The Core Diet Blog

The following content was provided by Registered Dietitian, Rachel Baker.

Grass fed Beef….What is it? Why should I care? Read on and find out!

Yes it is true. Cows like grass. They love it fresh but they will take it dried as well and they have the digestive system to handle it, four stomachs in all, pretty great stuff. But wait, did you know that cows eat other things too? I knew that they ate corn and soy and that makes them nice and fat and produce a lot of milk but what I did not know until yesterday was that it doesn't stop there. They are fed what are called "by-product feedstuffs." Hmmmm sounded suspicious to me, I needed to know more but more importantly I needed to know WHY I was buying into this "new" grass fed beef/animal craze. Maybe this was part of my answer, I thought. Here is some of what I found….

The following are some of the "by-product feedstuffs" commonly used in dairy cattle diets in the Upper Midwest."*
1.Candy: Candy products are available through a number of distributors and sometimes directly from smaller plants… They are sometimes fed in their wrappers…. Candies, such as cull gummy bears, lemon drops or gum drops are high in sugar content.

2.Bakery Wastes: Stale bread and other pastry products from stores or bakeries can be fed to dairy cattle in limited amounts. These products are sometimes fed as received without drying or even removal of the wrappers.

3.Potato Waste: is available in potato processing areas, and includes cull potatoes, French fries and potato chips. Cull fresh potatoes that are not frozen, rotten, or sprouted can be fed to cows either whole or chopped. Potato waste straight from a processing plant may contain varying amounts of inedible or rotten potatoes. French fries and chips contain fats or oils from frying operations.

4.Starch: Unheated starch is available from some candy manufacturers and sometimes may contain pieces of candy.

5.Pasta: is available from pasta plants and some ingredient distributors as straight pasta or in blends with other ingredients, such as candy.

Alright well I learned something new. New and unappetizing and hard to believe but let's assume that it could be true since we know that stranger things have happened to our food sources, unfortunately.

This is what else I learned or perhaps in part, just merely remembered. Before modern agriculture was bestowed upon us, pretty much all the animals and animal products that humans ate were "grass fed", foraging, "free ranging" kinds of beasts and beings. These meats, fowl, and edible by-products (edible by-products like cheese not old French fries and wrapped candy) were ideal for their health. Guess what? Man has not evolved that much. These "pastured," grass fed, foraging animals are ideal for our health too. But why? One reason is because they eat fresh or dried clean grass that is high in Omega 3s and in particular CLA, Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Another is that they are not fed soy or corn which they cannot properly digest and that alters the PH in their guts, inviting in bad bacteria. These animal are not given hormones, antibiotics or other drugs and carry a much lower or no risk for e.coli bacteria. Grass fed products are also richer in antioxidants; including vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Grass-fed beef is lower in fat than regular beef and, more importantly, contains higher amounts of CLA, a fatty acid.

What does CLA do for you?
• Fights cancer and diabetes
• Helps you to lose weight
• Increases your metabolic rate, a positive benefit for promoting normal thyroid function
• Helps you maintain normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
• Enhances your immune system
• Promotes lean muscle development and lower body fat
(I like the sound of that last bullet!)

After lots of research, here is the bottom line….Grass-fed beef is better for human health than grain-fed beef in ten different ways, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date. The 2009 study was a joint effort between the USDA and researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina**.

Compared with grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef was:
1. Lower in total fat
2. Higher in beta-carotene
3. Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
4. Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
6. Higher in total omega-3s
7. A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
8. Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
9. Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
10. Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease

So now you can have your steak (grass fed) and eat it too! On a more serious note, grass fed lean cuts of red meat are part of a healthy Core Diet and will provide an ideal amount of the Essential Fatty acids as well as the protein we need to stay strong. In addition, stop and look at the impact that grain based diets have had our nation's cattle, dairy cows, chickens and other animals. They get nice and fat, nice and fast. So, follow the Core Diet methodology and time your grains and stay true to The Core!

Where to find it:
Whole Foods
Local Farmers Markets:
Lists some local farms & sources:
Shop online for almost all your grassfed needs:

*This list is excerpted from "By-Product Feedstuffs in Dairy Cattle Diets in the Upper Midwest," published in 2008 by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
**S.K. Duckett et al, Journal of Animal Science, (published online) June 2009, "Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content."

Grass Fed New York Strip Steak with Warm Caramelized Mushroom Salad the video directions!

New York Strip Steak with Warm Caramelized Mushroom Salad

This recipe for New York Strip Steak with Warm Caramelized Mushroom Salad is the second in a series of videos I'm doing that focus on cooking various cuts of grass-fed beef.

For the mushroom salad:
8 large mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
salt to taste
1 whole garlic clove, peeled and bruised
1 tbsp. fresh chopped tarragon

For the rest:
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 (8-oz) New York strip steaks
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts Per 4 oz. serving: 353 calories: 34 grams of protein, 3.7 grams of carbohydrates, only 7 grams of saturated fat **

**The Advisory Committee for the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that the average American eat no more than 16 to 20 grams (g) per day for the average adult consuming a 2,000 calorie diet per day.

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