1

votes

How do you feel about this quote from Gary Taubes?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM

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I???m all for eating grass fed beef and avoiding factory fed. I read Jonathan Safran Foer???s ???Eating Animals??? and found it compelling. But it is expensive. I???m not sure there???s a significant health benefit from avoiding factory-fed beef ??? even if there is an ethical reason to do so. But for Americans who aren???t sufficiently well-off to avoid it, who still need to feed their families, and keep their children lean and healthy, then factory-fed meat may be the only option. That???s why I don???t come out against it strongly in my books.

This quote makes me lose a significant amount of respect for Gary Taubes. The statement that there's no significant health benefit to avoiding factory-fed beef is dubious, seeing as grass fed beef contains more omega 3s, CLA, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta carotene, and trace minerals, less palmitic and myristic acid, and fewer (if any) antibiotics and environmental toxins. And factory farming is so ethically and environmentally repugnant that I would avoid it even its products were more nutritious.

On page 163 of Why We Get Fat, Gary states that the less time humans have been consuming a particular food, the more likely it is to be bad for us since we haven't had time to adapt. Yet he lets his readers assume that grain-fed, CAFO meat is no issue, despite it being part of the Western diet for less than 60 years. Is that not hypocritical? Why hasn't he received flak for this?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 04:35 PM

@blueballon, The real question, is, if you can afford $8/lb should you spend your money on grassfed ground beef or CAFO Skirt?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 04:08 PM

Taubes specifically mentions that there are ethical reason for avoiding CAFO. His statement was about the health reasons. As someone who has worked as a butcher apprentice if a cow came in with ulcers/ wounds, it doesn't make it through the door. Ethically it makes sense to eat locally. Taubes is talking about the nutritional differences wrt price.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:10 PM

@blueballon, The real question, is, if you can afford $8/lb should you spend your money on grassfed ground beef or CAFO Skirt? I would argue that

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on January 29, 2013
at 02:12 PM

@Monte- Maybe I haven't researched it enough, but personally I would prefer to eat grass-fed because of the better quality and treatment of the animals. I agree with rocket and Shari, not all this grass-fed crap is about elitism...

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on January 29, 2013
at 02:02 PM

Yes, probably. I agree with that part of the argument (cafo v. sugar). However, I also think that there are MANY reasons to avoid cafo meat. I personally would rather eat unprocessed vegetarian proteins (including beans, lentils, nuts, whatever) than eat CAFO meat. I say that, though, from an ethical standpoint as much as a health standpoint. There's a mid-way between processed sugar crap and 100% whole30-style all-organic paleo

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on January 29, 2013
at 01:56 PM

Look, if you can only afford ground beef you can only *eat* ground beef. We make sure we can afford grass-fed meat. But I can't afford filet or rib-eye steaks for myself, my husband, and my kids. Some people can barely afford FOOD let alone steak. There are plenty of grass-fed cuts that are cheap(er), but they're sure as heck not steak. CAFO steak is cheapER, but NOT cheap.

Medium avatar

(115)

on January 29, 2013
at 12:23 PM

All your claims would be true if one would be a fan of government recommended daily values. But then again, what would that person be doing here?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 11:32 AM

What is baffling is that the expectation is that people should only eat ground beef. Grassfed ground beef is $7-$8. Cafo is $3-4. That is half the price. Cafo ribeye $17 grassfed $24. At is only 30% less.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 29, 2013
at 04:22 AM

Thank you for a succinct, non inflammatory response.

9f5610ce22c2b9e8c625a1ed4f15885d

(70)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:50 AM

Also, CD, note you're talking certified organic- that adds an extra layer of production cost. Not all grass-fed is organic, though. Where I live there aren't any certified organic slaughterhouses, so while there's 4 farms doing grass-fed beef that would easily meet organic standards, none of them can realistically certify their beef. When discussing cost-benefit comparison of grass-fed vs. grain-fed it must be considered that some are lumping the cost of the organic label in with the cost of grass-fed, whether or not it's really relevant.

