Tag Archives: grass-fed

An easy Bulgogi Beef Skillet recipe from Paleohacks

If you’re craving takeout, try this easy, one skillet beef bulgogi recipe from our friends at Paleohacks for sweet and spicy flavor with zero soy, MSG, or preservatives!

Bulgogi is a popular Korean recipe that translates literally to “fire meat.” Super thin slices of strip steaks, sirloin steak, or ribeye are marinated in spices until tender, then grilled or pan-fried. The result is a sticky, crispy, and slightly spicy recipe that can be turned into a complete meal with a side of cauliflower rice or stir-fried veggie noodles.

The unique marinade includes ripe, grated Asian pear for sweetness, texture, and tang. The acidity in the pear also helps to tenderize the meat. If you can’t find Asian pears, a traditional pear will work just fine. To add a subtle spice to the marinade, use gochugaru, the bright red Korean red pepper. This powder is less spicy than cayenne and creates a balanced heat that lets the other flavors shine through.


Coconut sugar stands in for brown sugar, adding sweetness and helping to crisp the steak for delicious texture. Finally, toasted sesame oil adds nutty aroma while ginger, garlic, and coconut aminos add even more flavor and dimension.

To make the bulgogi, mix all the ingredients for the marinade together, add to the sliced beef, and refrigerate for at least two hours. Then, grease a medium skillet with avocado oil—not olive oil. Avocado oil has a high smoke heat point that can withstand high cooking temperatures without burning. Cook the steak about two minutes per side, in two batches.


To serve, top the hot steak slices with sesame seeds and scallions, and enjoy!

If you’re craving more takeout recipes but don’t feel like cooking, check out one of these 13 totally Paleo meal delivery options!

Paleohacks’ Korean-style BBQ Bulgogi Beef Skillet



Prep time- 10 minutes

Cook time- 10 minutes

Chill time- 4 hours

Total time- 4 hours, 20 minutes

Serves- 4


Mixing bowl





For the Marinade

1/3 cup grated Asian pear, peeled

1 T Korean red pepper (or chili powder)

1 T coconut sugar

1 T lime juice

2 T toasted sesame oil

2 T coconut aminos

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 t ground ginger

1/4 t sea salt

For the Steak:

2 10-oz strip steaks, thinly sliced

1 t avocado oil

1/2 t sesame seeds, for serving

1/4 cup chopped green onion, for serving


1. Combine ingredients for marinade in a mixing bowl and stir well.

2. Add steak slices and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

3. Grease a skillet with avocado oil and heat over medium-high heat for a few minutes. When hot, use tongs to add half of the marinated steak strips and cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 2 minutes.

4. Transfer steak to a bowl and repeat with remaining strips.

5. Serve the beef bulgogi hot garnished with sesame seeds and green onion.

A taco-stuffed sweet potato? Another great recipe from Paleohacks

The great recipe team at Paleohacks has shared another tasty dish with Roam. This Mexican-inspired recipe features sweet potatoes stuffed with taco meat and topped with homemade guacamole for a single serving meal everyone will love!

Ditch the tortilla and stuff your favorite taco fixings inside tender roasted sweet potatoes for a filling and guilt-free meal.

Tacos are a dinner staple that everyone can agree on. However, when following a Paleo lifestyle, tortillas can be difficult to replace. Traditional tortillas and other grain-filled foods can cause bloating, which is why sweet potatoes are such a great alternative. Plus, they’re big enough to stuff with drool-worthy toppings for a fun twist on taco night.

Grass-fed ground beef carries the smoky taco spices, like cumin, onion powder, and chili powder. A little tomato paste adds to the tangy zip. And as we all know, no taco is complete without a scoop of creamy guacamole. This one is kept simple with chopped onion, cilantro, and jalapeños so you can mash it together while the meat sizzles on the stove.

stuffed sweet potatoes

Get started by greasing the sweet potatoes with avocado oil, which helps to lightly crisp up the skins. Bake for one hour, then let the sweet potatoes cool at room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.

Meanwhile, heat ground beef in a skillet until browned, then stir in dry seasonings, tomato paste, and a little water. Cook about five minutes more.

While the taco meat cooks, make the guacamole by mashing an avocado until just slightly chunky. Add red onion, cilantro, sea salt, and jalapeños.

When everything’s ready, slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise and fill it up with taco meat. Top with a scoop of guacamole and finish with freshly diced tomatoes. Enjoy it while it’s hot!

stuffed sweet potatoes

Other great toppings to include:

  • Pickled jalapeño
  • Diced mango
  • Sliced radishes
  • Chopped bell pepper 

Tip: Try baking up a few additional sweet potatoes so you can have these decadent sweet potato brownies for dessert!

Taco-Stuffed Sweet Potato 

Prep time- 10 minutes

Cook time- 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total time- 1 hour, 25 minutes

Serves- 4 


Parchment paper

Baking sheet



Small bowl 


stuffed sweet potatoes

4 sweet potatoes

1 T avocado oil

1 lb ground beef

1 T ground cumin

2 t chili powder

1/2 t garlic powder

1/4 t onion powder

1/4 t cayenne pepper

2 T tomato paste

1/4 cup water

1 medium ripe avocado

2 T red onion, chopped

1 T cilantro

1 T minced jalapeños

1/4 t sea salt

1/2 cup tomatoes, diced


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Grease the outsides of the sweet potatoes with avocado oil and set on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, then let cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, using a spatula to break up the meat. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in dry seasonings, tomato paste, and water until thoroughly combined. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.

