Much of the meat I eat is raised within 20 miles of my home, but in the wake of the recent beef recall I took a closer look at my meat choices to make sure I am buying the right beef. I thought about avoiding red meat entirely because of health and environmental concerns, but lean beef is actually a great source of iron and protein and I'd have a hard time giving up juicy burger recipes and tender steaks.
Cost and availability are considerations, but at the end of the day I decided I'd rather pay a little bit more for quality meat and know that I can feel good about what I'm eating. So I play it safer by supporting local, small-scale farmers who treat animals right and look for labels that guide me to greener choices, such as grass-fed and grass-finished beef or certified organic.
Until I talked to Patsy Jamieson, an EatingWell contributor who wrote about the growing popularity of grass-fed beef in EatingWell's most recent issue, I didn't realize that the grass-fed beef I buy typically has lower fat and calorie content and is richer in beneficial fatty acids, such as conjugated linoleic acid, than conventional beef. Plus, with a few easy cooking adjustments that Patsy showed me, I've learned how to maximize the rich flavors of grass-fed beef in recipes like Cherry Burgers or Grilled Steak Balsamico.
So I'll probably try to eat red meat less frequently, but when I do enjoy a delicious steak from a local farmer I'll feel good about my choice.
By Michelle Edelbaum, Associate Editor, Interactive, EatingWell
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