Is Quinoa Paleo network primal diet grain psuedo ancient-min

Is Quinoa Paleo?

So we know that grains aren’t Paleo, but what about the pseudo grains such as quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) chia seeds and buckwheat? Are they considered acceptable for a paleo diet? The answer is no, and here’s the reason why…

Pseudo grains are actually seeds, not grains, but are loaded with anti nutrients and carb heavy. If it looks and acts like a grain – it’s a grain! Quinoa seems to be a really fashionable “health food” at the moment – but do you really need it?

Just like other grains, quinoa contains anti nutrients like phytic acid, lectins and saponins – substances not tolerated well – and not good for gut health and permeability. Phytic acid binds to minerals preventing you from absorbing them – it can even leach minerals from your body for this purpose. Lectins and saponins are culperates in gut permeability which can lead to leaky gut.

Whilst properly preparing grains by soaking and sprouting can help to minimise the amounts of anti nutrients in the grains, it won’t get rid of them entirely.

Is Quinoa Paleo network primal diet grain psuedo ancient-min

Quinoa is popular because it’s high in protein, yet many paleo foods such as grass-fed meat and leafy green vegetables are actually far better sources of protein.

Before you can eat grains like quinoa, a lot of processes need to happen – which is why it is a “modern” food. Pseudo grains need to be ground, separated, roasted and rinsed. Would you do all that work yourself just to add in a small about of quinoa to you lunch?

Whilst some people may tolerate properly prepared grains,if you are in any doubt, it’s surely best to avoid them altogether. There are so many paleo friendly alternatives, such as cauliflower rice, zuchinni noodles or spaghetti squash.

Do you avoid all grains, or do you eat some in moderation? How do you prepare them? I’d love to hear what you think about pseudo grains like quinoa, in the comments below.

Paleo Diet Primal Food Dehydrator Dry Excalibur-min

Have You Got A Dehydrator?

A dehydrator is a great way of adding some variety into your Paleo diet. There are loads of great dehydrators on the market, like the Excalibur – but you don’t have to buy a dedicated dehydrator, as you can dehydrate produce directly in your oven.

A dehydrator is an indispensable machine if you want to dry your own products. This enables you to keep food for longer and is especially great if you have just harvested a lot of fruit or veg – or have a lot of meat to use up. A dehydrator is versatile and suitable for different products. The machine works with hot air that is blasted through the food, has an adjustable temperature and is very efficient. In a climate like ours, where the humidity is high, a dehydrator can provide a solution.

With a dehydrator you can build up a supply of food that will keep for a long time – but without the added ingredients of shop bought equivalents. You will have the perfect instrument to make all the fresh products that are only available for short periods of time during the year, sustainable. It is also a lot better for your bank account as you can bulk buy fresh produce when it is in season, or on offer – and make it last for many months.

Paleo Diet Primal Food Dehydrator Dry Excalibur-min

Dehydrated food is great for people on the go, as the food doesn’t weigh very much, so is ideal to take hiking or camping.

You can put pretty much anything inside a dehydrator; vegetables, fruit, meat, herbs, nuts, whatever you like.

Warning: For most products, the temperature should not be higher than 50c (120F) degrees.

Drying meat

Jerky is a great Paleo snack, packed with protein and fat. You can dehydrate any type of meat, either on it’s own or using herbs and spices to add some extra flavor. Biltong and boerewors are popular dehydrated meats in South Africa, which you can make yourself, it your dehydrator. Whilst you can buy jerky, it’s likely to have lots of preservatives – and unlikely to be made from grass-fed high quality meats.

Drying fruit

Try drying your own raisins or dried prunes and apples – or whatever fruit you have an abundance of in the garden. You can also make fruit leather by drying out puréed fruit. Whilst dehydrating fruit concentrates the sugar levels, they can certainly still be enjoyed as an occasional treat.

Drying herbs

A dehydrator is perfect for drying out herbs – great to prevent wastage. If you live somewhere hot & dry, you can dry herbs the traditional way, hung on string, and left out in the sunshine. Collecting the herbs is a fun activity itself, and the prospect of preserving them while maintaining colour and taste, makes it even more rewarding. Nothing is as good as a jar of your own cultured and dried coriander or hot chili peppers, to spice up your dishes for a whole year.

