Since I moved to the U.S., I’ve been finding it difficult to eat real good food. Of course, on my first days here I was amazed by the burgers, fries and other types of fast foods; everything looked so delicious. After a month or so, I started feeling a little bit sick after eating these foods and I was begging for home-made meals.
I didn’t know how to cook, but under these circumstances I learned pretty fast! In Brazil the meals are simple, but the food is always great. So I remember what my grandma, father-in-law and mother-in-law used to cook everyday (my mom hates cooking) and tried to do it by myself, always asking for their advice of course. And yes, in Brazil we eat beef on a daily basis, so I started buying ground chuck, beef and stew meat.
Everything was great, I was cooking almost every day and the food tasted very good. But something weird was happening: my face, especially the chin area, was covered with pimples. I found this very strange, since I’ve never had acne in my whole life. So I had to buy special soaps and creams (combined with a great foundation) to see if I could get my skin to look good again. Nothing seemed to work, so I had to dig deep to find the root of my problem.
I analyzed my eating habits. Was I eating too much fried or oily food? I don’t think so, as I was cooking at home and controlling these things better. One week I noticed that we didn’t eat much red meat, just fish and chicken. That’s when I saw my pimples healing and my chin was quickly getting better. I didn’t want to believe that and thought that was just a coincidence. One night we had meat for dinner and on the next day there was a new pimple in my face.
Well, then I was sure that this meat was not good for me. I also noticed that my husband’s skin was not so great either, but the impact on me was bigger. The two of us began searching for information about supermarket meat and we’ve found some disturbing facts about beef here in the U.S.
To make beef more affordable, the majority of meat producers build factory farms, or “concentrated animal feeding operations” (CAFOs), to manufacture meat more quickly and in greater quantities. So the cows can get fat faster, the producers feed them with corn. However, these animals are ruminants by nature and designed to digest grass. Since the stomachs of cows are naturally pH neutral, a corn-based diet creates an acidic environment that contributes to many health problems. Corn-fed cattle can have diseases as bloat, diarrhea, ulcers, liver disease, and a weakened immune system. To combat these health problems, the producers give them constantly antibiotics, which leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (source).
An unhealthy cow is unhealthy meat, too. With the factory-farm industry, the beef is way cheaper. But at what cost? Also, these cows are confined in very small and crowded spaces. Although I’m not vegetarian, I think about how the cattle are treated. I support the use of stress-free environments, which provide natural behavior and socialization.
After reading all these things, we decided to buy only grass-fed beef. I could decide to become a vegetarian too, but after reading Nourishing Traditions, I strongly feel that meat (all kinds, including red meat) is essential and healthy for us. But this is subject for another post, let’s focus here.
Why grass-fed beef? Corn-fed beef contains far fewer nutrients than grass-fed beef. Recent researches found grass-fed beef to be significantly higher in calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene, and potassium than corn-fed beef. In addition, grass-fed meat is higher in healthy omega-3 fats and vitamin E (source). Plus, we don’t want to eat meat full of antibiotics and hormones, things that probably caused me acne.
Yes, grass-fed beef is more expensive than regular ones, but it’s definitely worth it. We usually shop at Whole Foods, but I’m looking for local farms that sell meat, I’ve read that it’s cheaper. You’ll also begin eating less meat since the good kind is pricey, which can be good, too. You get more creative in the kitchen!
If you also want to eat quality beef, always look for the “grass-fed” label. Be alert: grass-fed and organic are not the same thing. Animals treated organically were likely fed less grain than the “normal” industry, but they may still come from feedlots where they were fed grain. Look for meat labeled both grass-fed and organic.
It’s been almost two weeks since we’re eating grass-fed beef (not everyday, of course) and my skin is a lot better. I love being in this country, but I pass these Frankenstein foods!
Keep healthy and always make sure to eat real food! 🙂