Grain-Fed vs. Grass-Fed and Finished Beef – Why Does It Matter

This is an article posted by the Dr. Perlmutter Team at www.drperlmutter.com 

Americans eat a lot of meat. In 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture projected that the average person would consume over two hundred pounds of chicken, pork, and beef by year’s end. That’s more than half a pound daily per capita, every day of the year! While it is possible to consume an omnivorous diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle, we recommend viewing meat as a garnish or side dish rather than the focus of your meal. The perfect plate is full of colorful, above-ground leafy vegetables and healthy fats, and if you choose to eat meat, then a three-to-four ounce serving of meat. However, it’s very important to remember that not all meat is created equally.

One of the most important factors in determining the overall quality of meat—especially red meat—is the dietary patterns of the livestock that produced it. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense: the food an animal consumes is used by their body to grow and develop, and, ultimately, becomes the very food that we consume. Feeding cattle a nutrient-poor diet will, in turn, produce a nutrient-poor food source, compared to cattle fed a natural, nutritious diet.

As it turns out, the age-old adage “You are what you eat” applies to cattle, too!

Grass-Fed and Finished vs. Grain-Fed Cattle
A significant portion of meat consumed in Western countries comes from animals raised on unnatural, grain-based diets in massive industrial feedlots, with the aid of antibiotics and growth hormones. This approach to animal husbandry produces meat that is significantly higher in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Because inflammation underpins the pathogenesis of so many of the diseases we face, sourcing high quality protein is critical in the context of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Generally speaking, bovine dietary patterns can generally be split into two groups: grass-fed and grain-fed. It’s important to note that grass-fed does NOT necessarily mean that the cow is grass-finished. You should be wary of beef that can make the “grass-fed” claim, but not “grass-finished”. We explain the nuances of these definitions in this blog post.

In the United States, all calves generally begin their lives the same way, regardless of whether or not they will ultimately end up producing grain- or grass-finished meat. For the first seven months of their lives, they subsist on a combination of their mother’s milk and the grass and plants available to them in their immediate environment. Between seven and nine months old, however, industrially-raised cattle are moved to enormous feedlots, where they are kept in confined stalls and hastily fattened with soy- or corn-based feed. In dire straits, some farmers have even resorted to supplementing what grain they can afford with stale candy to lower their feed costs. Grain-fed cows are also usually pumped full of medications, including antibiotics and growth hormones, to maximize the profitability of their eventual slaughter.

On the other hand, grass-fed and finished cows spend their lives foraging for the grass, plants, and edible flowers that surround them in open-range pastures, as they did for centuries before the advent of industrial farming. Because these cows are eating and roaming as nature intended, they do not require growth hormones and antibiotics to thrive and survive like their grain-fed counterparts. Furthermore, these cows live far more humane and environmentally-friendly lives than their industrially-raised brethren. While many industrial farmers will challenge the notion that grass-fed cows have a lower environmental impact than their grain-fed counterparts, the reality is that raising grass-fed cows requires fewer antibiotics and harmful agricultural chemicals, and does not create the massive concentrations of waste that a feedlot produces. The fact that these cows live more humane and environmentally-friendly lives does not necessarily impact the nutritional value of their meat, but we believe that these factors should absolutely be considered in a decision about which type of beef to consume.

What Difference Does It Make?

Why does grass-fed and finished really matter?

In short, the meat sourced from grass-fed cows is far more nutritious, beneficial, and environmentally friendly than the meat sourced by grain-fed cattle, which has skewed nutrient profiles and is full of harmful chemical by-products from the industrial cattle-rearing process. Grain-fed cows produce meat that is both dramatically higher in inflammation-producing omega-6 fats and deficient in healthful omega-3s. This is doubly harmful considering the ratio of these compounds is actually more important than their absolute levels in the blood. Generally speaking, Americans consume a disproportionate amount of omega-6s, relative to omega-3s. Furthermore, because grass-fed and finished cows are not exposed to the suite of hormones and medications that their grain-fed counterparts are, the meat they produce doesn’t contain the toxic remnants of these unnatural components from the industrial, grain-based process.

