Choosing Meat and Fish 101

Nutrition | | December 21, 2009 at 8:00 am
Photo by John1710

Photo by John1710.

If you’ve read this you might want to go vegetarian. We are what we eat so how about the animals we eat?

When cattle is raised on grains and pumped full of antibiotics, it changes the overall health of the animals, obviously. Because cows were designed to chew the cud (grass!) grain-fed cattle have much more disease, which large farms treat with antibiotics. The animal fat in cattle develops into the artery clogging, saturated fats. On the other hand, when gorging themselves on a a natural diet of fresh grass, cattle have a much higher ratio of essential fatty acids, like omega 3′s, making a burger or steak almost equal in healthy fats to a piece of salmon or cod. All those colorful blades of grass also increase the amount of healthy and cardiovascular protecting carotenoids like beta-carotene. For me, the choice is clear.

You’ve heard that salmon is good for your heart. Degradation of those benefits occurs when salmon, like feed-lot raised cattle, are farm-raised. Why? In these pens, salmon are fed the equivalent of grain diet. The grains, like in cattle, change the good fat, bad fat ratio to the bad side of the spectrum. Farm raised salmon also has very low amounts of those anti-oxidant pigments making their flesh so gray and discolored that food coloring is added to the feed. In addition any toxins like dioxins and PCBs that are in these grain diets, accumulate in the fish, making them sometimes much more dangerous to your health than tuna.

All this makes shopping for beef and salmon much more complicated. Here are my tips:

  • Make sure the beef you buy is not only grass-fed but also grass-finished. The label grass fed means very little health-wise if the rancher sends the cattle to the feed-lot to finish and fatten them up before selling them.
  • Make sure you salmon is labeled wild salmon and if being sold fresh, that it’s in season. Wild salmon is caught between May and October. If you see fresh salmon for sale in December, it probably isn’t wild. If it’s not labeled wild you should assume it’s farmed. Look for the designation.

GibranDr. Gibran Ramos completed his six year training and internship in Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine at National College of Natural Medicine. Dr. Ramos helps patients transform their lives and optimize their well-being at a private practice in Portland, Oregon.

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  1. Excellent. Thanks, Gibran!

  2. Really love your opinion. Hope synthetic turf resource might guide someone out there.