5. While the taco meat cooks, prepare the topping: Mash an avocado in a small bowl. Add the chopped red onion, cilantro, jalapeños, and sea salt. Stir well.

6. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them down the center lengthwise. Stuff with the taco meat, then add a scoop of the guacamole and diced tomatoes and serve.

If you liked this recipe, then you’ll love this sweet potato cheeseburger casserole recipe that you can make with just one pan.



Everything you want to know about humanely raised beef, pork, and chicken

Humanely-raised meat — ethically, pasture-raised with sustainable farming practices involved — is of higher quality than standard, factory-farm meat for a number of reasons. Most importantly, animals live better when raised by ethically-minded farmers and ranchers.

It’s important that animal health is considered in every step of the lifecycle. Their natural tendencies should be honored: Cattle should be able to roam, hogs graze, and chickens should be raised on pasture.

When it comes to understanding humanely-raised meat, it is good to get a grasp of the decisions made by family farmers for whom animal welfare is a top priority. Was the animal healthy and content? Was it ever administered antibiotics or hormones? Farms and company facilities should operate with best practice s— for example, Dr. Temple Grandin’s livestock principles.

Below, we detail ethical practices for farming and processing grass-fed and finished beef, heritage-breed pork, and organic, free-range chicken.

Grass-fed, grass-finished beef

Only one percent of the total beef consumed in the United States is 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished. American beef that meets that standard comes from cattle that were free to roam on pasture throughout their entire lives, nursing from their mother for six to nine months, and then grazing on a natural diet of grass. Grass-fed and grass-finished cattle — usually only referred to as grass-fed — consume only grass for the entirety of their post-nursing lives, while grain-fed cattle may have been supplemented with grain or corn or finished with grain.

Grass-fed cattle feed on annual and perennial grasses, forbs—herbaceous flowering plants—and cereal grain in a pre-grain state. Grass-fed cattle graze year-round, with access to shelter when needed. 

This is in contrast to grain-fed cattle, which constitute the vast majority of beef consumed in the United States. Grain-feeding cattle is a relatively recent development; animals throughout most of history were free to roam and eat grass.

While grass-fed cattle roam freely in the fresh air, grain-fed cattle are moved to concentrated feedlots. They’re fed a grain-centric diet based on soy or corn and put on weight more rapidly than pasture-raised cattle. They are often treated with antibiotics and hormones to maximize growth. A vast majority experience very poor living conditions their entire lives. 

Beyond concerns about the life of the animal, grass-fed beef also offers major health benefits to the consumer. Typically leaner, it’s less fatty and caloric. It boasts more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef, more antioxidant vitamins and more healthy fats that might reduce chronic diseases.

While the animal’s food source is crucial to its quality, it’s equally important to ensure that the animal is humanely raised. In order to be certified humane in the United States, the animal can never be confined for intensive feeding. It must have access to adequate grazing pasture. It can only be confined for no more than 20 days a year for animal management, like husbandry or treatment.

A majority of the grass-fed, grass-finished beef on the market comes from Australia, which has very high animal welfare standards as well as the climate and pasture land to allow cattle to spend their entire lives grazing.

Heritage-breed pork

Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc—have you heard of these breeds of pig? They belong to a class known as heritage-breed pork. Traditionally bred for food, these breeds of pig dwindled in numbers during the rise of industrial agriculture. Heritage-breed pigs are better adapted to withstand disease and live in open pasture. Unlike factory farmed pigs, heritage-breed pigs are not treated with antibiotics, hormones, and don’t live in temperature-controlled indoor units. They possess unique genetic traits and are raised on sustainable farms.

In order to be considered certified humane, these pigs are not subjected to farrowing and gestation stalls. Gestation stalls enclose sows during pregnancy, while farrowing stalls pen sows in while nursing piglets. Just as with cattle, there are no concentrated feeding operations. While conventionally farmed pigs typically have slatted floors in their environments—proven to increase leg problems for pigs—heritage breed pigs are raised on farms without slatted floors.

Perhaps the best part about heritage-breed pork is its delicious, succulent flavor. Heritage-breed pork is more marbled than conventionally-farmed pork, meaning juicier, more flavorful meat.

Some breeds take a bit of time to get to market weight, but they’re so delicious, they’re worth the wait.


Organic, free-range chicken

Chickens given regular access to the outdoors, rather than being kept in heavily confined conditions, are much happier than their factory-farmed counterparts.

These birds are called free-range chickens. They have access to as much outdoor space as they do indoor space, including special enhancements like hay bales and places to climb. They roost in barns and roam in and out as they please, interact with other chickens, and live as nature intended. This results in a stress-free, cage-free, happy life for the chicken. The quality of your meat, in turn, is much higher.

In addition to free-range, higher quality chickens should be antibiotic and hormone free. Unfortunately, factory-farmed chickens are usually subjected to an array of antibiotics. Hormones, however, are prohibited across the industry.

Chickens fed vegetarian diets from both foraged and feed sources tend to be healthier. Additionally, free-range chicken often forage for bugs, grubs, and the like, which is exceptionally healthy for them. With non-genetically modified grain diets and pesticide-free growing environments for the feed, these chickens qualify as non-GMO and organic. Plus, in addition to being humanely-raised and healthier for you, they taste delicious.


NY strip steak – An iconic steak in New York and beyond for good reason

You can find it featured on the menu of most reputable steakhouses, and although it goes by various names, when one thinks of a perfectly sized, tender, and flavorful cut of beef, likely, they are imagining a New York strip steak.

