Plant foods get all the glory these days as we are challenged to stop eating burgers and choose highly processed meat substitutes. But human beings survive by eating other living things. We need to eat those foods that allow us to survive.
Beef is a significant source of Vitamin B 12 or cobalamin which is needed to form blood and immune cells. support a healthy nervous system and stimulate metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. A Yale University School of Medicine study by Solomon reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition June 2015 indicated cobalamin deficiency was common in the elderly and associated with neurocognitive abnormalities.
Another study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1990 by TUcker et al looked at the biochemical indices of nutrition in healthy people over 60 years old. They correlated the importance of B vitamins- including B12 – with neuropsychological function and concluded that nutrition is critical in the functioning health of the aging brain.
Beef is a far better source of B vitamins than grains or legumes, including fermented soy products. A 3oz serving of beef = 2.51 mcg B12 and 0.08 mg thiamine compared to 1 slice wheat germ bread at 0.02 mcg B12 and 0.1 mg thiamine * or 3 oz chicken at 0.25 mcg B12 and 0.06 mg thiamine (* enrichment with synthetic B vitamins by federal standards).
Grass-fed beef is more expensive because it comes from cattle that eat only grass and other forage foods through out their lives. Conventional beef is fed a diet of grains and other byproducts. USDA standards for grass fed animals require that they must have continuous access to pasture, hay or harvested forage after weaning.
Mayo Clinic outlines the advantages of grass fed beef as less fat, 50% more omega 3 fatty acids than conventional beef, 4 times more CLA or conjugated linoleic acid to reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis and improve lean body mass. Grass fed beef is richer in antioxidants- Vitamins E, A. and C.
Critics of meat eating like to argue that cattle produce methane which contributes to environmental change. Methane emissions are substantially less when cattle are grass fed rather than conventional farming according to the University of Louisiana. Furthermore, the journal Global Change Biology reported animal grazing reduces the need for fertilizer and fuel used by farmers.
Cattle do produce methane but animals in factory farms produce more because they are fed poor quality forage which alters their digestive systems. Before we give up consuming beef, poor needs to be done to manage the higher levels of methane caused from natural gas and petroleum production. These sources of methane do not provide us with key nutrients for daily living.
The important nutrition message is that all eaters can lower their global footprint by following 3 simple rules: avoid processed foods and meat from factory farms, reduce food waste, and buy local in season foods.
Grass Fed Beef with Mango Salsa
1 1/2 to 2 pounds grass fed beef sirloin flap steak
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Saute Steak in covered skillet over medium heat until desired degree of doneness, 20 minutes for rare, 30 minutes for medium or 45 minutes for well done. Meanwhile, combine rest of ingredients in small bowl and let flavors blend. Salsa can be made ahead for more flavor blending. Makes 6 servings.
Calories per serving 236
Protein 24 g
Sodium 89 mcg