According to Mother Earth News, “Supermarket beef is an unnatural, industrial product. The good news is there are better and safer options.” The basic idea? Industrialized cows are freaks of nature.
Okay, so if you shouldn’t eat industrialized meat, what should you do?
Well, folks, it’s time for Food Renegade Newbie Tip #3.
Switch to grass-fed beef and other pastured meats.
In my opinion, this is far more important than finding a local source of organic vegetables, and it goes hand-in-hand with Newbie Tip #2 (Start eating healthy fats.)
Why is it so important?
Three letters: CLA.
What is CLA?
It’s Conjugated Linoleic Acid, and scientific research is proving time and again that this stuff:
- Combats cancer (source)
- Fights clogged arteries (source)
- Reduces body fat (source) (source)
- Delays the onset of diabetes (source)
You can only find CLA in animals that eat green things (like cows)! And when cows are raised on pasture, eating grass right up until slaughter? Well, that’s when CLA levels are the highest. From a local (to me) grass-fed beef vendor’s site:
Recent studies in Europe indicated that patients with higher levels of CLA in breast tissue had less tumor growth. Other animal studies have correlated CLA with decreasing body fat and increasing lean body mass. One study showed that humans receiving CLA had a significant decrease in body fat as compared to the placebo group. Yet other research has shown that CLA delays the onset of diabetes and aids the battle against arteriosclerosis (coronary artery disease).
There are good fats, fats that contain essential nutrients for life and health. In the American diet, beef and milk fat are the best sources for CLA. But studies have also shown that the cattle’s diet has a significant impact on the amount of CLA in the meat and dairy products. Not surprisingly, when cattle eat their natural diet, foraging pasture grasses and legumes, CLA levels are 30-40% higher. CLA levels drop dramatically in feed lots where cattle are fed grain and other byproduct feedstuff.
On top of the benefits of extra, naturally-occuring CLA, grass-fed and pastured meats also contain a much more natural balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids.
The ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids in a typical store bought egg are 20:1. In a truly free-range, pastured hen, it’s 1.5:1! In industrial beef, the ratio is 21:1, but in grass-fed beef it’s usually 3:1 and can be as low as 1:1!
What does it matter? Why should I care what the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids in my diet is?
Because we now know that a balanced diet should contain an Omega-6 to 3 ratio of 4:1 or less. (source) Imbalance causes weight gain and contributes to chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, and depression. Because of the industrialization of our food supply, the typical American diet contains an Omega-6 to 3 ratio of 20:1!
This is why doctors everywhere are now telling people to increase their intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s not that we need more Omega-3s in our diet, per se. It’s just that we need a healthy balance of Omega-3s to Omega-6s, and that’s nearly impossible within our industrialized food chain.
Where To Find Grass-Fed & Wild Meats
If you can’t find grass-fed meats locally, buy them online.
These folks sell grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, and poultry in addition to butter from grass-fed cows, raw Amish cheese, and raw honey. What’s not to love?
Looking for more Newbie Tips? Check out the list here.