Monday, September 26, 2011

The Natural Cow

I took kind husband's post on Monday as a subtle suggestion he might be craving some of his favorite Monster cookies and whipped up a batch that night, BUT...apparently that is NOT a REAL food recipe. So sorry for that one! When I used real food ingredients, the cookies did not set up, and then once cooled formed a very sticky, tough, flat pile of oats and chocolate. Still delicious after being chiseled off the pan and dowsed with milk, but we missed that moist, gooey texture so iconic of our favorite treat. I think it was the natural peanut butter, and whole oats, so I'll play with that one a bit and let you what we figure out.

I have had several people ask about our meat and milk. I know these can both be sensitive and controversial topics so I am going to tread lightly…but we do have convictions based on what we have learned, read, and experienced, so I do promise to be honest.

So we’ll head towards the meat first…I know, I’m a chicken (and we can talk about those later too)…but it is much more straight forward and really sets the stage for many other areas of REAL food.

Here’s the broken down version (without too much of that science-stuff)

Why eat free-range, grass fed, untreated beef?


- constant movement reduces disease and illness which are more prevalent in the confinements of a pen
- can benefit biodiversity and sustain land
- increased lean, natural muscle due to free movement versus confinement which produces stiff, undeveloped muscling (can you imagine what OUR body composition would be if we were confined to a tiny pen crammed with hundreds of other people?  gross!)


Cows have 4 stomachs…FOUR! That’s a lot of space for digestion and break-down their food. So you would think that maybe cows would be more like goats…able to chew, swallow, and use ANYthing. But that’s not the case. The entire process of digestion from chewing to pooping is designed solely for grass-type vegetation. Anything else, especially grains and corn, are received by the cow's body as foreign and can actually be harmful to them.

So why do farmers feed their cattle grain and corn? Great question with a much more complicated and political answer than you want me to spell out (and probably sooo much more than I understand!) Here’s the easy answers:

1. Cows gain weight faster. Corn is a simple carbohydrate (aka-sugar) and because the cow cannot break it down it is stored as fat. (The same thing OUR bodies do with simple sugars.)

2. It is cheap cheap cheap!

3. The government has several stimulus packages for farmers who grow or use corn products. It’s a whole political scandal that my husband is very passionate about, so if you care to know more feel free to ask him…but be prepared for a small earful.

Grain-fed cattle produce the type of beef that has become iconic for us Americans. The highly marbled, fatty meat, with a smooth feel and flavor. I know, it’s good. But wait until you taste grass-fed beef…yes, it does taste different, especially when eaten without much seasoning, like a steak. It is soooo good! I am hesitant to say it, but there is a natural, almost wild flavor to it. It is stronger than that of corn-fed beef but will not consume the dish if being used as a component. Truly delicious! And because of the lower fat content, you truly taste the meat, not the fat.

This fact, lower fat and lower cholesterol content, also enables you to justify eating it more frequently! And who doesn’t love that!  Plus, grass-fed beef is higher in Omega 3s...that stuff that makes salmon so healthy for you - so you get less of the bad cholesterol and more of the good kind!  Win! Win!

Antibiotic / Hormone Free
- these hormones (both artificial and synthetic) MAY affect the natural balance of hormones in humans (developmental issues, reproductive hindrances, or leading to various cancers)

- overuse of antibiotics MAY be leading to strains of bacteria that are resistant to treatment and difficult to cure

- do you ever wonder why each generation seems to be maturing faster?  girls starting their periods at 9, 10, and 11 years old?  "blossoming" by the time they are tying their shoes? and ask your husband when he started shaving and compare with the boy down the street?  hmmmm....

*Cattle raised on corn, soy, and other grains, living in confinement/pens, are generally given feed laced with hormones and antibiotics regardless of the animals health, but merely as a "preventative" measure.  Imagine how our digestive and immune systems would be affected by daily doses of antibiotics our entire lives!!!  The implications are huge!

And here's the bottom line...God knew what he was doing at the creation of the earth.  He made sustaining foods in all forms for the very body he gave to Adam.  So why are we obsessed with messing with that system.  It was perfect the first time around!

Two words for you:   Big Freezer! 

My wonderful hubby used a portion of our tax return this spring to buy me a modest outdoor freezer that lives in our garage.  Within a few weeks it was 1/3 full of delicious, packaged to order all-natural beef!  It is so fun to step outside and "shop" in my garage for the day's dinner.  The vacuum packed beef is packaged in size and weights that I decided on with the butcher, totally customized to our family's needs. (Many more uses and cost-effectiveness of my lovely freezer to follow)

Where to find your cow

You might also want to do a local google search for farms in your area...we found a few this way that were not listed on the Local Harvest website.

Trader Joe's and other natural grocery stores...but beware - the cost per pound will be much higher purchasing this way.

One more option: online order.  This site is very well reputed and supposedly has wonderful products.  We have not tried it yet because we have been able to buy locally.

Let me know what you think and how you are enjoying your all-natural beef...just the way God made it!!!
So are you ready to try your own succulent share of a REAL cow?


  1. I grew up on "real" cow as my dad was a cattle rancher who raised them the grass-fed way so I can definitely support the fact that the taste is wonderful. I was shocked when I tasted my first store-bought beef at a friend's home when in high school. Unfortunately, when my dad died, my supply of great beef ceased.


  2. Jen-- So happy to hear you are loving a real food life. Beef is just the tip of the iceberg...have you tried to local fish guy or any of the other meat CSA options? Or send hubby out on a day trip in the bay....hell bring home lots of yummy fish. Really enjoying reading your posts. Keep them coming!