Grain-Fed Vs. Grass Fed Beef + Tips for cooking Grass-Fed Beef

Being raised on a dairy farm, I know a lot about cows. What they should eat and what is best for them would have been on top of the list. Feedlots (where they raise large amounts of cows feeding them mostly grain) are not what I would support. And below are a few reasons why.

Generally speaking, grass-fed cows eat (mostly) grass, while grain-fed cows eat (mostly) an unnatural diet based on corn and soy during the latter part of their lives. Our cows only eat grass (and Hay, which is dried grass in the winter time and the occasional treat of cabbage) and we take pride in knowing that our beef is the best you can get. No hormones or antibiotics are used on our farm.

Why is it important to make the right choice and buy grass-fed beef:

- Grain-fed cows are fattened using mostly Corn and Soy, which are produced using GMO’s and lots of toxic Glyphosate, the main ingredient of the herbicide Roundup, which has been shown to cause leaky gut and inflammation.

- Cows raised in feedlots receive hormones and steroids to get bigger in less time.

- Grass-fed beef may contain less total fat than grain-fed beef, but a lot more omega-3 fatty acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which are both linked to health benefits.

- Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed is much higher in Vitamin A and Vitamin E, as well as other antioxidants.

- The environmental cost of feedlots is largely underestimated- One of the reasons they don’t allow them in Europe is that they wouldn’t know where to put all the toxic waste they’re producing.

Now that you’re convinced that grass-fed is better than Grain-Fed 😉 , here is some tips for cooking Grass-Fed Beef:

1. Your biggest culprit for tough grass fed beef is overcooking. This beef is made for rare to medium rare cooking. If you like well done beef, then cook your grass fed beef at very low temperatures in a sauce to add moisture.

2. Since grass fed beef is lower in fat, coat with virgin olive oil or a favorite light oil for flavor enhancement and easy browning. The oil will also prevent drying and sticking.

3. Marinating the leaner cuts of beef (like round steaks or sirloin) before cooking will make a big difference! Choose a recipe that doesn’t mask the delicate flavor of grass fed beef but enhances the moisture content. A favorite marinade using lemon, vinegar, wine, beer or bourbon is a great choice.

4. Stove top cooking is great for any type of steak . . . including grass fed steak. You have more control over the temperature than on the grill. You can use butter in the final minutes when the heat is low to carry the taste of fresh garlic through the meat (and feel like a Chef!).

5. Grass fed beef has high protein and low fat levels, so it usually require 30% less cooking time and will continue to cook when removed from heat. For this reason, remove the beef from your heat source 10 degrees before it reaches the desired temperature.

6. Let the beef sit covered and in a warm place for 8 to 10 minutes after removing from heat to let the juices redistribute. And never use a fork to turn your beef . . . precious juices will be lost. Always use tongs.

7. Reduce the temperature of your regular beef recipes by 50 degrees i.e. 275 degrees for roasting or at the lowest heat setting in a crock pot. The cooking time will still be the same or slightly shorter even at the lower temperature.

8. Never use a microwave to thaw your grass fed beef. Either thaw your beef in the refrigerator or for quick thawing place your vacuum sealed package in water.

9. Bring your grass fed meat to room temperature before cooking . . . do not cook it cold straight from a refrigerator.

10. Always pre-heat your oven, pan or grill before cooking grass fed beef.

11. When grilling, sear the meat quickly over a high heat on each side to seal in its natural juices and then reduce the heat to a medium or low to finish the cooking process. When roasting, sear the beef first to lock in the juices and then place in a pre-heated oven.

Estelle Levangie
10 Reasons to Bring LARD Back

I know, it took me a while to change my mindset about this fat… After being harassed by the media telling you not to eat animal fat, you’re now saying it’s good for me? Well YES it IS! And I get my pigs particularly fat so I’ve got loads of it and we’re now using it every - single - day.

Now here’s a few reasons why it’s so good:

1- Lard is heat stable, which makes it perfect for cooking stir-fries and baking.

2- Lard is Heart-Healthy: The “diseases of modern civilization” including heart disease and diabetes skyrocketed as animal fats were replaced with factory fats including vegetable oils and margarine. So no, you won’t get a heart attack from eating Lard!

