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Reduction of Inflammation Eating Only Grass Fed Meat?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 09, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Has anyone greatly reduced their inflammation eating only grass fed meat? And if so how long did it take for the inflammation to subside and how strict did you have to be eating only grass fed? I wake up every day with a stiff back and head feels "swollen." This lasts most of the day and the only thing that seems to help are walks over 30 minutes and Ibuprofen.

Im a 30 year old male but Ive had this problem since around 15 years old. I (and doctors) chalked it up to many other things, bad bed, high anxiety, being depressed, not enough sleep, knots in back and shoulder. Well Ive tackled most of those and its still bad (natural calm really helped loosen up knots in back). The Ibuprofen is a recent addition and the fact that it helps makes me think it is indeed inflammation. I also just ate some really cheap pork and my whole back got stiff as did my shoulders. I already take about 3 tablespoons of fish oil a day.

Anyway, anyone with similar symptoms? Did getting totally off of grain fed meat solve it?

Edit: Upon more searching I found this great video by Dr Barry Sears that addresses the importance of fish oil and how it can overcome even a diet with omega 6. This video seems Robb Wolf approved as it's linked to from the Whole 9 who is someone Robb has had on his podcast. I believe that Dr. Cordain has said that taking fish oil is not enough and that we need to actively lower omega 6 in our diet but high dose fish oil does seem like a good first step.

Video on fish oil http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/08/diet-inflammation-and-disease-part-4.tpl

Robb Wolf Fish Oil Calculator http://whole9life.com/2010/03/robb-wolf-fish-oil-calculator/

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on December 31, 2010
at 05:57 PM

...then I did at 12/13 yrs old. I actually can eat some conventionally grown meat now without much issues but stay with organic as I do feel better overall on it. Also get a routine going to rebuild your stomach. Now Food Super Enzymes (google Robb Wolf and Now Foods as he has a protocal w/them), to build stomach acid back up, l-glutamine, quercetin and aloe vera juice are good for repairing the stomach lining and also to being down inflammation. Maybe google "healing leaky gut" for some other suggestions.

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on December 31, 2010
at 05:53 PM

Hi, I had a very similar problem as described by Ryan. I went Paleo but still was stiff. Then changed from cows milk to goat and felt slightly better. Then changed to organic meat over conventional and felt a bit better. Then dropped eggs and felt a lot better. Then dropped soy and felt another slight improvement. Finally dropped nightshades and felt a HUGE improvement. I'd try taking out all of the foods that an cause autoimmune response for 30 days and see how you feel. I now don't eat eggs, dairy, soy, gluten and nightshades and feel almost 100% better. I mean, I feel better now in my 30s..

Cbf9ad6e645dc8d655259658fc972e58

(321)

on July 22, 2010
at 04:14 PM

I think if one is going from SAD to Paleo then one's sodium intake is very likely to go WAY down even if one is sea-salting one's grass-finished steaks to pretzel-like levels. There's just so much of it in prepared food, whether from the supermarket or from chain restaurants. It's certainly possible that some folks will find that they need to cut down even further, but it's important to remember that most folks have already taken a huge step in that direction just by giving up prepared foods.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 10, 2010
at 08:40 AM

I dont physically get swollen but I'll keep that in mind. I actually was trying to do some of that this morning when I ate the cheap pork. I usually eat nitrate free/hormone free sausage or bacon for breakfast but they have high salt. Got some pork from the Korean market that looked like bacon minus the salt. Now if I can only find this cut of meat but grown naturally...

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 10, 2010
at 08:37 AM

Thanks Glenn, if it doenst let up with some more fish oil than I might take that test.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on June 10, 2010
at 02:12 AM

A quick search for omega 6 ratios in goods will give you the foodlists slankers meats has a good ratio list... However I haven't found a place with a good O6 load chart yet

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 10, 2010
at 01:06 AM

Great answer, thanks!!!

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:47 PM

How do you calculate the amount of omega 6 in the meat to know how much fish oil to take to reach a 2:1 ratio?

