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Is Halal Meat Generally Better Quality?

Meat quality has to do with marbling....at least here in the USA.

Highly marbled beef tends to be more tender and tasty than non marbled beef. The taste of meat is in the fat it contains. Fat is marbling. Beef Quality Audits have shown 1 out of 4 Select grade steaks will probably be tough, only 1 out of 6 Choice steaks will be tough. When you get on up to the Prime quality grade, it's practically unheard of to find a tough steak.

IMO, Halal slaughter is inhumane. Under USDA guidelines, a cow is knocked out before her throat is slit and she bleeds out. But the USDA makes exceptions for religions, including Halal. Under those rules, the animal MUST be awake and aware. I'm sure those rules were once because they wanted to be sure the animal was alive and healthy, but today, IMO, there's no such reason to put an animal though that.

To be sure you're getting "better quality" beef, look for Prime beef. There's not a lot of it around in the US. Most of it goes to overseas markets. But some high end, white tablecloth restaurants will carry it. Certified Angus Beef (CAB) is based on the high end of the Choice quality grade. It's much more available and priced more reasonable than Prime.

I doubt the Schwarma you'll find in most restaurants is an especially high quality cut of meat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawarma

Aug 13, 2012
FEF in Special Diets

Brand of humane grain-fed (preferably non-gmo at least) dairy products where cows are not fed soy! not 100% grass-fed either please

This website might be helpful. It has producers all across the US:

http://eatwild.com/

If you don't see exactly what you're looking for, email some of the producers and see if they're willing to work with you.

Jul 05, 2012
FEF in General Topics

Grading Beef -- is it uniquely a United States system?

I think most developed countries have some sort of system. Canada does:

http://www.canadianbeef.info/OrderCen...

And Japan does. In fact, on the Japanese grading scale, Certified Angus Beef is about like Select here in the States.

Dec 17, 2011
FEF in General Topics

so "Men's Health" magazine picks the 10 Best and Worst Restaurants.

I think they divided their ratings into healthy and perhaps popular. I did see on Yahoo! a restaurant list that showed The Cheesecake Factory as the most popular restaurant in the US. But they always give them low marks for healthy options.

The online version of Men's Health did post a very interesting article on soy:

http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/s...

Oct 20, 2011
FEF in Food Media & News

Any Decent Vegan Websites?

One of the biggest is veggieboards.com. It's not nearly as active as it used to be, though.

And, truthfully, you're not going to get good dietary information from a vegan board. They simply spout the "party line." It's almost like a cult. I saw someone on veggieboards.com recently tell another new poster that soy was fine. They totally ignore the fact that soy has been shown to affect the sperm count of men, affect the thyroid, and raised the estrogen level of this guy dramatically: http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/soys-negative-effects
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=3741133&page=1

Health agencies in France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand and other countries have issued warnings about soy consumption....especially for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended cow's milk formula to mothers who can't breast feed instead of soy formula. IMO, soy is bad stuff. http://thyroid.about.com/cs/soyinfo/a/soy.htm

Not to mention that most soy products on the shelves in the US are from GMO soy. Asians mostly eat fermented soy, soy that's been treated to remove the estrogen-like hormones.

For recipes, the vegweb.com site has a lot. The allrecipes.com site also has some veg*n (shorthand for vegetarian or vegan) recipes. For health info, I'd look at VeganHealth.org. It's run by a registered dietitian. He's definitely got his vegan agenda, but is pretty upfront about the pitfalls of the vegan diet. Pay special attention to his recommendations about supplementing (pills) your diet. You'll at the very least need a B12 supplement. B12 is not found in any plant. You'll either need to take pills, shots or eat manufactured B12 that's been added to highly processed foods.

I'd really advise you to stick with an ovo lacto vegetarian diet (still eat eggs and dairy products) or pescetarian (include some fish in your diet). Veganism can make you very sick. This from a young woman whose food blog was voted a top ten blog in 2010, the year she got sick and started eating meat again: http://voraciouseats.com/2010/11/19/a...

Aug 21, 2011
FEF in Food Media & News

How many people buy supermarket chicken and meat?

I buy chicken at my local supermarket, usually Bo Pilgrim's brand. The Tyson cuts seem to be bigger than I want. I am pickier about my beef, though. I do buy it at a local meat market. The family that runs the meat market has been in some kind of beef business for several generations. They're the only place in my small town where I can find Choice beef. When we get to the big city, I'll stock up on some Certified Angus Beef.

