Guide to Buying Online Steaks and Meats

The Internet has become a very popular place to purchase high quality steaks, meats and other food products. The question for most online buyers of these products is “Am I getting the best product for the best price”. A number of factors should be taken into account before you purchase any food product online. In this editorial, we are going to focus primarily on steaks, but will touch on other related food products.

1) How is meat graded and why?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beef grades are most commonly known as USDA Prime, USDA Choice and USDA Select. (The following percentages represent only the produced beef within these 3 grade levels) USDA Prime grade beef accounts for the top 2%* of all produced beef in the US. Ranked for it high degree of marbling and tenderness, This highly sought after cut is usually only found in high-end restaurants and online suppliers. USDA Choice grade beef accounts for 53%* of all produced beef in the US. Ranked as number two in grading, there is a wide variation of quality within this grade. Within Choice grade are 3 categories of marbling, which contributes to the overall flavor, tenderness and juiciness of the meat.

  • a.) The first level of Choice grading is moderate marbling and accounts for 5% of USDA graded meats.
  • b.) The second level of Choice grading is modest marbling and accounts for 14% of USDA graded meats.
  • c.) The third level of Choice grading is small marbling and accounts for 34% of USDA graded meats.

USDA Select grade beef accounts for the remaining 45%*. Low in marbling, tenderness and price, this grade is most often found on supermarket shelves. This grade can very often be dry and tough. Marinating is often needed to keep these steaks moist. As with any product, the higher grade or quality almost always demands a higher price.

2) What do I look for when buying steaks online?

  • a.) Be sure to look for the words “Prime, Choice or Select” when an online supplier describes the product they are selling. If the description is void of any of these key words, you most likely will be purchasing the lowest grade of meat and usually at an elevated price. Note: Avoid steaks or meats only labeled “premium”, “Gourmet”, “aged” or other generic sounding term, if they are not labeled Prime or Choice, you are most likely getting a select grade.
  • b.) Be sure the meat is labeled USDA either within the meat category or in the product description when purchasing from an online supplier.
  • c.) It is not reasonable to expect online suppliers to advertise what level of Choice grade meat you are buying because of the constant change of meat supplies. This knowledge usually comes from purchasing experience with the company or by emailing the online retailer and asking if their Choice grade marbling is moderate, modest or small. Most reputable commercial cutters try to maintain a high level of consistency to maintain their reputation as a high-end supplier.

3) What is a fair price for Prime and Choice meats?

With any online product, prices vary greatly. Many online merchants charge exaggerated prices for what you are getting, however there are many merchants who sell an excellent product for a very fair price. Remember, when shopping for steaks online you are wanting and paying for a high-end, quality culinary experience. Anything less, you might as well go to the super market. Look for online merchants that have USDA Officials onsite at their own facility or their suppliers’ facility. Beyond that, it is best to scan many online steak retailers and compare product prices. Also take into account shipping costs. Be wary of free shipping combined with low priced steaks. Usually this means you are going to get an inferior grade of meat. Most reputable merchants will charge a fair price for the steaks and a reasonable shipping charge based on weight, (not purchase level). It is expensive for any online merchant to ship meat. Dry Ice is usually added, packed in a cooler with the steaks. We have added a list with our top 6 picks of online steak merchants and ranked them according to grade, price and shipping. We have only included merchants who clearly label their products as Prime and Choice cuts. (internet research pricing as of 07/14/2008)

Highly recommended:

Online Store Prime Filet Mignon Shipping**

Kansascitysteaks.com $42.49 lb $14.95 – 4 lb order

Choicefilets.com $39.95 lb $18.07 – 4 lb order

Newbrunswicksteakco.com $44.50 lb $23.78 – 4 lb order

Mybutcher.com $56.65 lb $27.95 – 4 lb order

Allenbrothers.com $59.98 lb $16.95 – 4 lb order

Lobels.com $70.98 lb $32.95 – 4 lb order

Online Store Choice Filet Mignon Shipping**

Choicefilets.com $25.95 lb $18.07 – 4 lb order

Omahasteaks.com $29.99 lb $18.99 – 4 lb order

Heartlandsteaks.com $29.95 lb $19.99 – 4 lb order

Allenbrothers.com $44.98 lb $16.95 – 4 lb order

Eprimecuts.com $37.25 lb $30.00 – 4 lb order

Dinewise.com $39.99 lb $33.95 – 4 lb order

4) How do I know if an online steak store is a local or family owned meat house or just a reseller from a commercial supplier and does it really make a difference?

Internet online steak merchants are made up of both. It should not be a focus of the purchaser whether your online purchases come from a butcher shop or a commercial cutter. Both types must maintain their facility according to USDA standards and must provide you product as it is represented. Many online stores do indeed provide online steaks and other products provided by a commercial facility. More often that not these facilities provide better grade meats at a more consistent level than the smaller producers. Like many industries, the buying power of larger facilities can demand this level of quality and consistency. For the consumer, concentrate on the grade of cut, the clarity of the description, the variety of products offered and most importantly, price.

