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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
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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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Real Food—The Best Way to Improve Schools

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

Pastured butter is an easy way to get vital nutrients from animal fats.

Pastured butter is an easy way to get vital nutrients from animal fats and it's delicious!

The poor academic performance of so many American schoolchildren is a matter of great concern. Over the years, more and more money has been spent on schools. Many programs to enhance education have been introduced. Class sizes have been substantially reduced. Many teachers have aides to help them teach. A host of administrators, counselors, special educators, and other specialists have been hired. Despite recent cutbacks, the amount of real money per child spent today is much higher than it was during my schooldays, yet the academic results are far worse.

It is clear that throwing more money to the schools will not fix the problem. We have been doing that for many years, and performance continues to decline. Money for education is important, but it is not enough.

Academic performance continues to decline, and the U.S. is far behind many other countries, nearly all of whom spend far less money per child on education. Why? Whose fault is it? The teachers? The schoolchildren? The curriculum? The parents? My answer would be—none of the above.

I am convinced that the real cause of poor academic performance is the Standard American Diet, known as SAD. The fact of the matter is that schoolchildren need proper nutrition for their brains to develop and function well, and many of them are not getting it.

SAD makes some kids appear to have learning disabilities. But the problem could be solved by feeding children the foods they need for their brains to develop and function well. The food is animal fat. The most demonized, yet the most desperately needed food of all

The Brain Needs Traditional Animal Fats to Develop and Function Well

Traditional animal fats such as butter, lard, beef tallow, chicken skins, fatty fish, and others are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for the brain to develop and function properly. It is that simple. Cholesterol is desperately needed by the brain to function properly. In fact, mother’s milk is higher in cholesterol than any other food. Nature recognizes the need of children for cholesterol, and so should we.

Yes, cholesterol and animal fats have been demonized through massive marketing campaigns. The demonization is just not true. These vital nutrients promote good health, and are vital for survival. See The Skinny on Fats.

The current emphasis on avoiding animal fats and cholesterol deprives children of the nutrients they need for their brains to develop properly and function. How can they possibly learn and do well in school when they are starved of the nutrients they need for their brains to function properly? How can they be expected to behave well when their brains are deprived of the very nutrients needed to keep them in balance? The effect of nutrition on the brain and learning is described by Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, in this excellent article: Nutrition and Mental Development.

Vegetable oils and factory fats lack cholesterol and lack omega-3 fatty acids. These oils and fats have a huge imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids that can cause inflammation and have other harmful effects. When you substitute vegetable oils and factory fats for animal fats, the children do not get the vital nutrients they need for their brains. It is that simple.

This problem is especially bad for children who depend on the government for food. The government provides free formula to two million infants. Yet the only formula allowed in the program is made from GMO soy, which contains a number of toxins and none of the vital fatty acids needed by developing brains.

The revised school lunch program only makes things worse, being virtually fat-free and severely restricting protein. It is a prescription for malnutrition and even poorer academic performance.

 

Real Food Has Improved Academic Performance in the Past

It stands to reason that giving the children the very nutrients they are deprived of, the animal fats that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and cholesterol are exactly what are needed. This has been done before, with great results.

Last week, I wrote of the school lunch program devised by Dr. Weston A. Price, and the wonderful results it had for some poor children. These children ate an early form of SAD—factory bread and pancakes served with lots of sugar and syrup. They had terrible teeth, poor health, and did terribly in school. Some had severe behavior problems. Dr. Price fed them a lunch rich in animal fat and meat, including plenty of bone marrow and butter. Not only did their dental decay stop cold, but two of their teachers sought Dr. Price out to ask why a particular child, who had been the worst student in the class, had now become the best student.

All that Dr. Price changed was the food they ate at one meal. The schools, parents, teachers, and children did not change. Good nutrition alone was all they needed to go from being complete academic failures to being the best student in the class.

This is only one example. There have been many description of how feeding schoolchildren a diet rich in traditional foods during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries greatly improved their academic performance and behavior in school. Many of the educators who worked with poor children made sure they arranged a good lunch for them as a vital pre-condition for their being able to learn. It should be mentioned that the healthy peoples studied by Dr. Price, all of whom had diets rich in animal fats and cholesterol, had no mental illness, and no problems in educating their children, who had to learn skills that were far harder to use and master than the easy-to-do tasks typical of modern life.

