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Here's a point to keep in mind. There are many myths out there in the nutrition field. The Internet is loaded with them. Therefore, if I were dishonest and repeated the feel-good myths so many believe, I could sell more meat. But I'm so stubborn I tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may. This is called straight talk and I do not go easy on the phony feel good myths.
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A: First of all, keep in mind that I am a nutritional fanatic. But that doesn't mean I subscribe to voodoo science, the latest scares going around, or myths. I learned about what is and is not proper nutrition by studying peer-reviewed science. It got me into the grass-fed meat business. It was the peer-reviewed science that got me to start eating like a cavemen in 1999. Over the years I have advanced my knowledge about proper nutrition considerably. I have studied all aspects of nutrition, food production, and food and continue to ask questions and get answers. In addition I have my own story to tell about improving my health that unequivocally underscores the fact that The Real Diet of Man works. So it is with that background that I answer all questions. It's from experience.
We are way beyond organic. For a fact organic is rather meaningless when it comes to food safety and nutrition. It is primarily based on the concept that anything chemical touched by man is bad yet the same chemical (or other chemicals) in natural form are good. Obviously that approach is based on mythology.
The truth is -- most food borne illnesses are sourced to 100% organic things such as viruses, bacteria, molds, and fungi. Some of the deadliest toxins on earth are 100% organic -- think botulism for only one instance. The majority of toxins that plague all Americans are mycotoxins and they are 100% organic sourced. And organic food products, such as organic grain, are just as destructive to the human body as are conventionally raised grains and grain-based food products, and so on.
As for heritage critters, that in itself means nothing when it comes to nutrition. It refers to old breeds of critters (bred to be the old breeds they are by man hundreds of years ago) that have been replaced by newer "blood lines" of the same critters that have been bred by man in more recent times. Usually the heritage breeds are less efficient for numerous reasons. The nutritional characteristics of any animal we eat is totally dependent on what the animal eats and nothing else. (Of course that refers to a healthy animal.) As for critters selectively bred by man, well that is the same thing Mother Nature does. For instance deer from different regions of the nation, even though of the same breed, differ in some ways in order to adapt to their local environment.
You will not find grass-fed meat chickens anywhere. Nearly all meat chickens are raised in what is called a "pastured" environment and they are called "pastured chickens." That is explained in detail in the pastured poultry section of my Web site.
Grass-fed, if the producer of the critters actually understands what that means and actually raises 100% grass-fed critters, is very meaningful in terms of nutrition for not only the animal but the person who eats it. My Web site is loaded with information on the actual nutritional benefits of eating like, what I refer to, as a caveman. Please check out these Web site pages: Science Links, Omega-3 Essays, and Food Analysis.
If you are focused on eating foods that are nutritionally perfect and in getting the straight scoop on what you are eating, you've come to the right place. If you are interested in mostly following popular fads (which is what I call the many beliefs reinforced by certain folks and the media who really do not understand the sound science behind livestock and nutrition), then you are not at the right place. I do want new business, but I want my customers to be buying from us for the right reasons, not for beliefs that will not hold up over time as the general population learns the truth about food and food production. Today, there are many very popular Web sites that rely on scare tactics, mumbo jumbo, and feel good rhetoric that is preposterously off base and in some cases outright distortions of the truth. We refuse to stoop to those kinds of low-life deceptive tactics to get a sale. We tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may.
Thank you for asking a good question.
Q: Hi, I'm interested in buying your meats and have skimmed through your Web site and when I read the first question in your FAQ about organic I was not satisfied with the response. Do you or don't you give any of your critters antibiotics, hormones, etc.? What exactly does "we're beyond organic" mean? Also, would you happen to know if the grass/plants they feed on are heavily sprayed with pesticides or not? I have multiple chemical sensitivities and need to be very careful and do as much research as possible on the products I consume or bring into my environment.
I have been curing myself of Graves disease, without any medications/surgery, etc., which most doctors will never say is possible but my lab work clearly demonstrates reversal of the disease and normalization of labs. Graves disease is thought to be at least partially caused by environmental toxins according to some of the research (if you recall the whole Bush family, even the dog, got it as soon as they entered the White House). So to me "organic" is not at all meaningless, or "fad". And having studied chemistry and microbiology, biology, etc., and knowing viruses or arsenic, etc., can be "organic", to state this in the discussion seems like a matter of semantics and skirting the issue of organic.
It is simply the argument against using the word "natural" which truly is meaningless. Viruses, arsenic, etc., are natural but not necessarily good. That's the naturalistic fallacy, that all that is natural is better, which seems more like what you were referring to in your response. USDA certified organic, however, has a different meaning. It actually has meaning. Unlike saying "we're beyond organic." And I know many wonderful farmers that are not USDA certified organic but they follow the same philosophies and are able to clearly and honestly articulate and delineate their practices, and philosophies, and so I would still readily buy from them. So I would like to know more about your practices, please, if it's not too insulting to even ask (I read your response to the question about ethical practices).
A: To begin with, all living things have hormones. And, as stated in many places on our Web site, we do not feed antibiotics nor provide additional hormones to our critters. But let's address the bigger issues here. The creator of the "beyond organic" term is Joel Salatin -- the farmer star in the movie Food Inc. He laughs at the "organic" label as being meaningless because it in no way addresses the health issues Americans labor under. It's the basic chemistry of the food items that can be either beneficial or destructive and the quantity of food ingested is HUGE compared to whatever else enters the body. But the mob blames all its health problems on everything except the basic chemistry of the food it demands to eat. (Right the public votes with its dollars and they insist on eating the foods they eat. Nobody forces them to eat modern-day traditional food.)
Secondly, Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder and for over three decades now it is a well known fact that the omega-3 deficiency that plagues all Americans can literally destroy the immune system. Additionally, immune system dysfunction can be exacerbated by toxins -- mycotoxins produced by fungi within and outside our bodies. And it is a known fact that the greatest toxic load in our foods is mycotoxins from fungi and molds. Agricultural chemicals don't even measure in comparison.
