Here at Nimitz Beef we have a natural take on weight gains in our animals. Historically, animal science and research has focused on increasing the dry matter intake of animals in relation to gains. The more that goes in, the more the animal can gain… It is a simple science. They largely focus on high energy diets - think of it as a high caloric diet for cows - in particular grains such as barley and corn have gained popularity in the last hundred years as an effective way of putting pounds on beef.
We are working with a little bit different of an idea. We believe that if we control the diet of our animals and focus on healthy intake (quality) instead of quantity we can still achieve substantial gains without harming the animal’s health. The process is a bit slower (taking 6-12 months longer), but the end result is a healthier, happier animal and a quality cut of meat for you, the customer. We use a balanced system of maintaining the energy levels they would normally intake, while supplementing extra proteins and healthy fats to help maintain a healthy diet and promote gains even in colder weather. The supplementary diet they receive is flax based and free of grains, the rest of their diet is green grass or hay.
To make it really simple, let’s pretend you are a spry young beef trying to pack on some pounds. Here are two options you can choose from:
Option 1: Imagine you and several of your friends are living in a bachelor apartment, around 450 square feet. Definitely no room for exercise equipment! Every day, you order take out directly to your door. You eat fast, high caloric food for every meal, and sit on the couch watching TV. Occasionally you feel sick from overeating, so a doctor comes and gives you a shot of antibiotics, but you never go to the hospital. Science is simple; you are gaining weight, mostly fat. Finally, the day comes where you've gained so much weight, you can't fit out the door anymore. That's okay though, because at least you can order in!
Option 2: Now imagine you live in a 4500 square foot house. Not only do you have a backyard to relax in, you've got a gym in the basement to exercise whenever you want. Hell, you've even got a personal trainer who comes in! You've got a fridge full of healthy, natural snacks, like fruit and vegetables that you can eat whenever you want. You could even call it a natural grazing program. Because you and your friends each have their own bedroom, you never get sick from a cramped or dirty environment. Every day you eat healthy and work out – you've gained muscle mass, but it's taken a while to get to your goal weight. You feel great and you are looking better.
straight from the ranch, no microwaving included.
The biggest news in the beef industry over the past several months has
been the push to allow beef processing facilities to use the process of
irradiation on beef to create a safe product for the consumer. With the promise
that it will reduce the chance of more dangerous E. coli being present in the
end product offered to the consumer.
CCA submits request for approval of beef
irradiation to Health Canada
industry asks Ottawa to approve use of irradiation
industry asking Ottawa to approve irradiation to kill dangerous E. coli
What is comes down to is whether or not
you as the consumer want to eat food that is irradiated and if you think it is
the appropriate step to accomplish a safe product.
irradiation is the process of exposing food to a controlled amount of energy
called "ionizing radiation." There are three different types of
radiation allowed: Gamma rays, X-rays and electron beam radiation.”
possible for irradiated food to become contaminated after it has been treated.
For this reason, proper storage, handling and cooking are very important. So is
there any guarantee that your irradiated beef won’t become contaminated again
before it reaches you, possibly by being tenderized before being sold to you.
The tenderizing process was linked to one of the major E. coli recalls in 2012.
The whole problem that is leading to E.coli out breaks is the unsafe and rushed
procedures in the production process.
Would it maybe be better to focus more on the butchering process itself
that takes place in these huge processing facilities that see hundreds of
animals pass through per hour and thousands per day. While irradiation might
provide the customer with a sense of safety if is approved by health Canada, it
is unlikely to change the ability of the large packers and processors to meet
the current health standards for beef processing. It is similar to painting
your broken car before you sell it, makes it look nice but doesn’t fix the
parts that are missing in the engine.
Patricia Whisnant, a graduate of the University of Tennessee College Of
Veterinary Medicine (1981) was quoted
saying “Irradiation may provide an
excuse not to tackle the real sources and practices responsible for the
contamination of beef…mainly the filth in the confined environment of the
feedlot and the fecal contamination that occurs in the high speed slaughter
facility.” As Whisnant further states “Our efforts in the meat industry
should be aimed at removing the filth from the source, not just making cow
manure safer to eat ” 1
In the end it comes down to what you want to
eat, beef irradiation has been shown to have very little effect on the
nutritional level of beef2, it can in some cases change the flavour
but there have not been other serious
side effects realized. We are just here to present some ideas and facts in the
end it is still your choice.
