Is it manly to try to eat healthy? It sure can be. What is more manly that a steak, burger, or other beef meal. Beef, the word itself sounds manly. So go ahead, be a man, eat your beef.
Yes, you read that right. By eating beef just as you do now – without changing any other practices – you can save calories equal to 5 pounds a year.
The caveat is it has to be the right steak or burger – namely grass-fed beef.
This article, among many others such as this longer one from Time magazine, provides a nice summary of all the information on why grass-fed, or pastured, beef (and chicken, really any animal product) is better for you than the standard American commercial farm animals. You get more Omega 3s which you should know by now are good for your heart health and cancer prevention. You get more vitamins such as E and B. Well, here is a list of all the benefits:
- Lower in total fat
- Higher in beta-carotene
- Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
- Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
- Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
- Higher in total omega-3s
- A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
- Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
- Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
- Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease
Of those the factor I see as the biggest deal – despite your beliefs on the benefits of these other nutritional items the hard to ignore and even harder to dispute – is that number 1: Lower in fat.
“If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to lean grassfed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year—without requiring any willpower or change in your eating habits”
That equals about 5 pounds of weight in calorie loss. 5 pounds of weight loss without changing your eating habits, taking any supplements, or working out. In fact, grass-fed beef is lower in fat than chicken which usually advertises itself as the lean meat over beef.
The benefits go beyond that. Feedlot cattle (along with chickens the animal equivalent of a monoculture) create many issues for us that grass-fed animals bypass, not to mention environmental issues. Because of factors such as proximity, eating a diet that is not their natural one, escalated growth, they are pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, and vaccines that can be passed onto us and also create new strains of diseases as the disease adapts to the vaccine. There is far less run-off if their waste into our waterways. Of course add to all of that the quality of life factor of living on a free range versus being kept in a feedlot and for me it is a no-brainer. But even if you are not interested in animal welfare, it is hard to argue with the health benefits of grass-fed animals.
Now, based on the average consumption, you will spend around $300 more per year on the beef. But, as a society we need to realize the savings that comes from eating better. By just eating grass-fed beef you will lose (or not gain) 5 pounds. Right there you could be saving money on diet-pills, gym membership (though you still should get exercise), even supplements (if along with the beef you switch to other more natural foods you may be able to cut out Omega 3 pills, vitamins, etc.). And when you look long term eating it for years and it can save heart problems and cancer, besides the health care bills, your quality of life, isn’t it worth it to you, your family, and even the cows to support grass-fed beef? If you are what you eat, wouldn’t you rather be a a free-roaming bull on the range than one cooped up in a building with hundreds of other cattle?
OK, so I want to try this. But how do I find it?
It really isn’t that hard. Of course you could go to a natural food store such as Outpost or Wholefoods (where you can find all the other tasty healthier alternatives to your regular food), but most better grocery stores will have grass-fed, pasture, or free-range meats, dairy, and eggs right next to their regular ones. You just have to look at the labels and ignore the price difference. What about eating out, at a restaurant? Here too there are restaurants that cater to healthier eating – local, organic, or both – but many regular restaurants also advertise different options.
Some of my personal favorites for healthy, but still manly, dining are listed below. Here you can find good, hearty meals that include steaks, burger, ribs, even – come on what is more manly than – pork-bellys?
- Roots – which grows as much food as they can at their personal farm in Cedarburg (where I grew up)
- Meritage – which has seasonal menus ever changing to match the best available local produce for that season
- Le Reve – their grass-fed burger is a masterpiece, one of the best beef meals I have ever had.
- Lowlands Group restaurants (Cafe Hollander, Cafe Centraal, Trocadero) – I am not sure their meat is grass-fed but they do try to get as much of their food locally
- Transfer Pizzeria – pizza. Ok not a lot of meat but they do use organic ingredients in general. And it’s pizza. Healthy, eco-conscious pizza. They also have a sister restaurant on Downer Ave called Via with more Italian fare.
If you have suggestions on places to find a Well-Met meal please add to the comments.