Your body has sensitivities because of an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency (immune disorder) and the consumption of foods with high glycemic loads (resulting in mycotoxin overloads). The mycotoxins make agricultural chemicals look rather benign. Now think about the White House. Pretty old building, probably loaded with mold and fungus throughout.
"Beyond organic" means that real issues are being addressed, not false ones. Organic is by no means an answer to any chronic disease. (Please look at our Science Links for far more in-depth information.) Just because man formulates a chemical compound from natural elements that in itself does not mean that compound is bad. On the flip side, just because a chemical compound has been formulated naturally (mycotoxin for instance) does not mean it is good. Now you can believe whatever you want, but if your immune system is damaged, you can be allergic to 100% natural things that in no way a human should be react to. For instance, hay fever, which plagued me for decades, had my body reacting negatively to natural grass pollens as if they were toxic chemicals. After I learned how to eat proper foods and my Omega-3 deficit disappeared, my hay fever symptoms also disappeared. Was it because I no longer exposed myself to the pollen? No. It was because my immune system started functioning properly.
Nobody in agriculture heavily sprays their pastures with pesticides (unless they want to destroy themselves financially), except for city folks who put applications on their yards and gardens. Only city folks make applications that are excessive because they do not operate under the natural forces that saddle all ranchers and farmers which is to be economically and environmentally sustainable. Plus city folks do not have to be licensed nor are they monitored. Additionally, ag chemicals are intended to be used in food production. They have short half lives and break down in the environment. There are virtually no reports at the CDC for poisonings from ag chemicals, but there are tens of thousands annually from people getting sick from eating foods contaminated with 100% natural, organic contaminants.
Yes, in the big picture organic is totally meaningless when it comes to nutrition and health. If our nation's entire food system was organic today, the number of food safety issues would be exactly the same and the incidences of chronic disease would also be exactly the same. So, one can either follow a false pied piper in an attempt to be healthy, or go after the real basic issues of the chemistry of the food itself. In the latter case the only way one can get it right is to eat the same kind of foods man ate for all of time before he started inventing foods and concocting them. For those of us who take this approach the results are astounding. And we can prove it more ways than one. If you doubt this, check this out: Natural Cures.
Our approach here is that we can market our products with demeaning feel good rhetoric that has no basis in fact, or we can tell the story as it really is. I choose the latter method because unless our customers understand the real basic issues and they themselves address them head on, they will never achieve the real goal they seek with the foods they eat -- which is to be healthy. So, we tell it like it is and let the myth followers go on about their business. Yes, we lose business to others who use the feel-good tactics, but in most cases those folks are not all that healthy and neither are their customers. We care a great deal about our health and the health of our customers, but from there on it's all up to you and your beliefs. We deal in facts; peer-reviewed scientific facts. It's good science that got us into this grass-fed niche back in 1999 and we will not compromise our search for the truth to gain a sale.
By the way, would you like to know what your essential fatty acid balance really is? Try this: www.Omega3Test.com. We have and we know. When you take the test make sure to put "SLANKER" in the Offer Code. You'll save some money. You can download my test off this page.
A: There are some people who have demonized vaccinations. Yet in actual fact there are far more important questions to ask in terms of foods safety and nutrition than to worry about vaccinations. Just because you asked though, I'm sure you believe they are bad and I'm a twit for answering in the affirmative for vaccinations. But I am a nutritional fanatic. I eat for my health. And for a fact, I won't eat stuff that endangers my health. And for another fact, I will not needlessly expose my cattle to diseases that can have cataclysmic consequences in order to satisfy a few people for a needless concern.
As stated in my article Autism and Omega-3 Fatty Acids vaccinations get bad billing in some quarters, but concerns about vaccinations are myths -- not scientific fact. Why just recently it was discovered that "studies" regarding vaccinations linked to Autism were totally fabricated! My article was written before the "revelations" of those fabrications because it was only common sense that antibodies are not a health hazard!
Yes, all cattlemen worth their salt want to minimize diseases -- some of which can get whole herds condemned if they crop up. Since vaccinations do not have any negative consequences in terms of nutrition, all professional cattlemen will use them. If vaccines were a health hazard, that would mean even natural immunity in an animal could or would be nutritionally dangerous. If that was the case toxicologists would be up in arms about the problems antibodies were causing in the general population. Obviously, they are not concerned. On the other hand professional nutritionists are up in arms about the dangers of eating grain -- yet the mob refuses to listen.
Vaccines take advantage of a natural reaction in any animal to develop immunity against disease. It is a natural thing that is induced in a controlled way, rather than by an epidemic that may kill off half of a population before immunity develops. For instance, when I was young, many children would get polio. Today, polio is virtually nonexistent. Let me tell you, the vaccine did wonders.
We will continue to use vaccines to create immunity in our herds for better health for all -- the cattle and our consumers.
I hope you are more concerned about EFAs, fungal infestations, and the incredible dangers inherent in eating any grain, grain-based foods, grain-fed livestock products, and high glycemic foods than you are about whether or not antibodies are somehow a nutritional hazard.
This question reminds me of people asking to purchase colostrum from us. Colostrum is crucial for newborn farm animals and is also important for nearly all mammals. Newborn calves for instance receive no passive transfer of immunity via the placenta before birth, so any antibodies that they need have to be ingested. This oral transfer of immunity can occur because the newborn's stomach is porous. This means that large proteins (such as antibodies) can pass through the stomach wall. The newborn animal must receive colostrum within 6 hours of being born for maximal transfer of antibodies to occur. The stomach wall remains somewhat open up to 24 hours of age, but transfer is more limited.
Why people think antibodies in colostrum for a calf will work for them is beyond me. Even the calf can only absorb them into their system within the first 24 hours following birth. But anyway, I look at that "request" as the opposite side of the very question you asked. They want antibodies and you do not want antibodies. Interesting.
Q: I am interested in purchasing your grass-fed beef products. I live near Detroit, Michigan, and notice that the shipping charges are best for 60 lbs. packages. Is this an error on your Web site, or is this really the correct shipping fee? In other areas of your site, you state a 4% discount for orders greater than 60 lbs. and less than 150 lbs. Is this excluding the shipping charge?
