Do not expect this blog post to persuade you into embarking on a quest to begin a strict paleo lifestyle, when we use the term “pure” to describe the paleo diet, we are referring to clean, quality food. Although we are big supporters of the paleo –ish diet, what really matters to us is quality. Quality everything! For the purposes of this blog post, we are going to focus on meat quality.
Not all meat is created equal, and in my opinion, quality is not emphasized enough in the paleo community. Consider the phrase: ‘you are what you eat’. I take this concept seriously and want to be the best quality of person I can be. I firmly believe that begins with what you eat. It is with this philosophy in mind that I expect the best quality of food, I do not want to be eating animals that are sick because they are ‘grown’, living a life they were never meant to live- in confined, crowded, unsanitary conditions, eating food they were never meant to eat- and being treated poorly. This is not quality.
A primary challenge that faces many in the realm of quality food is knowing what to look for. I hope the information that follows shatters this obstacle.
To put it simply, quality means pastured and pastured means that the animals spent their life grazing, free to eat what they were genetically designed to eat.
Let’s take a look at some general guidelines for specific animal proteins:
Beef: make sure it is 100% Grass fed. This is not a fad! Yes it is more expensive, but this is important. The stomach of a cow is not genetically designed to be able to digest corn / grain and that is the staple of what a typical cow eats. This causes infections in the gut of the cow and this causes inflammation producing pus and blood. Lets go back for a second- you are what you eat- enough said.
Another reason grass fed is so important is because when a cow is eating corn, rather than the grass it was designed to graze, the omega 6 fatty acid profile is much higher, throwing off a proper ration of omega 6 to omega 3 found in grass fed beef. This improper ration drives inflammatory pathways in the body. So even though you can go to a restaurant and order a steak or burger and rip off the bun and still consider it a paleo meal, it does not make it a quality meal. And let’s mention here the reason to go paleo in the first place is all about health and eating the way we were genetically designed to.
Eggs: look for organic and pasture raised. Organic and free range doesn’t cut it. That can mean thousands of chickens running around indoor (cage free) and being fed organic feed. ‘Pastured’ or ‘pasture raised’ ensures that they are living a life of freedom- the way nature intended.
Chicken / Poultry: again, this should say organic and pastured.
Fish & Seafood: this is always a debatable topic and I am always open for a good discussion, but if you are going to eat seafood I believe it should be wild caught. Farming practices are using corn (and even worse things) for feed. It doesn’t take a genius to know that cant be good.
Pork: this should say pasture raised also. Despite it’s absolute deliciousness, I am not a big supporter of the more processed meats such as bacon or sausage, if you do choose to eat these, enjoy these options in there ‘uncured’ forms. Uncured meat doesn’t have all of the harmful chemical preservatives such as sodium nitrate, nitrites or benzoate. READ the label! Know what you are eating. Clean and simple.
If you have a desire to learn more about this topic, please join us October 24th at 11am at the Natural Grocers on Colfax and Washington for an hour workshop.
You can’t wait until then? You could also satisfy your curiosity with this blog: