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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
By Stanley A. Fishman

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DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

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CLA—Another Great Reason to Eat Grassfed Meat, the Fatter the Better

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Grass-fed picanha (sirloin tip)

This picanha (New York tip) roast has a great fat cap, full of CLA.

Where do you find the nutrients our bodies need in these days of industrial agriculture? We are given nutritional advice by the powers that be which is motivated by profit only. Food is not what it used to be. Hybrid varieties are developed for shelf life, not nutrition. Meat animals are fed unnatural feeds (as well as growth hormones and antibiotics) to make them fatten faster and to increase profits. Factory food has made it hard to get essential nutrients. Soils depleted and contaminated by pesticides and artificial fertilizers compound the problem.

My solution is to eat the pure foods of our ancestors, unmodified, raised and cooked in traditional ways. Eating this way has brought me back to good health and greatly increased my enjoyment of food, because real food tastes so much better. Many other people have found the same solution.  Every now and them, research comes through that supports the real food way of eating, and science confirms what instinct and feeling good has already told us—real food is good for us, and gives our bodies what is needed to support the natural functions  that keep us healthy and strong.

However, many people have turned to using nutritional supplements as a solution. These supplements vary widely in their content and purity. Let me put it this way. What if a substance was developed that would give the following benefits?

  • Increases the metabolic rate
  • Increases muscle mass while reducing fat
  • Decreases abdominal fat
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Reduces the risk of cancer
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of hyperthyroidism
  • Normalizes thyroid function

Would you want to take a supplement that contained this very beneficial substance?

Well, you do not have to. Various studies have shown that all of the benefits listed above come from eating food containing Conjugated Linoleic Acid, more commonly known as CLA.

The very best source of CLA is grassfed meat and fat, which are rich in this wonderful nutrient. CLA is a very useful nutrient that is used by the natural functions of our bodies to create all of the benefits listed above.

CLA is found in its most digestible form in the fat and marbling of grassfed animals. This is yet another reason to eat the fat on and in grassfed meat, and to get well-marbled grassfed meat, rather than the leaner grassfed meat.

The CLA from grassfed animals is not the same as CLA from plant sources, or in supplement pills based on plant sources. CLA is much more abundant in the meat of grassfed and grass-finished animals than in feedlot meat. Almost all meat animals are started on grass, but are finished in a feedlot, eating foods that are not natural for their species, such as processed grains, GMO-corn and GMO-soy, and a host of other things that were never part of the natural diet of any herbivore, often including such substances as chicken manure, cement dust, restaurant plate waste, and even plastic balls. Studies have shown that grassfed meat contains three to five times more CLA than factory meat. The fattier the grassfed meat, the more CLA it contains. (Source What Is CLA?)

Not only does grassfed meat and fat contain 300% — 500% the CLA of feedlot meat, the grassfed meat also contains many substances that promote the absorption of the CLA. It is not known whether factory meat contains these substances, or in what amount. It has been shown that feedlots can cause the amount of nutrients in the meat to greatly decline. For example, the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in meat almost vanishes by a typical stay in the feedlot. (Source Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products)

While CLA can also be found in dairy products from grassfed and grass-finished cows, I believe that grassfed meat and fat are the richest source, and the easiest to absorb.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Finding Grassfed Fat, and How to Add Good Fat to Lean Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Grass fed steak coated with pastured butter.

Lean grassfed steak coated with pastured butter before cooking.

All too often, when shopping for grassfed meat, I find myself asking, “Where’s the fat?”

The ugly truth is that far too much grassfed meat has all the visible fat trimmed off, and has very little fat in the meat.

The most nutrient-dense component of grassfed meat is the fat. The fat of grassfed animals is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and many other nutrients.

The fat also gives great flavor and enhances tenderness. The Weston A. Price Foundation advises always eating meat with fat. Traditional peoples, from the peoples of old Europe, to the Native Americans, to the Chinese, always ate meat with plenty of fat.

Yet many producers and sellers of grassfed meat trim off all the visible fat from their meat, and some deliberately raise their beef to be lean. For me, the most frustrating part of buying grassfed meat is getting meat with enough fat.

The key is to buy meat that comes with enough fat, both visible and internal. This involves careful shopping and lobbying producers. But sometimes, no matter what I do, the meat is just too lean. I have learned to compensate for this, just like our ancestors did.

If the fat is not in the meat, then you can bring the fat to the meat.

Tips for Buying Fattier Grassfed Meat

There are several indicators you can look at to find fattier grassfed meat. Here are some of them:

The Breed of Cattle

Genetics have a lot to do with the fat content in beef. Breeds that have been raised for meat, such as shorthorns and Angus, are much more likely to have more fat. Breeds that are noted for leanness, such as Galloway or Charolais, are much more likely to be very lean.

The Time of Year the Beef Is Processed

Traditionally, cattle were processed for meat in the late spring or early summer, after they had been eating the rich green grass of spring for as long as possible. This was the best natural way to put fat in the cattle, and meat processed at this time has more fat, more flavor, and more tenderness.