The strip steak comes from the topmost section of the sirloin, a little-used area of muscle, the longissimus, that is commonly referred to as the strip loin or top loin. The strip steak is sometimes prepared with a bone attached; quite often, you can find the strip is part of a T-bone steak or Porterhouse steak when part of a larger bone-in cut that also includes tenderloin steak — by itself, filet mignon. 

Delmonico steak, Kansas City strip steak, or NY strip steak?

As a standalone steak, it is most commonly referred to as the New York strip steak, but it can also be called the New York sirloin steak, the Kansas City steak (with bone-in) or Kansas City strip steak, contré filet, strip loin steak, hotel steak, ambassador steak, club sirloin steak, or in some parts of the world, simply sirloin steak. Also, the New York strip can be — or has been known — as the Delmonico steak.

The connection to Delmonico’s, the famous New York steakhouse and restaurant first opened in Lower Manhatten in the 1820’s, is likely how the cut earned its most famous moniker, the New York strip steak. However, it is unclear if a Delmonico steak, or the original Delmonico steak, is, or ever was a strip steak from the top loin or a ribeye steak. The reason for the confusion is likely due to steakhouses across the country seeking to mimic Delmonico’s famous steaks, but using an array of different — yet similarly tender and thick — cuts. Those who have investigated the Delmonico and New York strip steak connection, refer to the cut also being called a club steak, a reference to the restaurant’s early days as one of the first American dining clubs. 

However convoluted the naming history of the cut may be, one thing isn’t up for debate: New York strip steaks take relatively little preparation and can be cooked to a melt-in-your-mouth level of deliciously quite easily.


The perfect NY strip steak

Whether pan seared — or reverse seared — grilling on a charcoal or gas grill, or cooking by some other method, all a New York strip steak really needs is a coating of crushed black pepper and kosher salt or sea salt and some compound butter. Just a few ingredients, a few minutes of cooking time, and you can get the perfect steak for any steak lover. The easy prep is one of the reasons it pops up on restaurant menus so often.

According to ButcherBox Head Chef Yankel Polak, the lack of too much visible fat also makes New York strip steak a steakhouse favorite.

“There is a breed of steak lover out there who likes things a bit leaner,” Chef Yankel explains. “I used to see them in restaurants all the time; they would order a big ol’ ribeye and leave all that amazing fat sitting on the plate. It inspired me to offer a NY strip steak as the lean alternative.”

“When butchered properly, it has only a thin strip of fat running down one side — and besides its natural marbling — the strip steak presents itself as the less fatty menu option,” continues Chef Yankel.

And, there is a business reason as well: According to Chef Yankel, a NY strip steak is a high-value item for a restaurant because there is nearly no waste. “It dry ages well, cooks quickly, and requires almost no skill to do it perfectly and deliciously.”

“Personally I like slow smoking them at 225°F until they are rare, resting them for a bit, and then finishing them over a raging fire for the ultimate crust,” he added.

The cut does also benefit from a bit of marinating if you want to marry a grass-fed, grass-finished New York strip steak to other flavors you may be preparing. Below are two of Chef Yankel’s favorite methods for marinating and cooking the perfect New York strip steak.

NY Strip Steak with Chef Yankel’s Zesty Marinade Recipe


  • 2 ButcherBox NY Strip Steaks
  • 3 limes, zest and juice
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp crushed black pepper
  • ¼ c olive oil


1. Combine all ingredients for marinade in small bowl. Mix well and coat steaks thoroughly.

2. Allow steaks to marinate refrigerated at least one hour, then bring steaks to room temp before cooking.

3. Grill steaks over charcoal or open flame for 4 to 6 min per side, or until internal temperature reads 120°F. Rest steak 8 min before serving.

Chef Yankel’s  5-minute NY Strip Steak Marinade Recipe



  • 2 ButcherBox NY Strip Steaks


  • ¼ c balsamic vinegar (the higher-quality, the better!)
  • ½ c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Bring steaks to room temperature and season with salt and pepper.

3. Mix all marinade ingredients. Pour ¼ c over steaks and let them sit at room temp for 5 min.

4. Preheat cast-iron skillet. Once skillet is hot, sear steaks on both sides for 2-3 min per side or until a nice crust forms.

5. Place pan in oven for 5 more min, or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of steak reads 120°F.

6. Let steaks rest for at least 8 min before slicing. Serve alongside salad and enjoy!

Baby back ribs – A smoky, sticky summer treat that you can enjoy anytime

Baby back ribs are a staple of true barbecue masters’ arsenal — from St. Louis to Memphis, South Carolina to the heart of Texas.

And whether slow cooked for a few hours in a Crock Pot or an entire day in a smoker, baby back ribs are delectable no matter how they are prepared.

The cut comes from the top of a pig’s rib cage, specifically the area just below the loin between the spine and what we know of as the spare ribs. Baby back ribs are distinguishable by their tapered shape and the greater amount of meat — compared to spare ribs — often found on top of and between the rib bones. Usually, a rack of baby back ribs includes between eight to 13 ribs that vary in length from three inches to about six inches.

While any reputable smokehouse or barbecue shop will have baby back ribs, how to cook them — more specifically, how to flavor them — is a source of disagreement among the major barbecue regions of America: Carolina, Texas, Memphis, and Kansas City styles. Although we don’t have to break down which version of BBQ is best at this moment, there is something perfect with having a little sweet and savory flavor added to baby back ribs. 


Baby back ribs are also one of the cuts of heritage-breed pork that ButcherBox Head Chef Yankel Polak loves to experiment with when he cooks.

“Every time I cook baby back ribs, I learn something new,” Chef Yankel says. “They are super flavorful and have just the right amount of fat.”

“And of course anything with a bone attached is just that much better.”

