I recently visited with a friend who shed some weight over the past year, when I asked how he lost the weight, he replied “improved my diet”.  He obviously “gets it”, notice he didn’t say he was on some kind of “diet” he just changed to a “healthy diet”.  One specific diet change he mentioned was that he was eating grassfed beef rather than conventional beef.  We discussed the “known” benefits of grassfed and then he pointed out that his son, who raises conventional beef, refers to grassfed as “Voodoo Beef”!

With our first Pasture Grazed, 100% grassfed beef in the freezer, it was time to find out for ourselves, is there really a difference between a pasture grazed beef compared to typical (corn-fed) beef?

Grassfed ribeye raw and grilled

Example of a DS Family Farm Rib Steak (2015 Steer Tag 18) before and after grilling! When the bone is removed this is known as a Ribeye Steak.  Do not trim the fat from a grass-fed steak!  Eat the fat, it is good for you, keep reading…

We sent in a rib steak (ribeye after removing the bone) from a 2015 harvested steer to Midwest Laboratories in Omaha Nebraska for analysis.  With the results in hand I searched out some “typical” beef analysis to compare our pasture grazed beef with.  It didn’t take long and I had two similar† “reference” samples from the USDA and Canada nutrient databases.  Below we compare a DS Family Farm Pasture Grazed steak to some “typical beef” steaks – Canada record 6068 and USDA record 23271.

grassfed vs conventional nutrition label

Nutritional information on three lean ribeye steaks. Our grass-fed sample on left compared to two “typical” Government reported samples, Canada (middle) and USA (right).

Let’s Talk FAT!

  • Trans Fat?  Yes there is natural Trans Fat in beef, not the added hydrogenated vegetable oils (bad stuff).
  • Looking at the above three samples, I believe the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules would allow all steaks to be labeled as ZERO TRANS FAT since they are all 0.5 or less.  So when you check any food product label, if it says ZERO TRANS FAT, it may actually not be “zero”.
  • Always avoid food items with any ingredient listed as “partially hydrogenated“.

Warning – pie charts below!

Total fats grassfed vs conventional

Chart 1: Total Fats: Our grass-fed sample on left compared to two “typical” Government reported samples, Canada (middle) and USA (right).

  • Chart 1 – ALL FATS do not fear good grassfed fat!
  • I was once brain washed with the “fat is bad for you” message.  I believe more folks are understanding it is High Carbohydrate Diets (Low Fat diets) that can be linked to heart disease and diabetes.  This study at Ohio State University points out:
    • Increasing levels of carbs in diet during the study promoted a steady increase in blood fatty acids.
    • Carbs are being converted to fat instead of being burned as fuel.
    • Reducing carbs and adding (good/portions) fats ensures the body will promptly burn saturated fat as fuel.  (This will take a resetting period for your body to switch between using carbs vs. fat for energy).
    • Please watch the OSU video that points out your brain is 60% fat!  Eat fat to fuel your brain!
  • Chart 1 displays a noticeable difference between SFA – Saturated Fatty Acids versus MUFA – Monounsaturated Fatty Acids in grassfed vs. conventional, we will look at these individually below.
Saturated Fatty Acids grassfed vs conventional

Chart 2: Saturated Fatty Acids: Our grass-fed sample on left compared to two “typical” Government reported samples, Canada (middle) and USA (right).

  • Note in Chart 1 = 60% of the fat from our pasture grazed beef is SFA vs. around 50% of typical beef is SFA.
  • Chart 2 = two main SFA, Palmitic (tropical oil) and Stearic is better balanced (?) in our beef versus typical beef.
  • Tropical (palmitic) oils are gaining favor with nutrition folks, get yours from our Midwest 100% grassfed beef!
MUFA grassfed vs conventional

Chart 3: Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: Our Grassfed sample on left compared to two “typical” Government reported samples, Canada (middle) and USA (right).

  • Note in Chart 1 = 35% of the fat from our pasture grazed beef is MUFA vs. around 50% of typical beef is MUFA.
  • Chart 3 = primary MUFA is oleic acid, also known as Olive Oil.
  • Grassfed has a higher percentage of the SFA Palmitic (good fat, chart 2) but a lower Palmitoleic MUFA (bad fat, chart 3).
    • According to the OSU study, in humans, “Palmitoleic acid, a fatty acid associated with unhealthy metabolism of carbohydrates that can promote disease”.  Could this apply to cattle also?
PUFA grassfed vs conventional

Chart 4: Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Our grass-fed sample on left compared to two “typical” Government reported samples, Canada (middle) and USA (right).

