Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
December 12, 2021
Yum for flavor!
Yum for fat!
Beef and lamb are my go-to meats for my animal-based diet. They are the stuff to eat. These animals are known as ruminant animals.
Ruminant animals include cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, deer, elk, giraffes, and camels. But my easily purchased and practical-to-eat ruminants are cattle and sheep. However, my son just gave me some Elk ribeye steaks which he hunted in Colorado. That will be a treat.
These animals all have a digestive system that is uniquely different and highly specialized from the human digestive system. Instead of one compartment to the stomach they have four. Of the four compartments, the rumen is the largest section where most of the digestion occurs.
The rumen is filled with billions of microbes that can digest grass and other vegetation that humans with one stomach cannot. Our gut contains almost 38 trillion microbes that help digest our food among many other functions. But our gut microbiome is not capable of what ruminant animals’ gut microbiome can do. And our DNA has not evolved to create specific enzymes to digest some of these noxious elements in those plants.
When ruminants eat grass and other plant foods, the food is not completely chewed and digested in the rumen immediately. The partially chewed plant food is stored in the rumen and broken down into chunks called, “cud”. When the animal has eaten until it is full, it will then rest and “chew its cud” later. Once the cud is fully chewed, it is then swallowed and passed into the next three compartments of its digestive system – the reticulum, the omasum and finally the true stomach (the abomasum). The stomach completes the digestion process.
Many of the plants we try to eat cannot be digested well by us. Many cannot be broken down into absorbable nutrients because of anti-nutrients or indigestible substances inherent in the plants themselves. However, ruminants can convert these plants and residues into high quality protein and other necessary nutrients that are eventually stored as bioavailable nutrients in their tissues. And all these absorbed nutrients are readily available to us when we eat these animals from nose-to-tail.
If we only ate the muscle meat, we would not be getting complete nutrition. Many of the necessary nutrients are in the fat, the organs, bone, and the collagen in addition to the muscle fiber. Most of the entire animal must be consumed to create balance in this animal-based way of eating.
Grass-fed and grass-finished beef and lamb create more omega-3 fatty acids and less omega-6 fatty acids. Generally, omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, and omega-6 fatty acids (especially linoleic acid) are inflammatory in large quantities. However, linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) are two omega-6 fatty acids which are essential for humans to consume since we can’t manufacture them. But the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids must be in balance for health.
In a healthy diet, the ratio between Omega-6 and Omega-3 is 2:1 or 3:1. However, people who eat an unhealthy Standard American Diet have this ratio above 25:1.
Grain-fed beef has a 20:1 ratio whereas grass-fed beef has a ratio of 3:1. That’s a huge difference! And grass-fed lamb has more omega-3 fatty acids than grass-fed beef.
In addition, grass-fed, grass-finished beef has been shown to have more than 2-3 times the amount of Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLAs) than grain-fed beef. CLAs are an omega-6 fatty acid that is healthy. CLA aids in fat loss, improves lean muscle mass, and provides anti-carcinogenic effects. And lamb has more CLA than beef.
General Comparisons Facts
Fact 1: Generally, lamb is fattier than beef has more healthy fats than beef.
Fact 2: Lamb has about 25% more calories than beef for similar cuts of meat because lamb has more fat.
Fact 3: Lamb is richer in all the essential amino acids than beef for similar cuts of meat.
Fact 4: Beef contains about 13% more water than lamb.
Fact 4: Generally, lamb is more vitamin-dense and mineral-dense than beef. But both are excellent sources for these nutrients.
Organs of Beef and Lamb
I word about the nutrition in organs from beef and lamb.
The most nutritious organ is the liver. But eating various organs will supply practically all the nutrients the human body requires. Including organs in your meal planning with muscle meat from beef and lamb is the ideal way to feed the body what it needs and avoid anti-nutrients which it doesn’t need.
My Way of Eating
I wrote a mini-eBook called Better Belly Blueprint. In it, I describe a way of eating that is supported by medical research which I cite in the book.
Basically, I suggest an animal-based diet with at least 70% animal products and up to 30% plants containing minimal phytates, lectins, and oxalates. Specifics of this way of eating should be customized to the individual.
With my diagnosis of incurable multiple myeloma, I eat approximately 90% animals and only 10% selected fruits and very few vegetables. For individuals with severe chronic diseases and cancers, I recommend eliminating all plants and eating 100% animal products. Later, some specific plants could be reintroduced.
As I said, my go-to meats are beef and lamb. And my favorite cuts are beef ribeye and lamb loin chops.
I eat either beef or lamb 5-6 days a week. I also include ground lamb and ground beef in my daily choices for variety. I’ve created several original recipes that I post on my website under Better Belly Blueprint Recipes. Check out these recipes and prepare them for your family. I am proud of them and prepare them regularly for my wife and me.
To balance the muscle meat, I prepare and eat some organs. My favorites are liver and sweetbreads (thymus). However, I consume desiccated organs daily like most people might take a commercial vitamin/mineral supplement. Unlike commercial supplements, desiccated organs provide practically all the nutrients I need in a bioavailable form with no added substances. Commercial vitamin/mineral supplements are highly processed, mainly synthetic, and contain many inert chemicals that are damaging to the gut.
To assure I get the many nutrients which organs provide, I eat four desiccated, whole-food, bovine products daily. They are:
- Organ Complex (“Beef Organs” from Heart & Soil)
- Bone Marrow (“Bone Marrow & Liver” from Heart & Soil)
- Collagen (“Skin, Hair, & Nails” from Heart & Soil)
- Colostrum (“Colostrum-6” from Anovite, which is a multi-level marketing company. But you can purchase this product as a regular customer.)
Taken all together, beef and lamb eaten nose-to-tail are delicious and provide my body with practically all the nutrients it requires to recreate and maintain a robust immune system and metabolic flexibility.
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