Dehydrating Vegetables

Vegetables are perfect for a dehydrator. Trying making vegetable chips, using kale, carrots or very thinly sliced sweet potatoes. Tomatoes also work really well in a dehydrator, and can be added to recipes for months to come.

How long does the food need to be in the dehydrator?

It totally depends on the amount of moisture inside the product. It can even vary between two items of the same product. Also the size makes a big difference in how long it will take to dry out the food. It’s really important not to cut short the during time, as any left over moisture can result in mould and rotten food. Almost all products need to be dried more than 24 hours, but you should research & experiment further for everything you attempt to dry out.

After drying to products, keep them in airtight pots or bags. Lockable glass pots or mason jars look great as decorations in the kitchen, filled with colourful dried fruit and vegetables.

Have you got a dehydrator, or do you dehydrate things in your oven? I’d love to hear what you do with yours, in the comments below!

A paleo Alternative to Fruit-min

Alternative to Fruit?

I hate “food” products that masquerades as healthy and natural.  I fear that well some meaning parents will buy these products for their children, believing that they are giving them healthy nutritious food.

So many products have packaging covered in words like “natural”, “made with real fruit“, “no artificial colours or flavourings” which I think are very misleading.

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I’ve seen so many packaged “fruit snacks” in the supermarket, that are clearly aimed at children.  I’m not even sure that it’s appropriate for children to eat a lot of fruit on a daily basis, but the idea of eating a processed fruit alternative seems to be a ridiculous idea.

I’ve found the ingredients for two of these fruit snacks – they contain a lot more than just fruit!  Along with reconstituted fruit juice, the products also contain high volumes of sugar (presumably fruit doesn’t have enough as it is) – even in the form of corn syrup!  They also contain the ever too frequent non-Paleo suspects of “vegetable” oils, “natural” flavourings and other ingredients I certainly don’t recognise as whole foods.

Is it really too difficult to give a child Paleo lunch options, such as boiled eggs, olives, real fruit, carrot sticks or coconut?

Nice and Natural Mixed Berry Fruit Snacks Ingredients:

Reconstituted Fruit Juices (65%) (Apple Juice (62%), Strawberry Juice (3%) or Raspberry Juice (3%) or Blackcurrant juice(3%) or Blueberry Juice (3%)), Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Gelatine (Halal), Food Acid (Citric Acid), Gelling Agent (Agar), Natural Flavours, Starch (Maize), Glazing Agent (Vegetable Oil, Carnauba Wax), Natural Colours (Turmeric, Carmine, Anthocyanin).

Florida’s Natural All’some Fruit Nuggets Ingredients:

Fruit Juices & Purees (90%) (Pear Juice from Concentrate (68%), Pear Puree from Concentrate (20%), Strawberry Juice from Concentrate (1%), Blueberry Juice from Concentrate (1%)), Natural Raw Sugar (5%), Tapioca Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Apple Fibre, Acidity Regulators (Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate), Natural Strawberry Flavouring, Antioxidant (Ascorbic Acid), Gelling Agent (Pectin), Natural Colour (Anthocyanins), Glazing Agent (Carnauba Wax), Corn Maltodextrin.

What do you think about processed foods like these being marketed as a good, natural alternative for children?

A paleo Alternative to Fruit-min

Antioxidants & The Paleo Diet-min

Antioxidants & The Paleo Diet

Antioxidants are essential substances in the body, as they are known to protect cells from damage caused by chemicals, pollution and radiation. Some of the known antioxidants are Vitamin A, C and D as well as lycopene and selenium. It is important to have a diet which is rich in these antioxidants as it can really improve our health as well as our appearance. The kinds of foods which are high in antioxidants include vegetables, fruit, fish and nuts. These contain different types of antioxidants and offer many other benefits to the body.