  • Note in Chart 1 = 4% of the fat from all three sample is PUFA.
    • The Holy Grail of Fatty Acids
    • The Essential Fatty Acids
    • Notice a difference?  Hint – a balance of green & yellow is recommended.

Stay tuned we will dive in to the PUFAs in our next post!

† I selected these reference samples because they were of the same part of the beef.  We sent in a Rib Steak which is a Ribeye with a rib bone still attached.  The bone was removed, so our sample was a ribeye when analyzed.  I consider our beef lean so the selected reference samples used were identified as “lean”.  We are still building our soils and forages and striving for higher fat (marbling) percentages in our beef.

Note, I am not an expert on fats nor statistical analysis.  Feel free to dive into the Government data and check my calculations for the two samples listed above.  If you find any discrepancies, please email me: doug@dsfamilyfarm.com.  If you have comments please share them on our Facebook Page.

Omnivores, relax with real food!  This was the take home message we found in last evenings PBS documentary “IN DEFENSE OF FOOD”, featuring well known food journalist Michael Pollan.

We thought the documentary was well done and echo the main point of the film, when it comes to eating, just relax and eat food, that is – real food.  The stuff you find in the middle of the grocery store is what Pollan calls “edible food like substances”.  Focus on the “edges” during your grocery store visits to find real food.  Refer to our blog post on this topic from January 2014 “How to shop for a healthy diet”.

Other points from “IN DEFENSE OF FOOD“:

  • Eat Traditional Foods, these are time tested (2013 blog post)
  • Watch your portion size
    • If you don’t know your current daily food intake levels, I encourage you to find out.  I was surprised to learn what my daily calorie intake was compared to what was suggested for my height and weight (June 2015 blog post).
  • East mostly plants (Eat the rainbow blog post)
    • That does NOT mean eliminate meat
    • The documentary points out the health benefits of meat from pasture grazed animals
    • You have heard, you are what you eat!
      • “We are what what we eat eats too.”  Michael Pollan.
        • In other words, we can’t eat the nutritional diversity of a prairie… but we can eat something that is capable of eating and the nutrition of a prairie!
        • A bite of our pasture raised and grazed beef allows us to eat the prairie.
dotted gayfeather

We can’t eat the prairie and we certainly do not want this destroyed to raise something like corn!

I basically started on the above described Omnivores path several years ago.  I took it to the next level by incorporating the portion size advise (including fasting) this past year (described in June 2015).  Six months later I am happy to report my weight and health has been maintained.

As you look forward to the new year are you considering another “Diet Resolution”?  If you find yourself stuck somewhere trying to get on what our friend Danna calls the “Health-Nut Highway”, we urge you to watch this documentary.

Remember, “We are all on a diet. Be on a healthy one.” Dr. Mercola




The DS Family Farm Store is up and running.  We were ready for Small Business Saturday, almost.  We now have a section on our website that we invite local folks to check out [Buy From Our Farm].

Screen shot of our online pasture grazed meat product catalog. Not an online store, local sales from our farm for now.

Screen shot of our online pasture grazed meat product catalog. Not an online store, local sales from our farm for now.

Why just local folks?  We do not plan on shipping any product directly from our farm.  We encourage everyone to shop local, even for pasture poultry and grass-fed beef.

We are now serving up pasture grazed meat products to folks in the Lincoln – Seward area.  We welcome anyone in our area or anyone passing through, to stop by for direct pickup at the farm after first contacting us with your order.  From past posts, you know we are fans of the Nebraska Food Coop.  Look for DS Family Farm products once you are logged in to the Food Coop website.  The Food Coop will give you the option to pay online and receive our Nebraska Raised product throughout the Coop delivery area.

What an appreciation we now have for small businesses everywhere!  As we begin our efforts to turn product into certificates of service* ($$$), it is a good time to reflect back on our blog post Why Start?  Here are some current thoughts:

  • Sustainability is an ongoing effort:
    • We are monitoring environmental change in our pasture and will share our findings in future posts.
    • Profit as a measure of sustainability is “to be determined”.
  • Healthy animals:
    • We continue to watch and learn from our herd.
    • We have had some dips but for the most part the animals seem happy and healthy.
  • Gourmet grass-fed beef (Pasture Grazed Beef) for our community:
    • Early reports from our recently harvested beef is encouraging.
    • We will have health analysis of our beef in the near future.
    • Watch for YOUR RECIPES on our website soon.

Thanks for your support and we look forward to serving you in the future.

*Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Thou Shall Prosper

We promote eating healthy fats (pasture grazed animal fats) to improve ones health.  A few examples: Oct. 2013Apr. 2014 CLAApr. 2014 Omega3s May 2014 Dec. 2014.

