". . . . but did the cows look happy?" I asked the Whole Foods butcher after plying him with far more relevant questions concerning the meat displayed. Considering the somewhat cryptic labeling and my complete distrust of the USDA, it's not surprising I'd prefer to go and shake a few hooves and interview my meal face to snout. If you're going to have a trainer and resources that support your healthy lifestyle, your butcher is as much a part of your training team and has as much to do with your athletic performance as I do.
How well we're fed depends on how well our food is fed whether it's nutrient dense soil for our produce or the proper diet for our livestock. We've done some horrendous thinks to our food supply in the name of mass production - none of it good. As a result, our food has become a great jaw exercise with limited value beyond the caloric expenditure of chewing and swallowing.
You've all heard it from me before. The more important thing is you learn a little of the science and find some resources that will help you eat healthier: www.csuchico.edu/agr/grassfedbeef/health-benefits/index.html
Many of you heard the prolonged hunter-gatherer stories including the pursuit of pastured chickens at the farmer's markets and the mucking about in the science of cow's dietary preferences. It included many hours of study and many experiments including my on-going effort to eat food produced within 100ish miles of my decidedly urban homestead. Here's what I found:
There are MANY Farmer's markets and they're a far more reliable resource for 100% grass fed meat. Any steer that's grain-finished will not have the same health benefits. Beware of farms that feed their cows waste such as leftover potatoes. I ran across one of those recently. You'll find suppliers in your neighborhood by first finding your Farmer's Market: www.wafarmersmarkets.com/market_dir.html.
I often shop at the U-District Market on Saturday, but if I'm busy I'll swing by Ballard on Sunday. You can find Samish Bay at both markets http://www.samishbaycheese.com/. The beef tastes spectacular but they feed their pastured eggs whey waste from the cheese production. I'm not so sure if that's healthy (back to the research).
I just ran across Skagit River Ranch. I haven't tasted the beef yet but I'm impressed so far. They have beef, pastured chickens, eggs and pork, and though they're wrapping it up at Ballard this week, they have a store and take bulk orders http://www.skagitriverranch.com/.
For online shoppers, I heard about this source on NPR http://www.tallgrassbeef.com/ and I remember hearing good things about them on the CrossFit message board awhile back. You won't get a chance to shake the farmer's hand but you'll save dollars per pound on the product.
Besides lugging the 20 pounds of Fed-exed meat into the kitchen, you'll need a farm inspired workout to honor your efforts. Here goes, and yes, of course it includes a farmer's walk:
Virtual Fertilizer Shoveling* www.crossfit.com/mt-archive2/000816.html
45# Plate Snatch** or lower depending on competency
Farmer's walk - length of gym
Dumbbell deadlift with Farmer's Walk weight
Farmer's walk - return length of gym
3 Rounds - 21.15.9 on the Shoveling, snatch and deadlift, distance on the walk
If you haven't done plate snatches, please call for a quick lesson. I couldn't find an example on the web and I haven't done this one with any of you for some time.
*Don't go too heavy on this because it will disrupt the workout if you're at the gym. The clips don't hold very well and you'll have to keep stopping to adjust the plates if you choose a heavy weight.
**The average bale of hay weighs over 47#s and requires a good O-lift to get it on a flatbed. And yes, I spent many summers doing this on my father's farm.