As the Paleo diet contains foods which are highly rich in antioxidants, it is a good diet to follow in order to feel and look at our healthiest. We are eating as much as four times less of the amount of antioxidants our ancestors consumed, which is why our nation is becoming increasingly unhealthy and overweight. There are many people who eat other foods such as cereals, instead of fruits and vegetables and although they may be low in fat, they do not contain the amount of antioxidants we require to maintain a healthy diet.

There are a number of benefits to eating a diet which is full of antioxidants, including giving us a clearer complexion, helping us to maintain a healthy weight and reducing our likelihood of suffering from serious illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. It is therefore hugely important to analyse our diets to ensure we are eating all of the right foods.

The key is not only to eat a diet which is rich in antioxidants but also to ensure there is the right balance of antioxidants and that you are consuming a wide range of these so you are enjoying the full health benefits they can offer. There are a large number of antioxidants to be found in fruit and vegetables, whereas fish and meat have less but are still packed with other kinds of goodness. It is vitally important when following the Paleo diet to get the mix right so you are consuming as many different antioxidants as possible, as they all have different health benefits. The wider the range of antioxidants, the stronger the barrier is to any nasty pollution to our bodies, which can be hugely detrimental.

Antioxidants & The Paleo Diet-min

The great thing about foods which are rich in antioxidants is that they are also beneficial in other ways and are very low in fat so you can lose lots of weight while becoming as healthy as possible. A good way of ensuring you consume a high amount of vegetables and fruit is to use a juicer to mix them up as this will help you get the variety and is a much easier way to digest them. It means you are getting the whole goodness of the fruits and vegetables as you are eating every part of them, rather than discarding of parts of them.

If you like to enjoy the odd snack, nuts and seeds are a good way to ensure you are eating a lot of antioxidants, rather than eating sugary snacks and crisps, which have the opposite effect. In addition to consuming foods which are rich in antioxidants, there are also supplements which can be taken to boost the amount of these being digested in the body. It is more important to get the antioxidants from our foods, but there may be days when this isn’t possible, so supplements are a good alternative at these times.

There are foods which may claim to contain antioxidants but the best way to ensure you are getting it right is to follow the Paleo diet, as these foods have been well researched to show their health benefits. If you follow a plan such as eggs for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, salmon and vegetables for dinner and nuts or seeds for your snacks, you will soon notice a difference in your appearance, how you feel and the amount of weight you lose.

Where do you get most of your antioxidants from?

11 sneaky ways to get more exercise fitness anti gym crossfit Paleo Network-min

11 sneaky ways to exercise

Let’s be honest, we don’t all love exercise. For some of us, the idea of going out for a run, or an early morning boot camp is enough to make us break out into a cold sweat.

But the fact is, movement is good. There’s a huge myth that exercise has to be long, intensive cardio for it to be worthwhile. But that’s just not true. Often it can do more harm than good exercising in this way – not to mention the increased risk of injury. If you don’t enjoy the exercise you’re doing, is it really going to benefit you as much as working out in a way you love? The stress from long intensive cardio, particularly if you hate it, could do you serious harm. Especially if you’re regularly forfeiting an hour of sleep most nights to fit it in.

11 sneaky ways to get more exercise fitness anti gym crossfit Paleo Network-min

If you love running on a treadmill in the gym – good on you – but for those of us who don’t – how about getting your fitness in another way? A way you might actually LOVE?

Here are some alternative ways to get some exercise in – without stepping foot in a gym:

Dance

There aren’t many things more fun than dancing – whether you’re out with friends, taking a dance class, or just dancing in the privacy of your living room.

Yoga

Yoga is so easy to start, whether following online at home, or joining in at a class. Wherever you live, there’s bound to be a class near you.

Walking

Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than this! Whether it’s walking for a purpose, or just to explore your local area

Playing video games

Seriously! Of course, I mean an active video game, like Wii Fit or Just Dance

Playing with the kids

Pretend you’re the same age – it will keep you young, and they’ll love it!

Martial Arts

Have you ever tried karate or judo? A lot of fun – and a valuable skill too

Garden

Maybe this is the year to sort your garden out, have a proper veggie patch and some light landscaping? I love dial purpose exercise like this – the treadmill doesn’t reward you with home-grown veg, does it?

