One of my favorite foods is beef. It tastes good and can also be good for you.
So much of the “nutrition world” still believes that red meat is bad for you. You look at things like The China Study or documentaries like Forks Over Knives and you’ll get this idea. But there is a problem with these “so called facts”.
First of all, when a person goes off of a standard American diet (SAD) to a vegan or vegetarian diet many changes are taking place. Its not just stopping meat (and for some reason the culprit is always pointed at the cow not the fish or chicken). Its getting off lots of processed foods like junk food. And there’s an increase in fruits and vegetables. In general it’s a removal of processed crap and eating more natural foods.
Secondly, although there are studies pointing to problems with red meat I have not seen one study that makes the critical distinction in commercial meat versus natural meat. Just like humans have problems off of a “natural” diet, so do cows. Cows force fed grains and kept in stressful environments have to be pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive. This doesn’t lead to a healthy animal. And thus the quality of its meat IS bad for you…
But that’s not what a cow ought to be. A cow’s natural diet is grass for its full life. A problem with grass fed meat is that the cow can be fed grass for three quarters of its life and then grain at the end to fatten it up, and it can still be called grass fed. In fact baby cows need grass (in addition to milk) to survive so this is normal practice. A cow that has eaten its natural diet its whole life is sometimes called grass finished (as in it finished its life eating grass).
Here’s a problem for many. It’s difficult to get high quality meat. You won’t find it in most stores and even if you do you often won’t be sure if it is grassfed or grass finished. I recently saw Costco carrying grassfed meat which I was excited to see but I’m still not sure if it’s the best.
Even my local health food store only has a couple selections of grassfed meat.
The Cost Problem
The second problem is it costs more. There’s the whole argument that you’re either going to pay now or pay later via health care costs. Yes, this is true…
And it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to pay for quality food today. So what can you do about it?
Buy in Bulk
And for that reason I just bought my first 1/8th of a cow and I’m extremely please. I had done some online shopping before for quality meat. One of the most popular sites is US Wellness Meats. I like their stuff but I got a new lead on a place with the highest quality meat (possibly in the world).
I waited on placing my first order because the 1/8th of a cow wasn’t ready yet. They sell them in lots and they sell out quickly. So I waited a couple weeks until the next lot was ready and I placed my order.
A 50 or so pound box arrived at my door a few days later. Here’s a couple pictures of when it arrived.
Happily the 1/8th of a cow fit completely in my freezer. For larger amounts I know people by special ice chests or extra space to fit all their meat. In the future I may go that route.
This is the best meat I’ve ever had.
I need to get a little better at cooking it. My first steak I overcooked. It was still good but almost well done.
But my second was way better. Here you can see that. No spices or marinades even needed. So good just by itself.
I’ll also need to get better at cooking roasts and various other cuts I haven’t even done before.
My Cost for an Eighth of a Cow
In total with shipping I paid approximately $12 per pound. This is still not cheap but its not that bad. At my local store you can get lower-quality grass fed ground beef for $9.99/lb. The only selections are ground beef and stew meat there.
But here the lot was 18 lbs. of ground beef and then a selection of other steaks and cuts, ones that are usually quite a bit pricier.
As a special bonus I got a free box of bones and liver with this order too!
I’ve heard of people actually getting their cost done to roughly $4 per pound for larger orders. Imagine that! That’s the highest quality meat you can find for less than most commercial meat sells for.
Of course you need the space for it. And you need the upfront investment. But that is just what it is, an investment. It’s an investment in your health. Its also going to last you for sometime so the rest of your grocery bills are going to go down.
I recommend you check out Alderspring Ranch. It’s a family run operation that has limited capacity. In doing this its possible you’ll snap up my eighth of a cow (or maybe ¼) next time I go to order and I’ll be SOL, but its worth doing.
By the way if you have some other great sources of high quality meat I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.