When it comes to healthy eating I feel beef is a bad word. Wild salmon, kale and berries go along gathering dietary accolades while beef sits in the corner. While I’m not here pushing a beef-based diet I would caution you not to lump all beef in one category. Grass-fed beef is better to eat and possibly the only beef we should eat. According to a great website Eat Wild “compared with feedlot meat, meat from grass-fed beef, bison, lamb and goats has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid.”
About a month ago I was placing a food order on a NYC service known as Fresh Direct. My boys had requested burgers for dinner over the weekend. I searched on “grass fed beef” and meat from a company called Hardwick popped up. I was weary at first as the meat was sold frozen. I deliberated and decided frozen grass fed was preferred to non-frozen hormone burgers. I ordered the meat and placed it and other items in our cooler to take to Vermont for the weekend. Saturday night, after skiing, I made dinner. I always use grass fed beef but hadn’t tried Hardwick before. My family didn’t know anything was different but raved about their burgers. “Best burger ever” said my then 6 year old (who is now 7) and they were.
When we got back to New York, I placed another grocery order this time purchasing 2 packages of Hardwick for the freezer. The next week my mother was over making dinner for the boys while I was still at work. Now my mother, though a fantastic cook, rolls her eyes at the mention of organic or overtly healthy. Nonetheless, when I walked in the door she said, “that’s the best meat I’ve ever cooked.” My mother has since contacted Hardwick on her own to find out about having their steaks shipped to her.
Healthy and tasty do not always go hand in hand. I get a thrill when farms or companies producing food in the right manner make a product that is so superior to conventional offerings. When it comes to meat, grass fed cows do not require the antibiotics feedlot cows do because they are eating what they were meant to eat in appropriate conditions. I know beef is not for everyone but alongside fruit and vegetables and nuts we all should be able to have a burger every so often if we want it.
Do you or your family eat read meat? How often? Do you purchase grass fed beef? What’s your favorite recent healthy food find?
**Hardwick is offering a “Special Bundle” of various cuts of steaks to a lucky reader in the Northeast. Please let us know, in the comments section, if you qualify and would like to be included in the giveaway.
Grass-fed beef tastes so much better! I had a dinner party for my mom's birthday and made a big pot of bolognese sauce from grass-fed beef. Everyone – even my mom's Sicilian friend! – raved. I give credit to the grass-fed beef.
I usually buy mine at the farmer's market…
I am not a red meat eater, but the only meat I would touch would be grass-fed. While I am indifferent to red meat taste wise, I will not eat it based on how it is produced in this country (all the reasons you mention). I encourage all of my red meat eater clients to go grass-fed whenever possible. Unfortunately, many of them are eating in steakhouses where you can't always find grass-fed options. I'm hoping that changes in the near future.
Melissa, I'm not such a red meater eater either but wish people would learn about and seek out grass-fed meat. I heard Michael Pollan say "I don't eat feedlot meat" and I think this is a great goal.
love it and now a lot of gourmet burger places are springing up with grass fed burgers its an American classic and nice for a treat
I wish grass fed was the American Classic.
I'm with Melissa and Michael Pollan on *all* the reasons to avoid feedlot beef! I've been ordering my beef from US Wellness, including their braunschweiger, which is how this wussy American is getting liver in ;).
One other comment. I was listening to Chris Kesser (of The Healthy Skeptic blog) talk to Robb Wolf on Robb's podcast re omega 3/6 ratios. The ratios in grassfed beef are a little better than in feedlot beef, but that's not a huge deal, as there aren't a lot of PUFAs in beef either way.
But … there's a lot more PUFA/omega 6 in poultry and pork (as Pollan says, "we are what we eat eats").
So that's something to keep in mind too!
I do eat beef-maybe 1 x week on average. I try and get the grass fed beef whenever possible, but it's not 100% of the time. I really wish grass fed beef was a less expensive option ( and organic chicken which I always buy). I find that to buy organic fruits and veggies is not much more expensive, but geass fed or organic meat can really cost a lot. I do get ground bison as a substitute for beef some time. It makes great spaghetti meat sauce!
Hi I'm Jen and I am a meat eater. 🙂 Actually, I eat alot of fish and veggies, but every once in a while, I have steak. Pork. Lamb. Which I do love. But without a doubt, I know where my food is coming from and have actually found myself getting anxious if I am in a situation where I am not sure – that goes for meat, produce, tofu, anything. Plus let's be realistic – humane treatment of animals is not only an emotional touchpoint, it also means the animal won't be stressed or ill, which plays a big role too.
