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Healthy Eating in BUENOS AIRES, Argentina | & Any Groks from BsAs?

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  • Healthy Eating in BUENOS AIRES, Argentina | & Any Groks from BsAs?

    Hi guys,
    I've just moved to Buenos Aires.

    I was really excited for all the healthy food down here, esp the 100% grass-fed beef. To my dismay, I had to learn that the Argentinean produce is far from the optimum healthwise .

    This is my experience and perception, so far


    Feed lot feeding (corn, soy etc) and fattening up + treatment with hormone and antibiotics has become common.


    Everything is treated with pesticides, etc. Even organic food allows for spraying and artificial fertilization. No maximal allowance for chemicals is enforced and the levels are NOT tested.


    Caged eggs, bad feed


    Mysterious topic. No idea where it comes from. Milk is usually ultra-pasteurized.


    Very, very, very hard to find. Not common at all.


    The above is my experience so far. I've been here a short time only.

    My APPEAL:

    Are you from Buenos Aires? Or have you been here? Can you inform me about the status of the food quality here?

    And most importantly: Please tell me

    Where can I find organic vegetables, fruits, eggs and dairy?
    Where can I get pastured, organic, hormone-free beef?
    Where can I buy organic chicken and pork?
    Where can I obtain wild-caught salmon?

    Thanks for any tips.


  • #2
    i lived in the sticks (catamarca province) for 6 mos like 15 yrs ago. All i remember is that everything tasted like beef. I think the restaurants cooked everything, all the veg, everything, in beef tallow. Not a good place for a vegetarian!

    that's sad they're moving to grain fed. When i was there, there was no labeling or anything like that. But i was in small village as an expat and ate at restaurants for 90% of my meals (and some of the "restaurants" were just basically open grill kitchens with tables out front). At the time i didn't really know the difference between grass & grain finished anyway. It was so country & remote where i was, i just assumed that most of the food, including the beef, was local. Seems like it would cost too much to ship it from anywhere else.

    anyway, hope you find something good to eat.


    • #3
      Wow thats really sad to hear. My thesis advisor was Argentinian and Ive been taking tango lessons here in the states from Argentinian people and the impression Ive gotten from such older ex-pat Argentinians was that the majority of their diet growing up was beef like fresh off the range, with maybe a salad or two here and there. So in my mind, ive been holding Argentina up as this magical paleo-friendly land of Oz. But, as with all such things, apparently thats not the case

      (I still really really really want to visit sometime though)
      "Since going primal, I've found that there are very few problems that cannot be solved with butter and/or bacon fat."

      My amusing take on paleo-blogging:

      Are you a Primal in San Francisco, or the SF Bay Area in general? Join our facebook group!


      • #4
        Thats bad bad bad
        I actually always buy Argentinian beef, hoping to get a better quality, but this doesnt seem to be the case... :-(


        • #5
          Argentina could be a primal paradise because you can buy all sorts of offal (even order them at the restaurant) and there are a lot of vegetable and fruit stands around.
          The only problem is the quality of the produce.
          I'm sure you can find 100% grass-fed beef of amazing quality. I just don't know where and there seems to be no proof of quality at all.
          I'm hoping a porte´┐Żo could enlighten us.


          • #6
            I remeber to have read that lot feeding and hormone/antibiotics treatments are the exception for beef from argentina. And this would seem to make sense if you think about pastures in south america. On top of that, there have never been proven cases of mad-cow disease there (even if this was quite long ago) so this "could" mean no weird feed is used there...
            why do you say that you have experienced the opposite? can you give more details?


            • #7
              Yes, I can. A friend is best buddies with a major Parillada restaurant chain owner.
              I get this information from her via those owners. It's not a question of making sense but a question of making most profit. And it seems that the meat production has become more commercialized and the aim is to produce quickly rather than well.

              I am not saying at all this is 100% the truth and I'd want nothing more than it to be wrong but that's what I've heard so far. And there is absolutely not control agencies who would check production qualities.

              As for the vegetables again if been told by her that on the production plant the dude drives the tractor spraying pesticides on the brussel sprouts, then he stops the tractor while the poison is still being sprayed out, lights a cigarette and continues on. When he reaches end, he turns around but in a manner that he runs over one side twice.
              So if you are unlucky you get the vegetables from the places the tractor driver stopped to pause, light a smoke, chat, etc or you get produce from the line sides where he's run over twice in which cases pesticide levels would be extremely high.
              There is no institution who control pesticides usage.

              Beware though: I have no proof for any of these allegations! It's just what I have been told, I haven't seen prove for anything first hand. I do trust my friend but that doesn't mean she would be right.
              (Given some of the things I've seen here, like how they clean with huge amounts of chemicals, I can indeed imagine it.)


