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Thread: MEAT questions

  1. #1
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    MEAT questions

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    Hi there... wondering a few things about meat quality, hoping some people can clear some things up.

    Beef:
    I have a very hard time getting grass-fed beef (I live in Canada). Should I NOT be eating local, farm raised, but possibly corn or something else-fed beef? Or should I just trim the fat off of it? Ie, should I only eat beef if it's 100% grass-fed?

    Chicken:
    What about chicken... are there any rules? Ideally free-range/local/no hormones/ethically raised but is there anything about what the chickens should be fed?

    Pork:
    Bacon - nitrate-free only? Does that mean not-smoked? What about the sugar that's on the ingredient list for most bacon? Also, what should pigs be fed in order to be healthy for us to consume?

    Fish - Wild only is fine (I don't love fish though, so I'd like to be able to get the above as ideal as possible so I don't have to eat only wild fish).

    Milk/Cheese: what's more important? Grass-fed cows or unpasteurized... finding both in the same product is quite difficult.

    General:
    How important is Organic for meat, dairy, eggs?

    Not sure if it matters, but my main goal with the diet is to calm general systemic inflammation that might be a source of my idiopathic pain disorder (fibro-ish?). Not sure if that matters in the consideration of the above.

    Thanks for any input...

    L0ki

  2. #2
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    I don't believe that the selection of meat is likely to resolve fibro-ish problems.

    I would take the local free fed meat and I would eat the fat.

    Organic is an expensive hurdle to cross- your local meat may be for all intents and purposes "organic" but not be able to be labeled such because of the expense in meeting the labeling requirements.
    “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
    Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

  3. #3
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    Right. Thanks for the info... so even if the local farmer doesn't feed 100% grass-fed, you would still eat the fat?

  4. #4
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    Totally. My pain from an autoimmune disorder and my obesity both respond extremely well to a high fat diet. I dont think that is anything special about the fat, i think it is something special about low insulin. YMMV.

    Grass-fed is best for omega ratios, but if it isn't available there is nothing "wrong" with free fed. I eat my local free fed.
    “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
    Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

  5. #5
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    Beef: If you can't get grass fed the local farm raised is a good option. Try to find a farm or butcher who knows what the cattle are eating. Look for hormone/antibiotic free beef.

    Chicken: They eat almost everything- talk about Paleo's- these guys are really good cave birds. Again, try to find hormone/antibiotic free range (for real) chickens. Free range doesn't mean cage free. Free range means they are out foraging for noms such as grass, bugs, fruits and sunshine.

    Pork: Nitrates are additives so avoide them. They are bad but you can get great nitrate free bacon and bacon that isn't cured with sugar. You can also try panchetta. Pasture raised pork is what to look for, but like all other meats, hormone and antibiotic free is good if you can't find or afford pasture raised pork.

    Fish: I find that because I live in Colorado and grew up in Alaska that I am a fish snob. Fresh and wild are rare in CO so I also look for sustainable farm raised salmon w/out color added.I have found some Scottish Farm Raised Salmon to be amazing and sustainable.

    I don't know about dairy and cheese. I would guess that if you can find a local dairy, you can buy shares in cows to get raw dariy and make your own cheese.

    I think if your a Paleo and the bulk of your diet is based on good protiens, organic, healthy, sustainably raised, local meats, eggs, dairy, and honey is the best option for both you and your local farmers.

  6. #6
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    Beef, lamb, goat. As close to grass fed as possible. If not, trim some of the fat and add back healthy fats like pastured butter, coconut oil, etc.

    Pork and chicken. Not at the top of the paleo/primal food chain. I find this the hardest to find without spending fortune. Pigs for the logistics of raising purely foraging pigs. Chickens because even the farmers get a surprised look when you ask about soy in the feed.

    Fish, yes wild. There are some exceptions, but it's easiest to just google each kind of fish before you buy it. But for salmon, I'd definitely go wild.

    Milk/cheese. I have no access to "unprocessed milk," so I've even cut out half and half in my coffee. Cheese - I thought we couldn't get raw milk cheese here, but I saw some at Whole Foods. Go for quality and avoid anything that is shiny yellow and shaped like a brick.