9f5610ce22c2b9e8c625a1ed4f15885d

(70)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:44 AM

Right so what I'm asking, CD, is why start at the top of the price list when discussing the cost of grass-fed beef? In a discussion of what your average person is going to purchase? I don't know where "looking down on" anyone came into the picture, though. I've bought CAFO steak on sale myself; a guy's gotta eat. RK I agree that the costs add up quicker, and that's what I mean about weighing it against a given economic circumstance. I do try to stick with grass-fed and keep the cost down by emphasizing offal and stretching it with bone stock, but that wouldn't work if I didn't like offal.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:26 AM

Honestly this constant comparison to grass fed filet to CAFO hamburger is baffling. You can get grass fed ground beef at very reasonable prices in most areas. IT's more expensive than CAFO ground beef but it's still reasonable.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:19 AM

Great perspective. If you want to do it you can. I mostly buy ground beef and eat just enough to meet my needs. I also focus on vegetables with meat as a side not the main show. I eat a lot of canned salmon too.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:17 AM

Thank you surging on a rocket for bringing some sanity and humanity to this "discussion". I'm shocked at the comments here. Since when is caring about other living creatures narcissism, cliquism, and elitism. Do you even know what those words mean? Caring for something besides yourself is the exact opposite. It's called being a decent human being. I suggest you try it some time. Torturing and abusing animals so you can have your 1.5 g of protein per kg body weight is not o.k. It never will be.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:11 AM

Why hasn't he received flak for this? The same reason Wolf and Sisson and all the others haven't'. Or are you just out for Taubes for some reason?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 02:37 AM

Sometimes. What's your point?

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on January 29, 2013
at 01:17 AM

You also have to factor in family size. Sure, there's not much difference for one person. But if you are feeding a family, one night of tacos for us is 3 lb ground beef. So CAFO, on-sale-at-grocery-store meat would cost me about $3/lb - $9 total. Grassfed at $7/lb would be $21. Multiply that over a month, and it's a huge difference. We do grassfed as much as possible, but there's still a budget to meet.

7c8e227dd8d5bdd77febfdebaa78dc13

(185)

on January 29, 2013
at 12:28 AM

$24 a pound? what are you buying, filet mignon?

6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on January 29, 2013
at 12:17 AM

More hyperbole. Tell me how many ulcers and tumors you've seen in whole raw meat at the grocery store? I'm guessing none. I have worked in a meat department and I've only seen it rarely.

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on January 28, 2013
at 11:53 PM

Surfing, you are describing the bottom of the CAFO chain. I live in Canada and many farms grass feed and provide free range for cattle but because they are not able to do so 12 months of the year are not allowed to call themselves "grass fed". I have seen several ranches and they represent a high standard of living for conventionally raised cows and provide meat to my family for half of what grass fed meat goes for here, which is still twice as much as I would pay at Wal-Mart. There is a sensible middle ground.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 28, 2013
at 11:15 PM

... it could be that it is a pro tanto ethical good to eat grassfed, which could be outweighed by other non-ethical goods, or by ethical goods derivative from the non-ethical health benefits. Or, eating grassfed could be supererogatory. That's not possible on my ethical position, where ethical value is monistic, aggregative and trumps all non-ethical goods- but who am I to judge...

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 28, 2013
at 11:11 PM

I think your statement is based on confused grammar. It's perfectly reasonable to say "I'm not sure that [some instrumental non-ethical good] follows from x-ing, even there is an ethical reason to do so." It is, for example, true that "It will not improve your bank balance to give all your money away to charity- even if there is an ethical reason to do so." Perhaps you mean that if it's there's an ethical reason to eat grassfed, then that's a trumping reason to eat grassfed, and considering whether it has health benefits is irrelevant. But that's not true on a plausible view of ethics...

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on January 28, 2013
at 11:03 PM

are you kidding yourself? have you seen cows knee-deep in their own shit and suffering from a multitude of chronic diseases? by the time they're slaughtered their bodies are infested with ulcers and tumours and very unlike anything you would find in the wild simply because no animal could endure such disease for so long without tons of antibiotics. wake up.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 28, 2013
at 09:59 PM

I live in DC. The cost of a certified organic, grassfed, antibiotic free T-Bone, Ribeye, NY Strip, Mignon, Delmonico, or similar are all typically above $20/lb. Strip Tri Tip are in the $15 range. Sure ground beef and roasts are $8 /lb. Also, no one said grassfed farmers are greedy, as I said, I get most of my meat directly from local farms. I support local because I can afford to. But I cannot look down on a friend because he's buying the $7/lb CAFO T-Bone on sale.

