GRASS FED OR PASTEURED BEEF
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© March 2019, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is solely the opinion of the author and for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Grass fed Beef
Lying About Grass Fed Beef
Benefits For Cows
Benefits For Those Who Eat The Products
Benefits For The Planet
Benefits For Farmers And Ranchers
Beware Of Overcooking
Why Does Cooking Matter?
Steak Versus Ground Beef
Labeling Beef And Beef Certifications In America
Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the roughly 30 million cows in the world are raised in feedlots. They are crowded together, often in unclean and infected pens, and forced to eat mainly grain.
Grain feeding. Grain is not the natural food of cows, but it is used because it is cheaper than pasture or hay (dried grass), which are the natural food of cows.
Hybrid cows. The cows are all hybrids that have been bred to be able to survive in feedlot conditions and able to live on a diet of mainly grains, and who can handle a lot of toxic medical drugs.
Massive drug use. The hybrids are also bred to be able to survive a large amount of antibiotics and other drugs, which are often fed to them to keep them alive and to fatten them. Residues of these drugs remain in the meat and dairy products the cows produce.
Unhealthy meat. For all the reasons above, beef from hybrid, feedlot cows is irritating to the intestines and many people are sensitive to it. We do not recommend eating it, except only occasionally - once a week or less. It is not needed or very helpful for development. It is very low in omega-3 fatty acids, low in vitamin E and low in other vital nutrients.
GRASS FED OR PASTEURED BEEF
In contrast, beef from cows that are allowed to roam in fields and eat grass, also called pasture or forage, is an excellent food for development. We recommend eating 3-4 ounces or about 85-114 grams of it about three times per week as part of a development program. Do not have larger portions than this and please cook it properly. See below for cooking instructions.
LYING ABOUT GRASS FED BEEF
You have to know and trust your source of beef because it is easy to lie about the quality of the beef and this definitely occurs. This means that meat can be labeled ‘grass fed’, ‘organic’, or something else, but it is not the truth. This is a problem in the beef industry.
In particular, supermarkets often cannot obtain 100% grass fed beef. Even if the meat is labeled ‘grass fed’, this label only means that the feed has been 75% grass. It is very deceptive. We don’t even think a lot of meat labeled grass fed is from cows that have had this much grass.
These are less hybridized varieties of cows that are healthier. Heirlooms are slowly being reintroduced as more problems are arising with the hybridized cows that are mainly used in the beef industry. For details, read Heirloom Cows And Heirloom Vegetables.
Benefits for cows. Grass fed cows are much healthier and much happier because they are eating their natural food and are not confined in dirty, crowded, and often infected and sickening feedlots.
Benefits for those who eat the products. Grass fed and organic beef contains much less drug residues than regular beef. It also contains certain zinc and selenium compounds that are most helpful for rapid development that are often missing from feedlot beef.
Other good qualities of natural, grass fed and organic beef include a very high-quality protein and a yang nature that we all need. It also contains many nutrients that are low or missing from regular beef today.
These include omega-3 fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, carnitine, taurine, and organic sulfur compounds that are vital for liver detoxification. Grass fed beef is also lower in fat than regular beef, although some fat is needed in the diet.
Benefits for the planet. Grass feeding of cows helps spread plant seeds, helps break up the soil so it will hold more moisture, and helps with weed control. It also fertilizes the fields and greatly reduces feedlot pollution due to a concentration of animals in a small space and the use of lots of drugs with feedlot animals. These are important benefits.
Climate change. For those worried about climate change (this author is not worried at all), grass feeding of beef tends to sequester more carbon dioxide (also called reducing greenhouse grasses) because grass fed cows are more healthy and have much less methane in their stools. Also, fertilizing the fields means more plant growth and more photosynthesis, which consumes or sequesters carbon dioxide. For details about climate change, read Global Warming.
Benefits for farmers and ranchers. Grass feeding of cows is much healthier for ranching families because they are exposed to many fewer chemicals and drugs that are used in feedlots. The food is also healthier and often more profitable for them.
Beware of overcooking. The method of preparing beef is most important in order to obtain the mineral compounds needed for development. Most people overcook their meat. Most cookbooks and most instruction books that come with cookware such as pressure cookers and others also have errors in them. For cooking instructions, see the section below.
Why does cooking matter? Most people overcook beef. This destroys many of the most beneficial chemicals in the beef that we need for development. Overcooking also denatures or damages the protein in the beef and damages the fat in the beef.
AGES. Overcooking also causes the production of AGES (advanced glycation end products). These are very toxic chemicals that damage the body. For details, read AGES.
This problem is much worse if you fry, bake, broil or roast meat. Unfortunately, these are common ways people prepare hamburgers, meat loaf and many other meat dishes.