I don't think there's any nutritional difference in the hyped brands and what you find in your supermarket. IMO, the health benefits of grass fed beef just aren't there when you consider the price.

http://www.npr.org/2010/04/08/1257220...

Jun 27, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Question/Opinions on "Corn-fed" beef

Yes, but to benefit from the Omega fats in grass fed beef, you'd need to eat about ten pounds of it a day. I love beef, but that would be a tough prospect for even me. Beef is just not a good source of Omega3s.

"..Still, with 35 milligrams of heart-healthy fats per serving, grass-fed steak can't compete with a salmon dinner, which has about 1,100 milligrams..."

http://www.npr.org/2010/04/08/1257220...

Jun 27, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Meals with no protein

I'm arguing that the monounsaturated fats in beef are just as beneficial as the monounsaturated fats in olive oil. Yet oilve oil is held up as a "healthy" food and beef is demonazied.

Saturated fats, in general, are not a health risk. Dietary saturated fats do NOT affect your cholesterol or cause an increase in cardiovascular disease. Never has. Never will.

"CONCLUSIONS: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat.."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20071648

http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=68

I could post dozens of links showing very clearly that you can eat all the saturted fat you want and it will have little or no effect on your cholesterol levels. You've been brainwashed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/mag...

Jun 25, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Meals with no protein

You probably have read it, but it's not true. Veg*ns live in a pretend world.

You can find all kinds of veg websites saying "eat some dirt. it has B12" or "B12 used to be in the soil, but modern farming killed it" and other really stupid things. B12 is cobalt. Cobalt is in the soil. Plants pick up the cobalt. Animals eat the plants, the bacteria in their gut turns the cobalt to B12, they store it in their bodies and I get it when I eat them. We make B12 in our own gut, low down in our system and it passes right on through without being absorbed. Some animals have interesting ways to get B12:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/poop.html

There are two VEGAN registered dietitians online. Both of them are definite about needing to supplement the vegan diet, and possibly the vegetarian diet, for B12.

Jack Norris of VeganHealth.org says "...Contrary to rumors, there are no reliable, unfortified plant sources of vitamin B12, including tempeh, seaweeds, and organic produce. The overwhelming consensus in the mainstream nutrition community, as well as among vegan health professionals, is that plant foods do not provide vitamin B12, and fortified foods or supplements are necessary for the optimal health of vegans, and even vegetarians in many cases...."

Ginny Messina, theveganRD.com says: "Vitamin B12. You can’t get enough by eating unwashed organic produce or mushrooms grown in B12-rich soil. The recommended dose is 25 to 100 micrograms per day or 1,000 micrograms 2-3 times per week. If you have not been taking B12 for a while, start out with 2,000 micrograms daily for several weeks. Or get a blood test to see where you are and whether you might need a more therapeutic dose."

The Vegan Society says supplement for B12. The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) says to supplement for B12.

The only natural source of B12 is animal products, or you can take shots, pills, eat processed foods that have had manufactured B12 added.

Jun 25, 2011
FEF in General Topics

If you could only eat products from ONE animal for the rest of your life...

My first thought was beef. I love beef. IMO, chicken and pork just don't have the taste or texture that beef does. Ground beef is so versatile. But then someone threw eggs into the conversation. Then there's the bacon.......

Jun 25, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Whenever "X" Happens, I Always Eat "Y" - More Unique Examples

I doubt this is unnique, but when I get stressed, I want chocolate. Good chocolate.

Jun 25, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Meals with no protein

I totally understand your frustration at some of the comments. I see it here along with other discussion boards: the "oh, you can't be protein deficient in a country where we have so much food." Well, if you read enough discussion boards, you find a LOT of veg*ns are NOT getting enough protein. Most of them are not actually deficient yet, but they're sick. There's a huge turnover in the veg*n population here in the US. TIME magazine has said 3 out of 4 vegetarians go back to eating meat. I'd bet a lack of protein is one of the main causes. A lack of B12 and iron are two other biggies. B12 is not available from any plant and the non heme iron in veggies is much harder to absorb than the heme iron in animal products. Then there are the omega3s. Flax seed is not a reliable source EPA and DHA. Humans do best on a balanced diet: some meat, some veggies, some fruit, restrict processed carbs and sugar.

