7

votes

Are pork or chicken less than ideal?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 07, 2010 at 8:19 AM

I'm starting to believe that eating animals other than ruminants is probably less than ideal, especially for someone trying to reduce inflammation, healing an autoimmune disease or lose weight.

The o-3/o-6 profile is one thing, but there is also the thing about their diet. We always talk about grass-fed beef, grass-fed beef this, grass-fed beef that, but when it comes to chicken and pork we seems to get stuck in our words. Naturally raised or pastured pork and chicken is what we often use to describe the ideal thing to eat, but it tells nothing about what they ate. Are they ever fed a truly natural diet in your typical local/natural/organic farm? What's a natural diet for them in the first place?

For example, a farmer I buy from sells lamb and mutton that has been pastured, grass-fed and grass-finished. They also have pork, but it is fed the whey they get from the cheeses they make. I'm sure they try their best to feed them the best diet they can, but I tend to think that the grass-fed lamb will still be a better choice than the whey-fed pork.

What are your opinions on that matter?

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:55 PM

man i wish chicken and pork was on the graph. that'd make it real easy. good point WCC Paul.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:51 PM

wow. wonder why ruminants are better at 'hiding' their bad diets?

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:50 PM

John, not even chickens are supposed to eat gluten or soy. That's what she's getting at. Don't be so literal, man!

2d372dd8feff8c88d788095011eebbfa

(293)

on August 11, 2010
at 08:43 AM

Good point, Markem!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on August 11, 2010
at 07:38 AM

Hey wait a second, no one ever said the ratio had to be 1:1. A ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 of 6's to 3's is just fine. And so it looks like your grass-fed cattle is dandy.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 10, 2010
at 12:43 PM

Nicole is correct in that in most parts of the world chickens can't be outside 24/7/365, and when they're inside they're getting some sort of feed (which even in the best operations is going to have some grain in it). And even the most crunchy/permacultury operations tend to have some cracked corn back in the coop.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 10, 2010
at 12:37 PM

Cereals are indeed grasses, and that was my point.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on August 09, 2010
at 05:45 PM

Whoops, I meant 2:1 or 3:1 of 6's to 3's. Guess that was obvious.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on August 09, 2010
at 05:44 PM

Hey wait a second, no one ever said the ratio had to be 1:1. A ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 of 3's to 6's is just fine. And so it looks like your grass-fed cattle is dandy.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on August 09, 2010
at 05:21 PM

Alot of assumption, persistence hunting is proven strategy for big game

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 08, 2010
at 09:13 PM

either way, it's not what the are, it's what they contain that matters. Corn has waaaay too much omega-6.

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on August 08, 2010
at 09:10 PM

Agreed with Superfox. There is such thing as "pastured chickens". Chickens that are left to their own devices that forage and eat majority of insects, bugs, grubs, and so on.

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on August 08, 2010
at 07:17 PM

there IS purely pastured chicken (and their eggs). Not easy to find, but it is there. My family generations ago were farmers, and pastured was what they did - for all animals. The animals ate certain things, their droppings and trampling nurtured the soil, vegetation resumes. THAT's circle of life. Depending on where you live, you can either order your pastured chicken or pork in advance, OR, purchase shares and get a portion if a whole pig is too much for you to store.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on August 08, 2010
at 07:17 PM

Waterfowl are great food, in my opinion. Duck is pretty much my favorite food of all. Ground feeding birds like grouse have significantly less fat it seems.

70d9359a2086e890a4c3bccb2ba8a8cb

(2254)

on August 08, 2010
at 04:11 PM

Aren't cereals grasses too? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cereal) Though I suppose you meant that you would eat the grass leaves and stalks, not their seeds (which would be equivalent to cereals presumably).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 08, 2010
at 04:12 AM

Grass has a great nutrient ratio :) I would eat grass, but cows get more out of it and make it much much tastier :)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 08, 2010
at 02:43 AM

Birds can be an easy kill at times, especially if they are big and nesting. I would be surprised if grok would pass up a big tasty bird for dinner. But they were probably not quite easy enough to catch that they became a major food source all the time. However, ever watch Survivor Man? Birds are one of the foods he is sometimes able to get his claws into and is dang happy for it when it happens. If you are out by yourself and on the move, nabbing smaller game can be easier and more reliable than larger game.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 07, 2010
at 11:55 PM

Um, cows eat grass. You wouldn't eat grass. Shouldn't you, by your logic, stop eating cows?

