Put the ballot box away, the votes are in! Buffalo steaks are here to stay and its popularity is on the rise. One reason for its not being more popular is that many people are not even aware that it exists as an alternative to traditional red meat. But as people are becoming aware of the health benefits of grass fed meat, the purchase of buffalo steaks has been increasing.
The Great Plains states of America were teeming with buffalo during the 19th century, however, by the 1880s they were slaughtered almost to the point of extinction. Those buffalo that survived eventually were bred to inhabit the National Bison Range near Moise, Montana, and Yellowstone Park in California. Most buffalo today are raised by private owners solely to fill the consumer demand for them. These free range buffalo are allowed to graze openly, feeding only on the natural grasses of the plains they roam.
It is from these grasses that the health benefits are derived, as opposed to the production line mentality of conventional cattle raising, a practice fed by convenience and profit. Buffalo steaks are high in vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins and potassium, and have even more iron than beef. The benefits of eating grass fed meat compared to grain fed beef are many.
Conventional grain-fed meat is filled with hormones, antibiotics, and grains that are grown using pesticides and chemicals. Grain such as corn is fed to cattle because it is cheap and plentiful, but it is not natural to their diet and leads to a range of illnesses that must be treated with antibiotics. Grass fed meat comes from animals that feed on naturally grown grasses in their natural habitat, and produce meats that are chemical-free and have a better taste than their farm raised counterparts.
Some people believe that buffalo steaks must have a "gamey" taste, but this is a misconception. Buffalo that is raised for consumer purchase has a slightly sweeter taste than beef, but is rich and flavorful and comes in select cuts just as beef does.
Buffalo steaks are naturally lower in fat than pork, chicken and even fish.
Buffalo contains more iron than almost all other meats, 50% more beta carotene, and is lower in calories. A 3oz. portion of grass fed buffalo meat, which is 85% lean, containing only 15% fat, has 152 calories, 7 grams of fat and 40 grams of protein. The same size portion of conventional beef contains 210 calories, 12 grams of fat and only 21 grams of protein.
These numbers reflect a tremendous dietary advantage for those interested in healthy eating, and this does not even take into account the negative effect of the chemicals and additives contained in conventionally raised beef. Grass fed meat has other advantages as well, such as providing higher amounts of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids that are found most often in salmon and other oily fish. Omega 3 fatty acids aid in reducing the risk of diseases such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease.
Just as with grass fed beef, buffalo steaks have a higher percentage of CLA, a fatty acid that helps to reduce cholesterol and fat accumulation in the abdominal region. Compared to beef, buffalo meat also has a higher amount of vitamin E, which is an excellent antioxidant, is vital in anti-aging, treats many skin diseases and is now being recommended as a treatment for the prevention of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
As the "red meat war" continues, it would appear that buffalo meat has a clear nutritional advantage over beef and is gaining ground. Buffalo are inspected by the USDA, so you don't need to worry that you are getting second-rate meat. The standards of meat handling and processing are adhered to just as in any other meat processing industry.
By now you are probably wondering where you can get your hands on some of these nutritionally powered buffalo steaks. Unless you live in an area where buffalo are raised, you may not find buffalo steaks in your grocery store. However, there are a number of internet sites selling online steaks that also carry buffalo steaks, such as US Wellness Meats. Some of these sites can give you a "package deal" or a "sampler pack" that contains several different cuts as well some ground buffalo or buffalo burgers. Just be sure your meat comes from a company that both raises and finishes their animals on grass, not grain.
The buffalo has the same muscle groups as cattle so you can find your favorite cuts, such as rib eye, sirloin, ground buffalo, burgers, flank, porterhouse, filet mignon and many more. You should be prepared to pay a bit more for your buffalo steaks because they are raised with quality production in mind, are not filled with hormones and antibiotics, and are allowed to reach full natural maturity.
If healthy eating is a part of your lifestyle then you owe it to yourself to try some buffalo meat today and see for yourself how wonderful it tastes and begin to benefit from the superior health benefits derived from this free-roaming food source.
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