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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?

char-grilled chili beef salad recipe paleo diet soy free coriander

Recipe: char-grilled chili beef salad

I love the combination of lime and chili – it gives this salad a bit of a kick. The dressing will last in a jar for a day or so in the fridge, so shake it well and add it to the salad at the last minute. I used Lebanese cucumber, but continental would work just as well.

Recipe: char-grilled chili beef salad
Recipe type: Salads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 500g beef (I used rump steak)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 400g sliced cucumber
  • 4 fresh chillies, thinly sliced (seeds removed)
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 250g grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh coriander (cilantro ) leaves
  • Dash coconut aminos
  • I clove garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, coat the beef in half of the lemon and lime juice, and allow to marinate overnight in the fridge.
  2. Drain the beef, and throw away the juice.
  3. Barbeque the beef until it’s cooked to your liking (or cook on the stove or under the grill).
  4. Allow the beef to rest for a few minutes, then slice thinly.
  5. In a bowl, mix the cucumber, chili, onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs. In a jar, add the remaining juice, the coconut aminos and garlic and shake thoroughly to mix.
  6. Add the beef and dressing to the salad mix and toss to ensure it is well mixed in.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

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How to grind your own beef mince ground grinder paleo network-min

How to Grind Your Own Ground Beef Mince

A while ago I wrote about why I don't buy ground beef (or any mince meat for that matter). But I love cooking with it. Making it yourself is the only way you can possibly:

  • Know exactly what's in it
  • Be sure it only contains good cuts of meat
  • Know how fresh it is
  • Know it's safe to eat medium-rare
  • Know it will taste good

How to grind your own beef mince ground grinder paleo network-min

The first time I tried it I used an old fashioned mincer like the one in the photo above. It was a total mess, with meat juice going everywhere! So since then, I've worked out how to do it properly with the mincer – but also far faster with my food processor.

How to Grind Your Own Ground Beef Mince:

1) Find a good cut of meat, not too lean – a bit of fat makes all the difference. I often buy a cut that is on special offer, then freeze the ground meat that I make.

2) Depending on what you're making with the mince, you might also grind another type of mince too. For example, I like to make my bolognese with half beef and half pork mince.

3) This is the step I found out the hard way. Cube the meat evenly, then put in the freezer for a couple of hours. Do this, it makes a huge difference and stops your kitchen resembling a crime scene. I've even taken to putting the grinding plate into the freezer too. Without it being super cold it won't grind properly and will be a mushy nasty mess. You have been warned.

4) In small batches feed the meat cubes into the food processor or grinder

5) Check for any un-ground pieces to put through again, and get rid of any gristle that has made it's way through.

6) Whatever you don't use, straight away freeze in small batches for use in a future recipe.

And once you've ground your meat? Try some of these recipes:

Chilli and Cumin meatballs with a mango and pomegranate salsa
Texan Style Sweet Potato and Bison Burgers
Spiced Beef Kofte with a Pomegranate Glaze
Tomato-Free Bolognese Recipe
Mexican Turkey Burgers with Coriander Guacamole

Easy beef jerky recipe dried Biltong recipe paleo network-min

Recipe: Quick & easy beef jerky

Beef jerky is one of my favourite snacks. It's really filling, full of good fats and protein and easy to store. That is if you make your own. The shop bought stuff can have some nasty added ingredients.

These ingredients are from a packet of Jack Link's Original Beef Jerky:

Beef, water, Sugar, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soy Beans, Salt), Salt, Corn syrup Solids, Flavourings, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Dextrose, Flavour Enhancer: (Monosodium Glutamate), Antioxidant:(Sodium Erythorbate), Preservative: (Sodium Nitrite), Smoke Flavour.

Yeah, that's not even remotely paleo. So make your own! Whilst it's a lot easier to make in a dehydrator (this is mine), you can also give it a try in your oven.

Recipe: Quick & easy beef jerky
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These are great to keep on hand for a quick healthy paleo snack - they'll keep for ages too!
Ingredients
  • Grass-fed beef (try sirloin or flank steak)
  • Coconut aminos
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Chilli
  • Paprika
  • Ground Pepper
  • Garlic powder
Instructions
  1. You want to slice the meat really thin for best results - to achieve this wrap the beef and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours.
  2. Once the meat is not quite solid, remove it from the freezer and using a sharp knife (and a lot of care!) slice into thin slices. It's important to make the slices as consistent as possible so they will all require the same drying time.
  3. Put the meat in a ziplock bag and add in the aminos, salt and olive oil. Seal the bag and allow the mixture to coat all of the meat. Put the bag in the fridge and allow the meat to marinate overnight.
  4. Remove the strips from the bag and dust with the cinnamon, chilli, paprika, pepper and garlic.
  5. Space the strips out evenly on the shelves in your dehydrator. Keep checking, but your jerky should be dry in 2 to 4 hours.
  6. If you don't have a dehydrator, heat your oven to 70° C (165° F). You'll need to put the strips on a wire rack, with an oven tray underneath to catch the drips. Expect oven dehydration to take two or three hours.
  7. Which ever method you choose, make sure the meat is cooked all the way through and fully dry before removing it.
  8. Store in an airtight container - and enjoy!