A: UPS adds a surcharge on orders over 70 pounds. The surcharge is greater for shorter distances than longer distances. You can see the impact of the surcharge in our Shipping Cost Estimator located in the Shipping Information section of our Web site under ORDERING MEAT. For one-, two-, and three-day shipping orders the lowest cost per pound for shipping meat is in a box holding about 65 pounds of meat. The weight of the meat and the weight of the insulated box takes the total weight to right at 70 pounds. On 65-pound orders we give a 4% discount on the meat order. On orders exceeding 130 pounds we give an 8% discount. On orders exceeding 195 pounds we give a 12% discount. In all cases when orders exceed 70 pounds we pick shipping options that provide the lowest cost per pound. In other words we may ship in two boxes rather than one if it's less expensive. Our goal is for our customers to spend more on meat and less on shipping.
Most meat purveyors on the Web ship by Second Day Air. That's usually $2 or $3 a pound no matter what. That's way too expensive and, I can assure you, no one can afford to absorb that cost-per-pound on a $6 per pound food item. "Free shipping" is literally an enticing come-on for heavy products, but there is no way to fudge on shipping when you ship really big orders like we do. Therefore we have a different approach. We build a box that can withstand the rigors of UPS Ground and are very successful at it. We sell the meat for an easily recognized price and let you know what the real shipping cost is for your order.
When you use the Shipping Cost Estimator you have to read between the lines. Rarely does an order come to an even number like those we depict. Our customers order exactly what they want consequently none of the orders we ship are the same. In order to have boxes for "every option" we have over 70 different box configurations.
In most cases we can have UPS deliver the world's finest grass-fed meat to your front door for less than it costs to buy nutritionally deficient, natural, grain-fed beef at your local Whole Foods store.
Q: I need no sales job on the virtues of meat from creatures eating what they evolved to eat, having been graced by the presence of a fine hen who took up residence in my highly diverse city yard (really! native plants and lots of them). She made her living strictly from my yard and the one next door, neither of which suffered the assaults of chemical agents. Her eggs were enormous, the yolks nearly red, and intensely flavored.
Well anyway, on to my question. One utterly compelling reason I have forsaken eating meat is the cruelty inherent in the whole process. Feedlots, factory farms, brutality in shipping, slaughtering practices that allow still living animals to be butchered all make it impossible for me to participate in the economic support of this unethical, unhealthy system. But, make no mistake. I am a carnivore. If I knew a skilled and ethical hunter, I'd happily buy from him (her?) and live on venison and the tasty wild swine that infest all our natural areas in Florida.
So, tell me true, here. Who does the slaughtering and how do they do it? I saw no mention of cruelty-free practices on your producers' page, so I must ask the question.
A: One of the many myths of the modern meat industry is the "cruelty to animal" myth. For starters the USDA has a book full of rules about humane treatment and humane slaughter and their inspectors are standing there watching when animals are being slaughtered. But that isn't good enough for most industry members (you can always find a slob here or there). The vast majority of meat processors are trying to adhere to Temple Grandin's standards and they are tough -- much tougher than the USDA's. Go to http://www.grandin.com/ and you will see what I mean. This lady is world famous. In fact our working facilities on our ranch were designed by her. There are many reasons why humane slaughter is so important and folks don't have to be concerned about it. The biggest reason may be that the more excited an animal is before it dies (for instance imagine an animal that knows it's being hunted) the worst the eating characteristics of its meat. When our critters are slaughtered they literally will not know what hit them and will not know it was coming. And that's true for what I'd say is over 99% (mistakes happen) of all the many millions of kills made each year here in America. I doubt that there's a hunter alive that could claim a record of humanely and quickly killing critters that could even approach that of a modern slaughter facility.
Another point here. In one of her books Grandin wrote about operating the stun gun in a slaughter plant and killing cattle. To her it approached a religious experience and her concern for quickness and humane treatment was what it was all about.
Another point; even the transporters of cattle are under the gun (so to speak) of the humane treatment guidelines of the USDA. And the packer industry supports the rules because it means they end up with a higher quality product.
We do not brag up our humane treatment because that improperly implies that most others are cruel. That would be deceptive advertising on our part and we do not play that game. Although, you'll find that others do through ignorance or because of their desperate attempt to sell folks with sleight of hand rather than straightforward facts. Click on USDA for its take on humane slaughter. Also check our take on the infamous Chino, California meat plant animal cruelty fiasco. In addition go to our National Disgrace page. And if that's not enough read The War on Modern Agriculture. Thanks for asking the question. It is a good one . . . but it's also a very insulting question to ask any professional cattleman. Think about that for a moment.
Q: I found out about your company through a friend on Facebook. I have a corn allergy so grassfed meat is something I have been looking for. However, I have questions as to how the animals are slaughtered and how the processing equipment is cleaned and how the meat is packaged. Especially problematic: Lactic acid (for cleaning equipment) and citric acid (preservative used in soaker pads) are most often made from corn and will make the meat inedible for a corn allergic person. I'm hoping that you do not use any corn derivatives on the equipment, the meat, or the packaging. Attached is a very long list of the corn derivatives commonly found in foods (some on the list might not be sourced from corn), medications, and vitamins. I actively avoid all that are sourced from corn.
Thanks for taking the time to look into this for me. I will definitely share your answer with my corn-avoiding friends in the Facebook group Corn Allergy/Intolerance.
A: A chemical compound or element derived from corn is not anything like corn. For instance, water (pure H2O) derived from corn is pure water just like distilled water. Oxygen derived from corn would be pure oxygen (O). Here is a list of the PRIMARY elements found in corn: Al, B, C, Ca, Cu, H, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, O, P, S, Sr, Zn.
Here is a link to the Table of the Elements.
Citric acid and lactic acid are particular chemical compounds. From where they are derived has no relationship to the composition of the original more complex compound from which they may come. Corn is a very complex compound because in addition to C, H, O it contains Al, B, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, P, S, Sr, and Zn. This is an unequivocal fact that is lost on many.