One powerful study conducted in 2006 using Australian cattle, sought to determine the impact of three different feeding systems—grain-finished, long-term feedlot rations, and grass-finished—on the resulting meat’s omega-3 fatty acid and conjugated linoleic acid composition. Researchers ultimately found that the grass-finished cows had significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid when compared to either of the grain-based feeding systems. These two fatty acids play very important roles in brain health, metabolism, and the likelihood of developing cancer.

Another, more recent, study echoed and expanded on the earlier findings of the Australian team. Looking at beef specifically grown in the United States, researchers analyzed meat samples across multiple states and found that meat from grass-fed cows had significantly higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, mirroring the Australian study’s results. However, this team went one step further, determining that grass-finished beef also contained more carotenoids , trace nutrients, and saturated fat, while carrying no more cholesterol or polyunsaturated fats than grain-fed cows.

When it comes to choosing meat, it is critically important to consider the source. The food that livestock eat dictates their relative health, and this ultimately travels up the food chain and determines what health benefits—or detriments—we absorb when eating that meat. When it comes to choosing between grain- and grass-fed beef, the choice is clear!

Continue reading “Grain-Fed vs. Grass-Fed and Finished Beef – Why Does It Matter”

FREE 100% Grass Fed Beef

One of the things with living a Primal/Ancestral lifestyle is you need to do you best to eat the highest quality meat your budget can afford.  We are fortunate with the boom in online shopping to have a wide variety of options for meal kits, proteins, seafood and more.

Butcher Box is one of those solutions to consider when shopping for high quality meats.  Especially when they run a promotion like the one they are having for the month of March.  2 Free Pounds for the life of your subscription is around a $20 value, which helps to reduce the average cost of the rest of the proteins you select in your box.  You can choose a selection of beef, chicken, and/or pork.  They have a wide variety of cuts to choose from as well.

Butcher Box Meats are:

  • Humanely raised
  • No antibiotics or hormones ever
  • High quality
  • 100% grass-fed & grass-finished.
  • Pasture-raised and free to roam.
  • Packed with key nutrients like Omega-3s, vitamins and minerals.

Having beef that is grass-fed and grass-finished is what you want.  This means their cattle are free to range on grassy pastures throughout their entire lives, suckling from their mothers for the first 6 to 9 months, then eating their natural diet of grass. Thanks to the climate, they graze year-round, with access to shelter when needed. They are never fed grain or kept in feedlots. Besides being delicious, the health benefits of eating grass-fed, grass-finished meat are abundant.

Click on the link below to price out a monthly box of meat:

www.ButcherBox.com/FreeBeef

The Healthy Guide To Oils

One of the first things you learn on the Primal lifestyle journey is obviously what should eat and what you should steer clear of.  One of the obvious staples in everyone’s pantry for cooking are oils.  Of all the changes I personally have made, fortunately for me, this was one I was pretty good on, but still have learned a lot along the way.

I will keep this short and sweet.  Step away from your computer, or put down your cell, and go to your kitchen and throw out any vegetable, corn, soy, or canola oils you might have!!  I mention these because they are the more common oils you might have on hand.  You will read on the article why I am advising you to do this.

As I mentioned previously, I was pretty good in the oil category.  The one thing I have changed is how often I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil when I roast in the oven.  EVOO has a smoke point of around 405 degrees farenheit.  I typically will roast at 400-425.  When a cooking oil is heated to its smoke point, it breaks down and may produce potentially carcinogenic toxins.  Avocado Oil has a smoke point upwards of 540 degrees farenheit, so this has become my go to when I am sauteing and even coating vegetables and proteins going into the oven.

