When practicing health coaching, one of the biggest complaints I (Marisa) would get from clients I'd recommend eating grass fed beef, pastured meats, and organic fruits and vegetables, was cost.
I get it, conventional beef (most likely raised in a CAFO) is cheaper, but we've already talked about why that is and the environmental and health implications of that in this blog post. We've also talked about the very well documented and researched health benefits of grass fed beef vs. conventional, grain finished beef in this blog post.
So by now you are convinced you want to, but don't know how you can afford to eat organic, grass fed beef. Today I'd like to give you valuable advice on how to eat grass fed beef without breaking the bank!
Eat Less and Smaller.
We need to start by talking about how much and how often we should be eating beef so our expectations are clear.
I personally recommend you eat beef no more than 1 or 2 times per week. I know, and I'm a beef farmer! BUT... when you do, make it great quality- organic, grass fed and grass finished. The rest of your week you can vary between other meats, fish, and legumes for your protein.
As far as the portion size, the giant 1lb+ steaks you see at some restaurants are completely unnecessary, and unhealthy! A 6oz portion (maybe 8oz for men) is more adequate, the rest of the plate should be filled with greens, vegetables, and whole grains.
We all know the (premium) Ribeye, T-bone, and NY strip steaks, the tenderloin, and ground beef, but aside from that, very few tend to eat the rest of the animal.
I believe marketing and fad diets in our country has made us too limited in the way we eat. "Tenderloin is lean and tender”, “chicken breast is healthier than dark meat”, “salmon has the most omega-3s”, etc.... Mass production of meat then goes into supplying these demands and we keep eating the same stuff, over and over, and of course, demand drives supply- and price.
Variety is also important in our diet, not only so you don't get bored, but also because different parts of the animal contain different nutrients- so this way of eating is not only natural (we should be eating the entire animal!), but healthier. Try some of the more economical cuts, that when cooked properly (slow cooked, marinated, tenderized, etc) taste delicious! and are as nutritious and many leaner than your usual cuts.
Premium Cuts are an Occasional Treat.
Of course... we all love a super tender filet mignon, Porterhouse steak or fattier Rib eye steak, but these more expensive cuts should be treated as an occasional treat and not a weekly family BBQ feast, or you WILL break the bank!
A funny story... last week a friend and loyal customer texted me saying "Wow, that Porterhouse was amazing" and Paul commented "I wouldn't know" because we rarely ever have steaks! (yes, "the shoemaker's children always go barefoot"). Last week was his birthday, so I decided to "treat him" with some of our very own steaks for dinner- we made a nice little feast of Porterhouse, flank, and sirloin steak and oh... did we enjoy it all!
The point is, on our weekly meals I incorporate other leaner, cuts of beef and of course, the super versatile ground beef, and on special occasions, we go for the premium steaks!
Buy in Bulk.
For a few years before starting our own farm, we used to buy ¼ steer annually from our farm mentor, Krusen Grass Farm for our own beef consumption. This was such a wonderful experience, and also very educational. Getting all kinds of different cuts opened our eyes to new flavors and new ways of cooking and we always had beef in our small garage chest freezer for our weekly meals!
Some of you already buy in bulk, and others have heard of people that buy a quarter beef cow or a half. Some think that sounds like too much, but a quarter is actually not that much and keep in mind it lasts up to a year and is THE most discounted way to buy your beef! This is a great way of stocking up on quality, affordable, grass fed beef that will last you a long time.
Click here to learn more about buying in bulk from Starry Nights Farm. Next ones will be ready in December
Sign Up for SALES.
If you haven't done so already, sign up for our newsletter and stay updated on our news. We often have SALES on products and it is a great opportunity to stock up on grass fed beef for a budget!
Hope these tips help, and thank you for supporting of our business!
Marisa usually writes about nutrition, grass fed beef, organic agriculture, as well as sharing delicious recipes; Paul writes about farm work- sharing his stories and experiences, and most times... we both collaborate on the stories!