Braising. To avoid AGES and to get the most benefit from beef and other meats, we recommend braising beef. This is a fast cooking method that uses water. Here are the instructions:
1. Put about ¼ to ½ inch or about ½ centimeter of water in the bottom of a pan or pot. Tap water will work because we don’t recommend drinking the water in which meat is cooked. The water in which meat is cooked does not contain many nutrients.
2. Bring the water to a boil.
3. Place a 3-4 ounce or 85-114 gram beef patty in the water. The patty should be about ½ inch or 1 centimeter in thickness.
4. Cook for about 10-15 seconds. Then turn it over and cook on the other side for about 10-15 seconds.
5. Then remove, put some sea salt on it and eat. We recommend Hawaiian Bamboo Jade Sea salt.
6. Cooking time may vary slightly depending upon your altitude above sea level. The meat is done properly when it is warm on the inside, but not really cooked. If it is grey and hard, it is overcooked.
AVOID baking, frying, roasting, or broiling meats of all kinds. This produces lots of AGES and almost always overcooks the meat. Also do not put beef in a pressure cooker. Pressure-cooking beef will always overcook it.
Meat may come fresh or frozen. We do not recommend re-freezing beef. This is a common practice. If your beef comes fresh, just buy what you can eat in a week or until its expiration date. If your beef comes frozen, as is often the case with grass fed beef, just defrost that which you will eat in the next few days. Always check the label for the expiration date on fresh meats.
Ways to defrost meat are:
1. Move it to the refrigerator. It will take two days or so using this method. This is safer in that you are not leaving meat out without refrigeration.
2. Leave the meat unwrapped on the kitche counter. Cover it if you wish, although this is not necessary and will slow the defrosting. It will defrost in a few hours using this method.
3. For fast defrosting, either put the beef in the sink and run hot water over it or place it on a plate in front of a red heat lamp. With either of these methods, turn the beef frequently. You can often defrost beef in under an hour with this method.
STEAK VERSUS GROUND BEEF
Grass fed beef is often quite tough. For this reason, at this time we believe it is best to eat it ground. It is often sold this way.
Ground beef is a little more yin than steak. However, it is easier to measure out properly, easier to cook and easier to eat, especially if one does not have good teeth.
LABELING BEEF AND BEEF CERTIFICATIONS IN AMERICA
There are a number of certifications available for beef. Some come from the government, while others are from private certifying organizations. They have meaning but cheating can occur. They may include:
No Hormones. This means the cows are not given female hormone injections to fatten them.
No Antibiotics. This means the cows are not given antibiotics for prevention of disease. Some antibiotic-free certification may allow farmers to use antibiotics if a cow is ill, but only short-term.
Natural. This means no added antibiotics, at least to fatten the animals. Antibiotics can often be used if the animals become ill, which is common. Natural also means the meat contains no added hormones.
No animal byproducts. This means the cows have not been fed parts of other cows, usually, or parts of other animals.
Mad cow disease. Eating body parts of other animals is unnatural for cows and may have to do with outbreaks of mad cow disease. However, the likely cause for this disease is a pesticide that is sprayed on the cow’s back, along the spinal column.
Grass fed. This label often only means the cow has been grass fed 75% or more of its life. It does not mean 100% grass fed!
Organic. This means that all the feed used for the cow is certified to be organically grown.
Some smaller farms and ranchers in the USA cannot afford the organic certification process. However, their beef is quite organic if their cows live on grass or pasture.
Other labels include GMO-free and humanely processed.
Problems. Problems with all of these certifications are:
1. Watered down standards such as the grass fed standard and the organic standard, as well.
2. Lying, as explained earlier in this article.
3. These standards are always difficult to enforce. This is why knowing your supplier is often the best way to know if you are getting real grass fed beef and other healthful meats.
Finishing is the feeding of beef cows near the time of slaughter. It is a method of altering the taste of the meat to make it sweeter and less ‘gamey’. The meat will contain more fat and is also more tender for this reason.
Finishing also fattens the cows so the farmers will make more money when the cow is slaughtered due to the extra weight of meat. It works, but is not kind to the cows. It is done routinely in commercial ranching operations, including with heirloom cows.
Finishing methods. Feedlot cows may not need finishing because they may be fed grain most of their life and become fattened early on.
To finish grass fed cows, the rancher can move them to fields where they must eat more high-carbohydrate grasses and less high-protein grasses. This will add weight and can reduce the gamey grass fed taste of their meat.
Another method is to confine grass fed cows in pens near the end of their lives and force them to eat grain.
Another method in cold climates is to leave the cows outside in the cold weather. They will naturally eat more high-carbohydrate grass in order to gain fat and stay warm. This method only works if one slaughters in springtime. It doesn’t work well on large farms where cows are slaughtered all year round.
We do not recommend finishing. It harms the animals and reduces the quality of the meat, even if it tastes sweeter. However, people have been conditioned to want sweet-tasting and more tender beef by the feedlot beef industry. Until this changes, the practice will likely continue.