Beef. It’s what I never have for dinner.

This is a cow. Cows are where beef comes from.
This is a cow. Cows are where beef comes from.

I currently have a STEAK thawing in my refrigerator.  My grandma Delores is rolling over in her grave and my mother is falling out of her chair.  Allow me to explain.  The family story goes, that when I was about 7 years old, I threw a fit while eating a McDonalds hamburger and declared I would never eat beef again.  And…I didn’t.  The only beef I ever ate were the small chucks of it that I couldn’t pull out of Mom’s spaghetti, but pretty much up until a few months ago, I swore off red meat in it’s entirety.

I felt so self-righteous about it for the longest time.  All the low-fat, low-cal health guru’s said red meat was bad for you – and so I justified continuing to uphold my childhood decision in the name of “health”.  I would tell people when they asked me why I didn’t eat red meat that I just didn’t care for the taste (which was true), but I also felt like I was pumping myself up that I was able to NEVER eat something that EVERYONE clearly knew was unhealthy.

But let’s analyze this for a minute, from a whole foods perspective.  Is eating red meat (especially from properly raised grass fed cows, and ideally from the same cut of meat) better or worse than eating a bag of Doritos?  Diane Sanfilippo gives three simple and hard to argue with declarations in Practical Paleo: “We are not smarter than nature.  We cannot make better food than nature.  We need to eat real, whole food – period (p32).”  Do we really think eating animal protein that comes from nature (which naturally contains protein, iron, and vitamins) is what is going to raise our cholesterol, clog our arteries and give us cancer, more than a processed food item filled with chemicals and fake ingredients?  Mankind has been screwing up food in the name of progress ever since we left the garden…making us sicker and sicker with each passing generation.

So a few months ago as I started to really get into paleo, I started to talk myself out of being a stubborn kid refusing to eat something just for the sake of refusing it, and I began to think about what nutrients I was probably missing from not eating red meat.  A lightbulb went off in my head as I started to read about iron.  I have dizzy spells and lagging energy sometimes, which are totally signs of iron deficiency.

I decided I needed to give it a try and I bought some grass fed ground beef from my local meat shop. I told my sister (who is a much better cook than I) that she was going to make me a burger.  I ate it, and I didn’t hate it!  I didn’t love it, I much prefer the taste of chicken, but it was tasty and I ate the whole thing!  Eating it was still a mental battle though, to re-educate myself that “Steph, this is not something gross or to be afraid of.  This is real food.”  However, probably because I hadn’t had beef in 20 years, it really upset my stomach.  So I probably need to move a little slower with incorporating it into my diet.  My steak that I bought is just under a pound, and my plan is to eat it in thirds over a few days.  And maybe the next time I go to chipotle…I get the steak bowl.  Baby steps.

The steak is a grass fed angus beef strip loin steak, by the way.  I really have no idea what that means, but it sounded hard core to me.  I will definitely have to blog about my process in cooking and eating it, that once I get there.  I’ve obviously never cooked one before, but I’ve heard simple seasoning is the way to go.  I’m excited, but also wondering how this is REALLY going to go down…

Trader Joe's Grass Fed Angus Beef Strip Sirloin
Trader Joe’s Grass Fed Angus Beef Strip Sirloin

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