I had Wagyu one time as a gift and while it tasted good it didn’t seem to live up to its price. It was amazing the amount of fat that turned to liquid in the pan. I did have a grass fed ribeye last night and loved it. I took the leftovers and made two lettuce wraps with steak chunks, guacamole, sour cream and picante sauce for lunch. Yum!
Been too long since I said how much I appreciate your posts, Paul.
I think there are arguments on both sides here. Without question - ruminants and grassland can go together so well. Then there is the population pressure on our world, a thing that has grown so incredibly fast in the past few decades, and where there is a lot more in the pipeline.
The point is, ruminant agriculture generally is benign or even beneficial, BUT if you take twice as long to finish an animal, you’re creating twice as many cow burps (methane) and using up twice as many resources. I’m familiar with Peter Ballerstedt’s arguments (and they’re great and I agree!) but I was also drawing on Frank Mitloehner’s work on ruminants. There’s a good argument in favor of more ruminant agriculture AND more efficient ruminant agriculture.
The grass-fed vs grain-fed debate isn’t one that we should let slow down this WOE. Eat beef. It ate mostly grass and lived a good life, no matter how it was finished.
No argument from me, Christina. I’m with you 100%,
There are many fundamental differences actually. I’ve seen grass fed beef that had yellow colored fat up in Colorado. Where I live I never see that in grass fed. Grass fed cows produce yellow butter which is a source for omega3’s. Also in grass fed beef fat. Since grass fed beef is leaner, it should be cooked lower and slower to according to some. But it has a deeper flavor.
Grain finished beef is only grain fed for the last bit of it’s life because like us cows can’t live long eating grains. It deterorates their health the same way it does in the modern human diet. Cattle aren’t meant to eat grains anymore than we were. So you are eating an unhealthy animal with grain fed beef.
Don’t get me wrong, I buy grain fed beef too but when the price is good I get grass fed. I’m on a tight budget so got to deal.
My mother, who grew up on a dairy farm, said that the color of the butter depended partly on the breed (Guernsey, Jersey, Holstein, etc.), and partly on the cows’ diet (i.e., how much grass, alfalfa, clover, etc.). I’m used to very pale butter, but Mom said that certain breeds’ butter was much yellower.
The flavor of the milk is also dependent on the cows’ diet, to some extent. Mom’s family could always tell from the taste which pasture the cows had been grazing in. Also, there was one pasture they had to keep the cows out of, because there were scallions growing in it, and they made the milk taste really odd.
To those raised on fresh milk, pasteurized milk can be undrinkable. Even homogenization affects the taste.
You’re right about the grass varieties, I just had to leave the house and was trying to not get long winded. And I grew up on homo milk and eventually preferred skim milk for taste even because it tasted cleaner with less mucous in my throat. Don’t drink it for years now.
That phrase always gets me—I always think they mean milk just for me!
I have an old bookmark to the Eat Wild site where you can see graphs showing how the finished (product) of some pasture-finished animals appear when compared to the standard fare. Not all pasture fed animals will have the same ranges, of course.
For those inclined, keeping backyard laying hens for eggs, if and when you can can be a bit of fun. Depending on the husbandry and bird management you do, they can clean up edible kitchen scraps, mow the grass, eat weeds, eat bugs, control carpenter ants, flies, wasps and meat bees – and in return they entertain you and lay beautiful eggs, Ours had bright orange yolks; were naturally free of mysterious or GMO commercial feed.
I do agree that standard grocery meat are most affordable for most of us, but when I can afford it or find a great deal in grass fed, I’ll go for it.
Happy Healing everyone!
Grass fed is suppose to be fed grass. Grain fed are fattened up with corn. Also grass fed are not suppose to have the hormones and antibiotics. Which means if you are eating the antibiotics your body is getting pumped with antibiotics and lowers your immune system. Supposedly grass finished is suppose to be the best meaning the last year of growth they are fed grass only where as long as they were fed some grass the label can say grass fed. I buy the grass fed hormone and antibiotic free ground meats. Steaks are too ridiculous in price for me. I definitely notice a difference in taste with grass fed and do not like the taste of regular ground beef. The question is always who knows what is being said on the package is true. I don’t buy organic chicken as they are crazy high in price. But you don’t need to buy grass fed to be on the keto diet, it is a preference. Ket has become so popular it seems like certain foods that are keto related have gone through the roof in price. When macadamia nuts went to 19.00 a pound that’s when I quit buying them.