Clean

Not the most fun, I admit, but cleaning your house is a great workout – and has the side benefit of making everything all sparkly and shiny

Volunteer

Wherever you live, you can guarantee there will be some volunteer schemes nearby. Maybe it’s looking after the Local Park or beach, or at an animal home – give it a try!

Get a dog

Well, you should probably have more reasons than for it’s exercise benefit alone – but what better way to move than with your canine best friend?

Dust your bike down

Cycling is such a low impact, fun way to get out. Put a basket on the front and who needs the car next time you go grocery shopping?

 

101 (more!) paleo snack ideas recipes diet suggestions inspiration primal-min

101 (more!) paleo snack ideas

After the popularity of my previous post on paleo snack ideas, I’ve put together a new, extended list of snack ideas.




After my last list, I got a lot of people telling me “DAIRY IS NOT PALEO” (yep, I think they were shouting), so just to clear it up, some of the snack ideas listed below do have dairy options. I’m not in the paleo police, so if you tolerate dairy and take more of a lacto-paleo approach (and can find a good quality source) – go for it. If you fair better dairy free, avoid it!

The list below has a good range of snacks suitable for work (where there often aren’t good facilities for keeping things cool or warming them up), travel, children as well as snack ideas that are quick enough for you to grab and go.

101 (more!) paleo snack ideas recipes diet suggestions inspiration primal-min

I’d love to hear your feedback – – what’s your go to paleo snack? Or do you find you don’t need to snack so often any more?

  1. A can of (high quality) tuna
  2. Make your own beef  jerky
  3. A bag of nuts and seeds
  4. A couple of squares of super dark high quality chocolate
  5. Make your own cherry ripe bars
  6. Coconut flesh in a bag (dehydrate it to make it last longer!)
  7. Keep a small jar of coconut oil or coconut manna to hand – and a spoon!
  8. Cheese cubes served with cut apple
  9. Use a melon baller to prepare spheres of fruit – and serve in cream (dairy or coconut)
  10. Roll up avocado, radish, cress & asparagus in ham wraps
  11. Coat chicken with an egg and almond flour mix to create Paleo chicken nuggets
  12. Melon & ham slices
  13. Simple – avocado slices
  14. Pre-boiled, peeled hard boiled eggs
  15. A jar of olives
  16. A tin of coconut milk served over fresh berries
  17. Your favourite fruit
  18. A coconut
  19. Make your own pork scratching (AKA pork rinds or crackling)
  20. Have you tried coconut yoghurt yet?!
  21. A bag of your favourite nuts (activate them, then season them)
  22. How about spicy almonds?
  23. Seaweed is a good option that stores well
  24. Coconut flakes
  25. A berry and coconut mix
  26. Dry some berries and fruit
  27. Last night’s meatballs 
  28. Pigs in blankets
  29. Almonds, pecans and berries served in coconut milk
  30. No-Oatmeal
  31. Full fat plain Greek yoghurt (if you do dairy)
  32. Salmon
  33. Smoked meat and salami
  34. A selection of cheeses
  35. Almond Butter
  36. A sealed packet of nuts and seeds
  37. A jar of pickles (make sure it isn’t full of sugar)
  38. Home made egg muffins
  39. Make your own Paté
  40. A tin of sardines
  41. Oysters
  42. Simple – cut up some leftover meat and veg
  43. Devilled eggs
  44. Precooked bacon pieces
  45. Dehydrated banana slices
  46. Kale chips
  47. Diced Steamed chicken and avocado
  48. Leftover meat and mayo 
  49. Paleo sushi with nori, veg, avo and fish
  50. Mini omelettes
  51. Veg sticks and nut butter
  52. Salmon and tuna on sliced cucumber
  53. Carrot sticks with a home made spicy salsa
  54. Capsicum (Bell Pepper) strips with a guacamole dip
  55. Make sandwiches with bacon “bread” and an avo filling
  56. Ham, tomatoes and fresh basil
  57. Left over roast veggies with a ranch sauce
  58. Home made sauerkraut
  59. Ever tried chocolate covered bacon bites?Coat almonds and coconut flakes in chocolate
  60. Dip fresh berries in chocolate
  61. For a special treat paleo cookies
  62. Frozen grapes
  63. Frozen banana slices mixed with fresh cream
  64. Baked pears with coconut cream and a dash of cinnamon
  65. A flask/ thermos of bone broth
  66. Soup
  67. A bottle of a freshly made green smoothie
  68. Zucchini Chips
  69. Spicy pumpkin seeds
  70. Homemade fruit leather
  71. Sweet potato, coconut oil fries
  72. Stuffed mini bell peppers (capsicum)
  73.  sliced peaches & cottage cheese
  74. Baba Ghanoush with vegetable sticks
  75. Ginger sesame Chicken wings
  76. Monkfish & sweet potato skewers
  77. Sweet potato & chocolate chip muffins
  78. Refilled sweet potatoes 
  79. Spicy nuts 
  80. Maple & cayenne roasted almonds
  81. Celery sticks and pesto 
  82. Spicy coconut king prawns
  83. Crunchy cashew fish sticks
  84. Indian Eggs 
  85. Kimchi
  86. Mini Paleo Pizza’s
  87. Sliced deli meat
  88. Chicken drumsticks
  89. Coconut Milk Kefir
  90. Plantain chips
  91. Roasted Chestnuts
  92. Cauliflower Popcorn – who needs that other stuff when you can make this?!
  93. Collard wraps – put your favourite veggies and leftover meat in a collard leaf and wrap!
  94. Coleslaw
  95. Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
  96. Pickled Gherkins
  97. A glass of (unsweetened)Almond Milk
  98. Prawns with Paleo Cocktail Sauce
  99. Carrot sticks with Paleo Hummus
  100. Strawberry & coconut ice cream
  101. Raw Chocolate Maple and Pecan Fudge