There are many ways to cook baby back ribs. You can check out a few in our recipe pages.

But Chef Yankel has a very specific method to get his ribs just right: “I give them one hour of smoke at 225°F, then two hours in the oven at 250°F, wrapped tightly in foil, bone side down and with a splash of vinegar.”

“To finish,” Chef Yankel explains, “I give them 30 minutes on the grill with about 10 applications of a sweet and sticky BBQ sauce.”

You can check out Chef Yankel preparing his “Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs with Chipotle Pineapple BBQ Sauce” in this video or use the “Sweet and Sour Slow Cooker Ribs” recipe below if you don’t have a smoker but want to slow cook your baby back ribs.

Sweet and Sour Slow Cooker Ribs


  •  1 pack ButcherBox Baby Back Ribs

The Rub:

  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp ginger powder
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard powder
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • 1  tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt

The Liquid

  • ¼ c maple syrup
  • ¼ c coconut amino
  • ¼ c sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp liquid smoke


      1. Pat dry ribs with a paper towel and peel off membrane on the bone side of ribs. You can also score the membrane with a sharp paring knife in an ‘X’ formation.
      2. Mix all rub ingredients and massage into ribs.
      3. Place all liquid ingredients in slow-cooker, then add ribs. Cook on low setting for 4 hrs.
      4. Let rest in liquid 20 minutes before serving.
      5. For a super quick sauce, remove ribs from slow-cooker, then place all liquid in saucepan, and simmer until thickened.
      6. Pour over ribs and broil for extra crispy texture and real BBQ flavor!



Grass-fed and grass-finished beef: How not to be fooled by beef industry tricks

One of the more fascinating aspects of the meat industry in the United States is the use and misuse of product naming and labeling by various purveyors. We’ve covered this topic a fair amount, quite honestly, because it is an area where we see so much manipulation and, sometimes, purposeful deception of consumers. This is most striking when it comes to grass-fed cattle and the designation “grass-fed beef” in particular.

Grass-fed AND grass-finished

One of the first things we discovered about quality grass-fed beef is how little customers know about the products they buy and eat.

There’s not that much to know, but, crazily, it’s still very confusing for the consumer. Grass-fed beef is expected to come from cattle that eat grass — or other green forage — while grazing in open pastures for their entire life. Seems pretty cut and dried.

However, transparency hasn’t always been the beef industry standard.

The fine print – Grain-fed beef

Confusion arrives with the use of labels such as “grass-fed, grain-finished beef,” which could trick consumers into thinking the meat they are eating is something it is not. Basically, “grass-fed, grain-finished” is conventional beef, the same thing as every cow raised.

Currently, 98 percent of beef consumed in the United States is grain-fed beef. However, every cow starts out the same way: It is raised the first six months on its mother’s milk and continues for about a year just grazing on grass (and hay or other “forage” as it is impossible to grow cattle on grass year-round in most regions of the country). After half a year, the majority of cows move to the feedlot where they are fattened on grains for the last 90 to 160 days before slaughter.

But some cattle continue to graze and feed on grass after those first six months. This is what people think of when they seek out truly grass-fed, grass-finished beef.

When a label says “grass-fed, grain-finished,” that’s just the same thing as every other steak or roast at any supermarket. They were taken to a feedlot, just like other cattle. Although, that’s not what the labeling is trying to imply.

You can even have grass-fed and grain-fed cattle on the same ranch.

An example of grass-fed grain-finished marketing (with the branding removed). This is what they want consumers to imagine the cattle’s life entailed.

Why aren’t all cows both grass-fed and grass-finished?

The entire system is built for grain-fed, not grass-fed production. Grain-finishing is more efficient and cheaper, and it adds weight a lot quicker to get the cattle primed for slaughter. It also gives the cattle the type of marbling and fat content that Americans have grown accustomed to in their beef. If you think about it, even the “quality” ratings we use to talk about our beef — choice, select and prime — are based on marbling and rapid weight gain.

Feedlots and grain-finishing

Beef sales have been on the decline for a number of years, and a big reason for that is because people think that steaks are unhealthy. The reality of what makes beef potentially unhealthy has to do with the artificial fattening of the cow. Not only do grain-finished cattle eat food that has not been a traditional part of their diet, but feedlot cows also have more antibiotics and hormones than those that grazed for their entire lives (that is until some stricter FDA rules were put in place in 2017 tried to limit this practice).

Studies have discovered that grain-fed, corn-fed, or grain-finished cattle do not have the same nutrition profile as grass-fed. Studies show that cattle fed grain lack as many good omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) as grass-fed cows. Both of these essential fatty acids have pretty great health benefits.

And yet, the system is structured in a way where grass-fed is just not an option for most cattle ranchers and beef producers. They have limited resources and must focus on making their cattle operations as efficient as possible. Letting cattle graze for their entire lives does not work for many beef producers.

An example of grass-fed grass-finished marketing.

Purposeful misrepresentation

Some nefarious producers still want the financial benefits of shipping grass-fed, natural beef. This led to the creation and use of the grass-fed, grain-finished label.

Mislabeling isn’t the only tactic that has confused consumers. We’ve heard a lot from people who’ve tried grass-fed beef before and didn’t like it, even saying that it tastes like shoe-leather. We cannot imagine how someone could think that tender grass-fed, grass-finished beef tastes anything other than delicious.

We discovered that at one point producers trying to get into the grass-fed market would sell dairy cows.  While most dairy cows are just fed grass, they are often old by the time they stop producing milk. In these instances, the product being sold was not beef raised with the intention of being high-quality meat, but that it was raised for dairy and got used for meat, under the implication that it was “grass-fed.” But as the market has grown, more and more companies have decided to raise grass-fed cows specifically for meat instead of dairy cows.

