You’ll note that Chef Jeannette specified “pasture-raised” steak in this recipe—please don’t ignore that recommendation. I get asked on a regular basis how I can recommend meat when “everybody knows” how bad it is for you. After all, there are studies showing that “meat eaters” have higher risks for certain diseases, right? What, my readers ask, do you say about that?
Here’s what I say. The vast majority of the meat available to us, the overwhelming majority of meat sold in grocery stores and restaurants, is factory-farmed. Factory-farmed cows spend most of their lives in industrial complexes known as confined animal feedlot operations (CAFOs). Animals in CAFOs are fed grain (sprayed with pesticides, of course) and injected with massive amounts of antibiotics and a fair amount of steroids and hormones (such as bovine growth hormone). Meat from these animals is not good for us. On that point, I’m with the vegetarians.
To make matters worse, much of this meat is processed into salami, hot dogs, and so forth. The negative meat studies all talk about people who, for the most part, eat processed meat from factory farms. But that’s not the only meat available. There’s an alternative—100% grass-fed.
Pasture is the natural diet of cows. When cows are free to roam and munch, they consume bugs and insects along with grass, which gives their meat a healthy omega-3 content. Meat from these contented, humanely raised animals doesn’t contain added antibiotics, steroids, or hormones. Their meat isn’t contaminated with pesticides from grains. And that meat—from cows that are 100% grass-fed from birth to death—isn’t a health hazard, it’s a health food!
Is it more expensive? Usually. But let me use this recipe as an opportunity to remind you about how important the source of your food is. Please—for your own sake and the sake of your family—insist on 100% pasture-raised meat as often as possible. It truly is, forgive the pun, a whole different animal.
Note: It’s not enough that it says “grass-fed” on the label. Many cows are grass-fed, then “finished” on grain for the last six weeks of their lives, which undoes most of the good of grass feeding. And more than a few shady manufacturers have been called out for putting a “grass-fed” label on ordinary meat, which technically they can do since all cows in the world are grass-fed for the first six months of their lives. It’s what happens to them afterwards that matters. Don’t settle for less than 100% grass-fed. —Dr. Jonny
Try our Balsamic Blackstrap Steak Salad recipe.