The three staple oils I keep on hand at all times are:

  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, First Cold Pressed
  • Organic 100% Avocado Oil, Cold Pressed, Naturally Refined
  • Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Cold Pressed, Unrefined

One other game changer with regards to eliminating the bad oils from your diet is to take notice of the dressings in the grocery store.  Start to read the labels and see what kind of oils they use.  Don’t be fooled by labels that call out made with “EVOO” or “Avocado Oil”.  Other than brands like Chosen Foods and Primal Kitchens, you will be challenged to find 100% Avocado Oil based salad dressings.  My obvious choice is Primal Kitchens, seeing that this is the company I am getting my health coaching certification through, but another family favorite is the Chosen Foods Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade.  Funny story about this salad dressing.  My father cannot stand garlic.  If I ever use it, he always makes a comment.  During Christmas dinner, I used this dressing for everyone’s salad.  He asked me what dressing this was.  I responded with “Yes Dad, it has garlic in it.”  I thought for sure he was going to complain, but he actually complimented it.  Go figure!!  Explore your grocery store shelves the next time you shop and you’ll see what I am talking about.

If you don’t find Primal Kitchen dressings in your grocery store, CLICK HERE and you will be directed to the Primal Kitchens website where you will see all of the great dressings, marinades and condiments.  Enter the promo code “JOE” to receive 10% off your order.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Link to article “The Definitive Guide to Oils” at Mark’s Daily Apple

Perfect Paleo Double Chocolate Cookies

One thing you should try to do while eating Primaly is to slow down and enjoy the foods you are eating.  Everything you eat or drink should serve a purpose.  Try to avoid “mindless munching” in the pantry with high carbohydrate snack foods.  I am not going to lie, I still have my sweet tooth cravings that need to be satisfied on occasion!

I am lucky that my wife enjoys baking.  She has been awesome with trying new recipes that fit our Primal lifestyle.  This recipe for the Perfect Paleo Double Chocolate Cookies are hands down one of my favorites she’s made to date.  You can find all kinds of Paleo cookie recipes that are as good, but of the ones we’ve tried, this one is pretty delicious!!

Just because these are Paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, etc., doesn’t mean you can eat the whole batch.  As I mentioned before, you want to slow down and savor what you are eating.  Focus on the quality of the ingredients and how they taste, not the quantity of how many you can eat in one sitting!

During the week I try to stick with a 16:8 fasting to eating time ratio.  It works out that I will eat between 12-7pm each day.  When we are lucky enough to have these cookies in the house, I will treat myself to one (1) after my lunch and then one (1) around 9pm as my “bedtime snack”.  Just because they are better than regular cookies, doesn’t mean you can eat them all.  As you become more and more fat adapted and not carb burning, you will see that having just one will satisfy your sweet tooth!

Perfect Paleo Double Chocolate Cookies

Are All Calories The Same??

One of the things I like about living a Primal lifestyle is that I don’t bother to count calories like I have with other diets in the past.  This may be one of the things I like the most about it.

When people tell me they are “watching their calories”, but are still eating processed foods, but just fewer calories of them, I ask them how does 100 calories of spinach, eggs, chicken, etc. compare from a macro-nutrient perspective?  If calories were the end all solution, do you think a 2,000 daily calorie diet eating pizza, pasta, and the like compared to one of whole foods low in carbs, high quality proteins, and good fats would result in the same outcome for your body, even if you did the same amount of exercise?  I think you know the answer to this one!

The article below does a nice job of explaining more about calories and how they are very different from one another.  The more you can learn about nutritionally dense foods that actually satiate you, versus high carb and sugar foods that only leave you more hungry in a matter of hours, the better of you will be in the long run!

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-all-calories-the-same/

What Is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is made from animal bones and connective tissue — typically cattle, chicken, or fish — that have been boiled into a broth and slow simmered for 10 to more than 20 hours with herbs, vegetables, and spices. So why is this seemingly simple liquid something you’d want to drink every day?

WHAT SOUNDS LIKE MEAT WATER IS PURE, LIQUID GOLD

Even our hunter-gatherer ancestors realized that drinking bone broth was like striking nutritional gold, as its earliest version dates back over 2,500 years . Throwing away anything edible was out of the question back then, so animal hooves, knuckles, bones, and other connective tissues never went to waste. Bone broth has a rich history of being used in traditional Chinese medicine as a digestive tonic, blood builder , and kidney strengthener due to the high collagen content, bioavailable minerals, anti-inflammatory amino acids, and healing compounds that can only be found in bones and connective tissue.