 

A Solution Worth Trying

The solution I suggest to fix U.S. schools is new, yet very old. Have an affordable school lunch program that will present students with foods rich in traditional fats such as butter, whole eggs, full-fat hormone-free milk, rich meats, bone marrow, and other animal foods that nourish the brain. Give them generous servings, and let them have seconds if they want to. Ban all GMOs, vegetable oils, and factory foods from the program. Give them real food only. If we do this, we can expect the same kind of vast improvement that was noted by Dr. Price, so many years ago. Yes, it will cost money, yet I submit that there is no better area to spend the money on. With proper nourishment, there is every reason to expect that children will be able to focus on school and learn. It has been done, time and time again. Clearly, the current system is not working. Real food is worth a try, and will have other benefits, such as good health and better behavior. It worked for Dr. Price and others, and it can work now.

Related Post

The Best School Lunch Ever — Designed by Dr. Price

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

 

Grassfed Cattle, Not Junk-Fed Cattle

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

Grass is the natural feed for cattle and grass-fed beef is delicious!

Grass is the natural feed for cattle and grassfed beef is delicious!

The prices of corn and soy have skyrocketed recently. Have most ranchers returned to grass? After all, the great advantage of corn and soy as feed was that they were cheap. Sadly, the answer is no. The amount of corn and soy fed to cattle, which is almost always GMO, has declined greatly because of the high price. But it is being replaced by ingredients that are even less appealing.

Ingredients such as expired candy, cookies, marshmallows, gummy worms, fruit loops, and a host of other industrial foods that are full of sugar and chemicals, often including high fructose corn syrup, and almost always containing GMOs. Another line of the new feed consists of the plant residue from distilling corn for ethanol, and the leftovers from milling flour, along with cottonseed hulls.

I would suggest that they just return to grass.

 

Why Is Garbage Being Used to Feed Cattle?

Because this garbage is much cheaper than corn and soy. What is actually happening is that food products that have been thrown out are being gathered and sold as animal feed. It is fair to call these things garbage, because they were actually thrown away, as garbage.

The justification behind doing this is the claim that you can take this garbage and turn it into food by feeding it to cows. In fact, farmers who do this are being commended for their “creativity.” Another word comes to mind, but I am not going to use it here. And garbage is cheap, though the price is going up as demand increases.

The proponents of feeding this garbage to cattle claim that ruminants, designed to eat grass, can turn this garbage into food just by eating it. No mention is made of what eating this stuff does to cattle, or what it does to the content of the meat. And as far as I know, no one has studied the effect of eating meat from garbage-fed cattle on people. Nor has anyone done an impartial study on the effects that eating this garbage would have on the nutritional content of the meat. The FDA and USDA allow this practice, so it must be safe. But it certainly is not desirable, at least not to those of us who want to eat meat from cattle that are eating their natural diet.

After all, the old saying, “You are what you eat,” is just as true for cattle just as it is for humans.

 

The Return of Swill to Cattle Feed

Herds of cattle used to be raised near distilleries in many cities in the nineteenth century. The cattle were fed the grain mash left over from distilling the grains into whiskey. This garbage had little or no nutritional value, and the cows whose diet consisted entirely of this slop were weak and sick. The milk from cattle fed this swill was bluish in color, and so thin that flour and chalk were added to it to make it resemble healthy milk. But this milk was not healthy, and huge numbers of children died from drinking it. In fact, pasteurization was developed to deal with this problem. Eventually, these kinds of dairies were banned.

Now, the mash left over from making ethanol is being sold as cattle feed.

No doubt the cows that are fed this stuff are fed many other things as well, rather than having a diet that is 100 percent swill, as was done in the nineteenth century. And I just cannot believe that any decent cattleman would sell bluish milk from a sick cow, in this day and age. And we are protected by the FDA and the USDA. So I am not saying the milk and meat from animals fed this stuff is unsafe. But it appears almost certain that the nutritional quality of the meat and milk from such animals would not be ideal.

And since the mash is made from GMO corn, the feed will contain GMOs. But that is nothing new, as almost all the corn and soy previously fed to factory cattle are GMO.

