Where’s the Beef?

 Bison has been a part America for over 120,000 years, and they almost weren’t. Around 1894 there were only about 300 left until President Grover made it illegal to kill one! Since then they have come back from near extinction to provide a healthy and sustainable alternative to beef.

Bison meat has on average 70% to 90% less fat compared to beef and less cholesterol. Bison has less cholesterol, fat and calories than chicken, beef or salmon.  Bison are naturally resistant to disease and grow faster than domestic animals so they don’t need all the antibiotics and growth hormones that are typically given to beef cattle. Bison is higher in protein, iron and all the omega and amino acids than beef.  Due to the high protein content of bison, less (meat) is more (filling). It’s also high in iron, selenium and B vitamins.

Cook it the same way you cook beef but because of its lower fat content, it will cook faster than beef. The fat works as an insulator and decreases the cooking time; Less fat = Faster cooking (just don’t overcook it). Bison tastes delicious, oh and it’s hypoallergenic (good news for people with red meat allergies).

Buying grass-fed is also more important than buying organic. Why? Well organic doesn’t necessarily mean they were fed a grass-based and not corn-based diet. Grass-fed also means that the meat has higher levels of CLA. CLA is a good fat called “conjugated linoleic acid” that may be a potent cancer fighter. In animal studies, very small amounts of CLA have blocked all three stages of cancer, and CLA from an animal source works more efficiently than artificial CLA. (Most anti-cancer agents block only one stage). CLA has slowed the growth of a wide variety of tumors, including cancers of the skin, breast, prostate, and colon. Milk products from 100% grass-fed cows are as much as 7 times higher in cancer-fighting CLA than ordinary milk and far lower in cancer-promoting linoleic acid.

Sure it’s a bit pricey, but your body will thank you. Feed-lot produced beef has had the lid blown wide off with the production of movies like Food Inc. and Forks over Knives. You may have noticed that McDonald’s even airs commercials showing you pasture cattle in the wake of the pink slime debacle. And if you didn’t know you were eating it, now you do; it’s also used in readymade cake mixes and as a bread leavener. If McDonald’s was doing it, what would lead me to believe those frozen patties at the store are any different, since this stuff does not appear on nutrition labels. Of course the use of ammonium hydroxide is illegal in countries like England and Ireland! I digress, so here is a recipe for Buffalo Chili I adapted from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson.

This chili recipe contains kidney beans. I rarely buy beans in a can now since it’s so ridiculously cheap to buy them dry and prepare them (80¢ for ½ lb organic dry beans vs $3-5 for a can of BPA-free beans). I use 1 cup of dry kidney beans which is about 3 cups cooked beans. To prepare beans, soak 1 cup of beans in water for 4-8 hours. Drain and rinse. Place in a pot with water and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil for 1 hour or until the bean is almost tender (if you overcook them just add toward the end). This is especially important with kidney beans as they contain a toxin (phytic acid) and soaking also reduces gas. Beans and dairy are not part of the Paleo diet, but spending $25 on bison and bacon for the original version was intense. The beans provide fiber and the cultured sour cream contain probiotics.

Bison Chili (6 servings)

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb ground buffalo/bison
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, (chop carrot into 3rds, then in half, then lay flat side down and cut slices)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (adobo ones work great here)
  • 3 cups cooked red beans
  • 2 jalapeno diced (save the seeds for adjusting hotness)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 T chipotle chili powder
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T cacao (unsweetened cocoa) powder
    Sounds weird but it makes it AMAZING!!!
  • Optional:
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Diced green onions
  • Dollop of cultured sour cream or a bit of raw milk cheddar
  • Can of green chilies


  1. Heat oil in a large pot on the stove over medium low heat, add onions.
  2. When onions are semi-translucent add garlic. In a few minutes add the bison and cook until no pink remains.
  3. Add carrots, water, tomatoes, beans, jalapeno (adjust hotness using seeds), oregano and chili powders. Simmer covered on low for 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes.
  4. Add vinegar and cacao powder and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes.
  5. Serve and garnish if desired. This is also delicious as a chili cheese omelet the next morning.

**If your chili is too thick add a bit more water or some salsa.

It takes some time but it’s worth it. This recipe sounds very similar but replaces half of the bison for cauliflower. Sounds delicious, I will have to try it. If you omit the bison and maybe use cauliflower it’s a delicious vegan chili in addition to gluten-free.


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About Sarah Hiller

Eco-maniacal! I love learning about food and health, and then sharing! I'm also an aspiring photographer, lover of kale, dogs, yoga, anything fitness, sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and heavy metal. It is my goal to empower and support people through nutrition and attitude. I have an Etsy store you can check out as well www.etsy.com/shop/ironballoon

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