And so most of the beef on the market tastes a lot better than what people who remember eating grass-fed meat — but were actually eating dairy cow — have experienced.

This issues of misrepresentation and mislabeling have been a persistent problem for consumers who may have been unknowingly ignorant to the realities. When someone buys grass-fed beef, they think they are getting an idyllic cow grazing in a field. Too often that hasn’t been the case.

Finding real grass-fed beef

One of the challenges for the customer is that they have good intentions, they want to eat a quality product, and they want the benefit of eating a steak that’s better for them. But they can easily be led astray.

The key is for consumers to look for labels and brands that offer either 100 percent grass-fed meat or the grass-fed, grass-finished labeling. There are also a lot of organizations that offer to certify that products are indeed fully grass-fed. This includes the American Grassfed Association. However, the USDA, which only monitors certified organic beef, does not concern itself with grass-fed regulation. The story of how certified organic/grass-fed beef is labeled and regulated is the topic of another post entirely.

ButcherBox is a brand that stands against all this confusion. We partner only with the farmers whose interests are aligned with our own. We want to bring the customers the best quality meats without any surprises.

And, we are willing to scour the globe to do that.

We want to end the confusion about grass-fed, grass-finished beef. It’s time to be able to access high-quality, trusted meat.


organic grass fed beef

The mystery of ‘organic grass-fed beef': Why organic and grass-fed aren’t the same thing

Here at ButcherBox, we are proud to be able to deliver nutrient-rich, thoughtfully-sourced grass-fed beef to our subscribers’ doors each month.

We get many questions about what the differences between grass-fed and organic, and, for that matter, why grass-fed is better than supermarket meat. It comes down to a few critical issues: Feed, certification, and, at least for us, treatment.

Grass-fed beef

We’ve written about grass-fed beef on numerous occasions. Our passion for healthy grass-fed meat is the reason why we started ButcherBox.

Grass-fed beef is, by definition, meat from cattle that have grazed on grass — and sometimes forage — in their lives. This is in opposition to grain feeding, which has long been the standard of the beef industry and is most likely what you buy from the grocery store or butcher.

Because a grain-fed cow eats grains as its primary source of food, its meat does not have the same nutrition profile as meat from a cow that has eaten grass its entire life. For instance, grass-fed beef has a better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, as well as more good fatty acids, nutrients, and minerals than grain-fed beef.

Also, grain-feeding occurs on feedlots, which we are vehemently opposed to. Grain-feeding in feedlots — where cattle are crammed into pens together — is done to make cows fatter to bring to market more significant quantities of beef that have marbling that the American consumer has unfortunately become used to over the past century.

Because of the horrible conditions at feedlots, which breed disease and the desire to raise bigger cows faster (i.e., get more meat on the market more quickly, regardless of quality), grain-fed cattle often receive antibiotics and hormones as well.

Thoughtfully-sourced meat is not just healthier, it’s more humane: No pens, no feedlots, no hormones, and no antibiotics.Pasture-raised cattle graze on grass as nature intended.

This brings us to one of our most significant concerns when it comes to grass-fed meat: Purposely deceitful labeling of some meat products.

Grass-finished is the key

The term grass-fed is used so often, that it is assumed that all “grass-fed” beef is the same: Meat from cows that have spent their lives grazing on lush grass green fields.

However, some meat producers purposely trick consumers into buying grass-fed beef when they are actually buying grass-fed, grain-finished meat. We’ve discussed this on Roam before, but here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Almost all cattle spend the first year of their lives grazing with their mothers and eating grass. Industrial farms then move these cattle to inhumane feedlots. Unfortunately, some producers use this as justification to label their beef as “grass-fed, grain-finished,” just because the cows ate grass for a short period.

Additionally, some beef industry operators do feed their cows grass, hay, or forage for the majority of their lives. But they also feed the cows grains to fatten them up, labeling their meat “grass-fed, grain-finished” as well.

When consumers buy grass-fed beef, they are expecting meat that is more nutritious than grain-fed or corn-fed beef. Grass-fed, grass-finished has more good omega-3 fatty acids, more conjugated linoleic acids, and other vital nutrients.

More than anything, being pasture-raised — truly grass-fed — is good for the cow (a cow’s digestive system evolved to eat grass, not grain or corn).


So what is organic beef?

Organic beef is meat that is sourced in a specific way so that the USDA designates it as “certified organic.”

According to the Department of Agriculture’s website, to meet the standards of the “certified organic” label, a cow needs to be raised, “in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones.”

Now the problem is that this means there are no qualifications on what that organic feed can be. This is the most prominent difference between grass-fed, grass-finished and organic beef.

A filet mignon or New York strip steak you buy that is organic may be from an animal that has eaten corn or grain its entire life, not grass-fed cows.

A grass-fed New York strip that comes from pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle has more health benefits — good fatty acids, nutrients, and the better omega 6 to omega-3 ratio — and, to our mind, tastes better. But, it may or may not be organic grass-fed beef.

The important distinction is that most grass-fed beef is raised organically, but organic beef is not necessarily grass-fed. Not all farmers receive the organic certification label from the USDA, either because the process is too cumbersome or they use some non-organic product on a section of their land, so they don’t have “organic pastures” to meet the standard for a certified organic label.

I know this is confusing.

From our perspective, the “organic” label is not as important as whether or not a cow is grass-fed and grass-finished, is raised humanely, and has never been given hormones or antibiotics. Period.