4523f952f67fa6485efeac2c9ea810cf

(166)

on January 28, 2013
at 08:10 PM

You don't need that much money to eat grass fed meat, most who are "too poor" just have their priorities our of order

4523f952f67fa6485efeac2c9ea810cf

(166)

on January 28, 2013
at 08:09 PM

You don't need that much money to eat grass fed meat, most who are "too poor" tend to have the priorities our of order.

4523f952f67fa6485efeac2c9ea810cf

(166)

on January 28, 2013
at 08:08 PM

You don't need that much money to eat grass fed meat, everyone who is "too poor" tends to have the priorities our of order.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:56 PM

Taubes follows Atkins more strictly than paleo....that's where the money is....

6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:26 PM

It's all hype. When you look at in the proper perspective of a greater diet and lifestyle you'll see that all the grass-fed cheer-leading is usually rooted in narcissism, cliquism, and elitism often misbranded as altruism.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:10 PM

Why anyone considers this man a health expert is beyond me. He is the epitome of "intellectualism" in the worst sense of term, as F.A. Hayek first used it. He graduates from Harvard and Columbia with majors in Journalism and Physics, so considers himself an expert on nutrition and health (and God knows what else). Um, sorry, but why would you take advice from someone who doesn't even look the part? He looks just average (looks tell health better than your alma mater). Average in 21st century America is nothing splendid.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:09 PM

Why anyone considers this man a health expert is beyond me. He is the epitome of "intellectualism" in the worst sense of term, as F.A. Hayek first used it. He graduates from Harvard and Columbia with majors in Journalism and Physics, so considers himself an expert on nutrition and health (and God knows what else). Um, sorry, but why would you take advice from someone who doesn't even look the part? He looks average (looks tell health better than your alma mater).

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:00 PM

And with liver, a little bit goes a long way. A few ounces a week is all one needs, and the grass-fed liver is pretty cheap in comparison to ground chuck and the better cuts of muscle meat.

383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on January 28, 2013
at 05:54 PM

are you fucking kidding me? grass-fed beef is expensive and not a viable option for many people. what kind of middle-class existence do you live that makes you think everyone can afford to eat like that? as long a person's getting adequate nutrition, i don't see a problem with eating conventional meats.

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17 Answers

18
532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on January 28, 2013
at 05:56 PM

It might not be ideal, but it's pragmatic. If you simply can't afford grass-fed and pastured meat, then factory-farmed meat is still going to be better than a diet based on grains. I think Taubes is very much of the mind that we shouldn't let perfect be the enemy of good. Additionally, not everyone has access to grass-fed meat. When I lived in the sticks, I stuck to fish (fishing village) when I couldn't get out of town to re-stock my freezer.

I think an otherwise clean, grain-free and well-rounded diet probably offers some protection against the worst effects of eating CAFO meat, such as balancing n-3/n-6 fats and maintaining healthful levels of other nutrients.

I'd never skimp on liver, though. That's cheap even when grass-fed, so there's no reason not to get the good stuff.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:00 PM

And with liver, a little bit goes a long way. A few ounces a week is all one needs, and the grass-fed liver is pretty cheap in comparison to ground chuck and the better cuts of muscle meat.

11
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:07 PM

"Perfect is the enemy of good enough." Perfectionism is an epidemic that can and will stop people from moving forward. And, to steal another catch phrase, "If you are not moving forward you are moving backward".

People need to make the best choices that can fit their respective lifestyles. I would rather 100 people learn to eat paleo which eating the best meat that they can afford than 1 person learn to eat grass-fed $24/lb meat.

And the health benefits? Well certainly from a biology stance we know that the meat is different, I am not sure there is a preponderance of evidence that shows the significance in a healthy population.

Personally I eat as clean as possible which means I get most of my meat directly from farms I trust. But I am lucky to be in a situation where I can afford it. I would not condemn anyone from eating CAFO as long as they are putting the best quality food on their family's plate.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:26 AM

Honestly this constant comparison to grass fed filet to CAFO hamburger is baffling. You can get grass fed ground beef at very reasonable prices in most areas. IT's more expensive than CAFO ground beef but it's still reasonable.