6a3a47e762061defef558e39b46403cd

(0)

on August 07, 2010
at 02:35 PM

Apparently, thiamin/vitamin B1 is mainly used to metabolize carbohydrates. Paleo diets tend to be *relatively* low-carb, even with fruit/veggies/starches, so one would expect the need for thiamin/B1 to be lower in consequence.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on August 07, 2010
at 01:53 PM

wow, i never knew this. goes to show that theres always new stuff to learn. I been hardcore paleo for a while now, thought i knew my stuff blah blah, but i bet im not getting a good amount of b1. Thanks for the insight.

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13 Answers

6
D60897b1c8f2a9e4fe1e94f1f56075ad

(170)

on August 08, 2010
at 03:13 AM

I too have been wondering about chicken/poultry and pork as meat sources. I have read that the best paleo options are foods than can be eaten raw (even if we choose not to eat them raw). Pork and chicken are generally thought of as meats that should be cooked--well-cooked even. Perhaps this is because they are omnivores and more likely to contain parasites or bacteria that are problematic for humans?

I agree that variety must be best, along with eating the whole animal, not just the 'choice' cuts. The thing is, most westernised humans have all sorts of aversions to organ meats and to many of the wide variety of meat products available--insects, small reptiles etc.

The following site suggests that ruminants would not have been the most commonly eaten meats during our evoluntionary history in Africa: http://www.naturalhub.com/natural_food_guide_meat.htm This page includes a link to a site dicsussing the fauna that would have been available to our African ancestors.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on August 09, 2010
at 05:21 PM

Alot of assumption, persistence hunting is proven strategy for big game

5
88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

on August 09, 2010
at 11:03 AM

Dr. Kurt Harris of PaNu blog said: Non- ruminants are much more subject to passing on the ratio they get in their diets. So the unhealthiest beef has a 6:3 ratio as good or better than pastured free range bug-eating chicken, and fowl fat from industrial operations is like eating vegetable oil.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:51 PM

wow. wonder why ruminants are better at 'hiding' their bad diets?

4
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 07, 2010
at 01:48 PM

You wouldn't eat soy or gluten, so why eat an animal that eats these things? They are passing on the fat ratio to you!

Fortunately, the number of farmers who are becoming aware that this is not a good situation is increasing. I get my pork from a farm that feeds them non-gluten grains, field peas, and whey from a neighboring cheese maker (I think this is a perfectly find food, but if you react to dairy, maybe not). My family is buying a pig and we will be feeding primarily root vegetables and acorns. I have a poultry producer that feeds his poultry mostly damaged apples from nearby orchards. Yes, it's possible to find these animals eating decent things, but it's hard.

As far as certain bloggers justifying their own tastes...what kind of weirdo doesn't like crispy chicken skin or pork belly? I would love these to be the perfect foods, but the truth is that grass-fed ruminants generally have more favorable nutrient levels, are the closest to being like the meat our paleolithic ancestors ate... and should probably be the nucleus of the diet.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 10, 2010
at 12:37 PM

Cereals are indeed grasses, and that was my point.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 07, 2010
at 11:55 PM

Um, cows eat grass. You wouldn't eat grass. Shouldn't you, by your logic, stop eating cows?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 08, 2010
at 04:12 AM

Grass has a great nutrient ratio :) I would eat grass, but cows get more out of it and make it much much tastier :)

70d9359a2086e890a4c3bccb2ba8a8cb

(2254)

on August 08, 2010
at 04:11 PM

Aren't cereals grasses too? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cereal) Though I suppose you meant that you would eat the grass leaves and stalks, not their seeds (which would be equivalent to cereals presumably).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 08, 2010
at 09:13 PM

either way, it's not what the are, it's what they contain that matters. Corn has waaaay too much omega-6.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:50 PM

John, not even chickens are supposed to eat gluten or soy. That's what she's getting at. Don't be so literal, man!