I love the grassfed beef from LaCense (http://www.lacensebeef.com. Angus Acres at the Union Sq greenmarket is amazing (and they should have their fresh eggs in again soon – who knew eggs had a season). Flying Pig farms for pork. Quattro's Game Farm for chicken, duck, venison and small game. I once packed a cooler of veggies and chicken from Quattro and brought it to my parents to make for dinner – they were over the moon. Said they hadn't tasted anything so good since my grandfather closed his specialty store (local produce, local meat – he was ahead of his time).
I don't always look for "organic" – I don't want to eat a chicken that is eating organic vegetarian feed, I want a chicken that is running around pastures and grass eating what it wants to (and should) eat.
Nina Planck and Michael Pollan have been huge influences and highly recommend reading both (tho all of you probably already have) 🙂
So looking forward to Spring eating!
I love grassfed meat! I'm fortunate enough to have a family member who pasture raises a few steers each year. We get enough meat from that, a little venison and a little goat (all grassfed)to give us 1 or 2 meals a week with meat throughout the year. I wish "Angus" would fade away and more folks would eat grassfed. Heck, even if you don't care about the health issues, the taste alone should be enough to convince people. (Thanks for the tweet, by the way 😉
I love when you suggest particular products like this, because it streamlines the grocery shopping process bigtime! I had no idea that grass-fed would equate to more Vitamin C — that is good to know and just one more reason to always choose it. Thanks for always sharing your good finds!
There is SUCH a difference in taste when it comes to grass-fed beef. We don't eat beef very often, but when we do we try our best to find grass-fed. I am thinking about trying a CSA here in Phoenix where you can buy grass-fed beef as an add-on.
I like grass fed beef, but sometimes the cost is too much. We purchase all of our meat from a local smokehouse to support the smaller farmers. Funny how not all of them grass feed.
I am in the Northeast and need to look up hardwick!
I am in the Northeast and love beef! Sign me up for the giveaway!
To be honest, GFB has more w-3 than regular ground chuck, but neither are a particularly good source. Nutritionally, there really isn't much of a difference according to information from NutritionData.com (except for fat content, which could be remedied by choosing a leaner cut than chuck).
Really the chief advantages are that GFB is better for the cows (which we end up eating) and the environment.
I do sometimes prepare burgers for my husband and I use a mix of beef and pork. Gotta try with just beef.
My parents raise purebred Angus cattle, so I grew up on beef. We had it a lot, and maybe b/c of that I probably eat more chicken and seafood as an adult! Their cattle is fed a combination of corn and grass, but it still is extremely lean meat. I honestly don't know how to buy beef in the store very well, b/c I'm able to get it from my parents!
I'm in the northeast as well. Would love to be entered.
I so agree Lauren…Grass fed is the only way to go. Other burgers are filled with crap and taste lousy to me…
I wish I could find some really good ground grass-fed beef around here. Maybe I should look harder? I typically just buy the Laura's Lean ground beef, or sometimes the store's Natural/organic brand. I know it's not the same as grass-fed, but we do what we can!
We do eat red meat, but I purchase it from local ranchers. We also purchase our lamb in the same fashion. I remain a slave to the supermarket when it comes to pork. What I have been able to do over time is to cut back on the amount of meat we eat. I don't think I'll ever be able to eliminate it completely from our diet as my husband is a committed carnivore. So, we take baby steps and do what we can. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary
We eat red meat also, but not very often – and I don't make it at home very often either. I've had mixed results with grass-fed ground beef. I got some from Costco (it was not frozen) and it had kind of a chewy texture, it was edible but not very good. I've gotten some in the past from a local farmer's market, though I forget where the seller was from exactly – I want to say Amish country though. That beef was sold frozen but tasted really good and had much better texture when cooked. So I make an effort to go stock up on that beef when I can. It's expensive (~$6-7 per lb.) but it's worth it, particularly because we don't eat it that often. I'm not so picky about my beef as to avoid it in restaurants where I can't be sure of the source, but I figure at least I can control it at home.
I mentioned this in today's blog, but thought I would also put this comment here…
We had the most spectacular grass-fed organic steaks this weekend. It wasn't cheap product, about $16/pound for 6 rib eyes, but the price was comparable to the Prime meat sold at the grocery. I used the pan-seared steak recipe from this issue of Cooking Light, which has a great article about grass-fed vs. feed lot beef. The flavor was outstanding and I'd hold up this steak to any from any restaurant. Later I made bolognese sauce from the grass-fed ground beef I purchased. Again, outstanding. The price is high, but that will ensure that we don't eat beef very often. Excellent suggestion.