I'm starting to believe that eating animals other than ruminants is probably less than ideal, especially for someone trying to reduce inflammation, healing an autoimmune disease or lose weight.
The o-3/o-6 profile is one thing, but there is also the thing about their diet. We always talk about grass-fed beef, grass-fed beef this, grass-fed beef that, but when it comes to chicken and pork we seems to get stuck in our words. Naturally raised or pastured pork and chicken is what we often use to describe the ideal thing to eat, but it tells nothing about what they ate. Are they ever fed a truly natural diet in your typical local/natural/organic farm? What's a natural diet for them in the first place?
For example, a farmer I buy from sells lamb and mutton that has been pastured, grass-fed and grass-finished. They also have pork, but it is fed the whey they get from the cheeses they make. I'm sure they try their best to feed them the best diet they can, but I tend to think that the grass-fed lamb will still be a better choice than the whey-fed pork.
What are your opinions on that matter?
I too have been wondering about chicken/poultry and pork as meat sources. I have read that the best paleo options are foods than can be eaten raw (even if we choose not to eat them raw). Pork and chicken are generally thought of as meats that should be cooked--well-cooked even. Perhaps this is because they are omnivores and more likely to contain parasites or bacteria that are problematic for humans?
I agree that variety must be best, along with eating the whole animal, not just the 'choice' cuts. The thing is, most westernised humans have all sorts of aversions to organ meats and to many of the wide variety of meat products available--insects, small reptiles etc.
The following site suggests that ruminants would not have been the most commonly eaten meats during our evoluntionary history in Africa: http://www.naturalhub.com/natural_food_guide_meat.htm This page includes a link to a site dicsussing the fauna that would have been available to our African ancestors.
Dr. Kurt Harris of PaNu blog said: Non- ruminants are much more subject to passing on the ratio they get in their diets. So the unhealthiest beef has a 6:3 ratio as good or better than pastured free range bug-eating chicken, and fowl fat from industrial operations is like eating vegetable oil.
You wouldn't eat soy or gluten, so why eat an animal that eats these things? They are passing on the fat ratio to you!
Fortunately, the number of farmers who are becoming aware that this is not a good situation is increasing. I get my pork from a farm that feeds them non-gluten grains, field peas, and whey from a neighboring cheese maker (I think this is a perfectly find food, but if you react to dairy, maybe not). My family is buying a pig and we will be feeding primarily root vegetables and acorns. I have a poultry producer that feeds his poultry mostly damaged apples from nearby orchards. Yes, it's possible to find these animals eating decent things, but it's hard.
As far as certain bloggers justifying their own tastes...what kind of weirdo doesn't like crispy chicken skin or pork belly? I would love these to be the perfect foods, but the truth is that grass-fed ruminants generally have more favorable nutrient levels, are the closest to being like the meat our paleolithic ancestors ate... and should probably be the nucleus of the diet.
Maybe it's possible to overthink it all. Ensuring (as far as possible) that the meat is ethically and humanely raised is important. And then, a bit of everything that you like (paleo-friendly of course) should be good.
I listen to my body on this one just like I listen to my body to find out when it's time to get out of the sun, when it's time to stop eating, when it's time to drink water, etc. Every two or three days pork seems really appetizing to me, and so I eat it. (Good stuff from a good farm, of course.) Once I get nice and full on pork I then don't really want it for two or three days. And on we go. I find I can eat beef and lamb much more frequently before getting tired of it (if ever). So I figure there's something behind this.
What should I infer: is it personal taste? Or perhaps my body is the universal paleo barometer that should decide for everyone else? Either way, mostly ruminants for me.
This is an interesting graph.
While the Omega 3 is higher in grass-fed cattle and wild ruminants than grain-fed cattle, the Omega 6 is just as high and even higher in the wild ruminants.
If we're treating Omega 6:3 ratios as important in determining the "ideal" meat, then fish is ideal.
70 mg/100 g in grass-fed beef is a pittance compared to the levels of Omega 3 in fish. There are some fish where you can get 2 g/100 g.
Do I think pork and chicken is less than ideal? No.
The idea that humans are meant to eat a certain type of animal (such as cattle) is an irrational generalization of human nature and evolution.
If you like pork, eat the pork. I think that the science will show that pork and chicken are preferable to, say, an excess of dairy for most people. I think that certain bloggers who push the ruminants-only view are... perhaps using convenient science to justify their own taste preferences rather than starting with convincing science and making their choices from there.
(There is a staggering lack of self-awareness evident in certain corners of the online paleo community, a lack that is definitely Not Paleo, but that's a rant for another time and place.)
I just want to mention that there really isn't purely pastured chicken or eggs. The best you can hope for is true free-ranging chickens that only get grain as a supplement to their daily foraging.
I eat local pastured pork(and chicken) that I pick up on farm where I can see my future meat out in the sun. The pigs eat a corn and soy blend feed. The pork is the best I've had since moving east from Chicago.
Eat the best quality you can find, and eat variety!
From what I remember pigs are omnivores and can pretty much eat whatever humans eat. That's why very often they were happily living on leftovers from the owners' table. They will eat everything, from old fruits and veggies, potato pills, seeds, grain... I am not surprised they like whey as well.
I think mixing it up is a key. Our ancestors were eating whatever they could find - not just antelopes, hogs or mammoths, but also birds, insects, amphibians and whatever else they could hunt or catch. Narrowing down to just one type of meat is not optimal from health (and taste) perspective. Especially when it comes from one or two types of muscle meat only!
Personally, I don't eat pig for religious reasons, and I prefer beef for the taste, but I try to add and mix whenever I can - I am constantly on the look for offal, I eat chicken, fish.... whatever I can find around here.
I can't stand beef, what to do? 10 Answers
Chicken vs Beef vs Pork liver 6 Answers
Grass Fed Meats in St. Louis, MO 0 Answers