ate. In fact, every cave dwelling that is believed to have been occupied by Paleolithic people had a pile of bones, which had been cracked open for the marrow. Bone marrow is almost completely fat.
We also know that traditional hunting peoples prized the fat of the animals they killed, and this fact was verified by the extensive on site research of Dr. Weston A. Price. Because the meat of wild animals is often lean, some believe that only lean meat was eaten by Paleolithic peoples. But nearly all wild animals store fat, but it usually located on the back, rather than in the meat. This back fat was often eaten by itself, and mixed with the leaner meat , which was never eaten without animal fat. For example, Pemmican, the famous survival food of the Native Americans who lived on the great plains, was one third bison fat. Organ meats, which are very fatty, were prized by all of these traditional peoples.
Traditional Cuisines Call For Fat, Fat, and More Fat, when Cooking Meat
A review of older cookbooks and histories reveal the fact that meat-eating cultures, such as European cultures, greatly prized animal fat as a food and as a cooking medium. Fatty meat and organ meats were the prized cuts, and meat was always cooked with fat, usually animal fat. Fatty meat was valued in most of the rest of the world, with fatty pork being the most prized meat in traditional Chinese cuisine.
Our ancestors agreed, both in their words and actions, that fatty meat from grassfed and pastured animals is best.
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