What’s your go-to paleo snack? Share in the comments below!

7 signs intolerant dairy lactose casein lactase allergic symptoms milk Paleo Network-min

7 signs you’re dairy intolerant

Dairy is a huge dividing issue in the paleo world. Strict paleo would omit dairy, but a lot of people take a more primal approach and include good quality dairy in their diet. My study showed most people who identify with paleo do in fact consume some dairy. The deciding factor here is if you are dairy intolerant or not. And how would you know?

7 signs intolerant dairy lactose casein lactase allergic symptoms milk Paleo Network-min

Whilst not scientific, there are a few warning signs that will give you a pretty big clue you don’t tolerate dairy well. But what is it in the dairy that may not agree with you? Well, it’s not as simple as saying it’s the dairy, you could well have a reaction to the lactose, or the casein contained in dairy.

Today, I’m going to look at a Lactose Intolerance specifically, as this is the dairy component that seems to be most troublesome for so many people. Whilst Northern Europeans seem to tolerate lactose fairly well due to a long, long history of doing so, in other populations most people are lactose intolerant.

What does lactose intolerance mean?

Simply, this occurs when you stop making the enzyme lactase, which is required to digest lactose. Without lactase, bacteria will metabolise the lactose instead. Whilst not a serious condition, it is going to be uncomfortable and frustrating for the unwitting dairy consumer.

So what are the symptoms?

1. Symptoms are going to centre around your digestive system, so look out for:

2. Bloating

3. Gas…. Say no more

4. Crams and pains in your abdomen

5. How to put this nicely… loose bowel movements, sometimes very loose

6. Strange noises coming from your digestive system

7. In severe cases vomiting

8. Unexplained tiredness

Important to note is how soon they symptoms came on after consuming the dairy? And what type of dairy was it?

What next?

If you suspect you may be intolerant to dairy, you need to find out.

The best way to test this is by an elimination diet. No dairy whatsoever for 30 days. See how you feel, are the symptoms still there? If you’ve been symptom free, you can test this further by gradually introducing back in certain dairy products. I’ve heard some people will be fine with hard cheeses for example, but not soft cheese. Whatever you introduce, make sure it’s in isolation, and wait at least three days before bringing another dairy variable into the mix. You can experiment with raw dairy, fermented dairy, perhaps you’ll find clarified butter; ghee has a different impact on you.