 

Agricultural and Industrial Waste Is Not the Natural Food of Cattle

In addition to expired candy, factory food, and ethanol mash, many other things are now being fed to cattle in place of soy and corn. These include cottonseed hulls, the waste leftover from making flour at mills, waste products from making rice and potatoes, and probably a lot of other things that used to be thrown out. The cottonseed hulls are particularly unappealing to me, because most cotton is GMO and has been heavily sprayed with pesticides. But the bottom line is that none of these things are the natural food of cattle.

Green, living grass is the natural food of cattle. Dried grass, often known as hay, is also a good food for cattle. The meat of cattle that are grassfed and grass-finished is much more nutritious than meat from cattle fattened on grains in a feedlot, as seen in this informative article at EatWild.com, Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.

Surely grassfed meat is also much more nutritious than the meat of garbage-fed cattle.

And grassfed meat is much tastier than the grain-finished variety, when properly cooked, which is why I wrote Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo.

This is yet another reason why I will continue to only eat grassfed and grass-finished meat from a producer I know and trust.

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

When Organic Tests No Better, Check the Soil, and the Bias

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

Magnificent olive trees thriving on the rich soil at Chaffin Family Orchards.

Magnificent olive trees thriving on the rich soil at Chaffin Family Orchards.

Recently, another study claiming that organic food has no more nutrients than conventional food was published. Since this study appears to defend the chemical-laden conventional food, it has been widely spread by the mainstream press. Yet several important factors should be noted about this latest study.

First, it provides no new data, but is a review of approximately 200 previous studies.

Second, nearly all studies of this nature, including most, if not all, of the studies they reviewed, are done by universities who are completely committed to supporting conventional agriculture, and receive large donations from Big Ag and the biotech industry, including Monsanto.

Third, and most important, it completely ignored, as do nearly all studies of this type, the most important factor in how many nutrients will be in food—the soil.

 

The Fatal Flaw in Conventional vs. Organic Studies

Have you ever been puzzled about why almost every study comparing organic food to conventional food finds no difference in nutrients? I have. It just does not make sense. Yet university study after university study finds no real difference. The answer was given to me by a farmer who attended a famous agricultural program in a well known university. I will honor my promise to keep his identity confidential.

This farmer, while a student, assisted with agricultural studies and is completely familiar with how they were conducted. Universities and food research organizations have their own land, or land that they use to raise crops and animals for studies and experiments. When they study the qualities of crops or animals, they raise them on their particular research land. Since nearly all of the research they do involves conventional farming, this land is heavily spayed with pesticides on an ongoing basis, and artificial fertilizers are regularly used. This has the effect of greatly depleting the natural nutrients in the soil, and filling the soil with substances that block the absorption of nutrients.

When “organic” farming is done on this land for the purpose of a study, the same blasted, depleted soil is used that had previously been used to raise conventional foods.

Since the nutrients are not there in the soil in the first place, plants that are grown with organic methods on that dead, depleted soil do not have more nutrients than conventional food raised on the same soil. The plants and animals cannot absorb nutrients which are not there. The same chemical residues that block the absorption of nutrients in conventional agriculture will block the absorption of nutrients when organic methods are used on the same poor soil.

This fact alone makes all of these studies fatally flawed.

 

The Database for the Study Is Flawed

A study relying only on other studies has all of the flaws of the studies it relies on. Most of these studies were conducted by researchers beholden to Big Ag.

So many studies these days are nothing but an analysis of other studies. I do not consider this method to be of value, since studies of this type rely on all the bad information gathered and interpreted by the previous studies. This is particularly true in this case. The agricultural research done in this country is completely dominated by conventional and high-tech methods, especially GMOs and Bio Tech. Chemicals rule, and GMOs are touted as the solution to every problem. The reason for this bias is obvious—money. Big Ag and the biotech industry make huge grants to agricultural schools, with Monsanto leading the way. In fact, one of the largest and most respected agricultural schools in the nation has been called “Monsanto U” by its students. My anonymous friend was openly mocked by his professors when he questioned the desirability and safety of GMOs. Funding is also provided by the Federal government, which appears to only fund research of conventional agriculture and GMOs.

