The answer is, it depends!
It's all about quality, current health situation, quantity, and frequency that makes it good or bad. I also like to take blood type into consideration.
Beef has gotten a bad wrap for being high in saturated fat, raising cholesterol, and in general, being bad for your health. So, you can imagine that as a nutritionist, I routinely shocked my clients when I suggested they eat grass-fed, grass-finished beef once a week as a general way to improve their health, strengthen immunity, and bring balance to the stress hormones and thyroid.
Many consumers think that all meat is created equal, which could not be further from the truth. There is a monumental difference between grass-fed beef and corn-fed beef, and a lot depends further on how the animal was fed and how it was treated (i.e. with hormones or antibiotics, access to the outdoors and a pasture, etc.)
You Eat What the Cow Eats
An animal’s diet has a profound influence on the nutrient content of its products. If we eat beef from a cow that ate grass versus a cow that ate corn, the outcome is much different. We consume what the animal consumed, and if we eat a lot of corn, we are eating a lot of sugar, which translates into weight gain and blood sugar instability. However, if we eat a lot of greens, the opposite is true. We will look and feel much differently. The idea is food as medicine or food as the slowest form of poison.
This goes for the environment that the animal lived in as well. Outside of the fact that we do not want to cause suffering to other living beings whether or not we consume them, stress creates stress hormones, and that changes the quality of the meat. Animals raised on feedlots and factory farms have unnatural, exponentially more stressful lives than animals raised on pasture.
The Quality Difference
Less Fat, Fewer Calories
Grass-fed products are typically much lower in total fat and calories than grain-fed products. For example, a sirloin steak from a grass-fed steer has about one-half to one-third the amount of fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed steer and 100 fewer calories.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in every cell and system in the body. They are the most heart-friendly fats. They support healthy immune and brain function and improve gastrointestinal health. Many North Americans are deficient in Omega-3s. We must consume them consistently because the body cannot produce them on its own. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.
Remarkably, and contrary to popular belief, they are also 50 percent less likely to have a severe heart attack.
Better TASTE, Higher Vitamins and Minerals
The bottom line is simple. Get back to basics and consume (real) food the way nature intended. If you are going to eat animals, eat them responsibly, with reverence, and make sure you know the source and quality of that animal product. If an animal is raised on a feedlot, it lives an incredibly stress-filled life. Stress creates stress hormones, which affect taste and tenderness of the meat. Grass-fed beef tastes infinitely better, and it’s a product you can feel good about, knowing the animal had a high-quality, humane way of life.
Another reason to eat grass-fed beef is for its high vitamin and mineral content. It contains all of the nutrients below.
B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
Current Health Situation or Blood Type
For those in adrenal fatigue, under considerable stress, or those with thyroid issues, low hormone production, or many food sensitivities, high-quality beef can be used as a highly medicinal, grounding food to replenish the system and bring back vitality.
My clients were often surprised when I recommended they go out and eat a high-quality burger once a depleted hormone report came back (gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap, please- and make sure those fries are cooked in rice bran oil or skip them).
According to Dr. Peter D’Adamo in his Eat Right for Your Type book, those with Blood Type O have shorter intestinal tracts, stronger enzymes, and are better equipped to digest and use the nutrients in red meat. While those with Blood Type A are natural born vegans/vegetarians, who can extract more protein out of plant-based foods.
Quantity and Frequency
Look at red meat as a superfood that you don't need in great quantity. If you have the above-mentioned health issues, then you can use it medicinally twice a week at 4-6 ounces each time for the first few months of your healing process.
After that, we suggest having red meat once a week as a part of a well-rounded diet. You can also go with your cravings. When I crave a burger, I know my body needs the iron and nutrient density that red meat provides.
What About the Expense?
Grass-fed, grass-finished beef (they must be fed grass their whole life to actually be grass-fed) can be considerably more expensive if you buy it locally from a health food store or farmer's market. However, the Internet has freed us from that expense so that we can get high-quality beef at prices lower than low-quality, inflammatory-producing beef.
This is where Butcher Box comes in.
Butcher Box sends premium grass-fed and grass-finished beef right to your door.
Men’s Health voted them as the #1 Food Box for 2016, and after testing them out, we can see why.
My husband and I decided to try them out a few months ago. It took us quite a while to work through our box because we only cook red meat at home about once every other week. We were so pleased with the quality, found the price to be reasonable, and will be ordering again!
If you would also like to try the top-quality meats from Butcher Box, you can receive $15 off your first order and two free 10oz Ribeyes as a guest of The Whole Journey.
All you have to do is click HERE
In a world where 1% of the beef is actually grass-fed/grass-finished, making clean eating hard to come by in rural areas, I'm grateful to Butcher Box for making this kind of quality widely available. Each meal comes out to only $6.50, and shipping is free, which to me makes this a no-brainer.
Once your box comes, how about trying our Gluten-Free Grass-Fed Beef Lasagna?
Fukumoto, G. K., Y.S. Kim, D. Oduda, H. Ako (1995). “Chemical composition and shear force requirement of loin eye muscle of young, forage-fed steers.” Research Extension Series 161: 1-5. Koizumi, I., Y. Suzuki, et al. (1991). “Studies on the fatty acid composition of intramuscular lipids of cattle, pigs and birds.” J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 37(6): 545-54.
Davidson, M. H., D. Hunninghake, et al. (1999). “Comparison of the effects of lean red meat vs. lean white meat on serum lipid levels among free-living persons with hypercholesterolemia: a long-term, randomized clinical trial.” Arch Intern Med 159(12): 1331-8. The conclusion of this study: “… diets containing primarily lean red meat or lean white meat produced similar reductions in LDL cholesterol and elevations in HDL cholesterol, which were maintained throughout the 36 weeks of treatment.”
D'Adamo, Peter. Eat Right 4 Your Type