I can’t seem to find any studies that compare grass-fed to grain-fed, which leads me to wonder if this topic is not more due to social media influencers needing something to post. So, it’s all speculation.
What we do see is that when metabolically ill people move to keto/vore or carnivore eating habits - be it kobe beef or spam (fried is very good ) they lose weight, and their health improves. Dr. Eric Westman cites multiple cases of patients who’ve healed (loss of weight / diabetes turnaround) eating beef patties at McDonalds! This fact, and only in my humble opinion, underpins the importance of just eating meat and fat.
Our bodies function well beyond scientific comprehension: who would have thought ‘calories-in vs calories-out’ was a fallacy and the whole weight loss process revolved around insulin.
So, just eating meat and letting our bodies deal with the rest may be a simpler approach.
To be touchy-feely about it, I try to buy meat that’s kinder to the animals and supportive of the environmental matrix. I honestly don’t know if a lower omega-6 profile makes a bit of difference to my health. The reason I am an omnivore, not a carnivore, is in part because I can’t afford the meat I would love to eat in the quantity I would need.
I also seek food without additives or industrial oils. This is a personal belief and preference, and perhaps it is influenced by the media. When I look at the changes in health and morbidity and the rise of chronic disease over the last two centuries, many things seem correlated. I have no idea which ones are actually causative, so I’m an equal opportunity avoider of things my great great grandmother could not have eaten, in addition to avoiding refined carbohydrates
There are studies, I’m pretty sure, but you have to look in the literature sources forage agronomists use. You might check Understanding Ag’s Web site for some references. I have seen regenerative farmers claiming that over the years, as their soil improved, especially the microbial life, the nutrient profile of their meat improved, so obviously someone is measuring.
You might also check the studies published by Richard Teague for such studies, as well. He uses the phrase “adaptive multi-paddock grazing” to describe what Alan Savory calls “holisitic grazing,” because the latter term elicits too much of a polarised response, he says.
How so? Bear in mind that Dr. Westman teaches a low-carb diet (under 20 g/day), not exclusive carnivore. If you go to MacDonald’s and eat only the patties and a salad with, say, blue cheese dressing, you can get both meat and fat, along with a minimal amount of carbohydrate. The chicken and the fish are breaded, as I recall (it’s been a while), so those carbs would have to be taken into account.
But I don’t doubt the good doctor’s assertion that it is possible to go keto on fast food, if the food is chosen wisely. There is a burger place near where I live that does lettuce wraps instead of buns, or simply what they call a “bowl” with the patties (and any additions you choose–onions and mushrooms and the like). Those are a good keto choice.
This topic makes me wince a little. There are extremes at both ends of the spectrum that are real. It’s easy to find a shocking YouTube video and assume that every bovine is raised that way. It’s just not so.
I buy beef from a local farm (actually a neighbor). The pastures are pristine and ALL of their cattle are “grass fed”. That’s what cattle eat here. It’s not abnormal. Cattle eat grass. They have the digestive system to process it well. They don’t get a bunch of hormones and antibiotics. They get very few if any at all. Most of the farmers around here will give them some hay if the grass isn’t as lush (happens over the winter months especially) and typically a bit of some mixed grains as well. Much depends on the season. During summer months, cattle often receive little or no grain at all. It depends on what’s available nutritionally in the pastures. (Some take better care of their pastures than others, it’s a big deal for my neighbor and the quality of the meat reflects it.)
I have no clue what goes into “feed lot” cattle which is what most of the YouTube videos will be talking about. I’ve driven by a few of them in various places that stink for miles, nearly nauseating. I would guess without the antibiotics and maybe hormones too, those animals wouldn’t survive to maturity. Dunno, I’m not interested in filling my freezer with that meat.
All that said, ruminant animals (cattle are) are very good at filtering out nasty stuff that they eat and not having a lot of the crap they’re fed come through in their meat. Not perfect, but they’re one of the better meat choices. I suspect that animals like pork and chicken are less forgiving. I personally find that I can eat a burger at a restaurant and feel fine whereas I can’t say the same for chicken, which isn’t just taste, but I’ll actually not feel so good after eating it. Perhaps anecdotal but I pay attention because it’s ME who doesn’t feel good if I eat it.