*Source USDA and 2000 National Beef Quality Audit

**Based on 100 mile distance from shipping origin.

Key Ingredients For Proper Vegan Skin Care

These days, many people are familiar with the growing number of people who call themselves vegan. For those that might be unfamiliar with the term, a vegan is someone who does not just refrain from eating meat, but they also abstain from all animal products.

They do not partake in things like dairy products and they would avoid any other food or food products that contain animal fat. But most people do not realise that true vegans also avoid animal related products in their daily life, including washing and skin care. No horse hair brushes, no animal extracts in makeup, and most importantly, no animal related products in cleaners or moisturizers.

For decades, this market was all but ignored by those working in mainstream skin care product labs. They would say that the group simply is not large enough for them to start issuing certified vegan products. But thanks to the advent of the Internet, these products have begun to show up in a few different places.

Most mainstream skin care companies still do not bother with a certified vegan line of products, however, most certified organic products are, in fact, vegan too. As long as all of the ingredients come from fruits, veggies or from other non-animal sources, organic and vegan are one in the same.

Let us take a look at some of the most popular ingredients in the skin care industry that show up in both vegan and organic skin care products.

One popular natural ingredient that is showing up more and more in moisturisers and creams is kukui nut oil. This special and somewhat rare ingredient is derived from the kukui nut and it does wonders for the look of your skin when added to creams and moisturisers.

The extract of the kukui nut is extremely rich in vitamins, like A, F and E. These vitamins help your skin stay hydrated and they also help your skin stay more elastic and flexible. Kukui Nut oil has been used for generations as a skin restorer in many places outside of the Western world. It has fantastic regenerative properties and when combined with other amazing skin restorers like aloe, it can help in healing.

Finally, kukui nut oil can also act as a natural sunscreen to help keep the harmful rays of the sun away from your skin. As anyone who is serious about skin care knows, your skin and sun are natural born enemies.

Another popular organic and vegan skin care choice is actually something that we all know has regenerative healing powers: the apple! That is right, apple extract has been a common ingredient in skin care products for generations because of its amazing ability to keep skin looking young, tight and silky smooth. Not to mention it smells pretty nice too!

But do you know why apple extract is so good for your skin? It is those alpha hydroxy acids that we hear so much about! The average apple is full of these helpful acids and when it is reduced to an extract, it becomes a concentrated source of these skin builders. Apple extract also helps to keep the skin very moisturised, and in turn, young looking. There is a reason why your doctors always tell you to use moisturisers, nothing helps keep your skin looking better, and moisturisers with apple extract are that much better!

Finally, people have known for years that the extract of some of the most popular nuts in the world are good for your skin. The kukui nut has shown that even nuts we have never heard of can help us! But macadamia nut extract and even walnut extract are fantastic ingredients to look for in your organic and vegan skin care products. They usually are not as expensive as some of the most exotic extracts and can help your skin just as much. You can treat your skin in a proper vegan and organic way, without breaking the bank.

Tonsil Stones and Chinese Remedy

Many did not know about tonsil stones as enough researches were not conducted on them and hence many medical professionals too do not know how best they could treat them. They often prescribe antibiotics which do not offer any remedy and hence suggested to go for surgery to totally get rid of the problem. But, as a matter of fact surgery is not required a tonsils are structures which play a great role preventing the body from bacteria and viruses. The most amazing and unknown fact is that disease can be easily cured using alternative medicines like Chinese, Ayurveda and Homeopathy more efficiently and effectively.

Chinese remedy and medicines deal with diseases in a very distinct manner. According to them, diseases and other complications of the tonsils happen because of poor digestion quality and toxins present in the body. Hence Chinese remedy suggests the diseases sufferers to avoid foods that are rich in acids and toxins such as red meats, white flours and related products, white sugar, more salt, ghee, butter and fried foods. Chinese remedy also suggests including certain food items that are antioxidants rich such as pomegranate, blueberries, cabbage, turnips, raspberries and carrots. Carrot along with ginger juice is normally used for body detoxification and also for getting rid of tonsil diseases, diseases and infections.

Chinese remedy and herbs such as guy a and mu xiang or brown rice in the sprouted form could be used to regulate the digestion process and to make the presence of toxins in minimum quantities. They help the food to move through the body in a faster rate without making them stagnate and making them to become toxins. Other Chinese herbs and remedies which are used in the detoxification process includes ban lan gen, she gan, bai hua she she cao and herbs in Chinese medicines to clear mucous such as chen pi, bai fu zi and ban xia. Certain health enthusiasts and Chinese doctors might not recommend some natural, cool foods and herbs such as chlorophyll or spirulina as they can deplete the energies that aid in digestion and can also lead to food stagnation or high toxicity.

Normal oral and mouth hygiene regimen like brushing and flossing teeth after each meal, rising from bed and before going to bed is also recommended. Tonsil stones and the related infections can be got rid using apple cider vinegar or lemon juice as they kill the bacteria to the maximum. Natural remedies like Chinese remedies are not only used for their ease but also for the fact that they are cost effective and performance effective.