Just about all agricultural research done in these institutions is on conventional methods and GMOs. The extent of how bad and biased this really is was shown during debate on the most recent farm bill. Senator Jon Tester of Montana introduced an amendment that would require that just five percent of federally-funded agricultural research be devoted toward the development of classic non-GMO seeds and biological diversity in seeds, as opposed to the current zero percent. That amendment was killed. Which tells us that one hundred percent of federal agricultural research funding, which goes to the very institutions that do agricultural research and studies, is devoted to GMOs and similar unnatural methods.

Do you trust institutions whose funding is targeted solely toward supporting Big Ag and GMOs to be unbiased when it comes to research that affects the value of Big Ag and GMOs?

 

The Healthy Peoples Studied by Dr. Price Got Far More Nutrients than We Do

Dr. Weston A. Price spent ten years traveling the world to learn about nutrition. He studied a number of traditional peoples who ate the diets of their ancestors. Dr. Price sent over twenty thousand samples of their foods to be studied in the U.S. It was found that these peoples got far more vitamins and minerals than modern peoples, often five times as much or more, depending on the nutrient. All of their food was organic. All of their food came from soils and environments that had never been sprayed with chemicals, or subject to artificial fertilizers. All these peoples were careful to rest, restore, and fertilize the soil they used, using totally organic methods. Dr. Price wrote that many of the nutritional deficiencies suffered by modern peoples were due to the poor, depleted soil that was used for farming. I might add that the soil he wrote about was far less depleted than the soil we use today.

Dr. Price considered good soil to be the foundation of nutritious food, and devoted an entire chapter to this subject in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Yet this latest study totally ignored the quality of the soil used to raise the food in the studies.

 

Grassfed Meat Is Far Superior to Factory Meat, and Depends on Good Soil

Like almost all such studies, the issue of whether the meat people ate was grassfed or factory meat was totally ignored. But the truth of the matter is that grassfed meat contains far more nutrients than factory meat, containing far more omega-3 fatty acids, much higher levels of CLA, and many other nutrients. This has actually been established by studies, whose information is superbly presented and summarized in this excellent article at EatWild.com, Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.

While most grassfed beef is not organic, it is raised with methods that are the equivalent of organic, and it must be raised on soil that is rich enough to support good grass, or the cattle will not thrive and fatten. Many grassfed ranchers use traditional rotational grazing methods to enrich their soil and improve their grass.

 

Truly Organic Food, Grown on Good Soil, Is Much More Nutritious than Conventional Food

I have eaten organic food that seemed quite ordinary, and organic food that filled me with energy, made symptoms disappear, and made me feel like I had just taken a drink from the fountain of youth. The difference? I am convinced it was the soil. Much organic food is grown on soil that was once used for chemical agriculture, which ruins and depletes the soil.

But some organic food is grown on clean soil, free of chemicals, which has been carefully nurtured with traditional methods. I have eaten fruit and meat raised at Chaffin Family Orchards. The fruit, eggs, and meat from this farm is raised on land that has never been sprayed with chemicals. Land that has not been tainted with artificial fertilizer. Land whose fertility is carefully nurtured and preserved by traditional methods, such as rotational grazing.

The first Chaffin food I ate was some organic apricots. The skin on two of my fingers was quite dry and was peeling and cracked in a few small areas. I thought it was due to the hot, dry summer and not drinking enough. While apricots are not my favorite food, these apricots were delicious beyond dreams, I felt so good and renewed when I ate them. Within two days, the skin on these fingers had healed completely, as if it had never been damaged. I had been eating plenty of organic fruits and vegetables before I ate the Chaffin apricots, and I am convinced that it was the good soil that made the difference. There was some nutrient in those apricots that my body used to heal the dry skin. Anecdotal? Totally.

But let us remember something. Humans have been learning and passing down information for tens of thousands of years, maybe longer. All of that knowledge was anecdotal. Modern scientific studies have been around for less than two hundred years, and would have never been invented if it were not for the anecdotal information that came first. There is old saying—experience is the best teacher. What I learned from the Chaffin apricots taught me to appreciate the value of food grown on pure, rich, chemical-free soil. I trust this experience far more than any number of flawed studies.

Based on the knowledge of how agricultural research is conducted today, the work of Dr. Price, and my own experience—I am convinced that organic food, or the equivalent of organic, raised on good soil—contains far more nutrients than conventional foods.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Freaky Friday blog carnival.

When It Comes to Meat, Just Eat Grassfed

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

Cows grazing on grass, their natural food.

