If you’re like me and you love a big juicy steak, there can be a whole lot of information to digest when perusing [pronounced perooozing] your local grocery store or butcher’s counter for the perfect cut of beef. You have to think about the different cuts of meat that require different cooking techniques, which pieces are more expensive and which are a lot easier on the wallet, do you want the bone in or do you want to go boneless. But before you even get to all that shit you might want to think about a quality of beef that’s often overlooked.
That is, what your cow was fed and how it was treated before it was anywhere near the butcher’s knife.
Ugh, who cares? Does it really matter? Yup. Yup it does and I’ll tell you why.
Cramming beef cattle into feedlots and feeding them grain to fatten them up is probably one of the dumbest ideas… ever. Cows are meant to eat grass and that is what they most efficiently turn into the meat on their bones. Instead, on feedlots, they are being fed enormous quantities of corn, soy-based protein supplements, antibiotics, and growth hormones to go from 80 pounds at birth to 1,200 pounds in just over a year. It’s not efficient, it’s not good for the cows, and it’s definitely not good for anyone eating the cows.
Grain fed cows bloat, they get acidosis, ulcers, diarrhea, a weakened immune system. The cows are sick and essentially dying. Then they slaughter them and package them, and put their sick meat on all the grocery store shelves for us to pick up. Hello mad cow disease. Hello E.Coli. Hello superbugs able to withstand every antibiotic known to man. I know it sounds like I’m being dramatic, but it’s all true and very well hidden from an uninformed public.
Hands-down, grass-fed is more nutritious. These cows are getting the nutrients they need from grass, without all the added stress and abuse cattle encounters on a feedlot. According to the Journal of Animal Science, meat from grass-fed cows has less total fat and saturated fat, and almost twice as much healthy Omega-3 fats (one of those essential fatty acids your body loves). It also has up to 4x the amount of Vitamin E that grain fed beef does, and more conjugated linoleic acid, associated with lower cancer risk.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…
Organic does not mean grass-fed. They are different. Look for grass-fed, ask for grass-fed, inquire about grass-fed. The more we say it, the more grocery stores, butchers, restaurants, and farmers will realize that’s what we want. We drive the market. Our dollars make all the difference. [I’m real fired up about this if you can’t tell.]
On that note, grass fed is more expensive, but we should be okay with that. You’re paying more for better quality beef. That good quality directly transfers to your good health. So, buy a little less. You shouldn’t be shelling out tons of money for grass-fed beef every night because you shouldn’t be eating beef every night. You can’t eat the same foods day in and day out. Variety is key to a healthy diet.
Woah. Your brain is full of knowledge now. Can you feel it? We can see it. There’s probably no room to think for a few hours so here is the simplest, most delicious seared skirt steak recipe for ya. Soak it all in and eat some grass-fed beef.
Rosemary Skirt Steak
1 skirt steak, sliced into 3 or 4 strips
salt and pepper
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Heat a tablespoon or two over medium heat in your pan. Add roughly chopped rosemary sprigs and cook until fragrant. Add in skirt steak and cook until browned and beautiful. BOOM, easy as that.
Keep it simple and keep it real. Serve with some sweet potatoes or acorn squash and a healthy heaping of garlicky spinach.