I really love the farmers co-op we belong to. Every two weeks our friendly farmers bring fresh and wholesome food from their Michigan farm to Chicago, and my family and I are healthier and happier because of it. I almost always order delicious eggs with marigold yolks, juicy whole chickens that roast up perfectly, earthy raw milk, sweet maple syrup and lovely raw honey.
Until recently, I hadn’t ordered any beef from the co-op. I gave up beef, pork and lamb several years ago for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the living conditions of creatures on large-scale farms is abhorrent and disgusting. I firmly believe that what an animal eats and how it is treated affects the health of the end consumer (i.e. ME!). Not to mention the fact that I don’t see much of a distinction between pets (like dogs and horses) and farm animals (like cows and pigs).
I also take great issue with the amount of natural resources that go into mammal-meat production. These creatures require massive amounts of food and water, most of which is trucked in from afar. And, the waste they produce is staggering and can’t be ignored. Eating red meat just wasn’t a sustainable option for me anymore.
I now stick to pasture raised poultry and wild caught seafood. Over the years, I have lost my taste for juicy burgers and grilled steaks, and, for the most part, my husband goes along with this lifestyle choice. However, his new year’s diet allows and encourages consumption of healthy grass-fed beef, so I ordered a few NY strip steaks from our co-op for him. While most (if not all) of the beef available at grocery stores comes from cows fed an unnatural corn-based diet, our co-op only sells beef from pasture-raised and well-loved animals. Meat from grass-fed animals might be more expensive and difficult to find, but for many reasons it is worth the sacrifice and effort:
1. Meat from grass-fed animals tends to be lower in fat than meat from their grain-fed counterparts. For example, a sirloin steak from a pastured steer has 1/2 – 1/3 the amount of fat.
2. Grass-fed meat provides two to six times more omega-3 fatty acids, a good type of fat that plays a vital role in heart, brain and cell health.
3. Meat and milk from grass-fed cows, sheep and goats is an extrememly rich source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), another type of good fat. Products from pasture-raised animals contain up to five times more CLA than products from grain-fed animals.
4. Grass-fed beef contains four times more vitamin E than beef from grain-fed animals.
5. Happy cows are allowed to roam free and graze as they please. Happy cows produce healthier and tastier meat. Period.
With all that in mind, my husband and I cooked up a NY strip steak and roasted sweet potatoes for his dinner tonight. It smelled delicious (kinda like what dinner in the summertime smelled like when I was growing up) and for a moment I thought about sneaking a bite…I’m not quite there yet, but perhaps sometime in the near future.
NY Strip Steak
1 part soy sauce
couple garlic cloves, crushed
few shakes of onion powder
Combine marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Place steaks in and marinate in fridge for 2-3 hours. Remove from fridge and bring steaks to room temperature.
Heat a cast iron skillet in a broiler. Carefully remove skillet from oven and place on a stovetop burner over high heat. Place steaks in skillet and sear for 30 seconds per side. Put steaks and skillet into the broiler and cook for 2-4 minutes per side.
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