Nutrition News You Can Use
October 2011
The Pasture-Raised Advantage

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Game animals




A friend of mine, Gerry Shudde, is a native grass farmer; his by-product is grass-fed beef. Gerry's number one priority is the quality of his land, which he maintains through cultivating native grasses. His beef cattle facilitate his grass farming and support his family. One summer evening a group of friends gathered at a ranch in Uvalde, Texas for a locally grown meal of grass-fed carne guisada made from Gerry's beef. When asked to speak about his trade he shared his views on the movement towards eating higher quality, more nutritious pasture-raised meat and dairy products. He likens the movement to a flock of 5,000 black birds. First you see one move. Then another flutters it's iridescent black wings in the same direction. And before you know it the whole flock is moving from one place to another, all together.


Gerry Shudde has not always done things this way. He was a conventional rancher for most of his life but as time progressed he became weary of the practices he was using. He noticed his cows' utters swelling and becoming infected from the hormones he gave them, as if they were going to birth a calf, even though they were not pregnant. He noticed his children needing to take more and more rounds of antibiotics each time they got sick due to the resistance they had built up because of the antibiotics he had used in his cows. After all, ranchers and their families eat a lot of their own product. And he noticed his land changing. There was more brush and erosion and fewer native grasses than there once had been due to the amount of cattle they had been running on their land.


He decided to make some changes as he learned there was another way to make this work that benefitted the people who ate the meat, the land, and of course the cattle. 


The hormones and the antibiotic were stopped. Gerry chose a breed of longhorn cattle that are well adapted to the Texas landscape because they roamed wild here for centuries. Also these longhorns have particularly lean and tender meat. Additionally, the ranch was divided into several pastures, which allowed the Shuddes to rotate the cattle for grazing purposes.  The cattle spend about three to four weeks in a pasture, and then they are moved.  This gives the cattle fresh nutritious grass to eat and allows the pastures a chance to grow back before they are grazed again.  


Gerry takes great pride in the grass on the ranch and has spent a substantial amount of time, money, and energy clearing brush and planting native grass.  "What is not obvious to most people is that grass is our primary crop, not cattle," says Gerry.  "Cattle harvest the grass and convert it to something usable, beef."  Most of the land on the ranch is rolling hills with flint gravel topsoil.  In his family's early days, it was completely covered in brush.  In the years before civilization though, the land was prairie except along creeks and rivers.  Because of his clearing efforts, about 50% of the ranch is now native grassland.  The remaining brush will be left as a habitat for the wildlife, who also benefit from the grass.


Gerry's story is similar to many people who are trying to do things differently to bring better nutrition, land management, and husbandry to the growing movement of people (or black birds) looking for more sensible, humane, and sustainable animal product options. Just check out this list of Texas vendors who are selling not only grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, but also buffalo, lamb, goat, pork, wild game, chicken, turkey, duck, quail, and pasture-raised eggs, milk, and cheese. 


Below I have listed the reasons for eating these products from a nutritional perspective but keep in mind that choosing these forms of animal products is better for the animals and the land as well.  


A big issue that keeps rearing its ugly head in our industrialized food system is that of food contamination of bacterial origin. The probability of that happening in this type of meat is much smaller than in its industrialized counterparts. Here is what Gerry has to say about that: "The chance of other germs getting in the meat would be extremely rare for two reasons. It is all from one animal and extreme care is taken in the processing by one person doing it. Also, because these cattle are eating what evolution has designed cattle to eat (that is, grass); their digestive system is healthy and does not contain the 'bad' strain of E-coli that makes humans sick. Tests have shown that grass fed cattle are 99.9% free of e-coli". 


When you buy meat from cows that have lived in a feedlot they are often exposed to large amounts of bacteria from standing in their own feces for weeks on end. Additionally the meat from hundreds of cows is processed together, so the ground meat in your fast food burger or at the grocery store can contain meat from any number of cows, hundreds even, increasing the risk of contamination.


The typical American diet is profoundly lacking in minerals, and mineral deficiencies can lead to a host of common problems. The organ meats, which we often avoid, are the most mineral rich part of the animal. You don't have to eat organ meats the way our grandparents or ancestors did. There are plenty of easy and really tasty ways to incorporate these foods into your diet in which you don't even know they are there. 