Home Remedies for Curing Tonsil Stones

Tonsillectomy not only can lead to various health problems later but also does not come at a cheaper price. The surgery can also hinder day to day activities for some time. Hence, it is avoided most often. In fact, there are natural and scientifically proven ways to get rid of tonsil stones so they never return. It’s absolutely not necessary to go for a long, drawn out surgery or wasting your money on expensive nasal sprays and tablets. Follow a step-by-step program that will show you exactly how to get rid of your tonsil stones naturally and ensure they never come back!

Learn to Avoid Foods That Trigger Lupus Flares – With an Easy, at Home Food Allergy Testing Strategy

A food allergy is an immune response to a particular food or beverage, similar to the immune response against the body itself in a lupus patient. Don’t confuse food allergies with food intolerances; they are different. When you experience food intolerance, it is not caused by the immune system, and is simply an adverse response by your body to a particular food (like lactose intolerance).

You’ve got to take care of yourself; having lupus or any auto-immune disease makes you especially susceptible to food allergies and these allergic reactions can instigate flares.

There are many ways to determine food allergies and the symptoms they produce. According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, you should watch for the following 7 symptoms up to two hours of eating.

Food allergy symptoms to watch out for:

o Tingling sensation in the mouth

o Swelling of the tongue and the throat

o Difficulty breathing

o Hives

o Vomiting, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea

o Sudden drop in blood pressure

o Loss of consciousness

If you suspect you have a food allergy, it is important to work with a health professional, because while simply cutting that food out of your diet may alleviate your symptoms, it won’t address the potential allergy itself.

Allergy testing is easier than it sounds. You might be afraid of needles, but in most cases you don’t even have to see them!

Common allergy testing methods:

Pin Prick allergy testing

In the pin prick skin test the doctor places a small drop of the substance (in this case food) that you may be allergic to on your skin and then pricks you with a tiny needle. He or she will then wait for a few minutes to see if you develop a reaction, which is usually localized in the form of redness and swelling.

RAST Allergy Test

The RAST test is another allergy test that requires a blood sample sent to a lab, where specialized tests are done to determine your allergies.

The At-Home Allergy Pulse Test

Another easy way to get an indication of a food allergy is by using the at-home allergy pulse test. This is done by checking your pulse rate before and after eating. When you maintain a close watch over your pulse rate while you challenge different foods, you can often determine possible food reactions. However, it is important that you do not use or rely on this test if you have a history of strong allergic reactions, especially anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reason which results in swelling of the throat).

To perform the pulse test on yourself, simply take your pulse before eating a meal to establish your base (or control) pulse rate.

It’s best to eat a single food, and then re-check your pulse rate at 15, 30 and 60 minutes afterwards. If you see an increase in elevation of more than 10 beats faster than your base pulse, it means you are likely allergic to that food.

An obvious problem is that you may want to eat more than one food at a time. Go ahead and eat that meal, and again do your pulse test before, and after your meal as above. In this way you’ll be able to determine if the foods don’t have any effect, or if there are foods creating a reaction with an elevated pulse rate.

To start testing your food reactions, a simple natural diet is the way to go. Stick with meals that don’t require a lot of work and include just a few simple ingredients.

If you do find an increased pulse, it’s a good idea to test each food separately in order to narrow down which food ingredient is the culprit from that meal.

Be sure to keep a diary with you at all times, so you can keep a proper record and learn to identify which foods, if any, are triggering a flare. Be cautioned though, food triggers and their reactions can change, therefore be tricky to catch. However, this test is a great start to taking control of unnecessary flares that result from food allergies.

It is best to work with an experienced wellness specialist to help you maintain your health program and get further support to answer your health questions when necessary.

90% of all food allergies are caused by only eight foods!

Yes, it’s true. Only 8 common foods are the culprit for most food allergies. These are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, cashews, and pistachios), fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. You should also avoid spicy foods, processed foods (such as American cheese), alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine if you have Lupus. I know this sounds like no fun at all, but all of these have the potential to mess with your immune system and have unexpected effects on your body. That’s the last thing you need to worry about with lupus!

One way to recall these foods is by remembering the term ‘DONGS’, which stands for:

Dairy: Cow’s milk and related products, goats’ milk and related products, eggs

Ocean: Fish, shellfish

Nuts: Peanuts, tree nuts

Grains: Soy, wheat, wheat, rye, oats, barley, anything referred to as “gluten”

Spices: Paprika, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, cola, liquorice, mustard, oregano, peppers, poppy seeds, and sage

Now that I’ve told you all the no-no’s… we can go over some of the foods you can eat and enjoy without fear of stimulating your immune system. Foods like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and veggies can make up delicious dishes full of energy and carbs to keep you going through the day. For a refreshing drink, why not reach for some fresh fruits or veggies and make a nice juiced smoothie or drink that will support your immune system and energy as well (just avoid asparagus, eggplant, onion, zucchini, raw olives, and peppers).

It’s important to keep your strength up so you can fight the lupus all day, not just after eating, so try and have several smaller meals throughout the day versus 2 or 3 heavy meals that will rob you of precious energy you don’t have to waste.

To learn more about the essentials of a healthy Lupus diet, plus holistic approaches to reducing Lupus symptoms visit Healing-Lupus.com for a free mini course.

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