So would I take my our own advice when complaining about tight clothing from this past holiday carb season and deciding to loose a few pounds?

Before trying my turn at not fearing fat, I needed a system to track what was going on, how much fat was I consuming?  Here at DS Family Farm we track different things in the pastures to monitor progress, but how would I watch my eating habits?

A coworker introduced me to myfitnesspal, a free cloud based fitness system to track diet, exercise and watch progress.  To be honest, before starting this project I had no idea how many calories would be healthy or what my daily calorie intake was!

To begin, the recommended calorie intake for me ~2200 calories per day.  What was my current intake?  First four days of tracking:


At the start of my experiment, daily calorie intake was about 300 calories high, enlightening!  Note the steady intake of first four days tracked.  No reason to burn any stored body fat, a healthy dose of calories coming in daily.  The wellness program I enrolled in to help me lose some weight was already warning me about FAT intake.  The “FAT is bad” mantra was clear in my training.  Ignoring the pleas to cut my FAT intake, I focused on overall calorie intake, take a look at the first 3 weeks (daily charts):first3wks

First three-week average was 2170 calories per day, not much variation and no weight loss.  Steady day-to-day calorie intake is an excellent way to maintain your weight.  The body has no reason to burn stored fat.  My system anticipated a steady daily intake.  Ignoring calls to cut FAT intake, it was time to shock my system.  Have you ever tried a fast?  Rather than reduce my intake to ZERO calories for a day, I liked the idea of just getting down to around 600 calories for a day or two (Dr. Mercola Intermittent Fast 5:2 Diet).  Here is my attempt over the next 3 weeks to hit a day around 600 calories (daily chart): next3weeks

Two days per week around 600 calories, sounds too difficult and I am not ready to go there yet.  My 6:1 Diet, 1 day per week around 600 calories isn’t too bad.  Compare the two graphs above.  End of first 3 weeks, no weight loss.  End of next 3 weeks = 5 pound weight loss!  My body was no longer able to expect that steady intake.  Continue shocking the system, next 3 weeks (weeks 6 to 9 daily chart):


Weight loss for weeks six to nine = 5 pounds lost again (same as weeks 3 to 6 shown above).  It appears varying my daily intake works to activate my body to burn stored fat.  RESULTS in 20 lbs lost over 4 months.4mo

Did I attempt to lower my FAT intake?  No.  To my surprise, my weekly average percent Fat intake was steady around 25% (Fat Grams/Total Grams).  I would like to try to increase percent healthy fat intake in the future.  Here are weekly average charts for the first four months  (charts shown above were daily):4mocal


Recommendations to limit FAT gram intake to around 40 grams per day were ignored.  I did make an effort to eat only Omega 3 type fats and when possible, from pasture grazed animals.  Fearing carbs, omega 6 fat (vegetable oils), processed foods along with a shock to the system now and then seems to work.  Now can this diet be maintained?

Concerning exercise, my activity level has been fairly constant.  Very little sitting around watching TV.  Walking and daily pasture moves keep me active!

Review of this blog’s past posts will show “Diet” is one of the main topics.  My failing health brought me to the realization that things had to change.  Finding out pasture raised animal products were a key part of a healthy diet was a fantastic fit, animal agriculture has always been a passion of mine.

This past January I whined a about my weight swing up after the Christmas Carbohydrate Season.  A month or so after that post my health insurance company sent a notice that I could take an online health checkup.  Guess what, based on my responses to the survey I was overweight.  This surprised me a little.  Turns out that a 6′ 0″ male of my age should weigh 185 pounds, not 199 pounds. OverweightThe good news, I could enroll in an online Virtual Lifestyle Management – VLM (TM) course to help me lose weight.  So I signed up and in the future will share the experience of taking my advice from earlier posts while completing the VLM course.  As you may imagine, the online course makes the point to avoid fat!  Fat has more calories per gram and VLM recommends a diet that has no more than 25% of calories from fat.  How do you think I took this advice based on my earlier posts???

What about you?  Where are you on your quest for a healthy diet?  Who’s path have you crossed on your venture?

On my journey towards a healthy diet I have had the privilege to make acquaintance with Danna Seevers, a local “busy mom with 5 kids navigating her family’s way on the ‘Health-Nut Highway’.”  Check out her Good Life Naturally blog.  A good post to start with is “The ‘Diet’ Mentality” which sums up our cultures fixation on diets and the irony of it.  Danna is well known in her community for healthy eating and has given talks at local schools.  Check out this Prezi presentation posted on the local Concordia University website: Health-Nut Highway.  (The Prezi thing is just cool and Danna’s information is great!).

So what Exit are you on?

 (Photo credit: http://www.morguefile.com/)