All organic meats offer a wide variety of health benefits. While bison, venison and goat are available from several supermarkets, we’re going to explore the benefits of the most popular three: beef, pork and lamb.

To be Primally acceptable, all meat has to be organic – which means, among other things, that the animals were raised on food they were designed to eat.

Whether it is meat from cows, lambs or pigs, they are all rich in both protein and healthy fats. And to those who suggest all meat is bad
for our health; let me say it one more time – you are talking complete nonsense! If we weren’t designed to eat meat, then our forefathers would have just gathered plants and vegetables. But they didn’t. They spent most of their days hunting wild animals, and when they caught them, they feasted on every part. Without realising it, they gained immense health and brainpower by eating all of the animal’s organs, which are without doubt, full of the greatest nutrients of all.

When you go to a supermarket, look how cheap all of the organs are. Why is it that I can make a liver pâté for just nine pence per portion, yet the meat is so expensive? The answer is simple: our generation has forgotten how to cook organs and thus, there is now more supply than demand. My local gastropub has kidneys on toast (although I always ask them to remove the toast and to serve them on spinach), homemade pâté and braised ox-cheek pie.

PRIMAL CURE MEAT PRINCIPLE:
Always buy organic and local if possible, then be sure to eat the organs too.

For a quick overview of the benefits of meat, I am going to assume that you have bought only organic and natural. In other words, it has not been packaged or altered in any way (apart from butchering). As for the cut of the meat or type of organs, the age and the location can make a big difference. I won’t breakdown the percentages of NRV as I have for non-animal produce, instead, I will just highlight some of the key nutritional benefits.

Organic Beef Health Benefits

Rich in Omega 3 and an excellent – in fact possibly the best – source of protein, grass-fed beef also contains a secret healing component called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Early research into the benefits of CLA revealed how it could reduce tumours by more than 50% in cancers of the breast, skin, stomach, lung, bowel and colon. CLA is also said to help sufferers of asthma, lower blood pressure, fight off cardiovascular disease and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. If you don’t eat meat, then there are now dozens of CLA supplements on the market, and they seem to becoming hugely popular in both the UK and the USA. Among their many claims is the ability to help control type 2 diabetes, assist in losing body fat and then maintaining a healthy weight by retaining muscle mass.

Pork

When it comes to pork, look for a pack that carries the organic label. If you want to be put off mass-produced pork forever, make sure you watch ‘Food, Inc.’ by Robert Kenner. This 2008 documentary goes undercover in a huge slaughterhouse in the US which reportedly processes more than 32,000 pigs every day, in what appear to be the most horribly inhumane conditions. It might cost a little more to buy from real farms rather than animal factories, but it’s not just better for the pig, it’s far better for our health too. Let’s quickly look at the different labels we might find in the supermarket, and understand what they all mean. These are very similar to what you will find for beef and chicken too, and I have listed them in order of preference.

Organic Pork

The EU has a group of requirements for pork to carry an organic label, but better still, try and find pork with the Soil Association’s (www.soilassociation.org) organic label, as this is a stricter standard. All pigs must be fed organic food without antibiotics. To avoid overcrowding and allow access to sustainable food, there is a minimum amount of land that farmers must have per pig.

Free Range Pork

These pigs are born outdoors and stay outdoors their entire life.

Outdoor Bred

These pigs are born outdoors, but tend to be moved back inside at around four weeks old or once they are weaned.

Outdoor Reared

Similar to outdoor bred, but here the piglets get to stay out until they are about 10 weeks old.

RSPCA Assured

Pork carrying the RSPCA’s label ensures the living standards of the animal. About 30% of pigs reared in the UK are living a healthier and happier life thanks to the protection of this label.

If pork doesn’t carry any of these labels, we shouldn’t buy it. Why eat pork? It’s an excellent source of vitamins such as vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B6, plus minerals phosphorus, selenium, zinc, iron, potassium and magnesium. Pork offers a great source of protein without CARBS, but is very low in fat compared to other meats.

Lamb

Just like beef, lamb is an excellent source of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. It’s rich in minerals such as zinc, iron, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and magnesium, plus it’s a great source of vitamin B12, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 and B5 (pantothenic acid). Both lamb and beef are regarded as red meats.