To ensure this, we vet our farmers carefully before we partner with them, and stay in close communication with them, to make sure they meet our high standards.

Our close relationship with our farmers — many of whom run small independent or family farms — allows us to bring the highest-quality beef products to our members each month.

A chat with Cassy Joy Garcia, the force behind Fed and Fit

Cassy Joy Garcia is a truly inspirational entrepreneur. 

Talking with her recently, Cassy’s exuberance and passion for Fed and Fit —the healthy eating and mindset project she founded — and more importantly, life in general, was apparent within moments of starting our discussion.

Cassy has been blogging about living a happy, healthy life since 2011. In her early twenties, the Texas A&M University graduate dealt with consistent joint pain, fatigue, and anxiety. Figuring that a change in her diet, and the type of foods she was eating, might make a difference, she not only started learning about nutrition but began writing about her experiences as well. 

Shifting to a grain-free, dairy-free, artificial ingredient-free lifestyle, what she describes as “Paleo before I knew that Paleo was a thing,” Cassy felt better, lost weight, and had more energy. She started writing about her experiences to share what she had learned with family and friends. That has evolved into Fed and Fit, a company built around Cassy’s nutrition and lifestyle advice, recipes, a book, podcasts, and a massive community of like-minded souls.

I’m sure you will thoroughly enjoy our conversation (which happened in the last weeks of Cassy’s pregnancy) and I can only hope that the joy she has for Fed and Fit, and helping others comes through in our talk. 

ButcherBox: Cassy, great to chat. Can you tell our readers about how Fed and Fit came to be?

Cassy Joy Garcia: I’m a  certified nutrition consultant, but I started my blog before that happened. About eight or nine years ago. I started to try some sort of a Paleo-type diet. I had dieted for years before that with no real success and then started a “real-foods-type” of a protocol. This is kind of before Paleo is the thing it is today, so that’s not what I called it.I just thought that it made a lot of sense nutrition science-wise as far as being anti-inflammatory, and it worked.

After about nine months I wanted to figure out how to turn it from a diet into a real-life solution because I had felt so great for the first time in my life.

Prior to this breakthrough, in my early twenties, I had some joint pain that was pretty debilitating and was always kind of sleepy. But you know, when you live with these sort of chronic conditions you don’t realize that they’re optional. So when those started to clear up is when I really realized that I wanted to keep eating that way, so I started to get creative in the kitchen and came up with different recipes instead of just eating grilled chicken and steamed broccoli every night.

I guess a major milestone came about nine months later when I really realized how far I had come and after eating mostly real foods, eliminating grains, eliminating artificial sweeteners, eliminating all the unhealthy fats, and also incorporating a mixed fitness program that had a lot of strength training in it. I had gone down a grand total of five dress sizes, from about a 10-12 to about a 2-4, but I hadn’t lost really a lot of weight because I built a lot of muscle over that time. My joint pain was gone and I had more energy than ever; I was sleeping better, too. All that wonderful stuff! And I had friends and family who were asking me what I was doing, and what I was eating, and so, the easiest way for me to share that was on a website.

So I started a website and it just blossomed from there. I had folks who started to find the website and ask really great questions as time went on, and so, in order to answer their great questions, I went back to school to get better answers. That’s when I became a nutritional consultant through Bowman College.

From that point, I could work with folks one-on-one. When my docket of clients was full —you know my dance card was essentially too full to take on any more clients — I turned that into an online program, that I called the Fed and Fit project.

BB: Which led to a book, right?

CJG: Eventually, I took the program and combined with about almost 200 new recipes which turned into my first book. Published through Victory Belt, Fed & Fit came out in the fall of 2016. Its got a copy of the program in there, of course.

Things with Fed and Fit just kept growing. The online program is a bit more robust now. Also, I got involved in not just food, but in a larger education piece.

It’s not just about giving somebody a really great casserole recipe, it’s about educating them on why these ingredients are important and why it can really make a big difference to cook from home more often than not.

Now I operate from the standpoint that knowledge is power. I think that when we know better we do better, not only in relation world around us and how to make an impact on folks weight loss goals — because that’s usually what draws people in first — but also in terms of the impact we can have on just the health of the of the earth overall and our pocketbooks long-term when it comes to medical costs. There’s also the impacts we’re having long-term on the health of our family and our loved ones, so I’ve gotten into some more lifestyle coaching with Fed and Fit.

Now we talk about safer skincare ingredients and the sourcing of that. We dive into that a bit more in the podcast.  It’s just kind of taken off. We’ve been able to build a very nice small team of nutrition consultants and therapy practitioners at Fed and Fit, and we’re just working to bring good content out.

BB: What was the experience of writing the book like? Was that something you’d thought you’d do for a long time?

CJG: You know it was definitely a goal of mine. I feel like I’m an educator at heart, and I had a lot of things that I wanted to teach.

A book really just made a lot of sense. It was a really good and concise place to write my ideas in one spot. Writing a book definitely became a goal of mine when I realized professionally that Fed and Fit was my path. 

What I learned from the process was that it is best not to rush into it. I really took my time with that book, and I probably could have published a book years before, but I decided to wait until I really felt like I was answering a need. 

Also, writing a book is a lot of work and takes a lot of patience. But then again, there’s no substitute for really hard work and doing the research and taking your time. Additionally, it was important to make sure I was asking my audience for their thoughts throughout the process. Ask what would serve them well and what kind of information they were looking for.


BB: What has been surprising, looking back, on building a business around the blog posts, the book, the podcasts, and more?

