Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What I did on Labor Day: Meeting the Meat


Believe it or not, I was a vegetarian for maybe 15 years. I used to ride and show quarter horses when I was little, and couldn't conscience the thought of eating any of my friends on the farm.

Fast forward to our son's digestive problems and the diet that helps it ever so much: no wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, mercury-loaded fish, peanuts...etc. So after I did a bunch of research on the very healthiest meat possible, we came up with...(drumroll please) grassfed beefalo.

Huh? Whuzzat? Beefalo is part beef part bison. Bison are a bit too wild to farm, in that they don't take kindly to fences. But a buffalo-cow mix keeps a little wildness in the food--helpful in this growing culture of monoculture.

Ted and his son Ted (shown here in stereo) farm their beefaloes with much care and attention on some wide-open acreage in Exeter, RI, where the beefaloes clomp around and eat grass (which Ted fertilizes with chicken poo, as befits the natural nitrogen life cycle), and enjoy whatever outdoor activities beefaloes like to do (Frisbee?).

You can get lots of great info on the advantages of eating and locating grassfed meat on Eatwild.com, where we found Ted. Suffice it to say that cows and other ruminants are not meant to eat corn, so when we make them eat it, that's why their tummies hurt and you have to load 'em up with all sorts of antibiotics, which then breeds nasty pathogens like E. Coli, and then on top of that the meat has no beneficial essential fatty acids because that comes from grass (similar to the way fish get it wild from the grass of the sea, i.e., algae, but those sickly colored, later dyed-pink industrially raised salmon thus don't have the EFAs for which you are probably buying it and eating it!)

Not to mention it's fresh-fresh-fresh. Ted gets his beefalo processed at a USDA approved plant and we pick it up, and J loves to eat it raw. I am still haunted by the sad beefalo faces we saw when we visited his farm (and I accept it as my karmic penance), but all our guests rave about our burgers and steaks. Even better, buying it in bulk saves $, so it's really not super duper expensive, and it's always a nice social occasion to see Ted & Ted. (I promised him some kimchi to help ward off bird flu, but alas, no organic cabbage in sight at Whole Foods.)

I just made a bunch of jerky from some raw meat (surprisingly good), and I'm excited to try this easy-to-take-along-meal on our next trip. Stay tuned for a review of our Excalibur Dehydrator, my new favorite toy.

9 comments:

melissa said...

you can get EFA from red meat? Really? I had no idea. Is it comparable to fish? I've been cutting down on the red meat, only one meal a week. Perhaps I should switch to beefalo...

Green Fertility Marie said...

Yep yep yep. I'm not sure if volume wise it's comparable to fish, but it has the right balance of EFAs and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).

Here's something I found for you on http://www.hearthealthynaturalbeef.com/articles.htm

In addition to having an extra helping of CLA, products from pastured animals have an ideal balance of essential fatty acids or EFAs. There are two families of EFAs-omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to a new French study, when women eat food that is relatively rich in omega-3s and low in omega-6s, they have a 76 percent reduction in their risk of breast cancer. Products from grass fed (also known as grassfed or grass-fed) animals and wild game have this ideal ratio of EFAs. (Maillard, V., P. Bougnoux, P. Ferrari, M. L. Jourdan, M. Pinault, F. Lavillonniere, G. Body, O. Le Floch, and V. Chajes. "Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids in Breast Adipose Tissue and Relative Risk of Breast Cancer in a Case-Control Study in Tours, France." Int J Cancer 98, no. 1 (2002): 78-83.)

melissa said...

I found a local-ish (do you consider a 40 minute drive local?) farm that has grass fed beef (not beefalo) and free range eggs. the ground beef (90% lean) is $5 a pound. That doesn't sound too bad considering the small production and I'm sure the quality is excellent. Plus it's local and better for me. I pay about $2.50 a pound now for the non-grass-fed meat factory beef.

Green Fertility Marie said...

that's not a bad price...plus i think ou'll see the diff in the taste!!

~elise said...

thanks for the link! found some great places near me including a CSA farm! (too bad their membership is full for 2006...I"m wait listed for 2007) I'll be visiting the local butcher, grassfed of course, today! it is just 10min. away! and the CSA farm is a hopskipjump down my street!

Green Fertility Marie said...

You go, Green Girl! And Bon(e) apetit

melvin said...

Melvin here, from Heart Healthy Natural Beef.
Grass fed beef does have more Omega-3 EFA than grain fed beef, but not even close to what wild fish has.
The bad news is that most of it is found in the fat. The good news is that grass fed fat has up to 500 times less saturated fat than grain fed fat. In fact,you can check for the difference by seeing what happens to the fat in the pan once it cools down. It will NOT turn white and solid. Grass fed fat will gell some and from a skin only. Sloppy joes won't leave that orange gunk after things cool down. I call this the sludge test for grain/grass fed beef fat. Also a good way to see if the producer is cheating by feeding a lot of grain.
It has been shown that beef from old style UK cattle breeds have better beef than other breeds if neither are fed grain. I don't know how beefalo rates.

Green Fertility Marie said...

Thanks, Melvin. What a great visual. We have indeed made some very tasty jerky from our grassfed guys...fat messes jerky up and ours have been very lean.

Tim said...

Good JOb! :)