Do you suspect you’re dairy intolerant? Do you consume it?

7 Ways to Make Your Desk Job Healthier office work cubicle paleo diet-min

7 Ways to Make Your Desk Job Healthier

In an ideal world, none of us would have jobs in offices or at desks, and we’d all have the day free to roam the land, walking miles to hunt for tonight’s dinner or digging in the vegetable garden. Sadly, real life isn’t that simple – and many of us rely on the jobs we have to provide ourselves with good quality, healthy foods to put on the table of an evening.

We know the health impacts long periods of sitting at a desk can bring about, so here are seven things you can do to make this kind of work healthier.

1.       Take a movement break every hour

If your job forces you to sit still for most of the day, it’s important you take the time to move as often as you can. Try and schedule a five minute ‘movement break’ every hour, where you go for a walk and stretch. This will help to counteract the negative impact on your posture and muscle alignment of long periods of sitting down.

7 Ways to Make Your Desk Job Healthier office work cubicle paleo diet-min

2.       Walk to work

If you’re lucky enough to live within a reasonable distance to your workplace, why not walk (or even better, run) there once or twice a week?

3.       Take the stairs

Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the lift can make a real difference, especially if your office is located on a high floor. If you can, why not incorporate some stair sprints into your breaks?

4.       Take lunch outside

Whenever the weather allows, take yourself outside for some fresh air in your lunch break. It will give you a much needed break from technology and artificial light, as well as give you a real boost of vitamin D.

5.       Get a light filter

If you’re concerned about the levels of blue light you’re taking in by staring at a computer, why not try a blue light filter for your screen?

6.       Stand up / treadmill desks

Your boss may take some convincing on this one, but why not recommend standing / treadmill desks for the workplace?

7.       Grounding mats

Grounding, or earthing, mats are brilliant if you want to get more connected with the earth. They slip under your desk easily – read more about them here

There we have it – seven simple ways to make your desk job much healthier. Have I missed anything? If you work in an office, what steps do you take to make it a healthier environment?

18 Ways to Get More Veggies in your Diet paleo primal vegetables-min

18 Ways to Get More Veggies in your Diet

With most things in life, the key is ‘everything in moderation.’ Not that this means you can eat pizza in moderation, but you get my point. One thing that certainly shouldn’t be moderated however is your intake of delicious, fresh veggies. We could all benefit from upping our vegetable intake, and certainly shouldn’t be aiming for the paltry ‘5 portions a day’ recommended by so called ‘experts.’ If you’re running out of ways to boost your veggie intake, why not give some of these ideas a try?

18 Ways to Get More Veggies in your Diet paleo primal vegetables-min

 

Use them in:

Hide them in:

  • Sauces – like this romesco sauce or as a base to a Paleo pizza
  • Baked goods, like these sweet potato and chocolate chip muffins
  • Omelettes – try a spinach and red pepper omelette for a delicious breakfast
  • Dips – why not try replacing the basil with spinach or kale in pesto?
  • Curries – Why not throw some sweet potato, squash, courgette or mushrooms into your curry?
  • Stews / Casseroles – You can ever add some extra veggies like onions, parsnips and carrots and blend them up to make a delicious fresh sauce

Make Paleo Alternatives:

  • Make Paleo Tortillas with Lettuce Wraps
  • Make Paleo Noodles with Courgettes – you may need a spiralizer!
  • Make Paleo Spaghetti with a Spaghetti Squash
  • Make Paleo Rice with Cauliflower

Eat lots of salad!

  • Making your own salad is a great way to consume loads of fresh, colourful veggies in one sitting. You can throw together all sorts of leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, avocado – just about anything really!

Snack on them raw

  • Carrots, Cucumber, Celery and Peppers make excellent nibbles at snack time. Spread them with a little almond butter for a little indulgence if you like!