              • #8
                Beef quality is dependent on the diet provided to cattle and their living conditions. The two different farming regimes used for beef production in Argentina are grass pasture and feedlot-based farming.
                Argentina's rainfall and largely temperate climate result in high quality pastures, which may, however, not be suitable for more intensive agriculture. The Humid Pampa (Pampa H˙meda) is the most important and best-known cattle-producing region, as it has vast and open pastures. Grass-fed beef is believed to be healthier than beef from feedlots, as it contains less saturated fat and more omega 3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef, and so does not contribute so much to raising cholesterol in humans. Although the latter diet is increasing, grass-fed beef is still the most popular in Argentina.
                Grass-fed cattle are living under more natural conditions, and are less likely to have hormone implants. On the other hand, the technique requires large amounts of expensive land and a larger number of trained staff[citation needed]. Additionally, it takes longer to raise the animal.
                As beef is increasingly mass-produced, farming techniques with the ultimate goal of fattening the animals are evolving; the most common of these is grain-fed beef cattle held in feedlots. But as the animals, denied physical effort and stocked together, get fatter; beer is often used to calm them. In order to prevent disease on farms and feedlots, the animals are fed antibiotics. The feedlot diet guarantees constant and controlled results, year-round productivity as it is not as dependent on climate and does not require so much land. Taking into consideration all these factors, it is thus the cheaper diet, but there are suggestions it is less beneficial for the welfare of the animals and for the health-giving qualities and flavour of the meat.

                From Wikipedia. Unfortunately there are no sources given for this article.
                For me the issue is, even if it is just a percentage of the beef that has been raised with feedlot and antibiotics I would have no idea of knowing which type it is. I just want to be able to buy grass-fed beef with guarantee.


                • #9
                  i think you're just gonna have to hope a local chimes in here. Else you're gonna have to do a lot of investigating yourself. I remember that when i was in argentina everything seemed totally f'd up. Country of Roto. I can't imagine there being any labeling whatsoever. I remember seeing some frighteningly overdue items in the butcher case still for sale. Of course i was in a very small village.

                  could you find out from the restaurant owner where you COULD find grass-finished beef?


                  • #10
                    So I was in the supermarket today and while waiting in line I started chatting with the lady behind me as she knew French. (My Spanish is only developing). She actually told me there are different grades of meat quality and the expensive (if you can call it that ) one is supposed to be toppp quality aka grassed with no chemical treatment...
                    So I'll look into that. I'm also gonna talk to some locals and try to get in touch with the resto owners.
                    It's not like all meat is of bad quality or anything, I just want to make sure that the meat I get is of TOP quality!

                    So I've said a lot of negative stuff about Argentina here so I want to rebalance this post a bit:

                    First of all, I've CHOSEN to live in BuenosAires and this hassle with food and minor sub-optima in my diet are definitely worth it as BuenosAires is SUCH an amazing place!

                    I love the people, the architecture and the culture. I'm smiling all day long when I move around and I've only just discovered a fraction of the city!

                    Still hoping to get in touch with some Primal Portenos!!


                    • #11
                      That sucks to hear.

                      Just one thing I can say with a little confidence. I doubt they sell salmon down there since salmon is only caught in the northern Pacific and Atlantic. You might be able to get canned salmon, but that's probably it.


                      • #12
                        well, here in german i have never seen beef labelled as "100% grass fed". the only one that gets close to it is the wagyu beef that, besides being damn expensive, is also labelled just "grass fed", without the "100%". so i think i will stick to buying argentinian beef, hoping to get the right one... isnt there a way to get an idea on how good the quality is just looking at/tasting the meat??? or should i bring it to some lab to have it analysed ;-)


                        • #13
                          LeJ: I am a journalist here in BsAs and would love to talk to you more about this. I'd like to do some of my own research, as well... Let me know if you're up for it!! Thanks! Jessica


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fra0039 View Post
                            well, here in german i have never seen beef labelled as "100% grass fed". the only one that gets close to it is the wagyu beef that, besides being damn expensive, is also labelled just "grass fed", without the "100%". so i think i will stick to buying argentinian beef, hoping to get the right one... isnt there a way to get an idea on how good the quality is just looking at/tasting the meat??? or should i bring it to some lab to have it analysed ;-)
                            I thought that most beef in Germany was grassfed, but I just got back from there and saw corn fields all over the place. Maybe they don't lable because its mostly grassfed anyway. Seems like pork is the big deal over there and I wonder how it's raised. I didn't see much beef at all. Even at the markets I went to there was very little beef. All I know is that I love the way Germans do pork.