If all you can afford is cheap meat, and you don’t have reactions to something in it, you are still better off than eating carby crap, and few realize just how many of those “organic veggies” they buy in the grocery store are barely even fit for human consumption. That’s a whole other subject. (I’ve seen some of the dark side of the “organic” movement and most would be shocked at what is actually sold as “healthier food”. In some cases, it’s marginally better. In some cases, it’s exactly the same as the regular stuff. In some cases, it may even be worse. They’ve done a fantastic job of marketing. Where the rubber meets the road, not so much.)
I definitely agree that better farming and treating animals with respect make for more ethical and nutritious meat. However, I’d like to read controlled human trials specifically around eating grass-fed and non-grass-fed meat where health markers are verified over, for example, a ten-year period.
Eating meat with enough fat may suffice, no matter what the animal is or ate, for our bodies to function correctly. I’m uncomfortable with the underlining yet unproven message that comes out over and over that if you don’t eat grass-fed meat (or non-pasteurised dairy), you’re really not getting all the health benefits you could on keto/vore or carnivore.
Beyond those who may react to certain types of meat, no one seems to define what exactly those benefits are for those eating grass-fed and non-pasturised. Yes, there are comments like ‘you are what you eat, so you’re eating what the cow ate’ and omega 6’s and 3’s etc. - but how do these differences influence metabolic health in humans?
Don’t get me wrong - all logic would suggest that grass-fed / non-pasturised is better, but it’s just if Dr. Westman reverses diabetes and heals obesity with only McDonalds hamburger patties and square orange cheese, this would implicitly confirm that those foods are already good enough for humans to become metabolically healthy.
And if we do hint at the long-term effects of eating grass-fed & non-pasturised, then we need to prove what the effects are before suggesting those options are the best.
I think you have a pretty good handle on it.
Cheap hotdogs and bologna is better than carbs and sugar. And because 2 or 3 carnivores out of 100 notice something better about grass fed / grass finished / panda massaged cow products, they tell the whole keto / carnivore community and they all think they can’t possibly eat keto or carnivore without grass fed / grass finished / panda massaged cow products… throw in “organic” and it’s even more fun.
Some of us do tend to do the “black and white” thing where it’s something like “10= carnivore, grass fed / grass finished / panda massaged” and “1= soda, potato chips, and donuts”, kinda downplaying that there is anything in between. The SAD might be a 2. The Mediterranean diet might be a 4 or 5. MickyD’s burgers with strict lack of carbs/sugars might get you a 7 or 8. Some might not be happy with a 7 or 8 and for whatever reason want a 9 or even a 10. Some might be thrilled with a 6 because they’ve gotten so much healthier than living at a 2 or 3. (Don’t know if I said any of that well.)
And then we get to add in stuff like food allergies, likes and dislikes, pre-existing conditions, old injuries, and a host of other stuff that affects a person’s makeup. So… one size doesn’t fit all, either. (Isn’t this fun?!)
My two cents:
Cows were made with a digestive system made to eat grass. The modern beef industry makes them eat a lot of grains. Imagine the stress (which will produce toxins), the disturbs, the illnesses that such an animal will develop. Then the animal gets a lot of antibiotics to deal with all the issues, because it is just living a highly unhealthy, deeply unnatural, very stressful existence. Then the animal also gets all the hormones to make it grow fat faster, and that “fat” is, in part, simply water. Then it is ready for slaughter in half the normal time, and it is also bigger.
This is not natural, not normal, and not healthy.
Don’t kid yourself that this will not have consequences in the product you eat.
Guess who eats the antibiotics and the hormones? Guess who gets to enjoy the toxins? Guess who pays meat prices for… water?
If I compare how the good meat looks in my pan after cooking (bigger), how it tastes (better), the antibiotics, the toxins and the hormones I am not eating, and the fact that I am not eating a diseased animal who hated its life, I find the grass-fed beef’s price reasonable. Here in the UK, Lidl sells a 70% grass, 30% sileage fed beef that is quite good value for money, healthy, and savoury. But you can also go online and find sellers who will deliver at your office high quality grass-fed beef (costs more than LIDL, though…).
If the price is an issue, I would suggest getting cheaper cuts of the better meat, say: more-grass fed mincemeat, and less (but still grass-fed) steaks. Or you can go discovering the traditional cuts that few supermarkets now sell: the tongue, the tail etc. The online shops sell all of this. Steak was never meant to be an everyday food. There are reasons why it was always expensive.
In the West, we have grown accustomed to the idea that we can have everyday luxury. But we don’t get it; we get a cheap, and unhealthy, imitation.
