By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
Why did I spend three years writing a book on cooking grassfed meat? Why did I read over 300 cookbooks and novels? The answer is very simple. I wanted to improve my health by enjoying the immense health benefits of grassfed meat. Grassfed meat and fat are so nutritious that they can literally rebuild your body. They certainly rebuilt mine.
Grassfed meat is a completely different product from conventional meat. The natural food of cattle, bison, and lamb is grass and meadow plants. That is all they should be eating. When the animals are raised on grass, their meat is packed full of nutrients in the perfect proportion for good health, in a form that can be easily assimilated by the human body.
Meat that is not 100 percent grassfed and grass finished is fed a mixture of grain, soy, and many other things that were never a part of the natural diet of these animals. The “other things” can include rendered restaurant waste, various animal parts, cement dust, plastic balls, chicken manure, and many other unsavory ingredients. Some producers only feed a 100 percent vegetarian diet to their animals. However, even these diets usually consist of a large amount of grain and soy, which are not part of the natural diet of grass eating animals.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
The meat of grain finished animals is very different in composition than the meat of grassfed animals, and lacks many of the wonderful nutrients that are present in grassfed meat. For example, the natural balance of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids should be no more than four to one. In grassfed meat, the ratio is usually one to one. In meat that is not exclusively grassfed, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is often twenty-to-one. The omega-6 excess in the American diet has been associated with a greatly increased risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, rapid aging, and many other health problems. Many doctors advise their patients to take fish oil capsules to try to help with the imbalance. Grassfed meat has the same ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 as wild fish.
The Benefits of CLA
In addition to having the proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, grassfed meat contains a large amount of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). The amount of CLA goes down when the animal is fed grain. The more grain fed to the animal, the less CLA. Various studies have shown that CLA:
- Increases the metabolic rate
- Increases muscle mass while reducing fat
- Decreases abdominal fat
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Reduces the risk of hyperthyroidism
- Normalizes thyroid function
More Nutrients in Grassfed Meat
But that is not all. Your body does not use nutrients in isolation, but is accustomed to receiving them together with other substances that are present in the food and necessary for your body to assimilate and use the nutrients. These substances are known as cofactors. When the cofactors are missing or altered, the ability of your body to use the nutrients is greatly reduced. This is why vitamin supplements are often ineffective, because your body needs the cofactors present in real food to properly assimilate nutrients. When you eat 100 percent grassfed and grass finished meat, you know you are getting all the cofactors, in their proper form.
Grassfed meat also provides a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. All of these nutrients are present in proper proportion to each other, along with the cofactors needed for your body to properly assimilate them.
My health has improved enormously since I made the switch to eating only 100 percent grassfed and grass finished meat. Learning how to cook grassfed meat was worth all the time, trouble, and expense. Good health is worth it!
I am not a doctor, and the above is not intended to be medical advice. Grassfed meat is a food, not a medicine. By all means, see a doctor if you want medical advice. The above is just a description of my understanding of the nutritional benefits of grassfed meat.