Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday is for relaxing and reading ... all about Beef

No, this isn't me, but it does look like a blissful way to spend a Sunday.  And while you're relaxing is the perfect time to get to that reading that you don't have time for during the rest of the week.

Sometimes all you feel like is some escapist literature, but often it's also nice to stretch your mind a bit and learn about something new.

Every Sunday I will give you some quick overviews of interesting articles, books, websites and blogposts that I have found which I think you might find interesting in your quest for healthy Paleo living.

At the end of each post I will give you some links in case you feel like exploring the subject further - from your hammock or wherever your particular favourite relaxing place might be.

Today I'm going to give you a quick overview of the different kinds of meat that is now available, and tips on how to prepare your grass-fed meat for maximum taste as well as nutrition. (Yes, it should be cooked differently than what you're used to. )

Since Sunday is also barbecue day for a lot of people, I'm thinking this is likely the right day to cover this topic. Warning : If you are eating regular beef right now you might want to wait until later to read this. I don't want to put you of your lunch.

When you first start looking for grass-fed beef, you might find the labels very confusing. "Natural" and "Organic" does not necessarily mean grass fed.

Let me give you a quick primer on the differences between grain fed, grass fed, pastured, natural, and organic beef.

Grain fed beef usually starts out grass fed but once the cattle is weaned they are given a diet of grains and often animal products. They may still spend some of their time on a pasture, but their grass diet is supplemented.

Also, because the aim is to fatten them up as soon as possible, they are usually given hormones to help reach that goal. This creates a lot of stress in the animals and often a lot of sickness as well, which is then treated with massive doses of antibiotics.

Pastured beef usually spend the majority of their time on a pasture, but this label by itself doesn't tell you anything about what they eat. It could be all grass but then again it could just as easily be grain supplemented with hormones.

Lately I have also found "corn finished pastured beef" which again tells you nothing other than it's definitely been fed corn.

Grass fed beef is defined by the American Grass Fed Association as beef from cattle that have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk and fresh grasses or grass-type hay from birth to harvest.

Natural meat is defined by the USDA as not containing any artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives, or artificial or synthetic ingredients, and does not undergo any processing that fundamentally alters the raw product. However, again, this doesn't tell you what they have eaten. It could be "natural" grain.

Organic beef is fed organic feed (which may include grain) that does not contain any animal byproducts or growth hormones. Organic animals are not given antibiotics, must have access to the outdoors, and producers must certify that no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used on farm land for at least three years prior to certification.

So as you can see, with all these different labels the average consumer really needs to do some research to know what they are actually buying.

As for cooking grass fed beef, the biggest mistake people make is to cook it too long. Grass fed beef is naturally a lot leaner than grain fed beef and can become very hard and chewy if overcooked. Cook it on a lower heat and bring it to room temperature before you start to cook.

For specific guidelines for cooking different beef cuts check out :

For more information on the differences between grain and grass fed check out :

And of course I can't leave out my favorite website :

Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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