At the end of this year I will turn 40 – I know, I know it’s hard to believe with my youthful good looks. In the last couple of years I’ve also become a father; Tom is now four and a half and Georgia is 2 years old. My increasing age, and becoming a father and a role model to my children has really reconfirmed how I want live. With 40 years looming I’m really trying to kick the bad habits that have crept in over the past few years. Like most of us the exercise regime has fallen away with a busy lifestyle and the portion size of our meals has grown from acceptable to massive… and then I eat Tom’s leftovers as I go to the kitchen, whether it been on the floor or not.
At home we eat good food, real food. The stuff where you can look at the plate and you know what everything is, and where it has come from. A big part of my philosophy is considering what I eat, eats. Most beef produced and finished in Australia for local consumption is fed a grain mix. Grain fed beef fattens up quicker and means the big boys can turn them around from the feed lot to the supermarket faster and cheaper. You’ve heard me bang on before about how we produce and choose the animals for The Free Range Butcher. In short, our animals are farmed in the traditional way; allowed to roam in the paddock and graze as they please. I’m passionate about free range, grass fed meat for two reasons: one, it offers a better quality of life for the animal, and is the most ethical and sustainable way to produce meat. Secondly research shows that beef from grass fed cattle is leaner and better for you, with higher omega 3-6 ratios and a long list of trace elements gained from the soil and grasses which is lacking in grain fed products.
I understand that quality grass fed meat isn’t as cheap as the mass produced grain fed varieties. But what price do you put on your health? And my general belief on things like this is we’re better off having a little of the good stuff, rather than loads of the not-so-good stuff.
Grass fed meat does have a different taste – rich and earthy – compared to grain fed meat. The high energy content of the grain based mixes makes the meat taste ‘sweeter’ and over many years, the human palate has become accustomed to this sweeter taste. Grass fed meat also has a different texture and flavour. Its bold flavour means there’s no need for marinades or sauces – salt, pepper and olive oil is all you need.
And one last reason why I’m keen to eat healthily in the next 8 weeks… then I can really let myself go at Christmas time! Pass the Ham, Pork, and Turkey would you please? And you best keep that pudding, custard and ice cream handy as well!