Make a vegetable based broth

  • This is an excellent way to use up all your leftover vegetables – simply throw them all into a pot and cook very gently for a delicious broth!

Go to your farmers market

  • A trip to your local farmers market can make you see vegetables in a whole new light. The colours, shapes and sizes of the produce on offer will be outstanding, and might just reignite your passion for vegetables. An otherwise boring tomato or bunch of kale will probably look much more fun here – so stock up at your local farmers market, and aim to walk away with at least one new vegetable.

How do you get extra veggies in your diet? Are there any ideas I have missed?

What's so special about grass fed beef paleo primal health benefits-min

What’s so special about grass fed beef?

Grass fed beef gets plenty of recognition on the Paleo diet, and rightly so. We know our ancestors would have undoubtedly eaten copious amounts of wild fed ruminants; not the sort that were shuttled in their droves into giant feed-lots, devoid of natural light and space to roam, and fed with industrialised slop made from genetically modified corn, barley and soya. But, ideology aside, what is it that actually makes grass fed beef superior to ‘modern’ grain fed beef? Is it worth paying extra for – sometimes double the price? In a short answer, yes. And here’s why…

What's so special about grass fed beef paleo primal health benefits-min

As the demand for beef (and meat in general) rose significantly throughout the 20th century, ‘farmers’ began to reassess their production methods with one goal in mind. Profit. These beef barons were prepared to stop at nothing to decrease the production costs of each cow, with no concern for the animals’ welfare or for the welfare of the people eating the meat; and thus, factory farming was born. There were, of course, many who still wanted to do things the right way, and a divide became apparent. As factory farming has developed throughout the years, and cheaper, nutrient void food has become more available, this divide has become significantly greater.

One reason we eschew grains on the Paleo diet (apart from lectins, gluten and phytic acid), is the distinct lack of nutrient density that they offer in comparison with whole foods. If you genetically modify these grains, the nutrient density becomes even lower; practically non-existent. When cattle are fed a diet that is so devoid of nutrients, the meat they offer is therefore much less nutritious than that of an animal fed on a natural diet. This shows in the nutritional profiles of grass fed vs grain fed meat; grass fed is significantly higher in vitamins (in particular B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K and vitamin B12), minerals (including magnesium, selenium, zinc and calcium), CLA and Omega 3. We’ll come on to that last one again shortly. The lifespan of the cows also plays a part in the nutrients they offer; as factory farmed cattle have a much shorter lifespan (as they are overfed and under-exercised so that they reach the slaughter house in double quick time), they do not have time to build up the nutritional profile that they should do naturally. Quite simply, unhealthy diet + overeating + lack of exercise = nutritionally depleted beef. The same formula would also mean a nutritionally depleted human as well, which isn’t really much of a shock.

We’ve spoke about omega 3 and omega 6 before, and how it is important to maintain as close to an even ratio as possible to reduce inflammation in the body. Thanks to their diet, grass fed beef is significantly higher in omega 3 than its grain fed counterpart. On average, grass fed beef has a ratio of around 2.5/1 (omega 6:omega 3). Depending on the grasses they graze on, it can be as low as 1:1. The ratio of grain fed beef, on the other hand, can exceed 20:1.

To decrease the production time, factory farmed cows are fed artificial hormones to fatten them up more quickly. The presence of these hormones have been linked to hormone irregularities in the humans who eat a lot of grain fed beef – which is another reason to source your meat carefully.

To summarise, grass fed beef is better for you, better for the environment, better for the economy, and better for the animals themselves. It’s the way that beef should be eaten, but sadly, it is expensive. If you are limited in how much grass fed beef you can buy for financial reasons, opt for leaner cuts of meat when you buy grain fed. There will be less of an omega 3:6 imbalance as the all-round fat content is lower. Toxins are also stored in the fatty deposits of the animals, so by choosing leaner cuts you’ll minimise the toxins that you consume. If you’re completely against buying grain fed, look for cheaper cuts of meat like shin and chuck roast, and cook them slowly. Offal is a great bet too.

Do you eat grass fed (or pastured) meat? Is it important to you?