Consuming too much red meat has been linked to all sorts of health risks such as cancer, heart disease and even arthritis. Many steaks are typically loaded with saturated fats and you can almost feel your chest tighten when you push away from the table.
But a diet packed with chicken and fish can get old after a while, a man needs his steak and burgers! So how do you eat your steak and have your health too? The answer is more simple than you might think. Grass fed beef.
In the United States almost all beef cattle are grain fed. Starting sometime after World War II the combination of cheap fuel prices and subsidized corn production created an incentive for farmers to 'finish' cows on grain. The cows put on weight faster, and for less money, making them more profitable.
One downside to this method of beef production is that cows aren't designed to eat corn. It makes them fat and the characteristics of the beef are drastically altered. The beef from grain fed cattle has much more saturated fat than beef from grass fed cattle. There is also an imbalance in the relationship of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids in grain fed cattle.
We need a little background to see why this matters. Omega-6 and Omega-3 are both polyunsaturated fats. Our bodies need them to function and we can only get them from the foods that we eat. However, they need to be in the right ratio in order to work properly. If the ratio of Omega-6:Omega-3 gets out of whack, it increases the risk of all those diseases that we mentioned earlier. Your ancestors probably evolved to thrive on a diet that contained had an Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio of about 2:1.
Here is the scary part, modern diets tend to be between 20:1 and even as high as 30:1! So what do you do to get back in balance? Many people swear by taking Omega-3 supplements, usually found as fish oil. Just be careful to read the label, a lot of supplements have both Omega-6 and Omega-3 and you don't need any more Omega-6 if you eat a typical modern diet.
The second thing you can do is change some of the foods you are eating. Grass fed beef (you can find a number of different suppliers online if you search for "grass fed beef") has Omega-6:Omega-3 balance of as low as .16:1. That is much better than even fish which can be as low as 2:1, and blows away grain fed beef which is around 25:1.
So what are the drawbacks of grass fed beef? You can't go pick it up at the supermarket, it needs to be ordered directly from farms who specialize in producing grass fed beef. And the taste is different than what you are used to. Many people compare the taste of grass fed beef to venison or other wild game as opposed to supermarket beef. Because the meat is so much leaner you also must adapt your cooking methods to it.
There is no question that modern agriculture has severely impacted the balance of essential fatty acids in our diet, but there are options that don't require us to give up all the foods that we love in order to eat healthy. Order some grass fed beef today and give it a try. If you aren't sure how to cook it properly, there are a lot of resources online or you can always adapt a recipe intended for venison.