CJG: I think one of the things that I like to tell folks who think that they want to become a full-time blogger is that there are no shortcuts. I think that especially when it comes to starting a program and writing a book and really figuring out how to serve people, you have to be out there. You have to listen to what questions are being asked, and there’s no shortcut for that.

There’s no shortcut for listening to questions that your readers are asking and doing the research, trying to bring them better content, and then, sometimes, going back to the drawing board. Also, when you write constantly, you are in an always in edit/draft/publish mode. I think that that’s really important to understand, that and knowing that you can’t just come out with a program, take an Instagram class, and in turn a blog into a business overnight.

You have to really be serving people and figure out what it is that they’re looking for.

BB: What’s next for you and Fed and Fit?

CJG: That’s a good question. You know, we’re chatting in January, so we have all these new folks enrolled in the Fed and Fit project in January. They’re just some of the most excited and engaged people, and so it’s a lot of fun to work with folks who understand that the point of the project is not to just be another diet.

It’s great to constantly be learning what works for your body and working with people to have those “A-ha” moments when they realize they don’t have to be shackled to a dieting program the rest of their lives. It is really rewarding. 

I also really love the lifestyle piece. I’m kind of moving my blog content in a direction that is not just some recipes and some nutrition science facts but more towards how to make good decisions in our everyday life. I like talking more about the products we’re using in our homes to clean, the products we’re using on our bodies, and how we’re making those decisions. We like to present that information in a way that it allows folks to make those decisions for themselves. It’s a really fun riddle to solve.

I’ve always loved getting into the lifestyle stuff in the podcast because that just jives really well with my personality.

BB: How has your pregnancy impacted some of the content and work you are doing with Fed and Fit?

CJG: On a personal note, the pregnancy definitely brings to mind that I’m not just eating these nutrients for me but that I’m eating them for the two of us. So the priority has been on, for example, pastured beef and making sure I’m getting in those organ meats. So that perspective has definitely shifted and solidified in a sense. Even though it’s always been a priority.

I definitely think that Fed and Fit is also going to continue to grow as our family grows in terms of content. It’s a balancing act between the decisions we’re making in the home, and then what we publish on the blog. It has been a pretty fun adventure, but yeah, we will have more baby and family columns coming out in the future.

BB: That’s fantastic, good luck. Shifting a bit, when and how did first learn about grass-fed beef?

CJG: Oh, man, it was so long ago. I really don’t remember where I first learned about it.

I try to tell folks considering where to invest their grocery dollars is that one of the best investments you can make on your grocery bill is in really high-quality proteins and high-quality fats. If you’re looking for a place to really splurge that it would be there because of the benefits of pastured proteins — truly grass-fed and grass-finished proteins.

It can have such a tremendous positive impact on our health when you think about the fats and the absence of hormones and antibiotics that conventional cattle and other livestock are fed. I really try to prioritize those healthy proteins above all.

BB: What differences do you notice between grass-fed v. grain-fed meat?

CJG: I think that as with any industry, someone is going to muddy the waters with marketing, so it’s on us as consumers have to be more and more diligent about making sure we’re getting exactly what we want. When we go to the grocery store, and we pick up something that says grass-fed beef, and it’s cheaper than the other grass-fed beef sitting next to it, you have to realize that there’s a chance that it’s not actually grass-fed, grass-finished. 

I think it is important for consumers to also be really vigilant about knowing and doing research on the companies that you are sourcing your products from.

I love ButcherBox because I trust the sourcing process that you guys go through. And I trust you to recommend the best to my readers.

We need to make sure that we’re going with companies that are going the extra mile for us. So while it’s okay to get some of those proteins from the grocery store, it’s better to go through a real-life cow share with somebody or a rancher that you know and trust or a company, like ButcherBox that has gone the extra mile to source those proteins.

BB: What else should we look for from Fed and Fit in 2018?

CJG: So we’ve got some big things coming out this year.

Number one will be a new podcast kind of unrelated to Fed and Fit. We’re going to call it “The Joy Report,” and we’re just going to share what it seems like people are really hungry for: Positivity and good news. We’re gonna share really fun stories that we get from around the world, so, we’ll probably have that coming out sometime this spring.

I am also working on some sort of a casserole business. We want to make it so that folks will be able to actually order a casserole and have it delivered to them.

Lastly, there may be the potential for another book in the works.

BB: Wow, that’s a lot! Cassy, it has been great meeting you and hearing about Fed and Fit. Most importantly, good luck with the soon-to-arrive baby! 

CJG: Thank you!

BB: To learn more about Fed and Fit, check out Cassy’s website. Also, you should definitely check out the podcast and the Fed & Fit book.


Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Does grass-fed beef make you feel better?

There are numerous benefits to eating grass-fed meat that we have discovered or learned about over the years.

Beef from cattle raised and finished on grass — and some types of forage — is better for you mainly because the animal’s diet is healthier, as opposed to cattle which eat mostly corn and grain-based feed.  Additionally, cows that are allowed to graze — not raised on a feedlot — are generally treated more humanely and are typically not given feed that contains unnecessary antibiotics and hormones. If you want to go a step further, the use of regenerative farming practices by those raising grass-fed and finished cattle is believed to be better for the environment.

But there is another, underappreciated and less discussed advantage to eating grass-fed beef that we believe makes the experience far superior to the alternatives.

During one of the first discussions I had with ButcherBox founder and CEO Mike Salguero about his reasons for starting the company, he explained something that he had noticed since switching to a diet that included more grass-fed beef. After years of eating steaks and the like, he had become aware of a unique post-meal experience when eating grass-fed beef. 

He just felt…better.