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:43 PM

So basically you were/are eating exactly how I haven been for the last 6 months.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:40 PM

...it sounds like grass fed meats are a very expensive and not really needed option. I have a hard time believing this but you guys are the pros.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:39 PM

Well then who knows why I have such bad inflammation. I do not eat anything that comes in a rapper, no artificial foods, no vegetable oil, about a handful of walnuts every two weeks. The only thing I eat is meat with fat, vegetables, grass fed butter, olive oil, seaweed. That and some sea salt and pepper make up 95+% of my meals and the only cheat is rice at my girlfriends house about once every 2 weeks. I pretty much only ate microwave meals and other processed food growing up, through college and until about 1.5 yrs ago. Could this still be affecting me? Im glad I asked this question..

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:20 PM

Also, walnuts have a ton of omega 6 relative to their omega 3. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linoleic_acid#Dietary_sources

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:18 PM

Hopefully Thor will edit this and make it a bit more expansive, but he's absolutely right. Meat has a trivial amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids in it (regardless of diet) compared to vegetable oils and the processed foods that rely on them. By not cooking in vegetable oil, not putting it in foods, and not eating foods prepared with it (virtually anything that comes in a wrapper that isn't cheese), you drastically reduce your omega 6 intake. The meat is icing on the cake but by far not as significant as reducing vegetable oils.

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on June 09, 2010
at 09:36 PM

If you count the fish oil. I was probably more like 2:1 (omega6s to omegas3)

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 09:04 PM

Were you eating a 1:1 ratio the whole time Primal? I have been eating a Paleo diet for 6 + months but the only grass fed meat I eat is ground beef from Trader Joes about 1-2 times a week. I eat about 1-3 pounds of meat a day as Im allergic to eggs and dont eat dairy so meat is my only protein source.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 08:42 PM

Sorry, Im not sure what youre saying. Are you saying that Omega 6 comes from more than just meat? I know it is also in nuts and I dont eat any nuts. If I do I only eat walnuts. Im not aware of omega 6 coming from anywhere else. I cook in grass fed butter and sometimes put in some olive oil

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10 Answers

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6
0d821bf7d4028b84a6838062db0e9ce0

(754)

on June 10, 2010
at 12:43 AM

Try the coolinginflamation blog for more ways to lower inflamtion. MDA also has some stuff here and here

Check to make sure your fish-oil is still good (not turned), you should be aiming for a lot more fish oil guide to buying fish oil here for an inital dose to counteract your body's reservoir of o6 (o6 can take 6 months to years to slowly get out of your body, which is part of the reason some people like robb wolf recommend mildly insane doses to begin with, before you hit maintenance, and by mildy insane I'm talking stuff like 30-40 1000mg pills a day).

If pork in particular set you off it's probably o6 ratio, because pork and chicken both are much higher in o6 and PUSF than beef (especially grass fed) is.

personally as far as daily anti-inflammatories I take, my day is like this:

  • 2-4 natural fish oil tryglycride pills per meal (with fatty meals to up the absorption level)
  • 1-2 curicumin pills a day
  • 1-2 krill oil pills with meals a day (different form of EPA/DHA from fish)
  • Vitamin D3 (5k iu a day) (and MG)

which alone before going paleo stopped all my migraines and has got me completely off all NSAIDs.

as far as your back/muscle pain, a castor oil pack could help (castor oil as a topical treatment is very anti-inflammatory), more info at coolinginflamation.

It will also depend a lot on your entire diet not just switching to grass fed beef, as even grassfed beef still has more o6 than o3 and you should be aiming for a 1:1 to 4:1 o3 to o6 ratio.

chart of some o6 and o3 in various foods here

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 10, 2010
at 01:06 AM

Great answer, thanks!!!

3
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on June 09, 2010
at 08:34 PM

Reducing the O6 sources does more than switching meats

Avoid all vegetable oil except coconut/olive

don't heat any food beyond smoke point(you'll have to look up various smoke points)

most seeds and grains are high omega 6

an inadequate balance of 3 to 6 can cause inflammation

other allergies including seaweed, fish, shellfish, casein, nightshades, gluten, eggwhite, legumes, grains etc can cause inflammation

spicy food has been shown to be anti -inflammatory

slankers meats has a good chart with anti-inflammatory foods and the omega 3 to 6 ratio check out their site for a good if biased reference point and then research from there.

