Bison: The Healthier Meat?
June 18, 2004 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Bison is not buffalo according to restauranter Ted Turner. Recently devegetarianized and looking for ways to reintroduce meat it seems bison would be the logical choice as it appears to be the healthier alternative to all other meats including chicken and fish. Plus it's high in omega 3's and the notorious vegetarian and organic purist Dr. Andrew Weil gives it the thumbs up.
posted by oh posey (26 comments total)

 
Calling Weil a "notorious vegetarian" is a misnomer. He may be notorious, but he eats fish. I once heard him describe himself as a "veg-aquarian." But he's no vegetarian, just for the record.
posted by soyjoy at 7:06 AM on June 18, 2004


That second link is very, very strange. It's like stream of conciousness only with more punctuation.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:07 AM on June 18, 2004


Bison as an alternative to other meats doesn't make sense to me. It's healthier, but that doesn't make it healthy. To each his own, but I can't figure why, if you're concerned enough about your health to eschew beef, that you'd take up something else because it's a bit less harmful.

Take it from me regarding vegetarianism-- you're either in or you're out. Anything else is too complicated and messes with your guts.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:18 AM on June 18, 2004


But he's no vegetarian, just for the record.

Thank you for the clarification. He used to be vegetarian and then added fish due to burnout I believe but still advocates a vegetarian lifestyle.
posted by oh posey at 7:22 AM on June 18, 2004


Take it from me regarding vegetarianism-- you're either in or you're out.

Having carefully weighed my options.... I guess I'm out.

I've eaten at Ted's place a couple of times though. It's pretty good. Nothing to plan a vacation around, but worth a try if you're in the neighborhood.
posted by spilon at 7:22 AM on June 18, 2004


FYI - Over the past couple of decades, Ted Turner has purchased many many thousands of acres of pasture/ranch land in MT, ND, SD, and WY. This is, of course, the territory historically known for wild bison herds. Bison are now being raised in the area commercially.

Make of that what you will. . . .
posted by yesster at 7:22 AM on June 18, 2004


I once did some surveying work on one of Turner's bison ranches in central New Mexico. It was a bit intimidating when a herd of them came over the hill and decided to all graze right where I was working. They weren't shy at all.

They did look mighty tasty, though!
posted by ewagoner at 8:12 AM on June 18, 2004


Take it from me regarding vegetarianism-- you're either in or you're out. Anything else is too complicated and messes with your guts.

Especially if you've been a vegetarian for a while. A little meat can really make you sick. After all these years, sometimes I'll literally think I smell feces... and it turns out it's just someone cooking meat on a grill.

I once worked at a coffeeshop that sold subs. One of the employees just couldn't understand an order for a vegetarian sandwich. I gues she couldn't comprehend the concept of a sub without meat. I kept trying to explain it to her -- "Just put all the vegetables on it plus a little cheese" -- but she just couldn't get it. So I said, "Okay, you know how to make a ham and cheese sub, right? Just make one of those. WITHOUT THE HAM."

So she made a ham-n-cheese sub WITH the ham and served it to the customer, who had been a vegetarian for twenty-some years. He took two bites and promptly turned a pale shade of ash gray. I had to sit with him for half an hour, apologizing and talking him through his nausea, like talking someone down from a bad trip. Amazing.

Anyway, back (slightly) on topic:
On Thursday evening (6/17), the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly rejected the Hinchey-Bass amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill, by a vote of 202 to 215. This amendment would have stopped the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service from aiding in the capturing or killing of buffalo that leave Yellowstone National Park and wander onto neighboring public lands.

Despite the valiant efforts of animal activists in support of the Hinchey-Bass amendment, special interest groups like the livestock lobby and even the National Wildlife Federation lobbied to maintain the use of tax dollars for slaughtering Yellowstone bison. While some cattle ranchers claim that the killing is necessary because wild buffalo can spread brucellosis to cattle (something that has never even happened in the wild), a far more plausible reason behind the killing is ranching interests' distaste over having to share public lands with wildlife.
-from the Humane Society.
posted by Shane at 8:20 AM on June 18, 2004


Three things. First, bison has 1/3rd the fat and 1/5th the cholesterol of regular beef. That's healthier in anyone's book.

Second, bison are easier to raise than regular cows, because they need no assistance during the birthing process. Cows, on the other hand, have something like a 50% mortality rate at childbirth unless they are "lent a hand" by ranch hands, who, during the birthing season, spend many a sleepless night checking up on the herd. Bison, on the other hand, need no assistance.