3- Lard is neutral flavored. Yep, hubby is not fond of coconut oil and the flavor it gives to dishes. So Lard it is!

4- Lard is economical. You can even render your own for a fraction of the cost. Compared to coconut oil or butter, lard is the cheaper option.

5- Lard is high in Vitamin D: One tablespoon of lard contains 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D. Also important, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it requires fatty acids to be absorbed and utilized in the body. But only if it comes from pigs raised outside!

6- Lard is sustainable: Even though I’d love to be able to grow my own palm trees here, it’s just not gonna happen! So pig is a better option to sustainably produce a high quality fat, under our slightly Oh-so-cold climate.

7- Lard is Local and anybody can try their hand at raising some 😉

8- Lard is great for baking: Talk about a flaky pie crust! Substitute lard for coconut oil, vegetable oil, shortening or butter in your baking recipes.

9- Lard is a healthy source of cholesterol. Isn’t cholesterol bad for you? Guess what? It never was… (I’m one with high cholesterol numbers since I was teenager, which is actually good!) Studies show that cholesterol consumption does not carry a cause-and-effect relationship with blood cholesterol levels. This is because the body produces the cholesterol it needs. Providing cholesterol through good quality fats, however, reduces the burden on the body to produce cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol from whole foods like lard supports inflammation management and hormone production. Pretty amazing what new studies are showing!

10- Lard is traditional: Lard was enjoyed by your ancestors thousands of years ago, unlike canola oil, corn oil and other highly processed fats.

Of course, make sure you know your fat and where it came from. Pastured pigs is always the best source of great lard!

How I use Lard:

- Use it for frying or sauteing, instead of olive oil. Sauteing vegetables, or cooking sausages or ground beef. It’ll add a subtle, rich flavor (it won’t make everything taste like bacon!). Lard is made to cook at high temperatures so it won’t burn. It makes for easy clean up too, because it creates a strong non-stick layer on the pan.

- Roasting: Adding some lard to the roasting pan or tossing vegetables and meat in lard first will crisp it up so nicely without making it greasy.

Estelle Levangie
10 Gift Ideas for the Hard-to-buy Person in your Life

Feeling overwhelmed by Christmas shopping? Don’t know what to get for this hard to buy person? Been there done that…

To tell you the truth, hubby tells me I’m the ‘’hard to please’’ one lol. Plus I’m trying to keep stuff to a minimum in my house (Ha, with 3 young kids, good luck with that!) so I usually end up not knowing where to put all this new stuff we just got!

So if you want more sustainability in your life, I have what you need to get some inspiration and check some people off your list:

1-      Offer Experiences over material things (I know it can be hard to put under the Christmas tree!) but theatre tickets, concerts, hockey game, museum… anything that fit the person’s interest

2-      Gift card can feel a bit less personal but it can be turned into a bonding/fun shopping trip with the gals

3-      For the gardener: House plants or seeds – Might as well choose one that’s really beneficial like Aloe Vera or one that purify the air (spider plant…)

4-      Dried Herbs to spice up meals when the fresh stuff is not available

5-      FOOD: everybody needs it so it can be the go to gift! Real whole foods are best or any prepared meal ready to be served is always a good idea. Enjoy friends and family’s company around the dinner table is always the best of gifts. I’ve had people buying whole chickens to give as Christmas gifts to their grown-up kids. Can’t go wrong with that, and if they don’t know how to cook it, well it’s never too late to learn!

6-      New Year’s resolutions are always a great time for shaping up. Gym cards/subscription, swimming pool card, starting yoga (include a yoga mat with that one!) or just planning on going for a walk once a week with that special person

7-      For the avid reader: books, magazine subscription

8-      A robotic sweeper for the person who doesn’t have time to clean their house (anything invented yet for picking up toys, books and other things left on the floor? I could use that one…)

9-      Home made gifts are always nice, especially made by the kids. If anything, it will get them to learn about giving and will be a great excuse to spend quality/creative time with them.

10-    Start a tradition. Tuck some pretty paper inside a glass jar. Tie on a tag instructing family members to write down one thing they loved about each day, then read them aloud every holiday season.

Let me know which one is your favorite! Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas


Estelle Levangie