Increase your saturated fat intake...alot butter(if lacto-paleo/primal), coconut oil, animal fat

edited to supply more detail

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:20 PM

Also, walnuts have a ton of omega 6 relative to their omega 3. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linoleic_acid#Dietary_sources

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 08:42 PM

Sorry, Im not sure what youre saying. Are you saying that Omega 6 comes from more than just meat? I know it is also in nuts and I dont eat any nuts. If I do I only eat walnuts. Im not aware of omega 6 coming from anywhere else. I cook in grass fed butter and sometimes put in some olive oil

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:18 PM

Hopefully Thor will edit this and make it a bit more expansive, but he's absolutely right. Meat has a trivial amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids in it (regardless of diet) compared to vegetable oils and the processed foods that rely on them. By not cooking in vegetable oil, not putting it in foods, and not eating foods prepared with it (virtually anything that comes in a wrapper that isn't cheese), you drastically reduce your omega 6 intake. The meat is icing on the cake but by far not as significant as reducing vegetable oils.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:39 PM

Well then who knows why I have such bad inflammation. I do not eat anything that comes in a rapper, no artificial foods, no vegetable oil, about a handful of walnuts every two weeks. The only thing I eat is meat with fat, vegetables, grass fed butter, olive oil, seaweed. That and some sea salt and pepper make up 95+% of my meals and the only cheat is rice at my girlfriends house about once every 2 weeks. I pretty much only ate microwave meals and other processed food growing up, through college and until about 1.5 yrs ago. Could this still be affecting me? Im glad I asked this question..

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on June 10, 2010
at 02:12 AM

A quick search for omega 6 ratios in goods will give you the foodlists slankers meats has a good ratio list... However I haven't found a place with a good O6 load chart yet

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:40 PM

...it sounds like grass fed meats are a very expensive and not really needed option. I have a hard time believing this but you guys are the pros.

1
135a15a6b13cd4d28745d382ca5af584

on December 31, 2010
at 03:48 PM

I am wondering if you have resolved the joint pain issue through the ideas presented above? I have isolated the fact that when I eat beef I experience joint pain in my knees and general discomfort all night long.I just tried grass fed & finished beef and the same thing has happened. I will next try grass fed/finished without any seasonings. I stopped alchohol to see if it was the culprit. And drink water and fresh lemon juice instead. What I notice is that I am better aware of the effects of food on my body without the alcohol. (I remember my dreams better, too, so will continue this.) I want to pass on the comment made to me that early 2009 a Chech study identified Ibuphrophen long term use as making the hypothalmus more sensitive to pain. Instead dopamine uptake inhibitors and Aleve (whatever the base drug is within this brand) are recommended. (Via Univ WA MS/Headache Clinic, Dr. Natalya Muranova.) Thanks for a response. janiceH

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on December 31, 2010
at 05:57 PM

...then I did at 12/13 yrs old. I actually can eat some conventionally grown meat now without much issues but stay with organic as I do feel better overall on it. Also get a routine going to rebuild your stomach. Now Food Super Enzymes (google Robb Wolf and Now Foods as he has a protocal w/them), to build stomach acid back up, l-glutamine, quercetin and aloe vera juice are good for repairing the stomach lining and also to being down inflammation. Maybe google "healing leaky gut" for some other suggestions.

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on December 31, 2010
at 05:53 PM

Hi, I had a very similar problem as described by Ryan. I went Paleo but still was stiff. Then changed from cows milk to goat and felt slightly better. Then changed to organic meat over conventional and felt a bit better. Then dropped eggs and felt a lot better. Then dropped soy and felt another slight improvement. Finally dropped nightshades and felt a HUGE improvement. I'd try taking out all of the foods that an cause autoimmune response for 30 days and see how you feel. I now don't eat eggs, dairy, soy, gluten and nightshades and feel almost 100% better. I mean, I feel better now in my 30s..