Easy beef jerky recipe dried Biltong recipe paleo network-min

Paleo recipe Perfect Oxtail Veggie One Pot-min

Recipe: Perfect Oxtail and Veggie One Pot

Whether you call it a stew, a casserole, or a one pot – nothing beats a big, steaming bowl of tender meat, juicy veggies and rich gravy. Oxtail is a cheap and highly nutritious cut, and is perfect for stewing. However, the key to this recipe is the umami rich flavours that just dance on your palate, making this one pot one of the best tasting (and best value) recipes you’ll make in a long time.


Recipe: Perfect Oxtail and Veggie One Pot
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1.5kg oxtail, diced
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or lard
  • 2 white onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 beef tomatoes, diced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme
  • A few sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • ½ litre homemade (or organic) beef stock
  • 4 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 6 large carrots, diced
  • 1 large cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch (optional)
Instructions
  1. Rub the oxtail with a generous amount of salt and pepper, and the allspice. Heat the coconut oil (or lard) in your largest stock pot, and cook the oxtail for about 10 minutes until browned all over. Remove for the heat but retain the meat juices.
  2. Add the diced onions to the pan, and cook gently for 5 minutes in the meat juices before adding the garlic and cooking for another 2. Throw in the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and the cinnamon stick, before pouring in the chopped tomatoes and beef stock. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
  3. When the liquid is simmering, return the oxtail to the pot. Stir in the coconut aminos and red wine vinegar, before turning the heat down to low and covering the pot. Simmer gently for around 3 hours.
  4. Add the carrots and cauliflower to the pot before popping the lid back on and cooking for another 30 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, stir in the arrowroot (if using) to thicken the gravy.

Paleo recipe Perfect Oxtail Veggie One Pot-min

Furious Furikake Chilli Beef Hash paleo recipe-min

Recipe: Furious Furikake Chilli Beef Hash

Furikake. If you’ve never tried it before, now is the time to get this Unami boosting Japanese condiment in your life. It’s made with a base of black sesame seeds and seaweed, and some versions include ground fish and / or chilli. Some cheaper versions also include a few more untoward ingredients, so make sure you check the label.

The recipe itself is the perfect option for those evenings when you have a million and one other things to do and hardly any time to spend in the kitchen – hence the ‘furious’ title. Thanks to the furikake, the flavour:time ratio is sky high. Take it from pan to plate in 10 minutes, relax and chow down. Furiously.

Recipe: Furious Furikake Chilli Beef Hash
 
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 white onion, sliced finely
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 400g grass fed ground beef
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 1 large sweet potato, precooked
  • Large handful fresh coriander
  • Juice half a lime
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp furikake
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut oil in your largest frying pan. Add the onions and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli, and fry for a further couple of minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef to the pan, season with the pepper and mix well. Grate the courgette, and peel and mash the sweet potato, before adding them both to the mix. Cook for around 3 minutes, until the sweet potato is reheated and the beef cooked through.
  3. Add a generous amount of coriander to the pan, along with the lime juice and fish sauce. Stir well, before serving on a bed of spinach and sprinkling with a large helping of furikake.

 

Furious Furikake Chilli Beef Hash paleo recipe-min

Sirloin Steak with Chimchurri Sauce and Caramelised Onions paleo recipe dinner grass fed beef-min

Recipe: Sirloin Steak with Chimchurri Sauce and Caramelised Onions

Let’s face it – there’s nothing better than a tender, succulent piece of grass fed steak. My particular favourite is a dry aged sirloin, but I also love fillet and porterhouse on special occasions. If you've never heard of it before, Chimchurri sauce is an Argentinian recipe made from a blend of olive oil, garlic and herbs – the South American version of pesto. It’s perfect for steak, but works well with fish and chicken too. The caremelised onions in this recipe add a real depth of flavour and complement both the steak and the Chimchurri effortlessly.

Serves 2

Sirloin Steak Ingredients:

  • 2 sirloin steaks (ideally grass fed, even better if they’re aged for around 28 days) – approximately 200g and 1 – 1.5cm thick
  • Sea salt, 1 clove garlic, plenty of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  •  1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

 For the Chimchurri:

  •  1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh coriander
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 hot red pepper (I used a jalapeno), deseeded and finely chopped

 Sirloin Steak How To:

1)    An hour before cooking, marinade the steak by crushing the garlic clove in a mortar and pestle and mixing it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper to make a paste. Rub this well into the meat, and then leave the steak at room temperature.

2)    To make the caramelised onions, gently heat 1tbsp coconut oil in a heavy based saucepan. Add the onions to the pan, and leave to cook very slowly for at least half an hour – this brings out the natural sweetness. Stir regularly, and season with a little salt and pepper along the way.

3)    Meanwhile, make the Chimchurri by blending all the ingredients apart from the olive oil and hot pepper in your food processor. Transfer this to a sauce bowl, then stir in the olive oil. Finish with the red pepper, if using.