7c8e227dd8d5bdd77febfdebaa78dc13

(185)

on January 29, 2013
at 12:28 AM

$24 a pound? what are you buying, filet mignon?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:10 PM

@blueballon, The real question, is, if you can afford $8/lb should you spend your money on grassfed ground beef or CAFO Skirt? I would argue that

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 02:37 AM

Sometimes. What's your point?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 11:32 AM

What is baffling is that the expectation is that people should only eat ground beef. Grassfed ground beef is $7-$8. Cafo is $3-4. That is half the price. Cafo ribeye $17 grassfed $24. At is only 30% less.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 29, 2013
at 04:35 PM

@blueballon, The real question, is, if you can afford $8/lb should you spend your money on grassfed ground beef or CAFO Skirt?

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on January 29, 2013
at 01:56 PM

Look, if you can only afford ground beef you can only *eat* ground beef. We make sure we can afford grass-fed meat. But I can't afford filet or rib-eye steaks for myself, my husband, and my kids. Some people can barely afford FOOD let alone steak. There are plenty of grass-fed cuts that are cheap(er), but they're sure as heck not steak. CAFO steak is cheapER, but NOT cheap.

11
7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on January 28, 2013
at 05:55 PM

He's trying to get the message out there without alienating a big proportion of the population. I can empathise with that.

10
6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:18 PM

Grassfed Vs. CAFO: Hype Vs. Reality.

  1. Hormones/Antibiotics: Very little show up in the meat...

  2. Omega 6: Largely the same.

  3. Omega 3. Beef is a terrible source of Omega 3s. Rely on beef for your omegas and your brain will shrink to that of a Vegans.

  4. Vitamin A: I really can't believe people even use this one to promote grassfed beef. 19g of CAFO liver gets you to 100% RDA.

  5. Vitamin E: Beef is a terrible source for Vitamin E. You'd have to eat FIVE POUNDS of grassfed beef to get your MINIMUM Vitamin E requirement.

  6. CLA: Grassfed wins but conventional dairy and eggs have this as well.

http://blog.modernpaleo.com/2010/08/value-of-grass-fed-beef.html

Medium avatar

(115)

on January 29, 2013
at 12:23 PM

All your claims would be true if one would be a fan of government recommended daily values. But then again, what would that person be doing here?

7
9f5610ce22c2b9e8c625a1ed4f15885d

on January 28, 2013
at 07:00 PM

CD, where the hell do you live that grass-fed beef costs $24/pound?

Elitism? Narcissism? Jesus, people, get off the internet and eat some sometime. Most down-to-earth person I know is the little grass-fed rancher I interned for last summer. He struggles to keep his prices as low as he can because he wants people to be able to afford his product. He was sad to have to put the price for ground up to $7/pound recently, but economics is economics. Only tenderloin and filet mignon crack the $20 mark. Not like he's an anomaly around here either.

The unfortunate fact that there are cliquey people online who turn grass-fed into a status thing (I've only encountered a few, really) seems to be tainting the discussion here, which is saddening. There are "normal" people involved, including dedicated farmers and those who simply want to eat better, who deserve better.

The literature shows that grass-fed has some nutritional advantages. Taubes is right that each must weigh those against their own economic circumstances, but it's also true that those of us who can afford it should consider it not only for nutritional purposes but also to provide the market grass-fed needs to become more common and inevitably more economical as infrastructure improves in response to demand.

As an aside, I'm curious whether the literature comparing the two uses grass-fed beef from large-scale grass-fed operations, small-scale operations with farmers dedicated to maximizing soil and pasture quality as well as quality of life for the cattle, or random uninvestigated small farmers- I have met individuals selling "grass-fed" beef that was hardly grass-fed at all, to say the least. Source matters immensely.