What Makes Bone Broth So Healthy?

Bone Broth is sought out by people around the world to deal with a wide variety of health issues and goals.

Bones and connective tissue are storehouses for essential amino acids and minerals — which are lacking in many diets today. Bone Broth is also an invaluable source of protein, collagen and gelatin.  Collagen is also found in your bones, joints, tendons, muscles, and teeth.

It’s not feasible to eat whole bones or tissue, but you can still enjoy these health benefits by sipping bone broth. Collagen is extracted when you simmer bones for a long period of time. Typically, the longer bone broth simmers, the more collagen you’ll extract.

HOW BONE BROTH IS MADE

Making bone broth is a simple process, but one that requires plenty of time and patience. Bone broth is made by simmering animal bones and tissue for at least 10 hours with vegetables, herbs, and spices such as thyme, garlic, and bay leaves. High-quality bone broth starts with high-quality ingredients, using bones from organic grass-fed animals and organic vegetables. While any bone or ligament can be used, knuckles, chicken feet, and femur bones tend to contain the most collagen.

You can purchase bones from your local butcher or at a farmers market, or by simply saving bones whenever you eat bone-in chicken, steak, or pork cuts.

Is Bone Broth the Same as Regular Broth or Stock?

NO!

There are two main differences between bone broth and regular broth or stock: simmering time and the part of the animal it’s made from (bones or flesh).

Regular broth and stock are simmered for a shorter period of time than bone broth, approximately 2–6 hours. The expedited cooking process reduces the amount of beneficial gelatin extracted from the bones, reducing its capacity to boost the immune system, heal digestive issues, and reduce the symptoms of leaky gut.

Broth (not bone broth) typically has meat left on the bones, whereas stock will have little to no connective tissue left on the bones (as with marrow bones).

The Story Behind Kettle & Fire Bone Broth

Before Kettle and Fire was born, one of our co-founders, Nick, tore his ACL playing soccer (ouch). His brother Justin heard about the benefits of bone broth for injury recovery. As his schedule didn’t leave much time to make bone broth from scratch, he set out to buy a store-bought, high-quality, grass-fed bone broth, since both of their busy schedules didn’t leave much time to make the broth themselves.

No matter how hard Justin looked, the ideal bone broth didn’t exist. He searched for one that was 100 percent organic, fresh — never frozen — grass-fed, and slow simmered (as well as one that could be shipped without wasteful, clunky packaging). So, Nick and Justin decided to create a high-quality bone broth on their terms, which is the recipe we’re proud to offer you today.

Kettle & Fire Bone Broth is:

  • Made only using organic ingredients and grass-fed, organic bones
  • Hormone- and antibiotic-free
  • Slow simmered for a minimum of 10 hours, and up to 24 hours
  • The only shelf-stable bone broth with absolutely no additives or preservatives, and a shelf life of two years
  • Shipped in responsible packaging and 100 percent recyclable material
  • Packaged in tetra packs to take up less room in your pantry
  • Approved for Whole30, keto, and paleo diets

HOW TO GET MORE BONE BROTH IN YOUR DIET

The beautiful thing about bone broth is that there’s really no limit to how you can add it to your diet. Aside from soups, stews, and plain ol’ sipping, bone broth blends surprisingly well into almost any recipe — even smoothies! Here are our top ways to get it:

Sip It

Our bone broth tastes delicious enough to sip on its own, but you can spiceit up to suit your taste buds. We created our favorite flavor combinations in this free downloadable “Bone Broth Sipping Guide” (bone broth matcha lattes, anyone?)

Cooking With It

Our beef bone broth has a mild flavor, which allows it to blend easily with almost anything, from smoothies to healthy gummy bears. Our chickenbone broth and mushroom chicken bone broth boost the savory flavor of soups, stews, and risotto recipes.

Shop Kettle & Fire Bone Broth