Mystery meat – my quest for local, kosher grass fed beef. First in a series.

My kids used to sing a song about a squeegee – a mythical creature that their camp counselors have them pursue in search. I call it locally grown, kosher grass fed beef in the Bay Area. Seriously - a squeegee.

Why Kosher?

We keep kosher  because for us, it’s part of having a Jewish home.  I’m committed to the health of myself and family  because it’s the right thing to do.  Usually these two commitments don’t have any conflict.

Why local?

As part of living healthy and being environmentally sensitive (and cost sensitive), I prefer to buy local.  And drop shipping beef is really, really expensive. Beef is heavy and it must be shipped cold/frozen.

Why Grass Fed Beef?

Through my gym and my sister’s gym, I’ve been introduced to the significant health benefits of 100% grass fed beef.  Unforuntately, anything other than 100% grass fed beef is seriously bad for you. In order to appreciate why, you need to understand the benefits and risks of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Both are good for you – in a specific ratio.

Great article by my sister the professional trainer on good, real fats - it will blow your mind.  Coconut fat is good for you (yum).  Canola...not so much.

Summarized from Mark’s Daily Apple about Omega 6 and 3:

“Omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in dermal integrity and renal function among other things”. Too much Omega-6 leads to inflammation and inflammation leads to heart disease, arthritis and other gems. Omega-3s “aid circulation by naturally thinning the blood, fight systemic inflammation, support brain function…” The ideal ratio is 1:1. The Western diet ranges from 10-30:1.  And we have obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc…

I’m not an advocate for only one answer to address all that ails the amazing machine which is the human body. But the science on balancing Omega-6 and Omega-3 makes sense as a start.

Dr. Andrew Weil wrote about fats vs. carbs in the Huff Po this weekend.  This is well beyond common sense food rules.  This is about knowing what the food you eat, eats. 

So, we eliminated all the bad fats (see the post from Mark). And just like I discovered a year ago about the prevalence of soy (Omega-6 again) in all our food and stopped my kids from eating soy products, now I would like to ensure that the meat we eat is healthy for us.  Because we like meat and the science is that meat is good for you.

This isn’t hyper-vigilence or exaggeration.  The University of California – Chico College of Agriculture has invested years studying and analyzing the composition of beef raised in a multitude of ways. There's nothing I can find that advocates for finishing cattle with grain - it is done because Americans seem to like the taste and the cow gets fatter (more meat, faster).  Having tasted grass fed beef in Europe and here, it has more flavor than grain fed beef.

So - being a research driven, practical parent, I reached the conclusion that the responsible thing for my kosher family would be to buy us grass fed beef. Little did I know how very challenging that would be - in the heartland of the organic food movement.

Tune in tomorrow for the quest for grass fed beef.