What happens when you cook with U.S. Wellness Meats products?   Culinary magic.

Cassy Garcia

Cassy Garcia is the recipe developer, photographer, and author behind the Paleo-friendly food and fitness blog Fed & Fit. She is on a mission to empower healthy lifestyle transformations through clear nutrition science and delicious foods. Cassy is the founder of National Gluten-Free Day, leads Real Food education sessions, implements and designs corporate wellness programs, and conducts Paleo cooking demonstrations. Connect with Cassy at FedandFit.com, Facebook, and Instagram.

Q: How did you get involved in cooking to begin with? Was it something you learned to love early on or did you come to it later?

My passion for cooking truly came from an unabashed love of food! Some of my first words were “fru fru” {fruit} and “fry fry” {french fry}. The kitchen is my favorite room in the house and as soon as I was tall enough to reach the counter, I started helping. I learned as much as I could from my mom, my grandmother, and any host/hostess patient enough to let me quiz them on their methods. When I left for college at Texas A&M University, my love for cooking truly blossomed. I started hosting dinner parties and would bring homemade treats to study nights with friends. After college, I staged {ie. interned} at a fabulous high-end restaurant in San Antonio, TX where I learned even more tricks. After discovering a Real Food/Paleo approach in late 2009, I got to work reverse engineering my favorite foods into the delicious, healing dishes many have come to love.

Q: Why is eating grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish different? How does it affect your cooking?

We all know that different foods have different affects on our bodies. Carrots won’t give us that mid-afternoon crash like a pastry, water is healthier for our bodies than soda, and roasted chicken with veggies will makes us feel better than a large cheesy pizza. Opting for a grain-free and processed food-free lifestyle is a tremendous step towards achieving health and wellness. That being said, you can really take your health journey to the next level by choosing quality ingredients. Grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish have a more balanced nutrient profile than their conventional cousins. If you’re looking for a lot of nutritional bang for your buck, grass-fed/pasture-raised is the way to go.

Using grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish does alter some cooking methods. On average, most cuts have less fat and therefore the cooking time will be less. There’s also considerable flavor to account for! You may find yourself wanting less sauces and marinades with these naturally flavorful proteins.

Q: Is it just about health? Or is there more to it than that?

While achieving optimal health brings many people to grass-fed meats, you can’t help but gain an appreciation for the ethical and environmental implications of the conventional industry. The living conditions, feed composition, and environmental impact of conventional cattle and broiler chickens {just to name a few} are enough to turn any stomach. Redirecting your grocery budget towards companies like US Wellness Meats is one definite way to take a stand.

Q: How did you learn about grass-fed meat?

I wish I could remember where I truly first learned about grass-fed meat! It was sometime around when I first decided to pursue a Paleo lifestyle. As an overall science nerd and {now} nutrition consultant, I couldn’t help but dig deeper and learn more.

Q: Why is it so important to have the right ingredients?

Following a recipe is {to me} like sewing a dress, or even like building a car. If you want the best possible outcome, you need all of the correct components combined at the right times. For a recipe to turn out as you expect, it’s important to have all the right ingredients. Substituting bison for pork in a meatloaf will result in a totally different texture and moisture content. Having the right ingredients on hand is just as important as the method you use to prepare them. I recommend stocking up and buying in bulk. Splurge on a deep freezer and keep your favorite meats at the ready! You’ll be prepared to whip up your favorite dishes anytime.

Q: What are the most important keys to success for the home chef?

The #1 key to success is staying positive! The best food is made with love and patience. If an experimental dish bombs, laugh it off and know that it happens to everyone.

Q: What are your best tips for home cooking?

  • Meal preparation is essential if you’re pursuing a Real Food/Paleo lifestyle. Dropping everything 3-5 times a day to cook, eat, and clean isn’t practical. I highly recommend researching the breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner recipes you can make in large batches. Set aside your Sunday afternoon {or whatever day works best for you} to prepare those foods. It will make your week healthier, tastier, and less stressful.
  • Keep basic ingredients on hand at all times. I keep my deep freeze stocked with frozen veggies and a WIDE assortment of meats.
  • I recommend you venture into learning how to make your own stock and nut milks! Just like grass-fed meats, the flavors and nutrient-value of homemade stock and nut milk is bar none.

Q: What is your favorite recipe using grass-fed meat?

To be completely honest, grass-fed rib eye cooked masterfully over a hot mesquite coals is {I’m pretty sure} what they serve in heaven. Rib eye next to something green, something starchy, and a glass of red wine is my most favorite meal! You can’t beat the flavors of grass-fed meat. My recipe for Crispy Roasted Duck is a close second.