I often wonder whether it's worth eating meat if it's grain fed. I can't realistically afford grass fed meats, and so it's either grain fed or nothing.
So: with the option of either eating grain fed meat or very little meat, which is the preferable choice?
If you would be so kind, I'd really appreciate suggestions on the least-bad grain fed options. Currently I try to eat lamb, because I hear it's sometimes grass-fed.
Thanks in advance.
I believe that on gi blog Dr Harris said that if you can not afford grass fed meat, then eat only ruminants. A ruminant animal has multiple stomachs and is less affected by the feed on their omega balance. It will still not be as favorable as grass fed but it will be okay. Supplement with some o3 and you'll be fine. I'll try to find and post the blog post link later.
Personally I eat mostly beef and very little grass fed. I don't have access to a cowpool and I don't hve money to pay out my A for storebought grassfed. I'm doing alright.
We've been in the same situation. I'd be interested in hearing others views as well. All beef is grass fed until they are put in the feedlots, where they are fed grain and who knows what else. When we eat "industrial" beef, we just make sure to cut off the fat (where the toxins tend to accumulate) and take some fish oil (High O-6). It's still better to eat meat than not.
The only bad thing about grain-fed meat is the micronutrient contents and the Omega-3 / Omega-6 ratios.
That's it. If you are already taking supplements (multivitamin? fish oil?) then you're completely fine with grain fed meat. If you're eating only grassfed, then you probably won't need the supplements.
That said, it's VERY important to "vote with your fork" and try to change the modern farming practices. Even if you're not buying grassfed beef all the time, try to buy from local farmers, not the big industrial CAFOs
IMO, @Jeannie did a pretty good job of summing up what Dr. Cordain's view would be. It would be better to avoid the Omega 6's off the bat as opposed to taking in a lot of them and compensating with Omega 3 supplements. If money is the issue, the cost of the fish oil will eat into your "savings" by getting grain fed meat as opposed to grass fed.
With that said, I can only get grass fed ground beef from Trader Joe's, so when using grain fed cuts, I stick with the leaner pieces of meat and get my fat from salmon, tuna, sardines, and walnuts to help even out the O6-O3 ratio.
Grass-fed ground beef and stew beef chunks are not expensive. Try to find a farmer to buy meat from directly - buying in a store is way more expensive. eatwild.com and localharvest.com are two sites that can help you find farmers and farmer's markets. If you don't have someone in your area, take a drive and stock up. You might not be able to eat grass-fed steak every night, but there's nothing wrong with good ol' burger.
I'm in your situation. I'm a college student and cannot afford grass-fed meat, and I really don't have access to it, as the only grocery store around here is King Soopers.
Since I have to go with grain-fed meats, I just go with the lean cuts. I do a lot of ground turkey. To get my fat in, I supplement with coconut oil, avocado, and a handful of nuts here and there. Works well for me.
I'm a little surprised no one has suggested buying a freezer and purchasing halves or quarters of grassfed beef and whole lamb. A freezer will pay for itself very quickly with the money you save by buying in larger quantity, especially if you eat meat regularly. Do the math for your case. Another benefit of buying a freezer--mine is 9 cubic feet and can hold a whole lamb, quarter beef, 10 whole chickens as well as frozen fruit and vegetables--is that when you buy beef, butchers or farmers, at least in my experience, will always throw in the bones free of charge. Use the bones to make the best soup or roast the marrow, also delicious. Make sure you give the butcher cutting instructions before picking up your meat. Do you want more or less ground beef, do you prefer roasts and what size? It makes a big difference depending on how many people you are feeding and how big your crock pot is. Another thing regarding cutting instructions: butchers trim way too much fat off the cuts; not only is there great flavor in the fat, but with grassfed/pastured animals the fat is healthy. You might as well get what you pay for.
Whole Foods just sent an email that they are doing $3.99/lb. GRASS-FINISHED (woo!) ground beef on Friday, September 03, 2010 only.
Jump on it!
Robb Wolf's post concerning money issue and paleo:
Nutritional Value of Rotational Grazing? 4 Answers
Grass fed in Finnland? 6 Answers