9f5610ce22c2b9e8c625a1ed4f15885d

(70)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:50 AM

Also, CD, note you're talking certified organic- that adds an extra layer of production cost. Not all grass-fed is organic, though. Where I live there aren't any certified organic slaughterhouses, so while there's 4 farms doing grass-fed beef that would easily meet organic standards, none of them can realistically certify their beef. When discussing cost-benefit comparison of grass-fed vs. grain-fed it must be considered that some are lumping the cost of the organic label in with the cost of grass-fed, whether or not it's really relevant.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 28, 2013
at 09:59 PM

I live in DC. The cost of a certified organic, grassfed, antibiotic free T-Bone, Ribeye, NY Strip, Mignon, Delmonico, or similar are all typically above $20/lb. Strip Tri Tip are in the $15 range. Sure ground beef and roasts are $8 /lb. Also, no one said grassfed farmers are greedy, as I said, I get most of my meat directly from local farms. I support local because I can afford to. But I cannot look down on a friend because he's buying the $7/lb CAFO T-Bone on sale.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on January 29, 2013
at 01:17 AM

You also have to factor in family size. Sure, there's not much difference for one person. But if you are feeding a family, one night of tacos for us is 3 lb ground beef. So CAFO, on-sale-at-grocery-store meat would cost me about $3/lb - $9 total. Grassfed at $7/lb would be $21. Multiply that over a month, and it's a huge difference. We do grassfed as much as possible, but there's still a budget to meet.

9f5610ce22c2b9e8c625a1ed4f15885d

(70)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:44 AM

Right so what I'm asking, CD, is why start at the top of the price list when discussing the cost of grass-fed beef? In a discussion of what your average person is going to purchase? I don't know where "looking down on" anyone came into the picture, though. I've bought CAFO steak on sale myself; a guy's gotta eat. RK I agree that the costs add up quicker, and that's what I mean about weighing it against a given economic circumstance. I do try to stick with grass-fed and keep the cost down by emphasizing offal and stretching it with bone stock, but that wouldn't work if I didn't like offal.

6
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on January 28, 2013
at 06:47 PM

It's true. If you only look at heath benefits, it's not worth the cost. If you look at ethical reasons, sustainability of factory farms, etc, then it may be worth the cost. Here's what I said about it last time it came up: http://paleohacks.com/questions/175610/grassfed-vs-conventional/175661#175661

Don't let perfect get in the way of good enough, which is something I said here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/175709/do-you-think-that-examining-the-finer-points-of-paleo-sometimes-causes-more-harm/175724#175724

Just because someone is recommending a solution that is not 100% perfect, but is much more achievable by the population doesn't mean you shouldn't respect them anymore. That's just silly. Look at where you can solve the most problem with the least cost, and once you've done that then look at tweaking the solution. We should strive to always look at doing better, not just waiting until we can implement (what we think is) the perfect solution.

5
E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on January 28, 2013
at 10:56 PM

I think GT is saying that factory fed meat is better than the alternative - sugar-laden, processed carb foods.

No question that factory fed meat is very, very different to grass fed meat for many reasons, which are beyond the scope of this question but deserve to be further explored by this community.

I should state that I strongly disagree with some of the posters on this question who maintain that there is negligible difference (aside from cost) between factory fed and grass-fed meat.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 29, 2013
at 04:22 AM

Thank you for a succinct, non inflammatory response.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on January 29, 2013
at 02:02 PM

Yes, probably. I agree with that part of the argument (cafo v. sugar). However, I also think that there are MANY reasons to avoid cafo meat. I personally would rather eat unprocessed vegetarian proteins (including beans, lentils, nuts, whatever) than eat CAFO meat. I say that, though, from an ethical standpoint as much as a health standpoint. There's a mid-way between processed sugar crap and 100% whole30-style all-organic paleo

5
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 28, 2013
at 08:11 PM

He's right, especially when presented with the choices poor people have in this country. They aren't really being presented with a choice between industrial meat and grass-fed meat; they are being presented with industrial meat and grains/legumes/dairy-processed crap. If all your choices are crap, then from a health perspective, pick an animal. Animals have livers, so there's a chance at least some of the poison from the corn and soy that they are fed will be cleared.

I think the cleanest thing people have available to them is wild caught fish, but you've got to watch labels and make sure the the big corporations didn't slip any extra ingredients into it.