Animals finished in larger areas have no need for antibiotics because of a higher standard of living being provided to them. The space provided to our animals to access their food is another advantage of our system. In feedlots the average amount of space per animal at the feeding bunk is 2 feet1. Crowding create a very competitive feeding environment that can be detrimental to the health of smaller animals. When our animals are being finished they have access to a much larger area that allows them to eat at the rate that their body requires when developing in a healthy manner.
Our animals are rotationally grazed in the grass season which benefits our land and the development of our pastures in a healthy grass cycle. The parasite cycles are also broken down through rotational grazing, thus producing a healthy life style for any grazing animals.
In winter our animals are fed in various pasture areas where the added organic matter of their manure and hay waste helps to develop the nutrient density of the soil in the spring. Aiding in pasture development for the grass season and creating a healthy cyclical relationship between our animals and the land.
Jan 11, 2013
The New Year is just beginning and as usual many people have made New Years resolutions that may or may not come to fruition. Amongst these many self made promises are the individuals that promised themselves to eat healthier, get more exercise and focus on attaining a healthier body weight. For some it means gaining weight while for the majority it is the opposite.
Here at Nimitz Beef we believe we can help you, diets are tricky and can get confusing and frustrating. We are just going to help clear up some facts about weight loss and grass fed beef. Not everyone wants to turn their back on red meat and the BBQ to shed their pounds, and they don’t have too!
First let’s look at the reasons many people take beef out of their diet:
Nimitz Beef has significantly lower levels of fat in its meat than the leading grain fed supermarket beef. For more information on this visit our post “What is in the beef you are cooking?” http://www.nimitzbeef.com/BlogDetails.aspx?blogid=1279&PageName=blog.aspx&WID=202619
Grass fed beef such as Nimitz Beef usually has less than 10% of its fat as saturated. In comparison about 50% of the fat in grain fed beef that is available to you in stores is saturated fat. 1
The omega 6:3 ratio that has been considered to cause health problems if it is exceeded is 4:1. Categorically it is considered to cause heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer and other health problems if the body exceeds this ratio. Nimitz Beef which is grass fed has an omega 6:3 ratio closer to 1:1.
Cholesterol can be a confusing subject but the results of grass and flax in the cattle’s diet at Nimitz Beef increases the Omega 3 (polyunsaturated fatty acids) as well as the monounsaturated fatty acids in Nimitz Beef and reduces the saturated fats. The end result to the person eating the beef is that with more omega 3 they are increasing the effectiveness of the HDL cholesterol (good) in their blood and decreasing the LDL cholesterol (bad) by decreasing their intake of saturated fats. 2
How we make losing weight easier!
It is well known that diet and exercise are both required to lose weight in a healthy way but there are properties of Nimitz Beef that can help you shed them and keep them off.
First CLA (conjugated liolenic acid) found in animal and dairy fats of beef that are not fed grains has recently been outlined in a University of Wisconsin study to assist individuals who lose weight from regaining it. The human intestine produces CLA naturally from linoleic acid. Studies have shown that attaining a higher CLA content in daily food intake can have possible health benefits such as weight loss.1
Secondly 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.)3
For example, a 6-ounce steak from grass finished beef can have approximately 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from grain finished beef. Lets say you eat a standard amount of beef (66 pounds per year), switching to grass fed beef will save you up to 17,500 calories a year. If you stay constant with your diet you will about 6 pounds a year with minimal willpower required.3 That is simple math at work for you.
Read more about the health benefits of Nimitz Beef at: http://www.nimitzbeef.com/health-benefits.aspx
1. 1. Control the diet of our animals when they are being finished.
- We finish our animals on a diet of natural grasses and legumes as well they are given a flax based ration with absolutely no grain in it. Removing the chance of acid resistant E Coli being produced from a high grain ration, as is common in commercial beef production.
2. 2. Use smaller packing plants where our animals have less exposure to other carcasses.
- We use smaller packing plants that process fewer animals with less focus on pushing high numbers of animal carcasses through their processing lines. We trust the packing plants we work with based on the positive experiences we have had with them.
3. 3. Educate our consumers on cooking temperatures that kill bacteria.
- We educate our customers through our sale channels on the safe cooking of our beef products. When beef is cooked to the correct temperature it removes the chance of harmful such as E Coli being present in the food when it is consumed. For ground beef it is 160F and for muscle cuts it is 140F.
4. 4. Our beef is sold frozen so as not to spoil on display or in a refrigerator.
- Meat can spoil or collect bacteria and germs when it is displayed in refrigerators or shelves; by delivering our product frozen we are delivering you a safer product.
5. 5. We make our deluxe lean ground beef from whole muscles cuts.