1
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on July 21, 2010
at 05:51 PM

Hey, I see you have a lot of answers here and I wanted to share my personal experience. I am married to a farmer and we decided to raise grass fed and finished beef. I have a whole entire freezer of the stuff! (I will give you my previous life, after my comment) I suffered from joint pain for most of my 30's and into early 40's. Recently, I have just noticed that my joint pain is completely gone. I have tried all the other 'cures' for this. My biggest problem was the pain in my shoulders while laying on my side in bed. They would crack and creek and I was in a lot of pain sleeping & in the morning. My neighbor even offered to sell me some very expensive joint pain supplements which I bought one time.

I went through my 1/4 of a grass fed beef in 4 months! I also gave a lot of it to people who I wanted to sample it before purchase. So, needless to say, we had a lot of hamburger and roasts! I learned of "grass fed" from the book Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. A book that has changed my life far more than anything else! I would like to mention that I won't completely point to grass fed beef as my answer for the pain-free joints, of which I have consumed a lot of. I ALSO took out all grains. I don't eat breakfast cereal, bread, rice or pasta & crackers; all of which were in my diet before. After taking away breakfast cereal and exclusively ate eggs for breakfast with fresh veggie or fruit. (we also raise chickens for eggs)

I grew up eating grains and in my 20 & 30's believed that they were good for me. I wasn't necessarily healthier for doing so. I had my joint pain and about 10 pounds over weight. Now, I am very very healthy, happy, with a strong immunity. Traveling is the hardest for me to stay on my good diet. My childhood diet also contained beef from a farmer (a side of beef), eggs, & pickled veggies and fresh from our garden during the summer. We were poor, so I didn't have a lot of processed foods back then, it was cheaper for us to grow our own. So happy about that now! But I remember being kind of jealous of the kids eating twinkies. I also had while living in the country, fresh whole milk unpasteurized. I remember drinking lots and lots of milk and never ever had soda pop.

So, as part of my primal living, I get a lot of sunshine, eat my berries, eggs, and cut out all grains. I have recently started taking a good source of Omega 3 Fish Oil capsules. I have started using more coconut oil after reading, "Eat Fat Lose Fat", I am not trying to lose weight! but I wanted more information regarding FATS. Great source of information which got me into reading more about the Weston A Price studies on nutrition. I believe in REAL food and eat mostly local grown now. NO PROCESSED and NO HFCS!

1
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on June 11, 2010
at 03:34 AM

The cheap pork made me think of how some people report to reacting to soy-fed meats. I realize you are eating grass fed meat, but is it grass-fed and grass-finished?

How do you do with non-farmed fish?

I realize you are not eating gluten, but are you eating/living "gluten free?"

You could try ghee instead of butter. Do this for at least 2 weeks.

It really could be the rice. It takes awhile for the "inflammation cascade" to calm down. It could be the rice itself or the rice could be cross contaminated with gluten (in the package - there's a new study out on the cross contamination of gluten free grains.) or as prepared in your girl friend's kitchen.

What you ate years ago can still be part of the problem because it takes awhile to balance the omega 3's and 6's. I think the half life is 2 years or so. That said, it is still worth checking out the gluten/dairy/rice angles.

I think that you should try to get off the ibuprofen as soon as you can, nsaids can cause intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). An overview of leaky gut is here: http://www.crohns.net/Miva/education/leakygut.shtml

Glutamine is supposed to help the intestines recover from permeability issues.

1
4383185697932f5ea4ed0765053c54c4

on June 10, 2010
at 08:53 PM

My GI issues are much better when I eat grass-fed ruminant as much as possible. General health and happiness seems to be better too. Cheap pork makes me feel like crap as well, more noticeably than cheap beef. "Pastured" pork (such as from Slanker's) is certainly better but still doesn't seem to be quite as magical as ruminant flesh.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 10, 2010
at 02:40 AM

I'm a big advocate of a diet where all fat comes from coconut, seafood, and grassfed meat...and I've seen great improvements doing this paleo 2.0 diet. But that said, you might want to think about your sleeping situation. There are some great threads on paleohacks about "paleo" sleeping positions and whatnot that might help. My morning sniffles got waaaaaaay better on paleo, but they are totally gone when I sleep in a hammock.

