Tuesday, 31 March 2015

An explanation and a soapbox


Grass fed beef, grass finished beef, natural beef, organic beef, pastured beef, grass fed beef finished with grain............definitions are as slippery as a politicians promise or a marketers imagination.

This is how Starrs Point Steers Farm provides you the best quality grass fed and finished beef.

The herd has approximately 50 cows, 40 - 60 calves or yearlings and two bulls. I have been looking after these animals for nearly 15 years, some of the cows have been here since I started caring for them, in fact they were bought with the farm and descended from a herd established thirty years ago.
The cows are Red Angus or Red Angus Shorthorn crosses and for the grass fed market are bred by Red Angus bulls and occasionally Shorthorn bulls. We also have a Charolais bull, none of his offspring go into grass fed beef market and none of his daughters are kept for re-breeding, they are all sold as calves at auction and go to feedlots, same path as 99% of all beef.

Our cows and their offspring are uniquely adapted for grass fed beef and when developed correctly do not require grain feeding. Our methods replicate as much as possible a natural environment, a closed herd apart from bulls, cows living on the farm all their life, minimal human interference, a diet they have evolved to eat over millions of years and harvested humanely at the right time. This is nothing unique, 60 years ago most of this was self evident and built on thousands of generations of farmers, herders and hunters and is also still practised to a large extent to this day in Ireland (disclaimer..Irish born and bred) and other parts of the world.

Like animals in the wild e.g. deer, calves are born in late Spring on pasture after their mothers have built up their bodies from the winter and benefit from the best milk of the year. Calves stay with their mother cow for as long as possible, usually end of April, weaned off to allow mother to devote her reserves to growing her unborn calf. After 7 months on managed pasture the herd is fed hay and haylage (high quality, high moisture hay in wrapped bales) from mid November to early May...all feed is harvested on the farm.
The weaned calves spend 7 months together on pasture growing their frame, then in a barn for the winter after which they go back to the same pastures for 3 months on the best quality grass for final finishing. The best heifers are kept back to replenish the herd.

Now you know the full story,  you can call it grass fed, finished, pasture raised natural beef.


The low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet implosion.

The hypothesis that reducing fat in your diet would beneficially improve rates of heart disease has been a juggernaut in health dogma for fifty years. We would have expected science to have investigated this with properly conducted un-biased trials that could be replicated, however this was not the case as epidemiological evidence was selectively interpreted to show the desired associations between fat, high cholesterol and heart disease that were then apparently proven in poorly conducted studies. The same biased scientists and medical establishment who controlled the purse strings for the research then cajoled and bullied their way into making government health policy much to the delight of the food industry who make greater profits with processed foods. Dissenting science and evidence was not published, ridiculed by the establishment and had a negative impact on their proponents careers. Please refer to the reading list on the previous blog.

This fiasco and health tragedy has resulted in a population whose general health indices are inferior to previous generations when you exclude effect of antibiotics, vaccinations, safety regulations etc.
The good news is eat the the same natural foods as your grand parents and great grandparents cutting out processed foods and reducing sugar ....there is no magic to good nutrition.

it's grim out here (but also sunny)!

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