More on the cost: I am not one of them, but I see a lot of people spending, say, $4 for a Starbucks Twenty-Latte-Skinny-Caramel-Turbo-Carbo-Sugar bomb every morning, then snacking half day on rubbish non-food. I am sure one can go through his expenses and find highly discretionary expenses, less important than his health, that he can cut.
I’d invest that money in better meat and better health. I’d invest that money in me.
Mind, I do not say this out of love for the cow. I like cows, but cows aren’t humans. What I am more concerned for is the human that is writing this, and who is, frankly, done with having to eat the antibiotics, toxins and hormones after seeing my still not-so-cheap steak performing quite a remarkable half-disappearing act in the pan.
Just my two cents, Your Mileage May Vary, Horses For Courses, & Co.
The Inuit traditional diet was seal and whale, much of it blubber. I doubt it was “grass-fed.” Unless, of coure, one wants to consider it “free-range” and therefore not farmed meat.
The two land-based carnivores who lived the longest on the diet were Stanley Owsley and Vilhjalmur Stefansson, neither of whom appeared to care about the distinction between grain-finished and grass-finished (all beeves are grass-fed for most of their lives, as Peter Ballerstedt, a forage agronomist, likes to point out). Stefansson died at 82 of old age, and Owsley would presumably still be alive if it hadn’t been for the car crash. No one has ever asserted that their blood work was unhealthy, and the 1928 experiment on Stefansson and Andersen kind of put the kibosh on notions of short-term nutritional deficiency. Of course, it should be noted that in 1928, grass-finished wasn’t even a thing yet. Also, as Prof. Ballerstedt points out, the difference in the nutritional profiles is such that while grass-finished is really great for us, grain-finished is still great, too.
I can’t tell if you are questioning the importance of grass-finished meat for people just starting out on a keto diet, or advocating it as an ideal to strive for. It’s a tough question, but the conclusion we’ve come to on these forums as a community is that people should do what they can and not let the perfect become the enemy of doing better. If you can’t afford grass-finished prices, then eat what you can affored. If you’re not ready to give up seed oils or the processed foods that contain them, then give up as much as you can, and use as many animal fats as you can. If you are a vegetarian, try to eat eggs and fish reasonably frequently. If you are strict vegan, then plan carefully and be sure to supplement with Vitamin B-12. Do what you can, and strive to continually improve.
The basic idea of keto is to lower insulin by restricting carbohydrate intake; the rest is just tweaks.
Yeah, it’s nice when one has the money for that. May be a great idea for them, I just can’t help mentioning us non-1st worlders (or poor 1st worlders, I know that is a thing too. and some countries have unusually high meat prices…) who can’t afford even the cheapest beef, no matter what kind (I don’t think have this “grass-fed” thing here and in a small town I can’t even buy any ruminant meat to begin with).
If I ate beef, I would have to starve part of the month (maybe I would lose some fat that way but my mental health would suffer). I do buy the cheapest non-organ beef sometimes, maybe a pound a month (but deer on sale is cheaper, actually so I go for that )…
I buy some of the cheapest meats and it costs a lot but what can I do? I need to eat. Though my eggs are probably more expensive (they are great eggs though, I couldn’t get better ones. I still can afford being this choosy even if I can’t be that with my meat). And I still drink coffee sometimes when it has no calories so it’s a waste. At least I can’t eat sweeteners on carnivore (wasting money on non-food? okay I had reasons for it in the past…) just proper food
And my body is very happy with my diet, it’s the best ever and the best I can do. Lucky me. Not everyone works well with a pork based diet.
You are right, people spend money on way less important things. I totally agree we should think about what is worth it. Especially when we have choices. Fine, even I have some choices though not much at this point. I need to stay close to carnivore, I need a substantial amount of meat and that only can be cheap pork with some other stuff for variety and lowering the food cost further. I eat as much liver as I feel safe. I like some organs and they are cheap, great.
By the way, if one can afford farm and grass-fed meat but money is a problem, some organ meat may help. The closest beef farm has the same prices as normal supermarkets and the organs are similarly cheap… And beef liver and heart and tongue is great food, at least according to my taste . Too bad they butcher animals about 2 times a year and there is some hours to put an order
I am very glad I never said that I can’t afford keto or carnivore or whatever. I did normal keto without meat but that was too carby for me. Even if I regularly eat just as much carbs now, it’s animal carbs and my body doesn’t mind at all.
We should focus on getting the best diet that we still can afford.