Below you'll find a burger recipe in which you put liver into the patty. Most people think these burgers are better than their liver-less counterparts. I also share my infamous grass-fed carne guisada recipe. Be careful though, once you make this for people they will want you to make it all the time. That's fine. It tastes so good I want to eat it all the time, too!


Keep in mind that I have another class coming up at Central Market on Thursday, November 10th. We will make all kinds of traditional Thanksgiving Giving dishes with healthy alternatives without compromising taste. See the menu below. You won't be disappointed.


I hope that you find this newsletter inspires you to join the ever growing flock of black birds. I tell you the more I learn about nutrition and health the more passionately I feel about this issue. Have a Happy Halloween!


Thanks and take care,

Kara Kroeger
Certified Nutritionist & Culinarian
Knowledge to Nourish & Sustain


The Pasture-Raised Advantage


              Chicken painting      




What's the difference?


Conventional - animals raised in factory farms are given diets of mostly genetically modified grain and soy that are kept at artificially low prices by government subsidies. To further cut costs, the feed may also contain "by-product feedstuff" such as municipal garbage, stale pastry, chicken feathers, and candy including it's wrappers. These foods increase inflammation and fat content in the animals. These animals are also given growth hormones and antibiotics to unnaturally increase growth/production and to counter the effects of the crowded and low quality standards they are living in. 


Free-range - oftenraised without the use of hormones and antibiotics, and cage-free. In the case of poultry they may have access to outdoors but in most instances they do not access it. 


Organic - having the same benefits as free-range, they additionally are given feed that is organic. This eliminates the risk of eating animals that have been given genetically modified corn and soy.


Pasture-raised or Grass-fed - the practices used to raise these animals usually include being raised in pasture and having access to grass, plants, and insects as food; also being raised outdoors increases the intake of sunlight to increase vitamin D in the animals that is then passed on to us. In the case of grass-fed meat products they are usually not given grain, although pasture-raised poultry may be supplemented with grain. Pasture-raised or grass-fed does not necessarily mean organic due to certification policies but it is often the most healthy animal products to buy.


Pasture-Raised Nourishment


I could go into a plethora of reasons why conventionally raised meat practices should be abolished from your diet and this planet. Most of these reasons would make you want to vomit and raise hell. But instead, I want to focus on what the benefits are ofchoosing these foods. If you want to read all the disgusting stuff go here. The majority of the information below was sourced from the website.


Meat from grass-fed beef, bison, lamb and goats has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories than grain-fed. It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, both macro and trace minerals like zinc and magnesium and a number of health-promoting fats, including two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventional beef.


Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) encourages muscle building, promotes weight loss, and prevents cancer. When cows are fed grain this important nutrient disappears. Omega-3s and CLA are more abundant in animals raised on pasture because these beneficial fats are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s.


Because meat from grass-fed animals is lower in fat than meat from grain-fed animals, it is also lower in calories. Fat has 9 calories per gram, compared with only 4 calories for protein and carbohydrates. The greater the fat content, the greater the number of calories. As an example, a 6-ounce steak from a grass-fed steer can have 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grain-fed steer. If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds per year), switching to lean grass-fed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year without requiring any willpower or change in your eating habits. If everything else in your diet remains constant, you'll lose about six pounds a year. 


The reason grass-fed milk is protective is that it has up to five times more CLA. For decades, we've been told that eating full-fat dairy products increases the risk of heart attack. Now, a study from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that the more full-fat dairy products people consume, the lower their risk of heart attack---provided the cows were grass-fed. 

Egg basket 

 The benefits of unconventional farming aren't limited to just beef. Eggs from pastured hens can contain as much as 10 times more omega-3s than eggs from factory hens.

Eggs from hens raised outdoors on pasture have from three to six times more vitamin D than eggs from hens raised in confinement. Pasture eggs also have 1/3 less cholesterol than commercial eggs, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 7 times more beta-carotene. Additionally, these eggs contain more folic acid and vitamin B12, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, essential vitamins not found in your multi-vitamin tablet.



All of these products include lean proteins. Lean animal protein lowers your blood LDL cholesterol, increases HDL cholesterol, and provides muscle building branched-chain amino acids. Lean proteins as well as healthy fats are highly satiating thus preventing excessive food consumption and decreasing weight gain.