Cows grazing on grass, their natural food.

Sean Croxton, of the Underground Wellness Show, has a saying that I love—JERF—Just Eat Real Food. That sentence alone says the essence of what we need to know about food and healthy eating. I asked Sean if he minded my using an acronym so similar to his, and he graciously told me to go for it. Sean’s saying has inspired me to come up with my own acronym—JEG—Just Eat Grassfed, which contains the essence of what we need to know about eating meat. Here are a few examples of the wisdom of JEG.

Want to avoid residues of the artificial growth hormones that are common in factory meat? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to avoid ingesting antibiotic residue in your meat? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to avoid ingesting steroid residue used to make conventional cows grow faster? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to avoid getting a huge imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids in your meat? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to get a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, in perfect proportion to omega-6 fatty acids? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to get a healthy dose of CLA, a valuable fat that reduces inflammation, aids weight loss, and enables the body to fight off many inflammatory diseases? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to avoid the risk of getting Mad Cow disease by eating meat? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to avoid eating meat from an animal fed huge amounts of GMO corn and GMO soy? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to avoid eating meat from an animal that was fattened on candy bars, chicken manure, rendered restaurant waste, plastic balls, candy wrappers, chicken parts, chicken feathers, and all kinds of similar garbage? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want a roast that has not shrunk to half its original size when it is done? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want a steak that does not have to be cooked at super-high heat? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to enjoy lamb that tastes of the pasture rather than the feedlot? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to enjoy bison that tastes like bison instead of factory beef? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to enjoy beef in a multitude of local flavors, instead of standard feedlot flavor? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to eat meat from an animal that has lived its life on pasture, and has never been in a feedlot? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to eat meat that tastes wonderful even when cooked with only a few ingredients? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want meat that never makes you feel stuffed or bloated, but makes you reel refreshed and renewed? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to eat a food that will nourish the natural functions of your body, giving strength, and helping your body recover from injury or illness? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to support the raising of animals who actually create good soil and farmland? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to eat the oldest food of humankind, the food our bodies know how to use and benefit from more than any other? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

Want to eat the tastiest, healthiest, most satisfying meat on the planet? JEG—Just Eat Grassfed.

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

Grassfed Ranchers and the Lean Meat Drug

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


drugfree zone
Creative Commons License photo credit: loop_oh 

Have you ever heard of ractopamine?

No? Do not feel bad, almost no one outside the meat and drug industry has heard of this drug. Yet, chances are that you have ingested residues of ractopamine a number of times, if you eat conventional pork, beef, or turkey.

Not to worry. Meat with the levels of residue allowed by the FDA is safe for human consumption. Our government says it is safe, so it is safe. Disturbingly, the European Union and even China disagrees, banning the import of American meat that contains residues of ractopamine, even at the safe levels set by the FDA.

But everyone agrees that ractopamine reduces the amount of fat in meat, making for leaner meat. It also enhances the growth of animals, making them bigger.

Since the fat of grassfed and pastured animals is the most nutrient-dense part, making the meat more tender and adding great flavor, I am completely opposed to any drug that would make meat leaner.

For this reason, I contacted my local farmer and every source I use for grassfed beef and pastured pork to see if they used ractopamine. The results will be discussed later in this post.

Saturated Fat Phobia Leads to the Development of Ractopamine

The insane fear of saturated animal fat led to the development of the lean, tasteless, tough pork that is so common today. As part of that process, ractopamine was developed. This drug does actually make the meat of animals leaner. Lean meat is what Big Ag wanted to sell, especially lean pork, which they used to call “the other white meat.”

  • Ractopamine was approved for pork in 1999.
  • Ractopamine was approved for beef in 2003.
  • Ractopamine was approved for turkey in 2008.

At this point, ractopamine is believed to be added to the feed of sixty to eighty percent of the pigs slaughtered for meat in the U.S.

Problems Arise

A problem arose soon after the introduction of ractopamine into the pork supply—the FDA received many reports of pigs becoming very ill, and even dying. The FDA dealt with this problem by asking the manufacturer to include a warning insert with the drug, which the manufacturer did.