Now lets turn to lactic and citric acids. Note that the chemical formulas for lactic acid and citric acid are very similar, and in no way can they replicate corn. That's because they are missing many, many other elements.
Molecular formula C6H8O7
Molecular formula C3H6O3
The building blocks for all living things contain C, H, O. Without them you would not exist as a living thing. But all living things contain other elements and in varying quantities. That's why they are different. So an element derived from corn is that element and that element alone because all the other properties of corn are subtracted out.
Understanding chemical science is why I know that the term "organic" is the most misunderstood, con word in the food business. Because I know something about chemistry, I also know the difference between grain-fed meats and grass-fed meats. Also, because of an understanding of the chemistry of animal body function I know that there are certain properties in corn that are very damaging to human body function and those same properties are also in all other grains such as oats, rice, wheat, rye, etc. The world is chemical -- all of it. And when it comes to nutrition and the reasons for why one should eat grass-fed meats, chemistry is the basis for knowing why. So I don't ignore chemistry on one hand and embrace the very same kind of chemistry on the other.
BTW, if a cow eats a corn plant before it sets seed, it will be eating a very nutritious grass plant that is very good for the cow and very healthy for us if we eat the cow. But if the cow eats the seed (the corn seeds that come from the cob) then the picture changes. That's true with all grasses. All grains come from annual grass plants.
I have dealt with your question numerous times. The answer is always the same. Many of our customers have food allergies and when they eat our grass-fed meats and stick to the Real Diet of Man they solve their health problems. The concerns you are expressing are not hazards to ones health. So with or without lactic acid the results will be the same.
I wrote this article in 1998. Corn: It's What's Bad for You. Therefore this topic of corn and nutrition is not new to me.
If you eat a proper diet that ends up balancing the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the membranes of your body's cells, you will end up very healthy. You can measure that balance with a blood lipid test. From where the lactic acid is derived that is used to clean equipment will have no bearing on the results of your diet one way or the other. The food will make all the difference.
One more point. Lactic acid is naturally found in all animals, even your own body. http://www.lactic-acid.com/in_the_human_body.html
Q: I purchased grassfed beef from someone else and the meat tasted terrible. I can usually put up with a terrible taste but this was horrible. My husband and son asked what was wrong with the meat, it tasted terrible. They said do not use that meat again.
I'm so afraid maybe your grassfed meat is terrible tasting. You spend a good price on the meat and it is horrible. Is there a guarantee of money back if the meat tastes bad, not spoiled?
I thought I would e-mail you and ask you if you have a guarantee if the meat tastes terrible.
A: Taste has a lot to do with mental conditioning. Most Americans are conditioned to eat grain, grain-based foods, and grain-fed livestock products and like the stuff. The consequences of this is that the massive imbalance of fats, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients naturally found in grain has destroyed the health of most Americans and today 70% of all deaths in our country are due to chronic disease. For more on this check out "90 Million Americans Can't Be Wrong."
The foundation food for all animal life on the planet is the green leafy plant (on land it's grass and leaves of trees and bushes and in water it's plankton and algae). The balance of essential fatty acids (required for life) in green leafy plants are perfect for all animal bodies including yours and mine. (See the fatty acid profile of our meats at Fatty Acid Analysis.) The balance of fats in grain is devastating to all animal bodies.
Wild fish taste fishy because of their high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. All grass-fed meats taste fishy, grassy, or gamy because of their high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. The flavor of Omega-3 fatty acids is foreign to most Americans because they almost never eat any foods containing even minimal amounts of it. This is why they suffer so from chronic disease. You and your family have been eating America's concocted foods for so long you don't have a clue as to how real foods actually taste. Therefore I can guarantee you that over time your family will suffer from one or more chronic diseases like all other Americans. But if you are willing to change, then along with that you must change your lifestyle (real foods are less convenient), your spending habits (real foods cost more), and your judgments for what is good flavors and bad. Unless you and your family members make this commitment to change there's no sense to even think about nutrition. Just continue on eating America's garbage and keep your health insurance paid up.
No, we do not guarantee that you will like the taste of our meats. Some people like them right away. Others learn to acquire a taste for them and afterwards they can't stand the taste of America's concocted foods and grain-fed meats. Others just go on about their lives the same way as always and just resign themselves to obesity, diabetes, cancer, lupus, heart disease, arthritis, allergies, mental disorders, and the list of ailments associated with the Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency goes on and on and on and on and on.
Our Web site's "real food" Condiments section may offer some solutions to help you get over the adjustment hump. Also, we've heard that some folks put a little lemon juice on their grass-fed meats just like they do their fish. Real grass-fed meat eaters just eat the meat because they relish its outstanding real meaty flavor. In fact many of our customers come from foreign countries that do not have grain-fed meats and they buy our meats because to them America's grain-fed meats taste terrible.
Q: Out of curiosity, why do the people who age beef two weeks to 20 days or more brag about it like it's a good thing? “XYZ” Beef ranchers have been doing this (raising grass-fed beef) for years and I think they're one of the ones with 21-day dry aging. With all of their experience, it made me think that was the way to go. Then I read where another major vendor, “ABC” Beef, uses wet aging and talks dry aging down. See? CONFUSION! What do you do and why?
A: The standard for aging beef is not two weeks or even three weeks as many beef people believe. Ninety percent of the tenderness improvement from aging is achieved by day nine. Going beyond that dries out the carcass more than it improves tenderness. Only really fat, super grain-fed critters can be hung longer without excessive shrinkage because of their greater fat cover. From slaughter through processing our meats are aged nine days, then all cuts are frozen and the aging process stops. If you want to age your beef more, you can thaw it out in a refrigerator and wait a few days before cooking it. The aging process takes up where it left off. If you did this, thawed out the packaged meat and left it in the sealed package in the refrigerator, this final process would be called “wet aging.”
Folks who brag up their long aging processes don't have a clue about what they're doing. There are many dozens of scientific meat studies involving shear force tests, etc., etc. on meats and aging methods and times. We believe our approach best balances overall meat quality from all the scientific work that has been done on it. Also, practical experience has been added to the equation. By the way, another experience factor is that at some point aging can actually get to a deterioration point where the meat can taste rotten! That can happen in less than 21 days. (For more on that click here.)
