When making the transition into the Primal way of life, a lot of people get tripped up on the question of grass-fed beef. Is it necessary? (No.) Is there really that big a difference between conventional beef and grass-fed beef? (Kinda.) What does grass-fed actually mean? How do conventional cows live and what do they eat – and does that matter enough to me to make the effort to incorporate true grass-fed beef into my diet?
Hopefully, the following article will shed a bit of light on the subject, making it easier for you to make an informed decision based on your preferences, your needs, your budget, your personal ethics, and the objective information provided.
I’m going to say it outright: I’m not a fan of what most people mean when they say “cold cuts.” The water-laden, gummy, super salty, uniformly shaped, barely recognizable sheets of condensed animal parts just don’t whet my appetite. Yeah, it’s technically meat, but it’s really pushing it. That’s the cheap stuff, though. Those are the cold cuts that come pre-wrapped in the refrigerated section next to the American cheese sliced singles. They run a couple bucks for maybe half a pound but a quarter of it is water. Think bologna, cheap ham, slimy chicken, shiny turkey. I’ll pass, thank you.
But are all cold cuts created equal? I often get the question of whether deli meats are healthy Primal fare. Let’s take a closer look.
I am studying to become a nurse and am taking my first nutrition class at a local college. As one of our assignments we had to record everything we ate for an entire week. After looking at my results my teacher was dumbfounded. To make a long story short, my teacher told me that I should only be eating 38 grams of protein each day, and that any more than that could harm my kidneys. I’ve been Primal for 2 years and am healthier than ever. I am 5′ 2″ and and a very lean 105 pounds. Should I be concerned?
I came across an interesting statin study the other day. It’s from last year, but I hadn’t seen it until recently. The study, entitled “Statins Do Not Decrease Small, Dense Low Density-Lipoprotein,” sought to understand the effect of statin therapy on small, dense LDL, the truly “bad” kind of “bad” cholesterol, the stuff that’s strongly associated with increased heart disease risk in many studies. We know that statins reduce LDL cholesterol – they are extremely effective at curtailing the cholesterol-synthesizing hydroxy-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, if you’re into that sort of thing – but their effectiveness at lowering sdLDL is unknown. They reduce the rate at which cholesterol is produced and that’s as specific as it gets.
A new grass-fed meat study (PDF) has just been brought to my attention, thanks to Aaron Blaisdell. It’s pretty fascinating. Researchers wanted to see two things: whether eating grass-finished animals instead of grain-finished animals would provide a significant influx of dietary omega-3s and whether the potential influx would actually make a difference in lab numbers. They took two groups of people, regular Irish folks, and provided weekly portions of beef and lamb, either grass-finished or grain-finished. The animals were “finished” for a minimum of six weeks. Both groups were told to avoid fatty fish and omega-3-rich oils for the duration of the study. All told, both groups ate roughly 469 grams of red meat a week for four weeks. Oh, and these were all healthy subjects with good cholesterol and blood pressure numbers and without prescriptions to any medications.
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