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A couple meat quality questions

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 10, 2012 at 4:07 AM

I'm a broke college student and I can't afford grass-fed beef right now, although my parents are doing a cow-share soon, so hopefully this is just temporary. To get enough meat in my diet, I can either have good quality poultry (usually chicken, organic, free-range, no antibiotics, I know pastured is best, but this is what's available in my area) or conventional beef. Everything else being equal, beef outranks poultry, but which is better between good poultry and standard beef? Also this summer while finishing off the last of the previous year's cow-share, I developed a taste for really rare meat, and eating it with my hands in proper cave-person style :) so, 2nd question: should conventional beef be more thoroughly cooked, or is it ok as long as the outside is all cooked to kill any surface bacteria? Thanks in advance :)

05de181d71c1df6304a03566fe821d4b

(795)

on September 11, 2012
at 04:13 AM

oh your welcome ;)

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on September 10, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I think there's a spectrum in that - for anyone just switching off grains and processed foods, they don't really need to worry about the ratio at that point. However, for those of us who are eating whole foods but not a good mix, there's a certain base level of O3s you need to pick up, since O3s are essential fatty acids. If you're not a regular fish eater (and there's a lot of them out there), it is important to milk your O3 content of foods or supplement with fish oil.

A913bf93cf3bb8351481414d1218c441

(170)

on September 10, 2012
at 01:37 PM

I aim for 50g of protein per day. I buy 3 or 4 pounds of meat per week. I can't eat eggs. I don't drink at all. I don't do any social events that cost money. I have a 6 year old laptop that is literally falling apart. Of my money that is not spent on necessary bills (rent, electricity), 60% goes to food and 40% goes to putting gas in my car. My budget can't get any tighter. Thanks for not actually answering either question though...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 10, 2012
at 11:34 AM

Omega3/6 ratio concerns from whole foods are overhyped.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 10, 2012
at 04:30 AM

FYI, "free range" is a nebulous term that often describes a situation where the poultry is technically able to go outside, but doesn't. ...Because a) the place is too crowded, b) the food is always inside or c) it is just too far to walk to the small opening at the edge of the giant building the chicken is in.

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3 Answers

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1
C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

on September 10, 2012
at 11:30 AM

The main concerns with meat quality are pesticides/antibiotics and O3-O6 consumption. Purchasing organic (while more expensive) can take care of the first problem. For the second, a little bit of reasoning is necessary:

-Firstly, remember that O3-O6 balance is only an issue where fat is concerned; if you're consuming lean cuts of meat, eating grain-fed and/or non-pastured meat won't cause a huge shift in your O3-O6 ratio. Usually a cheap way to keep your ratio in balance is to buy lean meats (chicken breast, lean beef, etc) and cook them in quality fats like grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is a national brand that is totally grass-fed AFAIK) or coconut oil or palm oil (both are highly saturated, so they won't throw off your O3-O6 ratio).

-In general, poultry is going to be much higher in O6 content than beef, even grain-fed beef. The real issue is that neither one of them contain much in way of O3, so your O3 levels will likely stay low. If you're not in the price range to be purchasing grass-fed and pastured meat all the time, make sure to supplement with fish oil or a lot of grass-fed butter. For more on the nutrition of grain-fed beef:http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-differences-between-grass-fed-beef-and-grain-fed-beef/#axzz263aZAxvy

-In the end, there's something to be said for enjoyment as well. Pastured chicken won't totally wreck your O3-O6 ratios, especially if you're getting O3 from sources like fish (or fish oil) and pastured eggs, and I'm a huge fan of a whole roasted chicken. Just be sure to vary your meat from night to night or week to week, avoid the major O6 contributors like seed oils and large amounts of nuts, and make sure you're getting O3 in your diet, and you'll be just fine.

As to the second question, that's a little trickier. Quality control of meat can vary widely from place to place and neither major corporations (i.e. conventional meat) or small-scale operations are immune from processing errors. As for the dangers of food-borne illnesses, that can vary widely depending upon your health and the health of your immune system. I believe (and please someone correct me if I'm wrong) that most food-borne illnesses won't kill a healthy adult straight up; what they will do is give you a few nasty days of stomach issues and pseudo-sickness. The issue comes with repeat consumption of contaminated food (i.e. if your first portion of steak tartar gives you diarrhea, throw the rest of it away) or consumption of infected food when your immune system is already compromised (i.e. cook your food to well-done when sick). In the end, what will mostly determine your cooking style is your past experiences: one or two nasty episodes of food poisoning will probably leave you cooking all your meat well done just out of caution, but until then if you prefer your meat rare, don't be afraid to cook it that way.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on September 10, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I think there's a spectrum in that - for anyone just switching off grains and processed foods, they don't really need to worry about the ratio at that point. However, for those of us who are eating whole foods but not a good mix, there's a certain base level of O3s you need to pick up, since O3s are essential fatty acids. If you're not a regular fish eater (and there's a lot of them out there), it is important to milk your O3 content of foods or supplement with fish oil.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 10, 2012
at 11:34 AM

Omega3/6 ratio concerns from whole foods are overhyped.

0
A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on September 10, 2012
at 01:44 PM

Which one keeps you full longer and which one do you like the taste of the best? If you have to make the choice go with the one that you like best. College isn't forever and eventually you'll be in a better spot financially and can adjust whatever you want. For now, work with in your budget to feed yourself. You can mix and match your protein as well if you like both.

Do you like sardines...cheap, quick and they have a great omega 3 content. You could maybe work some in to offset the omega 6 if you are really worried.

0
05de181d71c1df6304a03566fe821d4b

on September 10, 2012
at 06:51 AM

I practice protein restriction just eating enough for my body to utilize, if you go on all out frenzy eating like 6+ oz of meat per sitting then yeah its expensive. You really only need a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of desired body weight. for me it turns out to be about 8 oz of meat for me but usually for me its 5-6 oz of meat and I do eggs in the morning. I also do ground meat since it is cheaper.

I too am a broke college student, but instead of going out and partying with friends, and buy the latest in the greatest I just make a few sacrifices and put all my money towards my food :)

05de181d71c1df6304a03566fe821d4b

(795)

on September 11, 2012
at 04:13 AM

oh your welcome ;)

A913bf93cf3bb8351481414d1218c441

(170)

on September 10, 2012
at 01:37 PM

I aim for 50g of protein per day. I buy 3 or 4 pounds of meat per week. I can't eat eggs. I don't drink at all. I don't do any social events that cost money. I have a 6 year old laptop that is literally falling apart. Of my money that is not spent on necessary bills (rent, electricity), 60% goes to food and 40% goes to putting gas in my car. My budget can't get any tighter. Thanks for not actually answering either question though...

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