Organ Meats, cartilage and bones; the most nutritious animal food


Remember, the typical American diet lacks minerals and also high quality fat soluble vitamins. Minerals play an important role in preventing many common conditions, and fat soluble vitamins are crucial in improving immunity. Liver contain large quantities of trace elements and fat-soluble vitamins such a vitamin A and D and essential fatty acids. Consuming organ meats once per week provides a nutritious boost.


Liver and kidneys are rich in B12, an important nutrient in the body for many processes and for preventing anemia.


Chicken, beef and fish stocks contain the minerals of bone, marrow, cartilage, and electrolytes. Using an acidic wine or vinegar in your stock helps to draw out calcium, magnesium, and potassium into the broth. 


Gelatin found in stocks aids in digestion, which prevents hyperacidity, and can be healing to the digestive tract.


Cartilage from the bones used in stock provides collagen and is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.


Broth and stock has also been found to prevent and mitigate infectious diseases and repair the mucous lining of the small intestine.


Local Sources


Grass-fed dairy products are available at the Farmers Markets and Whole Foods Market under the brand name Texas Daily Harvest. The low-temperature pasteurization practices used by Texas Daily Harvest also preserves the health benefits of their products.


Pasture-raised poultry is available at the Farmers Markets and in limited amounts at Whole Foods Market.


Pasture-raised eggs are available at the Farmers Markets and at Whole Foods Market under the brand names Vital Farms and Jeremiah Cunningham's "World's Best Eggs." Central Market sells these under the brand name Pasture Verde.


Grass-fed beef is also sold at the Farmers Markets as well as at Whole Foods Market and in limited options at Central Market. You can also buy directly from Shudde Ranch by ordering online. Also, the link above in the story about Gerry contains a link to all the Texas vendors who sell pasture-raised products.


 Dai Due is a wonderful butcher shop that sells at the Farmers Markets all kinds of prepared sausages and charcuterie. Many of the products contain organ meats and all the animal products used in their foods are locally sourced and pasture-raised.


Grass-fed ghee is also available as a great tasting and delicious cooking oil. It's health benefits are numerous. Pure Indian Foods makes a great product.


 Recipe of the Month
Carne guisada
Grass-Fed Carne Guisada 
1 Poblano chili, roasted, peeled, deseeded, and cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 lb. grass-fed meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 Tbs. whole-wheat flour or gluten-free baking flour

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 tomatoes, de-skinned and coarsely chopped

1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, stemmed and chopped

3/4  cup chicken broth

1 tsp. salt


Heat oven to 400║ F. Lay out the poblano chiles on the oven rack and roast until blistered on both sides. Remove the chiles from the oven and place in a dish that has a lid to cover and allow to cool. Once cool remove the skins from the chiles (do not rinse the chilies with water to remove the blistered skin or you will loose the roasted flavor), deseed them and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Prep the onion, tomato and cilantro as well. Place the meat chunks in a bowl and coat well with flour. In a heavy, 12-inch deep pot, skillet or dutch oven heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat thoroughly, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Use a metal spatula to scrap up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. Add the onion, tomato, cilantro, chilies, and salt and sautÚ for 3-4 minutes. Add broth, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, periodically stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula, until the meat is tender and the mixture has cooked down to a thick sauce. Add additional salt to taste. Makes 4 (1-cup) servings.


Liver Burger 


1 lb. grass-fed beef, buffalo, or lamb

1/4-1/3 cup ground liver (about 2 oz. of whole liver)

1-2 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. natural Worcestershire sauce


Thoroughly grind the liver in a food processor. Be sure that you blend it until smooth. Mix the liver into the ground meat with the seasonings. Form into patties and cook by grilling or pan frying. Add addition fixings to your liking.


Cooking Class Schedule
Giving Thanks With The Local Fall Bounty



Menu (All classes are gluten-free):
  • Ham & Shallot Deviled Eggs
  • Braised Rabbit and Fall Vegetables
  • Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"
  • Swiss Chard Souffle
  • Fennel and Apple Salad
  • Sweet Potato Pie with Flour-less Pecan Crust 


Central Market Cooking School, Austin, TX

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Class time 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Registration for this class will be available at this link 


Contact Information
phone: 512-567-5206
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