May 2011 – All About Grass-fed Beef with Frank Fitzpatrick of 5 Bar Beef

Our May meeting at Culture Club 101 was well-attended, fun, and informative. The potluck included many delicious homemade specialties, all prepared using traditional methods that maximize nutrient density and minimize anti-nutrients.  After dinner, several community members made announcements: one about an upcoming lecture, another about bulk orders to share, and another about free nutritional therapy evaluations. Then everyone sang Happy Birthday to fellow member Terri Cardinali. Next, chapter announcements addressed a fund-drive for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) and the distribution of the meat products derived from the first steer purchased by our newly formed Grass-fed Beef Buyers Club.

After announcements, we were treated to a lively question-and-answer session about Grass-fed cattle with our special guest Frank Fitzpatrick of 5 Bar Beef . We learned how to recognize true grass- (or forage-) fed beef by the color of its fat. The color always reflects the nutrient content, including fat soluble vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid – a potent anti-cancer nutrient), and a healthy Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid ratio (about 3:1). Non-grass-fed beef has white fat with little to no nutrient value, a very high Omega 6 fatty acid content, no cancer-fighting CLA, and a poor Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid ratio (about 1:18). Conventional beef also contains toxins associated with confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

We learned that as the grass turns from bright green in the spring to golden brown in the summer and fall, the color of the fat in grass-fed cattle turns from orange to gold to pink to gray. These colors mean the fat is full of nutrients and extra good for you! If the fat is white, throw it away. But if it’s orange, gold, pink, or gray, eat it with gusto! Since most people don’t like to eat the fat straight up, Frank usually has a meat cutter grind it into the ground beef to make tasty, succulent and healthy burgers!

Frank also explained how the flora of grazing animals changes when they’re fed grains. Grass and forage normally have a sugar content of about 17 to 18%. When the animals eat grain, that sugar content goes way up. Increasing the sugar content makes the environment of the rumen more acidic, which then kills off all the native beneficial flora in the animal’s gut, and attracts different strains of pathogenic bacteria which proceed to do their damage to the animal, impairing its digestive and immune systems, and requiring it to be kept on a constant diet of antibiotics, which further degrade the animal’s overall health.

The lucky people who attended the meeting also learned some secrets about aging the meat to make it extra tender. But to get that kind of meat, you have to be in the Grass-fed Beef Buyers Club. It’s not available at farmers markets, even from Frank!

After answering many questions and sharing a few good laughs, Frank invited the group to purchase some meat he brought in a large freezer in the back of his pick-up truck. The best part was when he took out a box of 8 legs with hooves attached. The group eagerly swiped those up to make delicious gelatinous soup stocks. Stock made with the leg bones and hooves contain lots of collagen and keratin, and is extra rich, delicious, nutritious, and very healing, especially for those with digestive and immune problems.

Thank you, Elaina, for hosting us at Culture Club 101, and thank you Frank, for a wonderful presentation!

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