Recently, I received an inquiry from a reader about what cuts are beef are appropriate for the Paleo Diet. The reader knew that it was important to eat lean cuts, but he didn’t know what was considered a lean cut of beef. In cooking school, students are taught every cut of meat, where it came from on the animal and how to cut it. This knowledge lets them make informed decisions when doing grocery shopping. Mysteries don’t exist along the meat aisle for me. After reading this article, they’ll be gone for you too.
The key to purchasing meat when following the Paleo Diet is to select lean cuts. If you’re purchasing fresh fish, it doesn’t matter if you’re getting a steak or fillet. All fish is lean. However, if you have a hankering for beef, the right cut makes all the difference. Eating a diet of high fat beef is not what the Paleo Diet is about.
Not only is it important to get the right cut of beef, you need to learn what the animal was fed. We have all heard the adage “You are what you eat”, well; it’s the same for cows. I prefer to eat organic, grass feed beef. When eating organic beef, you are eating an animal that are steroid free, hormone free, and not injected with antibiotics. Grass fed animals are the most abundant source of natural conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a naturally occurring free fatty acid and a source of Omega 3. Simply switching from grain-fed to grass-fed products can greatly increase your intake of CLA[i]. Grass fed animals are less fatty than grain fed animals.
So what cuts of beef are acceptable to the Paleo Diet? As a general rule, lean beef acceptable for the Paleo Diet are the less expensive cuts of meat. Choose eye of round, bottom round, top round, top butt, or boneless brisket if you want to have a pot roast, stew or braised meat. These beef cuts are very flavourful if cooked properly. They are full of collagen so they need to be cooked slowly to allow for this connective tissue to breakdown making the meat tender and tasty. These cuts are very lean because they come from the parts of the animal that does most of the work – shoulder, leg and girdle.