    For me, the Organic label means something in a grocery store. But I agree with loafingcactus that many small farmers that sell at farmers markets just don't want to jump through the fed'l hoops for the certification. Even when their product surpasses fed'l guidelines.
    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

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    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

  7. #7
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    Out of curiosity, what part of Canada? I go into Quebec pretty often (I am 90mi from the border), and I have found some awesome suppliers there. I would suggest eatwild.com or just googling it around your area. It's uncommon to find it in normal grocery stores. Gotta come to VT for that

    Beef: As the previous poster said, GF gives a much better lipid profile.I am a big fan of any cow that isn't fed "parlor mix". Whether or not your local ranchers do is something you should ask. I don't think that human beings are meant to take in bovine growth hormone or the soy chard that make it with....beef in many places is very unregulated, so it's kind of buyer beware.

    Chicken: Shoot for something that says "freeze hung" rather than the saltwater immersion thing they do to add weight. It gives it that sawdusty taste....also, attempt to find pastured eggs or meat if you can, eggs especially. If you are in Quebec, I have a great source that ships up there for great rates. PM me if you are interested.

    Bacon: No nitrates, no fillers, no sugar. It is pretty amazing on its own....but beware that it won't last too long. I salt mine myself to help this out a little, then immerse for a few seconds to wash it off before cooking.

    Fish: I am not proselytizing, but not ALL wild caught is ok....the fact is that many of our favorite fish are in full crash, some at 10% of levels seen in 1950. Lookup anything on marine stewardship, MOC one is called, and select from there. (As a sad story, my father used to fish for wild salmon as a child in Maine. Today that is outlawed.) Also, eat only "diver caught" scallops. The rest are caught in disgusting trawlers that literally just rip the seabed apart. It is illegal to sell them otherwise in many parts of the world.

    Butter: GF is much better. You are eating concentrated milk fat. The ratios matter more here.

    Organic: Some fruits and veg, if conventional, are coated in pesticides. (ex: strawberries) Do not take my word for it....just google some of the chemicals present in their formulas and count the carcinogens....20 min later you will never eat non-organic the same way again....most important though are fruits where you EAT the outer surface. An organic banana isn't the same as an organic blueberry.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by L0kI View Post
    Hi there... wondering a few things about meat quality, hoping some people can clear some things up.

    Beef:
    I have a very hard time getting grass-fed beef (I live in Canada). Should I NOT be eating local, farm raised, but possibly corn or something else-fed beef? Or should I just trim the fat off of it? Ie, should I only eat beef if it's 100% grass-fed?

    Chicken:
    What about chicken... are there any rules? Ideally free-range/local/no hormones/ethically raised but is there anything about what the chickens should be fed?

    Pork:
    Bacon - nitrate-free only? Does that mean not-smoked? What about the sugar that's on the ingredient list for most bacon? Also, what should pigs be fed in order to be healthy for us to consume?

    Fish - Wild only is fine (I don't love fish though, so I'd like to be able to get the above as ideal as possible so I don't have to eat only wild fish).

    Milk/Cheese: what's more important? Grass-fed cows or unpasteurized... finding both in the same product is quite difficult.

    General:
    How important is Organic for meat, dairy, eggs?

    Not sure if it matters, but my main goal with the diet is to calm general systemic inflammation that might be a source of my idiopathic pain disorder (fibro-ish?). Not sure if that matters in the consideration of the above.

    Thanks for any input...

    L0ki
    In Toronto there have to be plenty of resources for finding grass-fed beef, it just may take some sleuthing. Eatwild.com is great if you're looking to buy a lot of meat at once - most of the producers listed (the ones in AB, anyway) don't sell small amounts, though some offer freezer packs worth a couple hundred bucks rather than selling you a whole side of beef. Go down to a local organic grocery and take a look through the meat section - note the names of the farms/producers whose product they offer, then contact the farms directly to see what their practices are. Locally raised meat is your next best choice if you really can't find grass-fed. Worst case scenario, trim the fat off whatever meat you get and add in your own fats when cooking.

    With chicken, to my understanding it's not legal to use hormones in raising the animals for food, so don't be swayed by a label that says that. What the chickens eat is important in the outcome of the quality of the meat and the fat attached to it. It's harder to find pastured chickens up here but it can be done. Again, find names of and contact local producers. You may not find completely pastured chickens but ones raised in open-concept barns where they can scratch and peck (the ground, not each other) and eat veggie scraps and are supplemented with some grains. I would try to avoid soy-fed chickens as much as possible.

    With pork, pastured is always best but since those pastures are snow-covered for a good part of the year most producers have no choice but to supplement the feed and since they don't eat grass, grains are usually used. As with chicken, try to avoid soy-fed pork; corn is iffy too, unless it's non-GMO. Hormone use is also not allowed in pork production. I think the jury is out on nitrates...depending on the source. I have no issue eating bacon cured with celery salt, which is a source of nitrates. I'm also not eating a pound a day, more like six strips a week. Same goes for sugar added in the curing...if it was a much larger part of my diet, I'd be more concerned.