3
2d372dd8feff8c88d788095011eebbfa

on August 07, 2010
at 10:17 AM

The ??3/??6 is not optimal in pork and chicken. However, pork also contains a lot of vitamin B1. (B1 is not abundant in a paleo diet without pork).

6a3a47e762061defef558e39b46403cd

(0)

on August 07, 2010
at 02:35 PM

Apparently, thiamin/vitamin B1 is mainly used to metabolize carbohydrates. Paleo diets tend to be *relatively* low-carb, even with fruit/veggies/starches, so one would expect the need for thiamin/B1 to be lower in consequence.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on August 07, 2010
at 01:53 PM

wow, i never knew this. goes to show that theres always new stuff to learn. I been hardcore paleo for a while now, thought i knew my stuff blah blah, but i bet im not getting a good amount of b1. Thanks for the insight.

2d372dd8feff8c88d788095011eebbfa

(293)

on August 11, 2010
at 08:43 AM

Good point, Markem!

2
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on August 09, 2010
at 03:50 PM

This is an interesting graph. are-pork-or-chicken-less-than-ideal?

While the Omega 3 is higher in grass-fed cattle and wild ruminants than grain-fed cattle, the Omega 6 is just as high and even higher in the wild ruminants.

If we're treating Omega 6:3 ratios as important in determining the "ideal" meat, then fish is ideal.

70 mg/100 g in grass-fed beef is a pittance compared to the levels of Omega 3 in fish. There are some fish where you can get 2 g/100 g.

Do I think pork and chicken is less than ideal? No.

The idea that humans are meant to eat a certain type of animal (such as cattle) is an irrational generalization of human nature and evolution.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on August 09, 2010
at 05:44 PM

Hey wait a second, no one ever said the ratio had to be 1:1. A ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 of 3's to 6's is just fine. And so it looks like your grass-fed cattle is dandy.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on August 11, 2010
at 07:38 AM

Hey wait a second, no one ever said the ratio had to be 1:1. A ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 of 6's to 3's is just fine. And so it looks like your grass-fed cattle is dandy.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on August 09, 2010
at 05:45 PM

Whoops, I meant 2:1 or 3:1 of 6's to 3's. Guess that was obvious.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:55 PM

man i wish chicken and pork was on the graph. that'd make it real easy. good point WCC Paul.

2
47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on August 09, 2010
at 06:45 AM

I listen to my body on this one just like I listen to my body to find out when it's time to get out of the sun, when it's time to stop eating, when it's time to drink water, etc. Every two or three days pork seems really appetizing to me, and so I eat it. (Good stuff from a good farm, of course.) Once I get nice and full on pork I then don't really want it for two or three days. And on we go. I find I can eat beef and lamb much more frequently before getting tired of it (if ever). So I figure there's something behind this.

What should I infer: is it personal taste? Or perhaps my body is the universal paleo barometer that should decide for everyone else? Either way, mostly ruminants for me.

2
F82f7d4dafb6d0ffc4c2ee2a85420786

(484)

on August 08, 2010
at 10:07 AM

Maybe it's possible to overthink it all. Ensuring (as far as possible) that the meat is ethically and humanely raised is important. And then, a bit of everything that you like (paleo-friendly of course) should be good.