Jun 25, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Question/Opinions on "Corn-fed" beef

Oh, I think you're wrong about people never getting sick from the cook's unwashed hands. You don't get sick because the meat was cooked and killed the e-coli, not because the e-coli is harmless. Which doesn't happen if you're eating fresh veggies. You are right that there are more and worse forms of e-coli being discovered. But then we're discovering all kinds of new medical things every year, right? As far as I can tell, those forms of e-coli (0157 and 0104H4) are not "common" in the feedlot either. Do you have research, or is this just your opinion? Again, ever since the child died from eating an uncooked burger for Jack in the Box years ago, the packers have spent multi millions $$ upgrading and revamping their plants to ensure, as much as humanly possible, that the cow's stomach contents don't touch the meat. And the stomach contains the e-coli. Tell me the last time you heard of someone getting e-coli from eating a steak or a roast. It's when the ground beef is handled by several people that the danger comes in. And proper cooking will take care of that.

Ellie Krieger, from the Food Network, visited a beef packing plant (slaughter house to the animal rights people). She wrote, I thought, an interesting article. You might want to read the entire thing (link below), but here's what she said about the actual slaughter of the cattle:

"The last thing I saw was the actual harvest or killing. To be sure, it is not a pleasurable thing to witness in general, but if you eat meat, the simple fact is an animal is sacrificed for your nourishment, a reality we are all too removed from in modern society. The trick is to do it humanely, and this is where I was most impressed. The system Cargill uses was developed in part by Dr. Temple Grandin, the autistic animal scientist who, with her heightened sensitivity, was able to pinpoint specific ways to keep cows stress-free throughout the process (there is an award winning HBO film about her starring Claire Danes.) The whole environment is kept purposefully calm, with no loud noises or bright lights. Before they realize what is going on the cows are hit precisely on the head, given a concussion so they are rendered senseless, then their throats are cut and their blood is drained. The whole thing takes roughly a minute. I watched intently as the cows moved through and noticed no shred of panic or unease."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellie-k...

Jun 24, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Question/Opinions on "Corn-fed" beef

I'd suggest you try to actually visit a feedlot. Depending on where you are that might be difficult, so here are a couple of links to feedlots. Take time to browse them, even email questions.

Most ranchers vaccinate their calves at weaning. That's not anitiotics, it's vaccinations, like kids get measles shots. When they get to the feedlot, they'll probably get another round of vaccinations. Sick cattle don't gain weight well. Most feedlots have pen riders whose job it is to ride around the pens and look for sick or hurt cattle. When they find one, it's removed to a medical pen where it's treated for whatever. Dead animals are a loss to everyone. Considering the feedlot phase of a calf's life is the most expensive, they take very good care of them in the feedlot.

Antibiotics? Yes, they're used when necessary. But I think most medical people today will tell you that we just take too many pills. An AP report a while back showed the water in several major cities was contaminated with all kinds of human meds:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-03-09-water_N.htm

E-coli is in your gut, my gut, wild hogs' gut, deer's gut...along with the cow's gut. Several years ago the packing plants reconfigured their process to cut down on chances of contaminated meat. Today it's practically unheard of for someone to get e-coli from steaks. It's the ground beef that's handled by several people where you see the meat recalls. They may recall 500,000 lbs of ground beef, but it's seldom you see an actual outbreak of sickness. And most of that beef is not returned. It's eaten. Proper cooking kills e-coli. I think if you look over the last ten years at the number of people who died from contaminated food, you'll see that fresh veggies are much more dangerous than meat. I remember an outbreak in organic bagged lettuce a few years ago which was traced back to wild hogs that came into the field at night.

Cattle are herd animals. They stay together. Put them in a pen in a feedlot or on 100 acres, they're going to stay together. That's what cows do. They'll scatter some while they're grazing, but when it comes time to chew their cud, they'll come together. I've been to several feedlots and the pens are not especially crowded. Since they aren't grazing, they're perfectly content to lay around with each other.

Marbling. I wouldn't say grass finished beef rarely has as much marbling as grain finished beef. it's all genetics and feeding. The animals in the feedlot will have a higher plane of nutrition than grass fed beef, so they'll marble better. A calf will start marbling while nursing his momma, if she has enough to eat to give him the quality milk he needs AND he has the genetics to marble. You might want to read these:

http://5barx.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=176

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$departme...

