It’s amazing, isn’t it? How messages stick with us even after they’ve been proven false? I see patients every day that still buy into the low-fat dieting myth. A low fat diet won’t lead you to good health. Instead, it will take you straight down the path toward weight gain and chronic disease.
What’s really sad is that in the face of diet myths like this one, we stop eating many of our favorite foods. Steak, for instance. Who doesn’t love a good steak? But under the low-fat dogma, a steak is practically poison.
Well, that’s just not true… especially if you choose the right kind of steak. What you need is a balanced diet of good protein, healthful fats, and complex carbohydrates. A good steak fits right into this diet.
But what makes a steak healthy?
Unfortunately most of the steaks you pick up at your local grocery store deliver poor nutrition and are riddled with hormones, antibiotics, and only the farmer knows what else.
There’s one exception, and that’s a steak from grass-fed beef. If you want a good steak for dinner tonight, choose grass fed beef instead of the regular stuff you find at your grocery store. Then you can indulge yourself knowing full well that you’re doing your body a healthy turn.
What Makes a Grass Fed Steak Good for You?
There are two ways that farmers feed cattle. They either grass feed them or grain finish them. Most cattle are grain finished. That means starting several weeks before they are butchered the cows switch from their normal pasture feed to corn and other grains.
Farmers do this to fatten the cows up. But a number of bad things happen as a result.
First thing to happen is the balance between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids changes. The omega-3s, which are heart healthy and good for your immune system goes down, and the omega-6s go up.
You’ll be at your healthiest when you get roughly an equal amount of each omega-3s and omega-6s. If you’re an average American, you get about 20 times as much omega-6 fatty acid as you do omega-3. When this happens your body’s levels of inflammation rise and your arteries begin to harden. Commercially available beef contributes to this imbalance.
Second, the level of conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) begins to fall when farmers grain-finish beef. CLA helps your body to fight cancer. The level of CoQ10, and important nutrient for heart and brain health also begins to drop.
And finally, grain-fed cows tend to get sick. Farmers can’t afford to lose their cows to disease, so they pump them full of antibiotics to keep them healthy. Those antibiotics get passed on to you when you choose a conventional steak. That isn’t good. Antibiotics in the food supply can make you more prone to disease and can contribute to resistant strains of diseases.
Nature intends cows to eat grass for their whole lives… not to switch to grains in there last days. So grass-fed beef is just a more natural choice. And grass-fed beef gives your body a number of health advantages.
It provides you with a leaner cut of meat and higher quality protein. It gives you the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that your body craves. It delivers three times as much CLA and more CoQ10. In short, grass-fed beef is a bona fide health food… especially when compared to the conventionally raised alternatives.
Generally you can find grass-fed beef at your local health food store. Don’t be fooled by “naturally fed” and “No antibiotics or hormone” labels. These kinds of beef are a step up from the standard meat, but they aren’t grass fed.
You’ll avoid the problems of hormones and antibiotics, but you won’t get the nutritional benefits. Look for “grass fed” on the label to be sure you know what you are getting.
If you can’t find grass-fed beef locally, you can order it online. I’ve heard good things about U.S. Wellness Meats (www.uswellnessmeats.com), a company that will ship grass fed beef right to your door.
So, tonight, put a good healthy steak on the menu, and enjoy!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.