You bet it is.
This is not a shock revelation to anyone who reads this site. Our authors lay it all down in this chapter: B vitamins, vitamin D, Iron, zinc, magnesium, copper cobalt, phosphorus…You get the idea. Meat contains all of these essential nutrients and minerals. Moreover, there are certain things one simply cannot get from plants like B12 and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is an omega-3 fatty acid. Ultimately, this part of the book is a refresher on all the good things that meat contains. I would say that only anti-meat extremists would argue against this. They’d probably say that meat is a part of the patriarchy too.
Is Grass-Fed Beef Healthier than Typical Beef?
Now this section is interesting and controversial. The data simply do not support the argument that grass fed is significantly better from a human nutrition standpoint than non-grass fed. The authors acknowledge that grass fed may boost your omega-3 serum levels, including DHA, over time; however, there is such a “wide variation in the omega-3 content of commercially available grass-fed beef samples, you have no way of knowing whether eating grass-fed beef would have that impact on you.”
So are Rodgers and Wolf closing the book on grass-fed beef? Definitely not. First, they point out that Consumer Reports found “E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria were more prevalent on commercial cuts of conventional beef than grass-fed beef.” Moreover, conventional beef is more resistant to to common antibiotics meaning you have a greater chance of getting severe food poisoning from conventionally farmed beef. Finally, our authors tell us that they will make ethical and environmental cases for grass-fed beef later in the book.
Good Meat is Expensive
Have you experienced sticker shock when buying good meat? I have. The authors acknowledge that a diet higher in fresh vegetables and fresh meat is more expensive than the standard Western diet which is dominated by cheap food-based, crap, grains and sugar. One reason why those items are so cheap is that you subsidise those producers through taxes. Isn’t that great! Your forced to contribute money through taxes that help make your fellow man unhealthy. Why do you think glucose-fructose is in almost everything.
So sticker shock is a thing, but it is somewhat down to perception. Sure bread, pasta and chips are cheaper than grass-fed or even conventional beef, but these are nutrient poor. Pound for pound, you are getting far more nutrients from meat than the cheap stuff that most people stuff down their maws. Moreover, most people blow a lot of money by eating out rather than cooking healthily at home.
So what should the average person do? Buy the best meat you can afford is the conclusion. Even if it’s conventional beef, it is far more nutritious than any food-based product. Indeed, Rodgers and Wolf state that meat is more nutritious than beans and rice, a staple for plant eaters. They tackle this thorny issue in chapter six.