Jun 23, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Meals with no protein

If you find such studies that are NOT paid for by the Soy industry or animal rights groups (PCRM, PETA, HSUS, etc.) I'd like to see them.

But Dr. Van S. Hubbard, director of the NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination says "There is insufficient data to say that a person can eat too much protein.” He says there is evidence to suggest that people with certain diseases and conditions should limit their intake. For people with kidney disease, for instance, a reduced-protein diet may help delay the progression towards kidney failure."

http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2008/Marc...

Jun 23, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Meals with no protein

You can call it "tenuous" if you want, but there are studies showing it to be true. Here's one. A simple internet search will turn up more:

"Chavarro’s team found that men who ate the most soy had 41 million fewer sperm per milliliter of semen compared with men who did not eat soy foods. Normal sperm counts range between 80 million and 120 million per milliliter, according to a press release from the journal, a monthly publication of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology."

More at the link: http://news.health.com/2008/07/24/soy...

Jun 23, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Question/Opinions on "Corn-fed" beef

Sigh. Cattle can digest corn. Cattle can digest just about anything except glass, metal or plastic. You've been listening to animal rights/anti meat people or someone wanting to sell you his grass fed beef. And there's nothing wrong with grass fed beef if that's what you want to eat.

Corn fed beef is the gold standard here in the US. Yes, the kind of grass an animal is eating does affect the taste of the meat. That's one reason you don't see a nationwide grass fed branded beef program. The forages available year around in different parts of the country make it very difficult to produce a consistent product. Corn feeding for 60-100 days gives you a consistent taste. Most consumers today prefer it. Beef is not cheap. They know how their steak is going to taste.

We used to think marbling was done in the feedlot. But today we know marbling starts while a calf is still nursing his momma. If he has the genetics to marble and enough nutrition to express it, he'll marble. If he doesn't have the genetics, you can feed him for ten years and you'll just get a lot of backfat. One problem with implants in the feedlot is that they make the calves grow so fast, they can't lay down marbling. They use all the nutrients in the feed to build muscle. Some feedlots are starting to separate cattle, implant some that they think will be only Select grade. Then not implant the ones they believe have the potential to marble, reach a higher quality grade and, thus, produce more valuable beef.

As far as "filthy" feedlots go. Cows don't care. They'll lay down in their own poop in the middle of the pasture! Don't give human traits to cows. They're wonderful critters, but they are not neat or clean. It's not unusual to see a calf nursing his momma from behind and her raise her tail and take a dump right on his head. She doesn't get upset; he doesn't get upset. It's just poop. And it's her poop. They identify their calves by smell for the most part.

Jun 23, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Meals with no protein

I don't know the answer to your question. It blows my mind that people with so little knowledge get paid the big bucks to write food articles.

For example, the fat in a beef steak is almost 50% monounsaturated fats. For some reason that's bad, but olive oil with 70% monounsaturated fats is good?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monounsaturated_fat

Or soy is promoted as the perfect protein, but it's been tied to early puberty in girls, low sperm count in men and thyroid disease. Health agencies in several other countries have issued health warnings about soy, but here in the US, it's in dozens of items as fillers.

http://thyroid.about.com/cs/soyinfo/a...

Personally, I don't think you can eat too much fresh meat. That processed stuff is a different story. When the first results of the Framingham Study were finally published in an obscure medical journal, they flew in the face of the idea that saturated fats were causing heart disease and death. There as never been a study that tied CHD to saturated fats. Even back in WWII, medical research showed that young Japanese soldiers had basically the same cholesterol rates as young American soldiers. Yet the Japanese diet consisted of only about 3% fat.

There's nothing wrong with eating good meat on a regular basis. Heck, I've even started using lard again. At least I know what's in it.

Jun 23, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Angus Beef

Right or wrong, the designation "angus" has become generic shorthand for quality beef.

I'll tell you a story: Once upon a time here in the US we had three beef breeds of cattle, Angus, Herefords and Shorthorn. They were moderate to small framed animals. The Continental breeds of cattle (Limousin, Simmental, Char) were imported into the country and used on those smaller framed cattle producing a bigger calf. The packing industry consolidated and became more mechanized. Packers loved those bigger cattle. They could get more pounds of product from killing one animal. Yield was good. Less backfat, more muscle. Along about that time came came the Lipid Hypothesis, the idea that animal fat (or any saturated fat) was bad for you. So consumers were asking for lean beef. But a funny thing happened along the way. Beef demand tanked, crashed, fell through the floor. Angus, Hereford and Shorthorn registrations also tanked. Continental breeds were king.