A second problem arose when the European Union and China refused to allow meat with detectable ractopamine residues to be sold in their respective countries, even when the residue was at or below the level the FDA has declared safe. This issue is still in dispute, and has not been resolved. This has put a serious dent in American pork exports, and some beef exports. The solution seems simple enough—stop using ractopamine, and open up those markets. Yet Big Ag refuses to stop using the drug, and has persuaded the U.S. government to pressure the Europeans and Chinese into allowing the importation of U.S. meat with ractopamine residues. So far, the pressure has not worked.

Grassfed and Pastured Fat Is Nutritious and Makes Meat Delicious

Saturated animal fat is perhaps the most demonized of all foods. Yet this fat, if it comes from grassfed or pastured animals, is the very best source of many vital nutrients. The fat of grassfed and pastured animals is one of the oldest human foods, and nutrients from this fat are easily assimilated by the human body. See The Skinny on Fats.

I want my meat to have more fat, not less, and I certainly do not want to eat meat that has been made leaner by a drug, even if the meat is safe for human consumption.

The natural fat of grassfed and pastured animals helps keep the meat tender, and adds terrific natural flavor.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of eating the lean, tough, tasteless pork so common in the U.S. will understand why I never touch the stuff. It is tough and tastes terrible. But pastured pork, from heritage breeds, with plenty of fat, is absolutely delicious, and very tender.

I Poll My Grassfed Farmers

I asked my local farmer and all the producers I buy meat from, if they use ractopamine.

This includes Humboldt Grassfed Beef (my local farmer), U.S. Wellness Meats, Homestead Natural Foods, Alderspring Ranch, and Gaucho Ranch.

I am happy to say that NONE of them use any drug to raise their cattle or pigs, and that most of them had never even heard of ractopamine. These fine grassfed ranchers and farmers raise their meat the natural way, on grass, using their skill at raising grassfed and pastured animals to produce wonderful, healthy meat. I am so grateful to all of them for making this good meat available to me and my family, and so many others.

My solution to the issue is the same solution I use for almost every meat issue—buy only grassfed and pastured meats, and buy them only from ranchers I know and trust.

Sure has resulted in a number of delicious meals that make me feel so good!

If you are interested in learning more about ractopamine and the issues involving it, here is a link to an excellent and comprehensive article on the subject. Dispute over drug in feed limiting US meat exports

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.

We Need Real Restaurants Serving Real Food!

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

Ceramic old-fashioned restaurant. It must have had great real food!

Restaurants aren't what they used to be.

Do you ever get tired of the poor quality and high prices of most restaurants?

I certainly do. The main choice seems to be between chain restaurants serving large amounts of the worst factory foods, or higher-end restaurants serving tiny portions of somewhat better food. The taste is often mediocre at best, and if you are used to eating real food, your stomach will often rebel against what you have put into it. And the money you spent on this expensive meal could have bought you a large amount of excellent grassfed meat and real food, since restaurant prices can be so high.

I run into these problems in supposedly high-quality restaurants with great reviews and reputations, as well as the more pedestrian places. Even the smaller ethnic restaurants have similar problems. Most of the time, I count myself lucky if I do not get an upset stomach after eating at a restaurant. Just about all of the time, I go home hungry because the food lacks the nutrients my body has become used to when eating real food.

Enough is enough. Instead of accepting the current miserable situation, we need real restaurants serving real food!

The Problem

When I was a child and a teenager, many restaurants were excellent. They had to be. This was a time when most families had good home cooks, and most people just would not go to a restaurant unless the food was better than at home. This set a very high standard for taste and quality. Also, there were no GMOs, and much of the food was far more real than it is now.

We now live in a time where most people do not know how to cook. Packaged factory foods form a huge part of SAD (Standard American Diet). Most people have been brainwashed into thinking all food is the same. This lack of competition has allowed restaurants to get away with mediocre food, terrible ingredients, and huge prices.

The Solution

We should no longer accept mediocrity or worse. A meal at a restaurant should taste wonderful, use high-quality real food, be cooked and served under sanitary conditions, and leave you feeling satisfied after eating it. Nothing less is acceptable.

I have nine suggestions toward reaching this goal.

1.    Serve real food only.

This is crucial. Even restaurants that boast of the quality of their ingredients often use factory ingredients to save money. They often buy from restaurant supply companies that supply the cheapest factory food. Food should be organic or the equivalent, preferably local. One of the few restaurants that does it right is Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, which buys almost all of its foods from quality local farms and ranches. This is a good standard.