    I don't eat much fish, though what I do comes from a local shop that brings it in from the coast many times a week and is caught on a small scale. I buy organic shellfish whenever I do.

    Ah, dairy. Yet again, hormone use is illegal. But so is selling raw dairy, so it'll be really hard to find. Grass fed can be found, but it most likely won't be exclusively grass fed because of that whole snow-covered pasture thing. Two brands of cheese off the top of my head that you can find anywhere that are grass-fed are Kerrygold and L'Ancetre, though L'Ancetre says in their website they can't call themselves grass-fed because some of their producers, some of the time, have to supplement the cow's feed and that's enough for them to not be considered completely grass-fed by whoever's doing the regulating. Butter, well...good luck. L'Ancetre makes butter too, but it's $6.39/half lb out here. So I stock up on Kerrygold, Anchor, etc, whenever I leave the country. You can likely find good organic milk from local dairies just about anywhere, but it's not legal to sell unpasteurized milk in Canada.

    At the end of the day, source out, buy and eat what you feel most comfortable with, whether it be totally organic, grass-fed everything, or the best you can afford. All the best in dealing with your pain disorder; if anything, ditching the grains and crap seed oils will go a long way toward helping that

  9. #9
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    Jun 2013
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    Toronto
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    Thank you all for this great info. Seems there are a number of options and I don't want to get bogged down by making the perfect the enemy of the better... so I will do my best to find what you mention above. I've purchased Kerrygold cheese from Whole Foods here in Toronto and it's nice, but some of the varieties don't specifically say grass-fed so I wasn't sure. The meat at whole foods was just absolutely unacceptably expensive. I bought 2 fresh roasts and 4 striploins from a friend's farm at the farmers market for $60... I went to go buy one (somewhat large) grass-fed steak at Whole Foods and it was over $30. Insane... I will try to go back to my little home town outside the city and stock up at their farmer's market since it's delicious and cheaper.

    I'd definitely like to find some butter, but that seems to be one of the harder items to get your hands on. I don't go over the border very often, but perhaps I need to make a few trips and stock up. I also live in an apartment without a large freezer, so buying enormous amounts of meat is a bit challenging. I don't drink/use much milk, so it's not my biggest concern in terms of quality, I'm more concerned with cheese and butter.

    To Lazarus... I will PM you to get some info on your suppliers from Que. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by L0kI View Post
    Hi there... wondering a few things about meat quality, hoping some people can clear some things up.

    Beef:
    I have a very hard time getting grass-fed beef (I live in Canada). Should I NOT be eating local, farm raised, but possibly corn or something else-fed beef? Or should I just trim the fat off of it? Ie, should I only eat beef if it's 100% grass-fed?
    It's probably impossible to find something 100% grass-fed. Most farmers will 'finish them off' with feed. And in the harsh snowy winter, it's unlikely cows are grass-fed. Lamb is probably better because they're going to be younger. Depends on time of year though. I would not eat beef if it's raised on corn.

    Chicken:
    What about chicken... are there any rules? Ideally free-range/local/no hormones/ethically raised but is there anything about what the chickens should be fed?
    They should eat bug, insects, worms etc etc, but MOST free range pastured eggs come from chickens who get a little corn.

    Pork:
    Bacon - nitrate-free only? Does that mean not-smoked? What about the sugar that's on the ingredient list for most bacon? Also, what should pigs be fed in order to be healthy for us to consume?
    Vegetables, grass, roots etc. Grain fed pork is awful. Pork is not an ideal protein anymore UNLESS you find exclusive sources.

    Milk/Cheese: what's more important? Grass-fed cows or unpasteurized... finding both in the same product is quite difficult.
    Grass fed is the important thing here. Unpasteurized means raw and that is outlawed in US afaik, not sure about Canada.

    General:
    How important is Organic for meat, dairy, eggs?

    Not sure if it matters, but my main goal with the diet is to calm general systemic inflammation that might be a source of my idiopathic pain disorder (fibro-ish?). Not sure if that matters in the consideration of the above.

    Thanks for any input...

    L0ki
    Organic in itself can sometimes mean F-all. It really depends on your source, and mostly it is a vital idea to check your sources, given the ridiculous state of our food industry.

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