There are a number of ranchers and producers who only process their beef at that time of year, and freeze it. If you have enough freezer space, that is a particularly good time to buy a large quantity of meat.

I have also found bison and lamb processed after feeding on green grass for a while to be fattier, more tender, and more tasty.

The Philosophy of the Producer

The attitude and belief of the rancher actually raising the meat animal has a huge impact, as there is much they can do to make the meat fattier or leaner. If the producer brags about how lean and fat free their meat is, the meat is going to be very lean.

If the producer talks about the benefits of grassfed fat and why it is good to leave some fat on the meat, then your chances of getting fattier grassfed meat are a lot better.

If the producer praises the virtues of grassfed fat, and also praises the leanness of their meat, you may have a choice.

Ask!

Many producers and butchers carry both lean and fattier grassfed meat. I have found that just asking for the fattiest grassfed cuts they have makes a huge difference. Asking for fattier meat also tells a wise producer that the demand is out there, and may well increase the supply of fattier grassfed meat.

How to Add Good Fat to Lean Meat

Often, no matter what I do, the meat that is delivered is just too lean, or the meat available is just too lean. Fortunately, our ancestors often faced the same problem, and developed some solutions. Here are some of the solutions I use:

This grassfed steak was cooked with a coating of butter

The same lean grassfed steak (as shown above) after cooking with a coating of butter.

1.      Butter. Pastured butter is the best friend of lean meat. You can coat the meat with softened butter before cooking. You can sauté the meat in butter. You can baste the meat with butter. You can put butter directly on the hot meat when it is served at the table. All of these methods will improve the meat and give you the fat that should be eaten with it.

2.      Beef tallow, lamb tallow, and bison tallow. Tallow can be placed directly on roasting meat, so it can baste the meat as it cooks. You can also sauté meat in melted beef tallow. You can melt some tallow and use it to baste the meat as it cooks. You can melt some tallow in a roasting pan and roll the meat in the melted tallow before cooking.

3.       Bacon. You can place fat slices of bacon directly on a roast, or render the fat from bacon and use it for sautéing.

4.      Natural, unhydrogenated lard. You can rub softened lard all over the meat prior to cooking. You can sauté the meat in melted lard. You can place lard directly on top of a roast, and baste during the roasting.

Tender Grassfed Meat contains a lot of information on how to add fat to meat, and how to cook meat with the right amount of fat.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Fight Back FridayMonday Mania, and Fat Tuesday blog carnivals.

How Grassfed Meat Helps Weight Loss

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Strip Loin Roast with Double Herb Crust from Tender Grassfed Meat Cookbook

Strip Loin Roast with Double Herb Crust, recipe on page 94, Tender Grassfed Meat Cookbook

Very few people think of grassfed meat and fat as a diet food. But eating grassfed meat and fat can satisfy your appetite so you eat less, stop your body from storing fat, and get your body to start burning fat. Grassfed meat and fat also give you many vital nutrients that you might not otherwise get while dieting. Most of the nutrients are in the fat. To paraphrase the title of one of my favorite books, you eat fat to lose fat. But it must be the right kind of fat—grassfed.

Where is the Fat?

The fat in meat is in two places, the exterior fat, which can be seen as a distinct slab on the top or side of the meat, and the interior fat, which is actually in the meat itself, often visible as small white specks (sometimes referred to as marbling).

Grassfed Meat is Different than Other Meat

The actual composition of grassfed meat is very different from that of conventional meat. Conventional meat has been fed large amounts of grain and other substances which are not the natural food of grassfed animals. This creates many changes in the meat, only some of which are known. For example, conventional beef fat has a much lower ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than grassfed beef fat. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in conventional beef fat is often 1-20. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in grassfed beef fat ranges from 1-1 to 1-4. Conventional meat did not exist prior to the 20th century. Grassfed meat has been nourishing humanity for uncounted thousands of years.

The Benefits of CLA

CLA, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, has many benefits for someone who is trying to lose weight, as well as everyone else. CLA is abundant in the fat and meat of grassfed animals, and is easily absorbed in this form, making it available for your body to use.

  • CLA normalizes thyroid function, so your thyroid produces substances which help normalize your weight, while avoiding the weight gain which often results from hyperthyroidism.
  • CLA increases your metabolic rate, so your body burns more calories.
  • CLA actually signals your body to stop storing fat, and to start burning it.
  • CLA increases muscle mass while decreasing fat.
  • CLA decreases abdominal fat.

Grassfed Meat and Fat Satisfy Your Hunger by Nourishing Your Body

One of the hardest things for anybody on a diet is to eat less, or to give up foods that you are used to eating. The constant hunger can make it very difficult to lose weight. The main reason for most hunger is very simple. The body is not getting the nutrients it needs, so it wants to keep eating until it has what it needs. The problem is that modern foods do not contain all the nutrients your body needs, so eating them does not satisfy hunger.