1
C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on August 08, 2010
at 01:22 AM

Although I don't have any studies to back it up, I believe that it is optimal to eat a variety of meats (just as one would eat a variety of fruits/veggies), even if the things included in this variety are not individually optimal. If you're concerned about mimicking an ancestral diet of some sort, then eating fish and shellfish is probably closer to historical paleo than chicken, as any society that gets anywhere near the ocean or rivers eats liberally of fish and shellfish but as far as I know birds have never been a major part of anyone's diet.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on August 08, 2010
at 07:17 PM

Waterfowl are great food, in my opinion. Duck is pretty much my favorite food of all. Ground feeding birds like grouse have significantly less fat it seems.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 08, 2010
at 02:43 AM

Birds can be an easy kill at times, especially if they are big and nesting. I would be surprised if grok would pass up a big tasty bird for dinner. But they were probably not quite easy enough to catch that they became a major food source all the time. However, ever watch Survivor Man? Birds are one of the foods he is sometimes able to get his claws into and is dang happy for it when it happens. If you are out by yourself and on the move, nabbing smaller game can be easier and more reliable than larger game.

1
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on August 08, 2010
at 12:55 AM

From what I remember pigs are omnivores and can pretty much eat whatever humans eat. That's why very often they were happily living on leftovers from the owners' table. They will eat everything, from old fruits and veggies, potato pills, seeds, grain... I am not surprised they like whey as well.

I think mixing it up is a key. Our ancestors were eating whatever they could find - not just antelopes, hogs or mammoths, but also birds, insects, amphibians and whatever else they could hunt or catch. Narrowing down to just one type of meat is not optimal from health (and taste) perspective. Especially when it comes from one or two types of muscle meat only!

Personally, I don't eat pig for religious reasons, and I prefer beef for the taste, but I try to add and mix whenever I can - I am constantly on the look for offal, I eat chicken, fish.... whatever I can find around here.

1
Dcef9c9f5277c46da3eb7662d754876e

on August 07, 2010
at 02:10 PM

I just want to mention that there really isn't purely pastured chicken or eggs. The best you can hope for is true free-ranging chickens that only get grain as a supplement to their daily foraging.

I eat local pastured pork(and chicken) that I pick up on farm where I can see my future meat out in the sun. The pigs eat a corn and soy blend feed. The pork is the best I've had since moving east from Chicago.

Eat the best quality you can find, and eat variety!

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on August 08, 2010
at 09:10 PM

Agreed with Superfox. There is such thing as "pastured chickens". Chickens that are left to their own devices that forage and eat majority of insects, bugs, grubs, and so on.

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on August 08, 2010
at 07:17 PM

there IS purely pastured chicken (and their eggs). Not easy to find, but it is there. My family generations ago were farmers, and pastured was what they did - for all animals. The animals ate certain things, their droppings and trampling nurtured the soil, vegetation resumes. THAT's circle of life. Depending on where you live, you can either order your pastured chicken or pork in advance, OR, purchase shares and get a portion if a whole pig is too much for you to store.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 10, 2010
at 12:43 PM

Nicole is correct in that in most parts of the world chickens can't be outside 24/7/365, and when they're inside they're getting some sort of feed (which even in the best operations is going to have some grain in it). And even the most crunchy/permacultury operations tend to have some cracked corn back in the coop.

1
95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 07, 2010
at 01:29 PM

If you like pork, eat the pork. I think that the science will show that pork and chicken are preferable to, say, an excess of dairy for most people. I think that certain bloggers who push the ruminants-only view are... perhaps using convenient science to justify their own taste preferences rather than starting with convincing science and making their choices from there.

(There is a staggering lack of self-awareness evident in certain corners of the online paleo community, a lack that is definitely Not Paleo, but that's a rant for another time and place.)

0
13a627826a7a42e2adc6624af96330ab

on August 07, 2010
at 03:54 PM

Eat free-range chicken and enjoy the taste. Pork in moderation.

0
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on August 07, 2010
at 08:27 AM

`i eat organic pork and chicken most weeks and love it. Nothing tastes like roast prok and roast chicken and I love both cold later. Wonderful stock from the bones...

I also eat a lot of fish to make sure that the omega 3 / 6 balance is retained as I am pretty sure the pork and chicken will be higher in omega 6.

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