1
03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on June 10, 2010
at 01:57 AM

Chronic or systemic inflammation is a very real, but very broad and multifarious, problem. There is blood work you can have done that would give you a clearer picture of what's going on. Many standard tests now check levels of C-reactive Protein--which is a strong marker of chronic inflammation. It might help to have this done.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 10, 2010
at 08:37 AM

Thanks Glenn, if it doenst let up with some more fish oil than I might take that test.

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 10, 2010
at 01:56 AM

hey, this may sound kinda out of left field but what about dietary salt and/or nightshades? Im 30 years old, too. I have been paleo for 5-6 years, in good shape, blah blah. However, i had very similar inflammation for a while. stuffy head in the morning, gradually diminishing through the day, puffy face and especially puffy knee joints and ankles - lower legs pretty much. Dude, i thought i was effin diabetic for a while, with those puffy legs. Anyhoo, it was SALT! dont get me wrong, i believe that good quality sea salt, etc is indeed healthy all the way. and i was only even eating the good stuff. but its just i was eating too damn much. And in retrospect i have grown to think that, while i believe the paleoprimalgrok way of eating is entirely THE best way of life, our way of eating can lend itself to oversalting. salt and meat and salt and fat just taste damn good yknow?

the other thing i mentioned is the nightshades. I avoid them in general. Not cuz i have arthritis or general pain or anything (which is what you normally hear nightshades mentioned in reference to) but only because when i was salt-puffy my leg joints did indeed bother me and it was so damn uncomfortable that i want to do anything i can to avoid any similar kinda pain.

Seriously take the down the salt levels and see how the general inflammation goes.

-ben

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 10, 2010
at 08:40 AM

I dont physically get swollen but I'll keep that in mind. I actually was trying to do some of that this morning when I ate the cheap pork. I usually eat nitrate free/hormone free sausage or bacon for breakfast but they have high salt. Got some pork from the Korean market that looked like bacon minus the salt. Now if I can only find this cut of meat but grown naturally...

Cbf9ad6e645dc8d655259658fc972e58

(321)

on July 22, 2010
at 04:14 PM

I think if one is going from SAD to Paleo then one's sodium intake is very likely to go WAY down even if one is sea-salting one's grass-finished steaks to pretzel-like levels. There's just so much of it in prepared food, whether from the supermarket or from chain restaurants. It's certainly possible that some folks will find that they need to cut down even further, but it's important to remember that most folks have already taken a huge step in that direction just by giving up prepared foods.

1
1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

on June 09, 2010
at 08:54 PM

What I think Thor means is while \ switching to grass-fed meats helps, it just HALTS the ever increasing O6:03 ratio we have from the SAD, it doesn't IMPROVE it.

So, if you were to cut out ALL of the vegetable bean oils, nuts, and so on you will bring that 06:03 ratios back down to a good 2:1, 1:1 ideally.

Remember, Omega 6s aren't the problem, they are vital, it is the imbalance that exists between the Omega 3s and Omega 6s that is the problem.

To answer you original question, I honestly didn't see improvement in joint inflammation until probably the 3rd or 4th month of eating Primal. And this included moderate sized daily fish oil supplementation as well.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:47 PM

How do you calculate the amount of omega 6 in the meat to know how much fish oil to take to reach a 2:1 ratio?

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 10:43 PM

So basically you were/are eating exactly how I haven been for the last 6 months.

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on June 09, 2010
at 09:36 PM

If you count the fish oil. I was probably more like 2:1 (omega6s to omegas3)

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on June 09, 2010
at 09:04 PM

Were you eating a 1:1 ratio the whole time Primal? I have been eating a Paleo diet for 6 + months but the only grass fed meat I eat is ground beef from Trader Joes about 1-2 times a week. I eat about 1-3 pounds of meat a day as Im allergic to eggs and dont eat dairy so meat is my only protein source.

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