Grassfed meat and fat are nutrient-dense, containing many of the nutrients we know about, such as vitamins D and A, most B vitamins, vitamin E, many minerals, most amino acids, the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, and high quality protein. Grassfed meat and fat also contain nutrients which have not yet been discovered, but which your body still needs. Your body is ready, willing and able to absorb the nutrients in grassfed meat, as your ancestors have been eating this meat for thousands of years and longer.

Grassfed meat is much denser and less watery, and it satisfies. When you eat a properly cooked serving of grassfed meat and fat, your body is nourished, you are satisfied, and the hunger disappears. I eat about half as much meat since I switched to grassfed, and I am satisfied. When my hunger is satisfied, I lose all desire to eat.

Grassfed meat and fat can really help any dieter, especially the low carb dieter, as grassfed meat and fat are allowed on such diets.

A very good book on weight loss is Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD. Two great books that really support the low-carb dieter are: LIVIN’ LA VIDA LOW-CARB: My Journey From Flabby Fat to Sensationally Skinny in One Year and 21 Life Lessons From Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb: How The Healthy Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew by Jimmy Moore.

Bringing Back the Fat Cap – Restoring the Fat of the Land

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Healthy grassfed fat cap from U.S. Wellness Meats, shown at tendergrassfedmeat.com.

Grassfed strip loin roast from U.S. Wellness Meats, cut from strip loin primal

Do you know what a fat cap is? Most people today do not. A fat cap was once considered absolutely necessary for roasting meat. Fat caps will greatly improve the nutritional qualities and taste of any grassfed meat.

Here is a link to my guest blog about fat caps on Kim Hartke’s great site, Hartke Is Online:

Fat on Grassfed Meat is Healthy, Claims Cookbook Author

Health Benefits of Grassfed Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Photo of English Style Prime Rib from Tender Grassfed Meat.

English Style Prime Rib, page 86, Tender Grassfed Meat.

Why did I spend three years writing a book on cooking grassfed meat? Why did I read over 300 cookbooks and novels? The answer is very simple. I wanted to improve my health by enjoying the immense health benefits of grassfed meat. Grassfed meat and fat are so nutritious that they can literally rebuild your body. They certainly rebuilt mine.

Grassfed meat is a completely different product from conventional meat. The natural food of cattle, bison, and lamb is grass and meadow plants. That is all they should be eating. When the animals are raised on grass, their meat is packed full of nutrients in the perfect proportion for good health, in a form that can be easily assimilated by the human body.

Meat that is not 100 percent grassfed and grass finished is fed a mixture of grain, soy, and many other things that were never a part of the natural diet of these animals. The “other things” can include rendered restaurant waste, various animal parts, cement dust, plastic balls, chicken manure, and many other unsavory ingredients. Some producers only feed a 100 percent vegetarian diet to their animals. However, even these diets usually consist of a large amount of grain and soy, which are not part of the natural diet of grass eating animals.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

The meat of grain finished animals is very different in composition than the meat of grassfed animals, and lacks many of the wonderful nutrients that are present in grassfed meat. For example, the natural balance of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids should be no more than four to one. In grassfed meat, the ratio is usually one to one. In meat that is not exclusively grassfed, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is often twenty-to-one. The omega-6 excess in the American diet has been associated with a greatly increased risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, rapid aging, and many other health problems. Many doctors advise their patients to take fish oil capsules to try to help with the imbalance. Grassfed meat has the same ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 as wild fish.

The Benefits of CLA

In addition to having the proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, grassfed meat contains a large amount of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). The amount of CLA goes down when the animal is fed grain. The more grain fed to the animal, the less CLA. Various studies have shown that CLA:

  • Increases the metabolic rate
  • Increases muscle mass while reducing fat
  • Decreases abdominal fat
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Reduces the risk of cancer
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of hyperthyroidism
  • Normalizes thyroid function

More Nutrients in Grassfed Meat

But that is not all. Your body does not use nutrients in isolation, but is accustomed to receiving them together with other substances that are present in the food and necessary for your body to assimilate and use the nutrients. These substances are known as cofactors.  When the cofactors are missing or altered, the ability of your body to use the nutrients is greatly reduced. This is why vitamin supplements are often ineffective, because your body needs the cofactors present in real food to properly assimilate nutrients. When you eat 100 percent grassfed and grass finished meat, you know you are getting all the cofactors, in their proper form.

Grassfed meat also provides a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. All of these nutrients are present in proper proportion to each other, along with the cofactors needed for your body to properly assimilate them.

My health has improved enormously since I made the switch to eating only 100 percent grassfed and grass finished meat. Learning how to cook grassfed meat was worth all the time, trouble, and expense. Good health is worth it!

Disclaimer:

I am not a doctor, and the above is not intended to be medical advice. Grassfed meat is a food, not a medicine. By all means, see a doctor if you want medical advice. The above is just a description of my understanding of the nutritional benefits of grassfed meat.

This post is part of GAPS Friendly Friday blog carnival. Read more great Real Food Wednesday blogs at Kelly the Kitchen Cop.