Baby, it’s cold outside. The colder months are times when our bodies are craving hearty, fatty, meaty sustenance (egg nog, stew, root vegetables, and the like). We might even develop an extra, uh, layer of warmth around our bones. When you’re squatting as much as most of you are, your bodies will be craving more fat and protein, anyway. Feed it what it wants, I say.
When I first thought about what to write for this post, I considered a post on cream and dairy and egg nog (Trader Joe’s has a great seasonal ice cream out right now…), or a recipe for stew, or how to get the most out of your root vegetables while they’re abundant and inexpensive, or just… good ol’ eggs (I love eggs). But instead, I settled on steak (something I tend to do often, it seems). Cows provides a plethora of cuts to please any non-vegetarian palate. With their meat, you can make steaks, stews, burgers, meatballs, meatloafs, kebabs, fajitas… the list is almost endless. A full 6oz sirloin strip will provide 46g of protein, 25g of fat, and 426 calories. If grass-fed, it’s rife with healthy omega 3s, as well. Here’s what Charles Poliquin and Mark Sission have to say about grass-fed beef (bottom line: cows were meant to eat grass, and beef from grass-fed cows tastes better and is healthier for you).
Recently, I visited the University of Arizona’s Meat Lab, an academic agricultural and research center that raises its own cows, lambs, and pigs for slaughter, butcher, and sale. I first learned about this place from Bruce Aidells, who received two wonderfully large T-Bones from them last year, when they first opened, which he generously cooked up for me and mine. They have grain-fed and grass-fed options, a variety of cuts, and they even make their own cheese. Every Friday they open their doors from 3-5pm for public sales, but you can pre-order certain cuts (or offal) if you like. My father and I walked out of there with $60 worth of delicious steak, sirloin strip, beef bacon, lamb chops, and T-bones. I was grinning like a kid in a candy store — wait, I WAS a kid in a candy store! (Define “candy”.)
Cows are wonderful creatures; they provide an incredible quantity and quality of sustenance. Last year Crossfit Charlottesville ordered a cow share from Wolf Creek Farm. Coach Forney and I bought a 1/8 portion of that local, grass-fed cow for just the two of us: for less than $6/lb we received an immense amount of a variety of meat cuts, bones, ground beef, and offal. It actually fit in our regular-sized freezer, and it lasted us more than three months (and you know we love to eat).
Living in Virginia, we’re very lucky to have such opportunities. I encourage you to seek out your local farms (or stores that source local meat, including Whole Foods), and take advantage of the hearty delicious fuel at your fingertips. Soul food to eat with pleasure.
Maybe there’s enough interest to order a cow share in January? If we get enough people, we’ll do it. Let us know.