4)    To cook the steaks, heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over the highest heat. Sizzle for a minute each side for rare, then serve and leave to rest for 5 minutes before eating. Serve topped with the caramelised onions and with the Chimchurri on the side.

Sirloin Steak with Chimchurri Sauce and Caramelised Onions paleo recipe dinner grass fed beef-min

Paleo recipe Creamy Coconut Slow Cooker Beef dinner crockpot-min

Recipe: Creamy Coconut Slow Cooker Beef

Curries made in the slow cooker are one of my favourite things to make – not only are they much less hassle than a regular curry that requires constant babysitting, the extended cooking time allows the flavours to really develop. Beef is a great meat to use in the slow cooker, especially the cheap cuts like shin or chuck, as you can guarantee melt in the mouth consistency every time. This recipe is indulgently creamy with just the right amount of spice.

 Slow Cooker Beef Ingredients:

  • 200g block creamed coconut
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 500g diced beef, suitable for slow roasting (I used the shin – cheap and oh so tender when cooked slowly!)

 Slow Cooker Beef How To:

1)    Gently melt the creamed coconut in a pan with approximately 200ml of warm water. Stir, and add more water to generate your desired consistency.

2)    Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy based pan to a medium heat. Add the onion and soften for 5 minutes, before bringing the heat down low and adding the chilli, garlic and ginger. Fry gently for a further 5 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn't burn.

3)    Add the spices to the pan and fry for another two or three minutes, before adding the diced beef to the pan. Toss well to coat it in the spices and lightly brown the meat on all sides.

Add the coconut milk and stir well. Now transfer the whole contents of the pan to your slow cooker, and let it cook on a low heat for around 8 hours (or until you run out of willpower!). Serve over a big heap of cauliflower rice.

Paleo recipe Creamy Coconut Slow Cooker Beef dinner crockpot-min

Poached Beef Tongue paleo recipe dinner lunch-min

Recipe: Poached Beef Tongue with a Fresh Herby Salad

Beef tongue is one of those wonderful cuts of offal that, with just a little love and careful attention, can be transformed from butcher’s cast off to a tender, delicious and incredibly cheap source of protein, zinc, and vitamin B12. It is considered a delicacy in many traditional cultures, and is widely renowned as one of the most flavourful cuts of beef.

To cook my beef tongue, I simmered it in the pot with veggies and herbs for 3 hours to make it ultra-flavoursome and tender. I’d definitely recommend cooking it for as long as you can, perhaps even in the slow cooker. One tongue comfortably serves two people, with leftovers!

Beef Tongue Ingredients:

  • 1 Beef Tongue, cleaned and prepared (ask your butcher)
  • 2 White Onions, Diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Star Anise
  • Approx 1 litre beef stock / broth

For the salad:

  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1 large handful rocket
  • 1 small handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 8 spring onions, diced
  • Juice half a lemon
  • Quarter cup of olive oil

Beef Tongue How To:

1)    Add all of the ingredients (except the salad) to your stock pot. Bring to the boil, before covering and leaving to simmer for around 3 hours. Check every so often and top up with a little hot water if necessary.

2)    Make the salad by throwing together all of the greens and herbs with the spring onions. Divide into two separate bowls.

3)    Drain the contents of the pot, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the liquid. Place the tongue on a chopping board, before slitting the outer membrane and peeling it off. Slice thinly and add to the green salad, along with the vegetables from the pot.

4)    Whizz together the reserved liquid, lemon juice and olive oil. Drizzle liberally over the salad before tucking in.

Poached Beef Tongue paleo recipe dinner lunch-min

Teriyaki Beef Salad recipe dinner lunch Asian grass-fed-min

Recipe: Teriyaki Beef Salad

Does a big bowl of beef strips, cauliflower rice and colourful vegetables smothered in copious amounts of paleo approved teriyaki sauce count as a salad? Of course it does! Dig in and enjoy the sweet, sticky asian flavours that marry together so well in this lunchtime favourite.

Teriyaki Beef Salad Ingredients:

  • 400g grass fed beef strips
  • 1 cauliflower, leaves removed
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), deseeded and chopped into wedges
  • 1 yellow capsicum (bell pepper), deseeded and chopped into wedges
  • 2/3 carrots, grated
  • 2/3 spring onions, finely chopped

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp date paste, or ¼ cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • Pinch of black pepper

Teriyaki Beef Salad How To:

1) Combine all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat. Allow to simmer gently for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mixture thickens slightly and bubbles. Taste and add more date paste / coconut aminos depending on your preference. Set aside.

2) Blitz the cauliflower florets in a food processor to make cauliflower rice. Transfer to a large salad bowl, along with the rest of the vegetables. Stir well to combine.

3) Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan to a high heat. Flash fry the beef strips for a minute each side (for medium). You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan.

4) Add the beef to the salad bowl, then drizzle over the teriyaki sauce. Serve immediately.

Teriyaki Beef Salad recipe dinner lunch Asian grass-fed-min