2.    Drop the factory meat and serve only grassfed and grass-finished meat.

This seems like a very radical suggestion, and it is. But the rewards of implementing it are immense. Grassfed and grass-finished meat is far superior in nutrition, much more satisfying to the appetite, and is perhaps the oldest food of humankind. It tastes much better than factory meat, when properly cooked. I have made this suggestion in a number of places, and the answer is always along the lines that grassfed meat is “tough.” No, it is not tough. Properly cooked grassfed meat is very tender. The chefs and cooks just need to learn how to cook it.

3.    Serve only wild fish.

Most restaurants serve only farmed fish, which are the nautical equivalent of factory meat. Farmed fish are fed a totally unnatural diet, and are far less nourishing than wild fish. Wild fish taste much better.

4.    Stop using modern vegetable oils, and use only traditional fats in cooking.

Almost all restaurants use modern vegetable oils. The favorite modern oils are soy and canola, as they are also the cheapest. These modern oils, which were never used prior to the twentieth century, have a terrible overbalance of omega-6 fatty acids, and are far inferior in nutritional value to traditional fats such as butter, lard, ghee, beef tallow, coconut oil, pure extra virgin olive oil, etc.

5.    Serve a full plate of nourishing food, and fill up the empty spaces.

Few things annoy me more than ordering an expensive entrée and getting a tiny serving, with plenty of empty space on the plate. When I was a child, you could not even see the bottom of the plate until you had eaten something. Now, tiny portions of expensive entrées are “plated,” which is a fancy term for increasing profits by shortchanging people on food while leaving large areas of the plate empty. This results in people going home hungry, or buying appetizers on equally empty plates to try to satisfy their appetites. While this may increase profits, it is not fair to the customer, in my opinion. While restaurants seem to love the “deck-of-playing-cards”-size meat servings pushed by the government, they still charge huge prices for these tiny portions.

6.    Throw away the microwave.

Many restaurants reheat a frozen entrée in the microwave, and serve it as “fresh.” Not only are there serious concerns about what microwaving does to food, but this practice is detrimental to both nutrition and taste. Freshly cooked food tastes much better.

7.    Keep it clean.

Many restaurants are downright filthy. Many restaurant refrigerators are not nearly cold enough. There is no excuse for this. Every kitchen, serving area, food storage area, dish, and utensil should be clean. No exceptions. Every refrigerator should be at least forty degrees, or colder. People often get sick from the filth in restaurants and their food, and this can always be avoided.

8.    Cook it great, every time!

Restaurant cooks and chefs are supposed to be professionals, who cook for a living. Every single dish they turn out should taste great, every single time.

I have eaten in many restaurants where a dish is good one time, and terrible the next. Many dishes are poorly cooked and mediocre. This can ruin a restaurant’s reputation. Good ingredients, properly cooked, taste great. It is that simple.

9.    Stop using chemicals and flavor enhancers.

No restaurant should use MSG or other chemicals to artificially enhance the flavor of their food. Not only can these chemical additives be harmful, they mask the taste of poorly cooked food, and deceive the public as to the quality of the meal.

Many in the restaurant industry will claim that these suggestions are too expensive. As recently as the 1980s, many restaurants had similar standards (except for grassfed meat). Restaurants have a great ability to buy food wholesale, and to negotiate prices, especially when they are buying from individual farms and ranches. But more to the point is that restaurants are already very expensive, and I see no need to spend money on poor quality restaurant food.

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

 

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.

Why Grassfed Meat Is Better

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

Butter Steak from Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman

Grassfed Butter Steak, Tender Grassfed Barbecue, page 76

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.

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

My Real Food Plate

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

My Real Food Plate with grass fed prime rib, traditional sauerkraut, sourdough spelt bread with pastured butter and grassfed bison liver pate, raw cheese, smoked wild salmon, and fermented raw vegetable salsa.

My Real Food Plate (clockwise from top): grassfed beef and fat; traditional sauerkraut; sourdough spelt bread with pastured grassfed butter and grassfed bison liver pâté; raw cheese; smoked wild salmon; and fermented vegetable salsa.

“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):

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

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

Related Post

Where’s the (Grassfed) Beef in the “Healthy Eating Plate”?