- Our deluxe lean ground is cut from the chuck, shank, brisket, plate, flank and round. Not from trimming and scrap material as most commercial beef is that is found in supermarkets and grocery stores.
6. 6. All of our deluxe lean ground beef comes from only our healthy animals. One animal at a time.
- All ground beef is from one animal at a time, meaning that there is only one animal per package of ground beef. When you eat ground beef from the store you are eating the scrap cuts of several animals at once that were of varying degrees of healthiness when they were processed. Leading to a larger chance of harmful bacteria being present in the beef.
7. 7. We only process animals under 30 months of age.
- All the beef that is processed and sold by Nimitz Beef is under the age of 30 months. Following the BSE problems in Canada it was determined that is was safer for exporting is animals were processed under 30 months in terms of BSE being present as it is known to develop later in the bovines life cycle. We believe this is another way we provide a safer product to our customers.
As more and more people learn that the large amount of beef in North America comes from 5-10% of the feedlots, we are becoming increasingly aware that it leads to practices that can produce problems in the industry for the consumer. With mass cattle and beef producers striving to create larger profits and larger gains on their cattle they are continuing to develop and follow practices that can have negative fall out. So far this year two incidents stand out as exemplifying this, the first was the “pink slime” controversy in the US and the second was an atypical BSE case discovered in California.
Recently in the mail Nimitz Beef received a newsletter from Animal Welfare Approved, there was a very interesting forward by the Program Director Andrew Gunther that I thought was worth sharing. Keep in mind that this is an American publication and the regulations on BSE and Pink Slime are much more stringent in Canada, but he still hits the nail on the head with his statement.
2012 is already a year that the intensive livestock industry would like us to forget. Media coverage of ammonia-treated boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT)-otherwise known as “pink slime”-resulted in an extraordinary public backlash, particularly when we learned that 70 percent of ground beef sold in the US contained unlabeled BLBT. Weeks later news broke that a dead cow in California tested positive for “atypical” bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow disease”). White the USDA claimed that the public had nothing to fear, the fact that the case was detected purely by chance did not go unnoticed.
What most commentators failed to note, however, is that the “pink slime” fiasco and BSE are both indirect outcomes of the incessant drive to further industrialize livestock farming and meat processing. In both cases, a novel technology was introduced (essentially) out of public sight with the primary aim of utilizing slaughterhouse waste to minimize industry costs. Most consumers had no idea that ruminant remains were being ground up and fed back to other ruminants; similarly, the meat processing industry did very little-if anything-to inform the public that BLBT was being added to most ground beef.
I believe that the recent public outcry is a symptom of years of latent concern about the over-industrialization of food production. Indeed, many consumers now have a profound feeling that when it comes to food production the pendulum has swung too far towards the surreptitious introduction of questionable practices on the basis of “what can make us the most money-regardless of the costs.” And the intensive meat industry is now paying the price.
Andrew Gunther 2012
Production on such a massive level creates problems in almost all industries, however; on the production of foods it can be harmful and less than transparent to the end customer. At Nimitz Beef we believe in a customer centered approach and caring for our animals on a level that organizations in the intensive meat industry will never understand. We hope values like ours will continue to spread throughout the industry as well as the beef consumer population.
As foods are studied more in depth, proper nutrition becomes more complicated. Recently there have been several articles published about whether the harm of eating fish out weighs the benefits. It seems frightening that we are now trying to determine if the possible negatives of consuming small amounts of mercury and PCB’s (largely used as coolant fuels before they were banned in 1979 for being a persistent organic pollutant) outweigh the positives of the omega 3 fatty acids and other health benefits of fish meats. It has even gotten to the point where when purchasing fish oils in stores, a product that people have been using for generations it is now recommended that you double check the label to make sure it is mercury free.
A large number fish species are over fished or harvested in harmful ways as has been publicised in the last couple decades. Such as bottom trawls than can destroy sea grasses, coral beds and pretty much all organisms on the sea floor and netting techniques that capture large varieties of fish species most of which are simply discarded because they are not suitable for marketing to the public. 1
But there is also farmed fish maybe that is a better and sustainable practice? Not exactly, fish in fisheries and even shell fish are treated similarly to cattle feedlots. Living in confined spaces and being administered antibiotics to help them grow and survive in their conditions. As well most fish species will not reproduce in captivity and need to be administered hormones to do so. Fish meats are often not tested for hormones residues when put into the consumer market.2
Labels like these make a person wonder what the alternatives are. Maybe it is time to think about something that eats grass and lives on land. Grass fed beef has an omega 3 concentration similar or greater than a number of fish meats. It is important however, to cook it only to a rare or medium rare level if you want to keep the polyunsaturated fats from oxidizing. 3
It could be a healthier choice with fewer restrictions than eating fish. Consuming protein from beef is one of the healthier choices if it is produced lean as well it is one of the more protein dense foods. So if you can eat a safer omega 3 rich protein while avoiding the danger labels of fish why not make the switch. You could also be helping the environment because unlike harvested fish, Nimitz Beef has a holistic focus on sustainability and animal health. No hormones, no antibiotics for growth and no confinement before processing, maybe it is time to consider a safer and healthier type f protein.