Have you ever wondered what meat is? For example, if you saw a diagram of a lamb, you would not see the word ‘meat’, but muscle and fat, organs and bone. When the animal dies, it’s the muscle that becomes the meat that we eat.

Red meat is a great source of iron. If you feel that you are lacking in it, then adding a few lamb dishes to your weekly line-up of meals should prove beneficial.

Lamb is rich in zinc, which among other things provides a boost to our immune system. From some farms, depending on the pasture (and I am assuming of course that we are only buying organic) lamb can actually provide more Omega 3 per gram than beef. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which in some research studies has been shown to fight off breast cancer.

Organic Lamb

The accreditation for organic lamb in the UK is normally carried out by the Soil Association. Unlike cattle, sheep are rarely kept indoors, so the only real question to consider is whether they were reared organically or not. If you see an organic emblem on the packaging, it guarantees that any
dips the sheep have been in are organic, and therefore, the grass they eat is free from pesticides too. The UK government’s website states, “Organic sheep must be fed on organically produced feedstuffs. Maximum use should be made of grazing, and all of the feed required should ideally be produced on the farm”.

PRIMAL LAMB FACT:
Pretty much globally, lamb is called lamb if the animal is less than one year old. But when meat is sold in Britain as lamb, the age of the animal must be between five and six months. Meat from younger sheep, from three to five months old, is normally called spring lamb. Meat from sheep more than one years old is called mutton.

Poultry

If it’s not both organic and free range don’t buy it. Not just for the sake of our own health, but for the sake of the bird too. Only organic birds offer a clean source of protein and healthy fat. In the UK, it is estimated that 46% of the protein of the average Brit comes from chicken, and our small nation consumes a staggering 17 million chickens a week.

Let’s explain a few details that you might find on the label. First
of all, it’s important to cut through all of the nonsense. ‘Natural’, ‘Farm-Fresh’, ‘Premium Chicken’ and ‘Country Style’ are completely meaningless and just marketing fowl play! They’re prominently placed on packaging just to encourage us to pick up the produce and feel good about it. Just as I mentioned regarding the welfare of pigs, if you watch the film Food, Inc., I am pretty sure you will immediately be converted to the merits of organic and free range.

Organic Poultry

In the UK this is again regulated by the Soil Association, the limit flock size to 1000 chickens. Every bird must have continuous and easy daytime access to outdoor pastures, and each bird should have a minimum of four square metres each to roam freely. The pasture must be covered with suitable vegetation, and the bird must reach a minimum age of 81 days. The chicken must be fed organic foods and antibiotics must not be used at all.

Free Range

Chickens must have outdoor access for at least half of their life, and there must be the equivalent of one square metre of land for each and every chicken. Minimum slaughter age is 56 days.

Freedom Food

This is a welfare scheme run by the RSPCA that can apply to indoor, organic or free-range chickens. It limits how many can be raised in each space and also details such things as how much straw they get, the size of their perch, etc.

Red Tractor

Seems to be nothing more than a paid-up membership for farmers to use the logo, and their website has very little other rules and guidelines beyond what the EU require. That said, it does mean that the food can be traced back to the original British farm (‘The Union Jack flag in the Red Tractor logo confirms your food has been born, grown, prepared and packed in the UK’).

If you want to see the most detailed report on chicken produce ever, which breaks down the nutritional value between breasts, skin, wings, thighs, whole chickens, drumsticks, drumsticks with skin and much more, then visit www.nationalchickencouncil.org. Alternatively, the following nutritional facts should be enough to encourage you to put chicken on the menu tonight.

Why is it important to buy organic chickens and only eggs from organic hens? Because those that live indoors are often genetically modified to gain weight more quickly, meaning they take less time to mature and therefore are both cheaper to rear and cheaper to sell. By overcrowding indoor sheds, the cost per chicken becomes lower. With such cramped conditions, many companies rely on the heavy use of antibiotics to fight off diseases. So much so, that I recently read an article where it suggested that some indoor chickens end up consuming twice their the limit body weight in antibiotics during their first 14 days of life. Just think what that does to the poor chicken, but more importantly what effect it will have on the bacteria in our gut.

ORGANIC PRIMAL CONCERN:
It is said that of the 50 billion chickens farmed around our small planet each year, 70% of them are no longer organic.

Steve Bennett

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