For Mike, it was a feeling of lightness, of lacking a sense of the fullness and bloatedness that accompanied the consumption of non-grass-fed steaks in the past. These sentiments were supported by how he felt on the occasions when he had no choice but the eat a standard (or feedlot-raised) piece of beef. He told me how profound the contrast was eating non-grass-fed meat after spending long periods avoiding beef from cattle fattened up on a mostly corn-centric diet.

After one meeting at a highly-reputable steakhouse, Mike said that he could physically feel the differences. He was more tired, felt more gastrointestinal discomfort, and had a greater sense of tenseness and restlessness than he had experienced while eating grass-fed steaks. 

To Mike’s mind, this was due to the energy that the body needed to break down meat from cattle enriched with corn, versus that that was easier for the stomach to handle: Naturally-raised grass-fed cattle.

What Mike was trying to articulate is an argument that can be traced back to Michael Pollan’s writing in the New York Times and The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  According to Pollan, cows aren’t naturally suited to eating corn; in fact, he has explained in various articles and interviews, that a cow’s digestive system, specifically the “rumen,” cannot digest starchy corn as easily as it can grass, which it can also turn into protein. This, according to Pollan, can make cattle sick when they are weaned off grass, but is economically cheaper and leads to fatter cattle and more marbled beef.

“In the same way ruminants [like cows] have not evolved to eat grain, humans may not be well adapted to eating grain-fed animals,” Pollan wrote in 2002.

This point makes sense when you think about it: We evolved as meat-eaters who naturally consumed animals that, for centuries, millennia even, ate nothing other than grass (and similar plants). While humans as consumers have gotten used to the ways that the food industry can more quickly and cheaply “produce” beef, this development may not be in the best interest of our bodies and, specifically, our digestive systems.

This evolution-related theory is a big reason why grass-fed beef is so popular with Paleo dieters.

Digging into the literature on this topic is a bit of a challenge. While there is a great deal written on the nutritional differences between grass-fed and feedlot-raised cattle, there is significantly less examination about how our body reacts to the process of digesting the two. 

One author I discovered, Lily Nichols, who runs the website PilatesNutritionist.com, said that she’s noticed a difference among her clients with food sensitivities when they switch from grain- or corn-fed beef to grass-fed. According to this post, choosing grass-fed beef has helped reduce heartburn, bloating, and other digestive troubles among her clients.

“grass-fed beef”


Dave Sinick – Paleo as the driving force for a quality business and life

This week, we interview Dave Sinick, the CEO of PaleoHacks, a multimedia platform for experts and those interested in eating better to share their advice, recipes, and other best practices for living your best life.

Dave is a driving force in making PaleoHacks the go-to source for those fully entrenched in the Paleo lifestyle as well as those who are looking to try eating a Paleo diet for the first time. Formerly the CEO of an Internet marketing agency, his passion for finding ways to eat healthily led him to the world of Paleo.

We caught up with Dave to talk Paleo, grass-fed beef, and more.

ButcherBox: What is PaleoHacks and how did you leverage your understanding of online marketing with your interest in healthier eating?

Dave Sinick: PaleoHacks is the largest Paleo community on the web, featuring a blog with health, fitness, and recipe content. We also have a Q&A platform with an active social community, cookbooks, and health programs.

PaleoHacks kind of fell into my lap in that the previous owner was looking for help to turn it into an active business. I had a lot of direct response experience selling products from previous ventures, and selling something I was passionate about (health information) was a natural fit for me.

BB: When did you realize the importance of being selective about the foods you consume? What about getting involved in Paleo?

DS: In 2011, I was tired but couldn’t sleep; I was depressed, anxious, couldn’t remember anything, etc. I started having some serious bloat issues that wouldn’t go away, and I realized I needed to make a change.

I moved to San Diego where my roommate had just started Paleo for his own reasons. He mentioned that it involved eating a lot of quality meat, fruits, and vegetables — foods I already enjoyed — and I dove in.

BB: What has been most surprising, looking back, about the response to PaleoHacks?

DS: I always assumed that PaleoHacks would be a community for advanced Paleo people and cross-fitters, but our audience includes a lot of beginners and people discovering the Paleo diet for the first time.


BB: What is your take on grass-fed beef?

DS: It’s all I eat. If you can find it, it’s a million times better.

BB: What made you feel that way about grass-fed?

DS: I saw how factory farms work, the types of treatment the cows get, and I realized there’s no way that you can be healthy by eating an animal that is basically a meat slave.

BBWhat is your take on the meat industry in general?

DS: It’s grossly backward, too focused on profits as opposed to creating a high-quality food item, and I would like for it to change so that we can get easier access to grass-fed meat.

BB: What differences have you noticed about eating grass-fed meat versus grain-fed?

DS: I think grass-fed beef tastes better, to be honest.

BB: What do you value most when making decisions about the foods you eat?

DS: Food is fuel to me, so it’s about how healthy the food is and what’s in it.

BB:  What is your opinion about the dieting industry?

DS: If it helps people, it’s great. I just think there should be less religion about diets. It’s just food.

BBHow do you separate PaleoHacks from the other noise in the dieting space?

DS: We just try to be real and reasonable. We publish a ton of desserts because we know that although a dessert isn’t a ‘diet’ food if that’s your entry point into Paleo and healthier eating and living, that’s great.

BB: How important is it for you to maintain authenticity in being an authority on food recommendations?

DS: Very important. I wouldn’t recommend anything that I wouldn’t eat myself.

BB: Thanks for the time Dave! Great to get some real insight into what’s vital to the those seeking healthier ways to eat and live. If you haven’t had a chance to yet, you should check out PaleoHacks for yourself.