I can add to this that wet aging involves primal cuts and in some cases the final meat cuts. That means the carcass is broken and the primal cuts (and in some cases the final meat cuts) are packaged in plastic vacuumed packs. There is some weight loss (liquid loss), which is actually about the same as dry aging from this process because instead of a carcass staying together (only split down the center) it is cut up in much smaller pieces creating more places for liquid loss. Aging is a factor of temperature and time. The warmer it is above freezing the faster it ages. The standard temperature for aging meats is 32 degrees. Therefore there is no degradation in the nutritional characteristics of the meats. The net difference between wet aging and dry aging for nine day periods is probably nil.
All beef (and most other meats for that matter) is aged to some degree prior to processing unless it all goes into a grinder the day it is slaughtered and quick frozen. Aging has been with us since man ate the first critter too big to eat at one sitting. It's a standard function of the entire modern-day meat business so we don't believe it's a bragging point. All this “bragging” about aging processes is similar to car manufacturers bragging that their cars have tires.
Q: I was surprised to find out that in your Best and Worst Foods essay you say coconut oil is bad for the body. Also, many health oriented web sites say Canola oil is poison and coconut oil is good. Please check this out. By the way, I am going to try your beef and pass your site on to my family who wants a good pork product.
A: I have studied the oils and have determined from the findings of reputable nutritional scientists that there are many misunderstandings regarding both oils. I've also read many of the sites supporting coconut oil (many people bring them to my attention) and they really slant the issues involved. For starters, the fatty acid profile of coconut oil is worse than GRAIN-fed beef! A one-ounce serving of coconut oil has about the same net quantity of Omega-6 over Omega-3 as does a three-ounce serving of grain-fed beef. (Coconut oil contains no Omega-3 Fatty acids, just Omega-6 fatty acids.) In the saturated fat category one-ounce of coconut oil has 24.2 grams of saturated fat versus 5.7 grams in a three-ounce serving of grain-fed beef.
The scary claims about Canola oil being toxic are fabrications and false.
Yes, coconut oil has some positive antifungal properties. In this respect coconut oil is like grain. Grain has many positive nutritional attributes. But grain's imbalance of fats makes it a disastrous food for man and beast. True, coconut oil has far less omega-6 fats than nearly all other oils. Therefore it is better than most oils in that respect. I have used it, but sparingly.
In my opinion a better oil for cooking is macadamia nut oil, which we sell in the condiment section. Far and away the best salad oils are Flax Seed oil and/or Fish oils. I do not use Canola oil because it is a heavy dose of Omega-6 fatty acids. Usually for cooking I prefer rendered grass-fed animal fats.
I've listed two sites below. The first is using the typical, unverified scare tactics. The second one is using peer-reviewed science. The first is spreading old wives tales, the second is relating proven fact. Also, in the second link we suggest that you proceed on to the link at the bottom of the article that compares corn oil with olive oil. That link also tells the tale about coconut oil. It will be an eye-opener for sure.
Beware of Canola Oil
"Canola oil comes from the rape seed, which is part of the mustard family of plants. Rape is the most toxic of all food-oil plants. Like soy, rape is a weed. Insects will not eat it; it is deadly poisonous! The oil from the rape seed is a hundred times more toxic than soy oil." John Thomas
Canola oil comes from a hybrid plant developed in Canada during the late 1960s - 1970s using traditional pedigree hybrid propagation techniques (not genetically modified) involving black mustard, leaf mustard, and turnip rapeseed. The original rapeseed plant was high in erucic acid, which is an unpalatable fatty acid having negative health effects in high concentrations. Canola oil contains less than 1% erucic acid. Actually, another name for Canola oil is LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed) oil.
For a complete breakdown of the Nutrient Profiles of Vegetable and Nut Oils this is the best link I've found so far. Drop half way down the page and you'll find a table of Fatty Acid Composition of Various Oils. It tells a beautiful story.
Q: I hope that you will be able to help me. I am in the process of switching to grass fed beef (and yes, I like the taste). I understand that it has higher CLAs, is rich in omega 3, and is lower in fat and calories. I log my food and have not been able to find basic data for grass fed beef (ie, calories, fat, saturated fat, protein) I realize that every cow is different but I am hoping that you have some numbers or can point me to a site that contains this basic data. My preferred choices in cuts are tenderloin, flank, and rump roast. Any help that you can provide would be deeply appreciated.
A: So, basically the question is: "What is the nutritional information regarding grass-fed beef or all grass-fed meats for that matter?" Well, let's put it this way. The Hunter Gatherer never logged his food. He just ate. The idea of logging food developed with the introduction of grain farming and the concocting of foods. When that happened and man starting eating grain, bodies started failing and man responded by trying to figure out what was wrong. So he sought out vitamins, minerals, and other nutrient supplements as he tried to achieve optimal health.
If you eat like a Hunter Gatherer it makes no sense whatsoever to try to log your food. That's because the diet of man prior to the invention of grain farming provided exactly 100% of his nutrient needs in perfect balance. For millions of years human bodies looked for no more or no less. Today, if you eat concocted foods, there is no way that logging the foods will give you the answers for appropriately calculating exactly what your body is missing, what it's overdosing on, and how to correct the problem. Therefore I believe that man is pretty arrogant if he thinks he can calculate what's required for optimal body function when he's not eating the Hunter Gatherer diet in the first place. There's not one professional nutritional scientist on the planet who believes man knows how to concoct the perfect diet (a concoction of nutrients he measures) other than to just simply eat the foods of the Hunter Gatherer.
And, future food for thought: Grass-fed meat is the only food group you can eat exclusively and still have optimal health. You can not do it with veggies, fruits, grains, seeds, and nuts. That's because the foundation food for all animal life is the green leaf. If you eat an animal that ate the green leaf you will get all the nutrients (known and unknown) for optimal body function in perfect balance. If you eat improper foods, they will create an imbalance and no amount of perfectly balanced grass-fed meats will be able to correct the imbalances.