Ever have the experience of making your own beautiful hamburgers by hand then placing them on the grill only to watch them shrink dramatically. We have, and that’s why we did a shrink test of supermarket lean ground beef against our Nimitz Beef deluxe lean ground.
Shrink can be expected in all beef, because there is always a moisture component. But these results were shocking!
The supermarket lean ground went from 200 grams to 136 grams which is a 32% shrink. While the Nimitz Beef lean ground went from 200 grams to157 grams which is a 21.5% shrink. A difference of 10.5% which is quite a lot if you think say in terms of kilograms, a kilogram of Nimitz Beef contains essentially 105 grams more meat after cooking than the store bought lean ground.
Next time you are buying beef in the supermarket or grocery store it is important to ask yourself just how much water are you willing to pay for.
In combination with the results from experiment 2 that visually depicted the fat content as well as the results of experiment 1 that depicted the possible conditions the animal was raised in and its overall health, maybe it is time to go with the beef that is conclusively better than your supermarkets lean ground beef. All you have to do now is taste the flavour of our ranch raised natural and healthy beef to truly experience why it is a superior product.
Nimitz Beef Experiment Stage 2
Have you ever cooked tacos, pasta sauce or meat loaf and wondered why your food is swimming in grease. Well it all has to do with the type of beef you are cooking. The type of beef you are cooking relates to the animals diet. Mass produced meats in Canada come from finishing feedlots, where they consume a high content grain diet to fatten and come to finishing weight faster than is natural. How does this affect the meat you are eating?
We conducted an experiment we purchased a package of lean ground beef from our local supermarket. The name of the store has been excluded from this experiment as the beef is similar in all supermarkets and this is not being written to slander grocery stores. The meat was measured and cooked against our Nimitz Deluxe Ground Beef.
Not only is the amount of grease in this experiment important but also be sure to look for the colour difference in the grease between the 2 types of beef.
The results as can be seen above are quite shocking and quite obviously one sided. Notice the large difference in the amounts of grease drained. 38 grams of grease was drained from the supermarket lean ground beef that was purchased. 3 grams of grease was drained from the Nimitz Beef deluxe lean ground beef; which equates to almost 13 times more in the supermarket beef. As well the grease drained from the Nimitz Beef deluxe lean ground seems to possess a healthier tint.
Hopefully the visuals shown in this experiment will make you a little more aware of how much the diet of an animal affects the quality ofi ts meat. Just another way that Nimitz Beef is trying to educate and provide asuperior artisan product to their consumers.
(Sources for Images: Venison1, Moose2,Bison3)
A darker meat is due to a higher concentration of myoglobin. Myoglobin is similar to hemoglobin in humans and its function is to transport oxygen through the animal’s bloodstream to its muscles. Myoglobin concentration has to do with the cardiovascular capacity in cattle, meaning that the more myoglobin, the more exercise an animal is getting and the darker the meat is.
Next time you are shopping for beef in the supermarket remember that the light color of red meat that you have come to equate with freshness is an indicator that the animal it came from was confined in a space where it could not get enough exercise to have a healthy cardiovascular system. A healthy animal makes a healthier product; there is a link between the darkness of meat and the concentration of iron, zinc, essential amino acids, niacin, and selenium. Maybe it is time to think about eating a healthier product yourself and to consider the health of those around you such as family and friends.
Nimitz Beef proudly supports a healthy lifestyle by providing a beef product that consumes a healthy diet and gets sufficient exercise and does not suffer from confinement before being processed. Our lean ground beef product also undergoes minimal processing as can be seen in comparison to the supermarket beef. There are no trimmings added to our beef which is something that is becoming more publicised currently with the “pink slime” debate across North America.4
All the animal meats in this experiment consume a natural diet of grazing grasses and leafy forages except the supermarket lean ground beef. As with most supermarket beef available it can be assumed that it was finished on a high grain diet. The affects of this will be seen more clearly in Nimitz Beef Experiment: Stage 2.