Grassfed Fat — the Lost Delicacy

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Grass-fed sirloin roast with a delicious, nutritious fat cap.

Grassfed sirloin roast, with a delicious, nutritious fat cap.

I love to eat grassfed beef fat. I actually will put a large piece of crisp, hot, grassfed beef fat in my mouth, and eat it with great enjoyment and satisfaction.

Animal fat used to be the favorite food of most of humanity. But that has changed.

Fat is taboo. Especially animal fat. Animal fat is supposed to be the ultimate poison. Even looking at it could cause a heart attack, or so people seem to think. Well, I do not believe this anymore, especially where grassfed fat is concerned.

Grassfed fat has a very different composition than the fat of factory meat. Factory meat has far too much omega-6 fatty acids, and is lacking in CLA and various fat-soluble vitamins. Grassfed fat has a perfect omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, and is full of nutrients like CLA and fat-soluble vitamins. The healthy peoples studied by Dr. Weston A. Price ate plenty of animal and fish fat. But nutrition is not the only reason I eat grassfed fat.

Grassfed meat is delicious, but the grassfed fat on the meat can be even tastier.

One of the ways I research my books is to read old novels. Often they contain detailed descriptions of traditional meals, and how they were prepared. Time after time, I read of how the characters enjoy biting into a crisp piece of hot, roasted fat. One day, I decided to try it myself. It was absolutely delicious, crisp on the outside and melting on the inside, and so satisfying. Now I make sure to have some hot crisp fat whenever we have a grassfed roast, or pastured pork roast.

I learned that I am following an old tradition.

Some of the world’s greatest traditional delicacies consist of animal fat. Peking duck is made for the crisp skin, which is the high point of the meal. Several Asian cultures deep fry duck pieces, so the skin comes out hot and crisp. The crisp, hot, brown fat of a prime rib roast used to be prized in England. Sausages all over Europe and Russia used to be full of pastured animal fat. The taste of the hot, juicy fat squirting into the mouth when the sausage was bitten into was so prized that poems were written about it. The Native Americans prized all kinds of animal fat, not only adding it to their stews and pemmican, and using it to baste their roasted meats, but often covering their bodies with it. A steamed roast pork belly is still a festive dish in parts of China, and the fat is the favorite part. In parts of Italy, pork fat of the highest quality is spread on bread like butter. Middle Eastern skewered meats had chunks of fat on the skewer right next to the chunks of meat.

I like beef fat best when it is crisp and hot. There are several varieties of grassfed beef fat, and I like them all.

Prime rib fat has a unique, rich flavor, with a hint of sweetness.

Sirloin fat, including picanha fat, crisps up beautifully when grilled or roasted, and gives an explosion of flavor when bitten into. You can see this terrific fat in the photo above.

Caul fat (which is taken from an area near the kidneys) has a wonderful crispness and flavor all its own, and just might be my favorite.

I also love bison fat, when I can get it. It has a wonderful crisp texture when roasted, and a rich, sweet flavor.

Grassfed lamb fat is another favorite. It should be only eaten when it is very hot, as it can get greasy when lukewarm, but it has incredible flavor and a very delicate crispness when served hot.

Pastured pork fat has a nice, delicate, crisp texture on the outside, but it is the rich, creamy inside that has incredible flavor and literally melts in your mouth.

Grassfed fat and pastured pork fat can make vegetables delicious beyond belief. I will place plenty of sliced grassfed animal fat in a pan, and put it in a hot oven until enough of the fat has melted to coat the pan. I then add all kinds of vegetables, including carrots, celery, onion wedges, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini, in almost any combination. I will roast them together until the vegetables have caramelized beautifully in the melted fat, and are rich with concentrated flavor that is just wonderful to eat.

If you do not mind the carbohydrates, you can do the same with potatoes, or apples, or both. Not only will they be over-the-top delicious, but the melted fat that penetrates them and intensifies their flavor will provide some protection against the glycemic effects.

If you have never had vegetables roasted this way, you will not believe how good they taste. Just be sure to eat them hot. And, best of all, you will have a number of crisp, flavorful pieces of fat in the pan that are also a joy to eat.

Grassfed animal fat is full of nutrition and is absolutely delicious!

This post is part of Monday ManiaReal Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

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