For this reason and more reasons we leave it to others to try to figure out the numbers you request. It is totally unnecessary and will not provide the big picture because there is a far longer list of really important nutrients beyond the few you have asked for. For an example of what I mean about a list of nutrients go to this link for Nutritional Composition of Red Meats. Furthermore, the balance of essential nutrients is of critical importance. So, unless you know exactly the entire spectrum of nutrients that are required for optimal body function in addition to their appropriate relative weightings, then you will still be in the dark as to what to do with the few parameters you've asked for. So keep the quest for a "perfect" diet simple. Simply eat like a Hunter Gatherer (who always got it right) and forget about trying to figure out something even the best scientists can't possibly fathom.
For additional information on foods go to our Food Analysis page. For more information about fatty acid profiles in grass-fed meats go to Fatty Acid Analysis.
Q: I read your article on what to eat and avoid. My question is . . . how did this effect the longevity of the Caveman, and what do we do in place of dairy for calcium? I am curious to know if prehistoric man lived a longer life span on this consumption and where in history is their diet documented?
A: The Caveman's natural diet greatly improved his longevity. How could it not? It didn't cause chronic disease and it optimized his immune system. As you probably already know, his exposure to the elements was his greatest problem. Other than his immune system he had no protection against 100% natural organic toxins, bacteria, and viruses. Injuries could easily be fatal. Child birth probably claimed many women and children. Many infants died at an early age due to exposure. Starvation and extreme weather conditions also took their toll.
Today man has greatly improved his environmental factors and modern medicine is capable of putting people back together again after major accidents. But the modern foods of man cause chronic diseases that plague nearly 100% of the population and everyone sits around thinking their diseases are normal. The cavemen never had chronic disease so he would look at modern folks and wonder what's wrong with everyone and why so many are taking drugs to survive. In addition, he would be appalled to learn that one of the deadliest things people do is come under the care of doctors. (There are about 200,000 deaths a year due to medical malpractice!)
As for calcium, the last thing we need is dairy products. Think about this for a few minutes. A cow eats grass and grows very big, strong bones. A cat is almost an exclusive meat eater and it eats the flesh of cows. The cat ends up with real strong bones. The calcium all animal life needs will come from the green leaf -- not its seed. Therefore all animals that eat seeds (grain) will ends up with weak bones. (By the way, calcium is only one component of the many that make up bones.)
The documentation of what prehistoric man ate is pretty good. If you were a student of anthropology you'd know that what is known about prehistoric man far and away exceeds even the wildest imaginations of laymen. Also, anyone who spends time in the wild has a pretty good idea about early diets. For instance, I've been ranching for over 40 years. Hundreds of years ago Indians roamed the same area. I can tell you now that the plant and animal life here today is very similar to what existed back then. For a fact the Indians were not eating anything like what the modern man eats. Not even remotely close. The Indians ate mostly meat and some green leafy type plants. Yes, very seasonally they found some nuts and maybe some fruit. But in no way would they have survived without eating meat and green plants. That's why we find so many arrowheads in our country.
Take a walk in the wild outdoors sometime and just imagine what you would eat as you amble along the trail. Then ask yourself, "What would be growing alongside the trail all the other months of the year?" For a fact the vegetation would change with the seasons. So what you may find today may not be around for another 12 months. But the wild critters, they are there all the time.
Q: Hello! My husband and I are in the process of learning about grass-fed verses grain-fed meat. We have spoken to our local Whole Foods market and read your web site. Thank you for taking the time to put together the information on your site!
I do have a question for you. Our local market, who purchases beef locally said that it is vegetarian. That it is grass fed until 60 days prior to slaughter. At that time it is fed corn husks and potato skins. Is this the same as grain-fed? Is this what you do with your beef? When you say yours is grass-fed, is it for the entire life of the beef?
We are very interested in ordering beef from you and just need a little more clarification.
A: OK, good question. I believe your local market is selling Oregon Country Natural Beef. I guessed that even before I saw your Bend, OR address. I'm glad you included your address, because with it I am able to provide a better answer. Here's what OCNB's Web site says about their feed protocol:
Country Natural Beef cattle are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. For the first 14-18 months of the animal's life they are on native range grasses, seeded pastures and hay to assure a year around supply. Some ranches use winter growing lots where the cattle are fed a high roughage ration based on silages and hay before they come to the feedlot. They spend an average of three months at our gathering feedlot on a diet of potatoes, grain, and hay.
Country Natural Beef has been able to reduce the typical grain usage of 80% corn by combining corn, distiller's grain (a byproduct of ethanol) and sunflower seed screening for 32% of the feed. To complete the ration, they are fed about 60% cooked potato byproducts, 5% hay and 3% supplements and minerals. Feedlot activities focus toward keeping the fat in the muscle (marbling) at the High-Select/Low-Choice level to ensure quality for our customers.
What this means is that the cattle spend MORE THAN THREE MONTHS in a feedlot (the individual ranchers' "growing lots" plus the time in the centralized feedlot) being fed stuff that is in no way associated with the green leaf. Consequently the cattle produce what I would call "grain-potato-sun-flower-seed-fed beef." As you can see from our many articles about food, people should not eat grain, potatoes, or sunflower seeds. The same goes for cattle and cattle fed that kind of stuff. Potatoes are fungal hosts plus they are a very high glycemic food. Fungi put out mycotoxins and cooking does not destroy mycotoxins. Additionally, distiller's grain (a byproduct of ethanol) and sunflower seeds are a really horrible feed for cattle and people for that matter. Personally I'd avoid this kind of meat like the plague.
OCNB emphasizes on their Web site all kinds of nice animal husbandry points trying to give the impression they are better stewards of not only livestock but the land. But I look at that as a form of deceptive advertising. That's because they don't tell you that, except for idiots and low-life rouges, ALL ranchers and processors (especially the largest in the country -- contrary to popular opinion) excel in those approaches.