Now, as to what industrial meats may harbor, well I am currently worried about whether or not glycophosphates end up in the meat. These are what goes into things like round-up, to kill weeds. I hear the soy has been genetically modified to live in a bath of the stuff, and then they feed this stuff to animals, so does it end up in us or not? It goes back to what I said above- in view of the choices many poor people have, buying a roast can be the best thing they can do at Safeway because various organs were once about the business of keeping that roast detoxified. You certainly wouldn't want to eat that soy/round-up solution yourself. But, eventually, modern industrial farming will manage to defeat biological systems, and it may already be happening. I find myself eating a lot more fish lately.

3
E8625b8af639c7a1c66cf6987ee32dde

on January 28, 2013
at 11:38 PM

I make very little money - just enough that I don't qualify for food stamps but only by a little. I still make the effort to buy grass fed meat and it's possible. I don't eat sirloin i eat lamb shank which, I have found out, is delicious. I don't buy asparagus anymore - I focus on kale, collards, cabbage and broccoli - very reasonable. I eat kefta from ground beef and lamb stew and I watch out for the "Madness sales" at Whole foods where grass fed and organic meats can sometimes be 1/2 price. I take a whole chicken - boil it in a pot for 4 hours and voila - my $12 chicken just made 4 meals for my husband and I - That's 3$ a bowl! I will admit that I can't always get it all grass fed because sometimes the sale or the money isn't there - so I eat a lot of fish instead - but all in all I think it's completely doable eat less meat but higher quality on a low budget. How about a big pot of borcht with a 1/2 of grass fed stew meat - YUM! and sooo cheap!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on January 29, 2013
at 03:19 AM

Great perspective. If you want to do it you can. I mostly buy ground beef and eat just enough to meet my needs. I also focus on vegetables with meat as a side not the main show. I eat a lot of canned salmon too.

2
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 29, 2013
at 11:56 AM

I don't go by "feelings", especially when it comes to science, or for that matter economics. Yes, he's right, it is somewhat more expensive, but you do get what you pay for. Life's too short for low quality beef.

Besides, the cost difference between grassfed beef and bison is small, so I tend to go for bison instead, which is beef's much, um, beefier cousin. It's the difference between Bruce Banner and The Hulk.

That said, I did buy some expensive cuts of CAFO beef last summer, yep, fillet mignon, and the next day my poop stank like a toxic dump where it normally does not. So whatever they're feeding these cattle, be it expired candy with the wrappers on, or sheetrock, or GMO grains, GMO soy, ground up chicken droppings and feathers, who knows what.

So CAFO meat is not something I want to consume. Yeah, yeah, n=1 and all that. But once bitten twice shy. Not willing to risk my health on it again.

I don't know for sure what they're fed, because we're not allowed to know, nor are we allowed to visit these "farms" as the states in which they are grown have passed laws labeling anyone who takes pictures of these facilities as terrorists... And most likely the folks who run these CAFOs don't likely know what's inside the cattle feed either, because most likely they've been told "it's proprietary" or something...

Speaking of economics, by buying factory farmed beef, you're voting with your dollars for more of the same, while voting against small farmers and cattle/bison ranchers who do have your best interest at heart, not just making money by cutting corners. Which one is in your better interest in terms of effecting change?

In terms of keeping cost down, if you have the room, a small chest freezer, or even a larger one, and get a quarter cow or half a cow. If you're buying it from whole-paycheck, well, you're giving them your whole paycheck.

So yes, buy the best that you can afford, and if happens to be CAFO meat, well, it is what it is. If you can afford the good stuff, go for it.

2
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on January 28, 2013
at 06:26 PM

Taubes has been a huge force for good in the nutrition world, but he's not perfect. I think the Cordains, Wolfs and Sissons of the world have a bit better grasp of the bigger picture. I fear he's a bit more like the Davises and Ludwigs of the world, who are hyper-educated in their niche and sometimes miss out on other factors besides the ones they are educated about. That's okay, everybody is only human, and of course this very post is not exactly being written by a top researcher or a top mind in nutrition, so maybe I've been full of crap now and then too. :-)

Anyway, Taubes is correct that CAFO meat is still pretty good for you. He is "not sure" there's a health benefit from eating grass-fed. Well, it would be nice if he researched it a bit, because if he did then I suspect he would become sure there's a real health benefit. But had he known better, he could have at least said that grass-fed is indeed significantly more healthful, and that for those who live near farmers markets and who are otherwise resourceful, it's worth spending some extra effort just seeing if there's a way to obtain reasonably-priced grass-fed. If that's not realistic, then, fine, eat the CAFO.