And about this same time, the American Angus Association started producing Certified Angus Beef. They believed consumers were willing to pay for a superior eating experience and research tells us over and over that consumers prefer marbled beef. The big packers weren't interested in a "quality" beef. They were making big bucks selling commodity beef. It ook a lot of years before they started noticing there was a market for quality beef. The AAA had to send people to each packing plant to train meat inspectors how to grade CAB!

But as CAB became popular, packers made more and more money on it and they started promoting it. Angus became synonymous with quality beef. Beef demand started going up. More branded beef programs started up, some high quality, some lean, some based strictly on breed. EXCEL started their Sterling Silver program which uses CAB specifications except for color.

Producers saw an opportunity to cash in so they bought Angus bulls to turn their cattle black and possibly qualify as CAB. Other breeds used Angus genetics to turn their entire breed black (almost).

There are strict requirements to become Certified Angus Beef. But having any Angus genes is not one of those requirements. When the brand started, Angus was the only black breed. In cattle, black is the dominant color. If an animal was black, you could be sure that it had some Angus blood. The Hereford white face is the same. When you see a a white faced cow of any color, you know she's got some Hereford blood in there somewhere. Blaze face is usually Simmental.

I doubt the average person can taste the difference between Angus and non-Angus. But I think the average person can taste the difference in CAB and generic Select (lower quality grade) beef.

Aging? No. I buy CAB when I can. But the CAB I buy at a wholesaler a few times a year is two weeks aged and it is much, much better than the CAB I can occasionally get at the supermarket.

99% of the beef in your supermarket is fed the same ration in the feedlot. Angus naturally marble. That's the difference.

Angus is a very diverse breed today. You'll find Angus that don't marble very well and Angus that marble as well as Waygu. So, no, I wouldn't think you could identify an Angus steak by just looking.

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/218...

Jun 18, 2011
FEF in General Topics

Please tell me why/if large-scale industrially produced (feed lot) meat is better/as good as local pasture-raised.

It may not be "pseudoscience", but it's dishonest to claim it makes a speck of difference in one's health. You'd need to eat four pounds of beef EVERY DAY to actually ingest enough of those better Omega3s to beneifit from them. That's not going to happen. If you don't think you're getting enough through your normal diet, take a pill. But to tout grass fed beef as being more "healthy" based on it's Omega3 profile is dishonest IMO.

Sep 17, 2010
FEF in General Topics

Angus Beef (It's only a marketing term)

No, they just have to be mostly black, minimal hump, no dairy influence to make the first CAB cut. After the hide comes off, if they meet the meat quality requirements, they're designated CAB. The CAB Natural line is from cattle source verified to be sired by a registered Angus bull. But regular CAB doesn't require proof of Angus blood.

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.f...

Sep 17, 2010
FEF in General Topics

Angus Beef (It's only a marketing term)

Sterling Silver, Certified Hereford Beef, Creekstone Farms.....

But I cheated:

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.f...

Sep 17, 2010
FEF in General Topics

Angus Beef (It's only a marketing term)

Yes CAB has created a "Natural" line. It's from cattle that have never had antibiotics or homones.

The CAB specs exclude cattle with dairy influence, so the holstein tale told above is just wrong....on many fronts.

There are many beef programs around. But the USDA certified ones like CAB have been approved by the USDA. In fact, the first CAB product rolled out a day later than planned because at the last minute the Sec of Ag decided the whole thing was a fraud on the public. Mick Colvin, the "father" of CAB, flew to Washington, DC and had a face to face talk with him to explain that the consumer is actually getting more for their money with the specifications that have been set and he allowed the product to be sold. Guidelines have changed a little in the 30 years that CAB has been available.

Sep 17, 2010
FEF in General Topics

Angus Beef (It's only a marketing term)

Yes, CAB is graded. Every meat grade has ten levels. CAB is midCHoice or better. They have also created a CAB Prime which is USDA graded Prime and a CAB Natural which meets the grading criteria, source verified and hormone free.

Here's a link to the USDA grading requirements for CAB:

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.f...

Sep 17, 2010
FEF in General Topics