Advertising of this nature contributes to the overload of misunderstandings about the American meat industry. In addition, what the OCNB folks do not know about nutrition would fill most of the peer-reviewed scientific reports ever published regarding Omega-3 fatty acids, glycemic levels, and fungi in foods.
As for your meat market, the people there are clueless about these matters. And the Whole Foods organization is, for the most part, just as clueless. They know how to run a market based on imagery, but when it comes down to it, they are mostly deceptive. Whole Food's founder is a vegetarian who thinks grain is fine. The store is filled with grain and grain-based foods, high glycemic foods, and probably over 95% of their meat sales can be sourced to conventional grain-fed livestock. This general lack of knowledge, exhibited by your local retailers, about livestock rearing, feeding, and nutrition is common in the retail sector throughout the entire United States. That's why we are here. lol
This answer may seem a little harsh, but the food industry is loaded with deception from the smallest operator on up. Mostly it is due to ignorance and a desire to somehow set one's operation apart in a way that plays upon the minds of certain consumers. This is how mythology becomes "common knowledge."
Our cattle are grass-fed which means they live in a natural grassland environment and they eat what they always would have eaten prior to man showing up. Even if we feed them hay, that is natural because hay is the same as dried dormant grasses that grass eaters eat in the winter. It can even be buried under the snow, that's why deer, elk, bison, moose, etc. survive the winters in Yellowstone Park. Consequently that's why all "truly wild" animals end up with EFAs (essential fatty acids) that are balanced the same as the green leaf which is the way all animal life should have it -- including you and your children. See Omega-3 Essays.
Q: There are many website offering Paleo Treats, Cookies, etc. It looks like their ingredients fit in my caveman diet and I was wondering what Ted thinks about these sites?
A: To determine if any processed food actually fits The Real Diet of Man, you must analyze the ingredients. For instance here are the ingredients from one advertised product: "Honey, pecans, eggs, coconut oil, cacao powder, almond flour. That is it, and that is all."
Now go to my Food Analysis webpage.
Read the summary about the ABCs. Now look up each ingredient above and see if any of them fit all three of the ABCs. The answer is: not even one ingredient qualifies as a food for man in that particular processed product. If you eat that stuff why bother with changing from all the regular crap and paying more money? Your results from eating Paleo crap will be the same as everyone else eating the regular crap since these "Paleo foods" do not offer any real change in the nutrient stream of the regular junk. These so-called Paleo processed foods provide high glycemic, nutritionally deficient, and highly skewed fat profiles which classifies them as garbage -- not food.
I hope that helps. There are many people who use the Paleo label incorrectly because they are ignorant and/or crooks. The label does not determine the nutritional qualities of a processed food product. The chemical composition of the ingredients determines the nutritional quality.
Q: I was shopping around for grass-fed meats today and came across your site. First off, I love the attitude as well of the selection of products that you offer. I love the stance against "good-feely" talk and the adherence to evidence based argument. I also love that the site poses its disagreements with grain-based agriculture while still standing up for the average, good hearted farmer.
I read through the FAQ's hoping to find any information related to pesticide/fertilizer usage. I understand that USDA Certified Organic is a complicated and misleading label, and that agricultural chemical use is complicated and has a lot of myths surrounding it as well. I also understand that the healthiness of beef is much more dependent on being grass-fed than any other factor. However, for myself personally, the major reason for not just going down to the grocery store for meat is concerns about the impact of agriculture on ecosystems and the environment at large. I am not a farmer, nor will I pretend to know all the ins and outs of ecological science. I would just like to buy meat from a source that I trust is concerned about environmental impact. I also came across another website for a company who sells buffalo meat that is committed to helping restore the grasslands of the Great Plains with their agricultural practices. I am very much considering buying from them. However, I would rather buy from your company, because I live in Texas, and I want to buy meats other than buffalo. Please let me know any information you may have about the environmental impact of how the meat you sell is raised, as well as the pastures themselves. It would also be of help to me to understand what the company's overall stance on environmental impact is.
A: There are a lot of myths being spread around about the food and agriculture industries. Most of the information that one reads and hears is bogus, half truths, and total opinion. Yes, some information is factual and spot on the target. But many people do not have the experience or understanding to utilize what is defined as critical thinking. Then again some people come by it naturally, others will never have a clue. The folks who do not think critically tend to believe whatever seems to make sense by the way it is told.
Because the majority of people believe the myths (because that's what they are exposed to most) marketers take advantage of them. Some marketers are no more tuned into the truth than others, therefore they naturally resonate with folks in general who have the same beliefs and get the sale. Others actually know different or don't even care one way or the other, but they know that if they tell people what the people want to hear they will get the sale. There are also folks out there who will say anything and even make stuff up in order to get the sale. None of these people are actually interested in educating customers (other than in repeating the myths) because many potential customers actually do not want to learn anything different, nor are they pleased when told they believe in myths. (Some of our competitors advertise ground meat between buns. They eat grain and high glycemic foods themselves. They claim they treat animals better. They claim they are better stewards of the land. Some claim they have special livestock. Many do not really understand nutritional science, they just market meats because they are in it for the extra money.)
I've been a scientific nut for as long as I can remember. I strive to understand things on a fundamental basis. I've also been in professional marketing since 1966. I have always prided myself on telling it like it is and letting the chips fall where they may. There are many times that approach loses the sale. But I will not have it any other way. I want to feel real good about what I do. That's why my website is pretty blunt on the factual stuff and runs counter to so many myths as you have noted.
That said, let me say these nice buffalo folks are implying that they are special. Well, in a way they are special. But are their practices something that we want to support? For instance, if they are planting old prairie grasses, that's like restoring a Model T. Will the Model T serve the modern-day needs of man. In comparison to modern automobiles the Model T is not sustainable. It is not a safe vehicle. It burns more fuel per mile driven. It's slow. It's uncomfortable. It's not reliable. It can't travel as far in its lifetime. In other words, the Model T is nice but it's not practical. In the same way there are grass plants that are far more productive than most if not all of the old prairie grass varieties. I would rather have the best grasses in my pastures for food production because not only is that more sustainable for future food production with growing populations, but it makes my ranch more sustainable -- environmentally and economically.
