As a wellness coach my number one piece of nutritional advice is “eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.” But I have a confession to make. I have a nutritional weakness. Some people crave cookies, candies, chocolate or cakes. But my downfall is meat.
Long considered the biggest enemy of good health, meat was the bad guy in nutritional circles. Blamed for heart disease, high cholesterol and weight gain, meat was “evil.” But I love meat! I love beef, chicken, pork, lamb, duck, and even bison. For years I have tried to give it up. I have gone vegetarian, and vegan but I always come back to the delectable goodness of perfectly cooked animal flesh.
But there is good news for those of us who can’t live without our vice. New studies show that eating the right kind of meat in moderation may actually be good for us. The right kind of meat comes from wild or pasture-raised animals. Industrial-farmed animals (most of the meat you find in the grocery store) are fed grain, corn or soy, none of which are a part of the animal’s natural diet. The industrial-farmed animals are kept in factory-like conditions. This treatment has proven to be hard on the health of the animals as well as the health of our environment.
Meat from wild or pasture-raised animals is lower in overall fat than Industrially-raised animals and is two to three times higher in healthy omega three fatty acids. Grassfed animal products (including milk and eggs) are also higher in antioxidants including vitamin E, beta carotene, vitamin A and folic acid. They are also loaded with protein and vitamin B-12. Raising animals in the pasture is also good for the environment. Pasture land has 93% less topsoil erosion. Feeding cows, bison, sheep and chickens in the pasture requires much less fossil fuel than raising them on a typical feed lot diet of dried corn and soy that must be shipped in.
Pasture land is also far superior to a “factory farm” in the reduced amount of pollutants that are released into the air, water, and soil. In a well-managed pasture-based farm, the animals spread their manure evenly over the soil as they graze, where it becomes natural fertilizer. On factory farms the excessive production of feces builds up right under the animal’s feet and releases toxins into the soil and air. This can make the animals sick, requiring antibiotic treatment. These same toxins end up in runoffs that find their way into rivers and streams. The gasses leak into the atmosphere, polluting our air (If you have ever driven by the stockyards on a hot August day, you know what I’m talking about). Don’t get me wrong; I believe that 80% of your diet should come from plant-based food. But if you’re like me and enjoy a tender juicy steak or a succulent roasted chicken every once and awhile, wild or pasture-raised meat is the healthy way to go. The beef has a pure, fresh taste and is tender and juicy, but free of the sticky fat that glues itself to your hands when you handle grocery store beef. Where can you find wild or pasture-raised meat? A great place to start is www.eatwild.com. I personally recommend Fair Oaks Ranch in Paso Robles California for amazing grassfed beef that they’ll ship directly to you. You can contact ranch owner Coco Collelmo at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Fair Oaks Ranch website at www.forbeef.com.