Is Grass-Fed Beef Healthier?
Researchers from California State University in Chico reviewed three decades of research comparing grass-fed and grain-fed beef.
From the NY Times.com,
Overall, grass-fed beef comes out ahead, according to the report in the latest Nutrition Journal. Beef from grass-fed animals has lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for cardiovascular health. Grass-fed beef also has lower levels of dietary cholesterol and offers more vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants. The study found that meat from animals raised entirely on grass also had about twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, isomers, which may have cancer-fighting properties and lower the risk of diabetes and other health problems.
While the analysis is favorable to grass-fed beef, it’s not clear whether the nutritional differences in the two types of meat have any meaningful impact on human health. For instance, the levels of healthful omega-3s are still far lower than those found in fatty fish like salmon. And as the study authors note, consumers of grain-fed beef can increase their levels of healthful CLAs by eating slightly fattier cuts.
The article goes on to compare other factors such as taste and price. It’s worth a read.
All the stories below this are April Fools jokes. You’ve been warned.
HEALTH CARE REFORM FALLOUT
As information filters down on the recently passed Health Care Reform Bill, a little-discussed aspect of the bill is the new dietary restriction in place. Because of the efforts of Republican Idaho Senator Mike Crapo (no, I didn’t make that name up) to defeat the bill, Democrats inserted a last-minute rider limiting the amount of starch that can be served in school lunches. Potatoes will be eliminated from cafeteria programs and replaced with yams and jicama. Idaho has threatened to amend their state constitution and continue to serve French fries in school lunchrooms, along with passing a resolution requiring restaurants to serve a baked potato with every meal. Some residents have gone as far as pushing to form a “citizens militia” to monitor lunchrooms, ensuring that French fries will continue to be served.
BILL PROPOSES COMPUTERIZED MANDATORY TIPPING SYSTEM
It’s no secret the economy is in bad shape, and the service industry has been hit especially hard. The corresponding drop in tips has the powerful restaurant lobby pushing for changes.
The organization Waitresses and Other Waitstaff (or WOW) have announced they are lobbying Congress to make tipping mandatory, and raise the gratuity rate to 25% for good to excellent service and to 15% for poor service. The tip percentage will be determined via a computer program to be included in restaurant point of service registers (POS). The customer will fill out a punch card with a number two pencil, answering questions about every facet of his experience. This card will be read by the POS, and the server will input various mitigating factors such as the attitude of the customer and how busy he/she was during the time the customer was in the restaurant. This information will be crunched, and the system will then add the calculated tip to the final bill. An added bonus – restaurant management will be able to add extra questions to get immediate feedback on the quality of the food being served.
One portion of this legislation that bothers me (among several), is that restaurants program the POS computers themselves, giving them easy opportunity to change the scoring weight of individual questions. Finally, there is talk of computer hackers getting jobs in the restaurant industry and gaming the system as an easy path to riches.
PORTLAND RESTAURANTS TO GET THE DOOR SLAMMED IN THEIR FACES
In their ongoing zeal to keep us safe, the Portland city council has introduced a resolution to ban both roll-up doors and large open windows, unless “measures are introduced to keep insects and dust from entering the premises”. This measure will have a huge impact on restaurants that have design features allowing air and indoor/outdoor dining options on sunny days.
In an interview on KGW News, Councilman Randy Leonard stated that “simple and appropriate equipment such as air-curtains, plastic refrigerator curtains or large screens will meet the requirements of the new law”. The council is slated to vote on the matter next Thursday. One thing that is a sure bet – buy stock in screened porch installation companies. In the meantime, restaurant owners had better get their buts down to the city council meeting.
PDC ANNOUNCES BIG PLANS FOR SAKS FIFTH AVE SPACE
The Portland Development Commission (PDC) has announced that both the Galleria building and soon-to-be vacant Saks Fifth Avenue in Pioneer Place are being turned into giant food growing greenhouses. Taking cues from the nation’s leading city in green development, Cleveland Ohio, both malls will follow the Cleveland Galleria’s lead in growing hydroponic lettuces and other vegetables. Oregon’s first indoor fruit orchard may produce enough produce to keep the farmers market open year-round. In a particularly west coast twist, the Galleria has long-term plans to grow medical marijuana and in partnership with existing tenant’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, will offer downtown’s first Culinary Cannabis Cafe featuring THC butter croissants and classic “magic” brownies. A Cordon Bleu instructor who asked not to be named told us, “Marijuana is a growing and lucrative market, and with the bad press cooking schools have been getting, we need to do whatever we can to offset the decline in enrollment. Besides, half our students and staff are stoned anyway so if you can’t beat ’em you might as well join ’em.” I’ve also heard rumors that the top floor of Lloyd Center is going to be converted into an indoor organic goat and chicken farm, including a meat processing facility and, you guessed it, shooting range.
PORTLAND CITY COUNCIL PENS AGREEMENT TO RENAME NE ALBERTA STREET
Once again, it appears our city council will change a street name, this time renaming Alberta to honor the burgeoning local Thai community.
Next month, the 1 mile stretch of NE Alberta Street sees its 8th Thai Restaurant opening. Neighborhood residents are urging the city to change the street’s name to Khao San Road of the Americas.
With its plethora of bars, alternative medicine practitioners, food carts, shops and street vendors, as well as a general population right out a Lonely Planet backpackers guidebook, Alberta Street might as well be a transplant of that infamous Western tourist trap in Bangkok known as Khao San Road.
The city’s Office of Planning and Development issued a press release stating Portland’s Khao San Road will grow to become a replica of its sister street in Bangkok. Highlights of the City’s investment: the addition of single stroke biodiesel powered tuk-tuk trucks for transport (seems a bit loud to me), and a switch to an alternative commerce system for goods and services where haggling is encouraged – price levels will be tiered with one for tourists and the lower price system for locals, which will – you guessed it – bring additional income to city coffers.
“Khao San on Alberta celebrates our city’s commitment to cultural diversity,” Mayor Sam Adams stated. “We are recreating an authentic Thai experience, just like you would find on the real Khao San Road.” Mayor Adams is leading an advisory tour to Bangkok (no pun intended) to gather additional ideas.
FOOD CARTS – THE DISTURBING TRUTH NO-ONE TALKS ABOUT!
Portland food carts have a dirty little secret that you should know about; a secret that both the city and health department have been conveniently ignoring, and food cart owners have been doing their best to hide. At first look, it might not sound like a big problem but read on before you pass judgment.
The problem? Not only do lots of food carts have flat tires, but many owners are going to great lengths to cover up this disreputable condition with planters, skirting and more. Even those who keep their tires properly inflated tend to have either worn out tires or worse, tires that haven’t been rotated in years which causes flat spots to form.
This may not sound like a big deal, but picture this scenario: As you wait patiently, a Thai food cart cook is sautéing your lunch. Next to him on another burner, a large pot of Kao Soi is bubbling away. Suddenly a tire bursts, causing a cascade of hot soup and sauté to fly into the air, scalding not only the cook but, as it arcs out the walk-up window, the customers waiting in line. This is a disaster waiting to happen!
Let’s take a look at the Portland city code. From the City of Portland’s Food Cart Study, Page 10:
” As long as stationary mobile carts have functional wheels, an axle for towing, and are located in a commercial zone, they are considered vehicles and are not required to conform to the zoning or building code. They must have electrical or plumbing permits if sewer hookups or electricity are installed in the cart. If the wheels and/or axle are removed, the owner must obtain a building permit and conform to zoning code requirements and building inspections.”
It’s a dirty little secret, and something needs to be done about it.