Overall modern ranchers and farmers are a pretty sophisticated lot. Just like all professions (modern agriculture is one of the more professional businesses these days) agriculture today is literally on the very cutting edge of science. Productivity has never been greater and it's going to improve in the decades to come. All of the work being done is based on becoming more sustainable. It can be no other way. Every single land owner who produces crops is focused on sustainability to some degree. In fact, farmers and ranchers must think of sustainability beyond their lifetimes and that of their offspring. That's pretty rare in most enterprises. Because professional folks in agriculture are focused so intently on sustainability, doubting their intentions is really one of the greatest food/agriculture myths going around.
Organic is another myth. If all the food in America was organic, but people made the same food choices, all food safety issues would be the same and the incidences of chronic disease would be the same. Additionally, there are many 100% organic toxins that everyone seems to ignore for some reason. So when it comes to health it's the food choices that make the difference. Kale, broccoli, spinach, etc. instead of grain. Grass-fed instead of grain-fed. Low glycemic instead of high glycemic. Total nutrient loads instead of partial nutrient loads. Those are the importance food decisions that all people learn and follow. If people follow The Real Diet of Man, then we will really see huge changes in the health and well being of all Americans. If consumers make different food choices the food industry will quickly adapt to the demands of the public. When that happens it will be a win/win for a long, long time because ranching and farming is based on sustainability.
As for buying locally, that is nice. But that is not necessary for supporting any farmer. In fact, most farmers are not interested in dealing with the public. Buying efficiently and properly is more important. If it weren't for folks buying from us who are thousands of miles away we would not have a business. And that's true for most of us in agriculture toady. It's one of the reason so many roads were constructed in rural America. It wasn't for consumers to drive out to farmers, but for farmers to transport their production in bulk to the rest of the country. That's what made cities sustainable.
Q: Hi, I wanted to know how the nutritional quality of the soil/grass itself affects the nutritional quality of the meat (other than omega 3) and do grass-Fed meat ranchers like yourself monitor minerals and so forth in their grasslands. Great Website by the way! Looking forward to ordering.
A: Soils have a direct impact on the nutrients of the plants that grow on them. (This is one reason why in nature different plants grow more prolifically than others by region.) Prior to the fencing of the ranges, animals would graze over more soil types than they do now. Therefore the combined cross-section of minerals was greater. Yet just the same, on our ranch there are seven different soil types. So even in small areas soil types differ significantly.
Yes, the chemical makeup of soils is always a concern because it is fundamental to agriculture. EVERYONE in livestock management (or crop production of any kind) is concerned about soils and soil types. The grass-fed folks are not an exception by any means. Mineral companies focus on soil compositions intently and make different mineral supplements for various regions depending on the geology of those areas. If you think about it, gold is found in some areas, copper in others, iron in others, etc. Therefore everyone participating in agricultural production knows mineral concentrations vary around the world and their situation is not the same as elsewhere. Because all people in agriculture, starting with those with a pulse and rudimentary intelligence and those further up on the ladder, are focused on being sustainable you can trust that they are trying to maintain and improve their soils. Yes, contrary to popular myths, "improve."
In our area we are pretty fortunate for having soils that are rather complete. In other words, nearly all of the micro nutrients are present. Just the same though we have mineral supplements available for the livestock. In other areas where there are deficiencies, such as copper and selenium for instance, the commercial mineral supplements made for those areas have copper and selenium in them. By and large then, because of the widespread use of mineral supplementation, this is really not an issue the general public needs to be concerned about compared to what kinds of feed livestock get.
Humorously, asking if professional ranchers "monitor minerals and so forth in their grasslands" is a backhanded put down. I know that in your case it wasn't intended that way by any means, but it is like asking whether or not folks in agriculture know how to read or do basic arithmetic. Or do they know that they need to put fuel in their trucks to keep them going. Duhhh. lol
Now when it comes to how mothers of America feed their children and how feedlot operators feed their cattle, that's a different situation. Mothers of America and feedlot operators do not understand how damaging grain is to animal body function. So they feed grain and lots of grain. Consequently, both mothers and feedlots operators are destroying the health of their dependents because of gross ignorance. That is something to be concerned about BIG TIME.
Here's just one link out of millions about soils. Every agricultural, geological, anthropology, and engineering school in the world is tuned into this type of stuff big time. It's fundamental.
A: For starters, let me get this off my chest. lol
Simply being "organic" is not the answer to whether something is appropriate to eat or not. Most organic food stuffs are horrible foods to eat. All foods are chemical. The chemistry of each food item far and away outweighs whatever else there is. In addition, some of the worst toxins in our foods are 100% organic. All pathogens are organic! Therefore organic is never a singular answer for food safety, nutrition, or chemical free. The answer about which foods to eat are here: Food Analysis.
Yes! We have a baby food. Ground meat will work wonders. Crumple it and cook it in water to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Water boils at 212. The meat does not need to get that hot. Place the cooked meat in a blender or food processor and puree, slowly adding water if needed and puree further until a smooth consistency is created.
Add as much liquid as needed to make a consistency appropriate for your baby. You may add appropriate veggies such as boiled spinach, kale, collards, and broccoli as you like. It should end up being like a soft paste. You will have to experiment at first. I don't do it myself. lol
Grass-fed meat has 100% of the nutrient requirements a body needs in perfect balance. The perfect balance is dependent on not over cooking. That is the internal temperature of the meat should reach 160 degrees but not exceed that temperature. All foods lose nutrient value when cooked too much. Grass-fed meat with boiled spinach, kale, collards, broccoli, and zucchini squash (and similar veggies) are a perfect food for a baby other than mother's milk. Serve it for every meal. The baby is not tuned into a wide variety of tastes so what may seem boring to you, will work for the baby. Also, in time, the baby will easily make the transition to The Real Diet of Man not knowing that he has bypassed all the damaging grain-based, high glycemic foods other mothers are feeding their children.
Copyright 2000-2014 © Ted E. Slanker, Jr., All rights reserved.