Third, Ted Turner is not only the largest single land holder in my state (Nebraska), but also the entire United States. He has been buying lots of land in the tens of thousands of acres at a time to persue this new hobby of his, and I say more power to him.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:28 AM on June 18, 2004


Bison are range-fed and not given hormones or antibiotics. Thus, their meat is going to be healthier than the majority of beef on the US market.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:41 AM on June 18, 2004


All health benefits aside, I eat at Ted's Montana Grill very regularly, and the bison is damn TASTY!

The bison steaks are some of the best cuts of meat I've ever had the pleasure of placing into my mouth.
posted by BobFrapples at 8:51 AM on June 18, 2004


Sidhedevil is right. What makes it healthy is they are %100 grass fed. Grass fed is where its at, doesnt matter it's bison or longhorn or angus.
posted by stbalbach at 9:11 AM on June 18, 2004


Bison is not buffalo

No. You can't wash your hands in a buffalo.
posted by ed\26h at 9:38 AM on June 18, 2004


I'll second that BobFrapples! I've been to Ted's a couple of times and damned if that Bison isn't mighty tasty! Who knew?! (well, I suppose the plains indians did... But, why did it take us so long to catch on?)
posted by shoepal at 9:46 AM on June 18, 2004


When did beef become unhealthy?

Is this the "human stomachs are made for plants" argument?

Too much iron is terrible, but is luscious flesh not necessary?
posted by the fire you left me at 10:08 AM on June 18, 2004


stbalbach - I believe most ranging food sources -- cow, bison, etc. are grass-fed. The corn-feeding only happens in the last couple of months of their lives, when they are transported to feed lots.

AFAIK, the reason for corn-feeding is solely to "marbalize" the beef -- it offers no other actual benefit to the cut of meat.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2004


mmmm....The other red meat.
posted by euphorb at 10:41 AM on June 18, 2004


fire - exactly. Luscious flesh is not necessary.
posted by soyjoy at 10:42 AM on June 18, 2004


When did beef become unhealthy? Is this the "human stomachs are made for plants" argument?

Humans are biologically omnivores, and we're adapted to eating other animals. But just because we can doesn't mean that we should. Animal fats clog your arteries over time, and the digestion of meat may very well contribute to types of cancers.

It probaly meant very little when humans were in evolutionary stages that gave them a 30 year lifespan from contagious diseases and whatnot. But now, because people live long enough to die of arteriosclerosis, it's probably a good idea to eat meat (especially red meat) with a good bit of restraint. A hamburger every Friday won't send you to an early grave, but burgers and steaks five or six days a week might.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2004


a far more plausible reason behind the killing is ranching interests' distaste over having to share public lands with wildlife.
Some of those public lands are leased to the cattle ranchers and look down on both parties raping the forests lands.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:56 AM on June 18, 2004


there was a great story and interview with Turner in Fortune, i think, about a year ago. he was on the cover. the article made the argument that his bison business is very environmentally friendly and that he is almost singlehandedly saving the species, or something.
posted by edlundart at 12:38 PM on June 18, 2004


Does Ted know where Buffalo Wings really come from?
</irresistable cheap joke>
posted by wendell at 1:53 PM on June 18, 2004


stbalbach - I believe most ranging food sources are grass-fed.

If only that were the true. Feed lots are diffrent yes, but they are also corn fed before the feed lots. Keep in mind, untill a few years ago "corn fed" was promoted as a good thing a mark of quality. It costs way more money to feed a cow %100 grass, even before the feed lots.
posted by stbalbach at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2004


why did it take us so long to catch on?

Perhaps the fact that they were very nearly exterminated had something to do with it. Pardon the geocities link, not usually the mark of solid research, but it appears to be a good synopsis, though it leaves out a good deal of politics.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:25 PM on June 18, 2004


I was in Bozeman earlier this year, near Ted's Flying D ranch and was told that the bison served at Ted's are not Ted's own. I'll also vouch for Ted's Montana Grill. Tasty food, reasonable prices. Ted apparently has enough land to have a mile wide strip across the middle of the country.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:18 PM on June 18, 2004


It costs way more money to feed a cow %100 grass, even before the feed lots.

That's not true at all, if the cattle are raised on significant tracts of range land ... like Ted is ranging his Bison.

Doesn't anybody here wonder why there isn't a Ted's Montana Grill in ... Montana? I do.

And Frank Grimes, you bastage. If you were in Bozeman, why didn't you give a shout out. I'd have bought you a beer, really, I would have.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:04 PM on June 18, 2004


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