And by the way, it is not elitist to believe that grass-fed is significantly more healthful, and me or CraniaStint, or some paleo luminary saying grass-fed is more healthful does not means we are suggesting that people who can only afford CAFO meat are somehow of lower status. Sheesh!

1
0b73cdbd0cb68aeeda14dafeebb2f828

on January 29, 2013
at 12:42 PM

I think it's almost inevitable that we will see increasing incidence of problems from intensively reared meats such as this example. Colombia Warns about Possible Outbreak of Hepatitis E

In the UK we've recently had a scandal over the use of horsemeat in cheap burgers.

Food industry finds itself contaminated as burger crisis deepens

While we have a situation where whistleblowers aren't supported and Government Officials are turning a blind eye to what is going on, the situation will only get worse. It's always best to know where your meat is coming from.

Antibiotic Resistance: Very Critical to Your and My Health

1
12f0c204a82da06721aad89cd21c15a5

on January 29, 2013
at 04:51 AM

We eat only the meat we can harvest ourselves. We don't buy meat in the store, not even grass fed. I have in the past, but not in over three years. Back then we could get a 50 lb. box of red angus grass fed of various cuts that averaged out to $5/lb. my meat costs me the price of a license, the time in the woods or on the water, the skill to kill or catch it, and the cost of the bullet or bait. Now I realize this isn't an option for a lot of you guys. Oh well. Another good reason not to live in a city.

1
E773ca32b29508bae2055579a26afa98

on January 28, 2013
at 07:28 PM

I've gotten fantastic results from eating poor people meat. Rock on 99%'ers!

0
Medium avatar

on January 29, 2013
at 12:19 PM

I agree with you, even though I respect Taubes I think he went the wrong way here.

I don't think anyone of us knows the dangers or benefits of that garbage meat you were referring to. It might not be so bad or it could be worse.

But if we are skipping the whole eating natural thing, then one might eat legumes or other stuff that might be better, worse or equal to that factory-fed meat.

0
24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 29, 2013
at 02:24 AM

Someone should design multiple templates for Paleo (don't recall which leading guru suggested the template idea).

One for monied adventurer optimizers. Who want that last 1 or 2%, for whatever reason athletic, looks, or experimentation.

One for a sustainable, everyday "low maintenance" schedule, such as the middle class person who wants the 95% that may be cheaply had, in terms of money & time. And perhaps does not want any supplement, etc.

Also templates for special needs, e.g., auto-immune, blood sugar.

Moreover, they should classify in terms of core and non-core, and prioritize in terms of marginal effect & "return to health". And certain items marked "likely helpful but experimental". Or "inappropriate for pregnant women." Etc.

0
4bd4e2fe6a095663f80c69656936e487

(744)

on January 28, 2013
at 07:45 PM

"I???m not sure there???s a significant health benefit from avoiding factory-fed beef ??? even if there is an ethical reason to do so."

To say it in one word, I think the statement is idiotic. Taubes doesn't understand ethics. Whatever your ethics is, it determines what you consider good or evil and provides the context in which you judge all other things. So the statement casts a doubt on everything Taubes say. He is, at best, an idiot savant.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 28, 2013
at 11:15 PM

... it could be that it is a pro tanto ethical good to eat grassfed, which could be outweighed by other non-ethical goods, or by ethical goods derivative from the non-ethical health benefits. Or, eating grassfed could be supererogatory. That's not possible on my ethical position, where ethical value is monistic, aggregative and trumps all non-ethical goods- but who am I to judge...

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on January 28, 2013
at 11:11 PM

I think your statement is based on confused grammar. It's perfectly reasonable to say "I'm not sure that [some instrumental non-ethical good] follows from x-ing, even there is an ethical reason to do so." It is, for example, true that "It will not improve your bank balance to give all your money away to charity- even if there is an ethical reason to do so." Perhaps you mean that if it's there's an ethical reason to eat grassfed, then that's a trumping reason to eat grassfed, and considering whether it has health benefits is irrelevant. But that's not true on a plausible view of ethics...

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