Last Thursday was the busy day of our whole event.  The morning started out with a bus ride to the Hale Center Feed Yard.  We were greeted at the bus with cowboy hats and breakfast boxes from Einstein bagels.   We had our choice – from their Thintastic Egg white Bagel sammies – each under 385 calories, and under 15 grams of fat.  I chose the Southwest Turkey Sausage box – it was really good – even though it wasn’t piping hot.

lubbock 2014 280

Karli and I posed with our hats.  I believe it’s the first time I’ve ever worn one more than five minutes!

lubbock 2014 283

First stop on the trip was the Hale Center Feed Yard.  I have to admit, I was pretty naive going into this event.  I really never gave a second thought to where the meat I buy comes from or what the process was.  The first thing that intrigued me was that everything was so automated.  From the exact specifications of the feed blends are calculated on the computer and when the truck comes in to get the feed to distribute to the pens, the truck has a computer on it and a digital scale.  They have determined that the cows require 35 pounds of feed a day – and are fed three times daily to total 35 pounds.

This feed yard also implements growth hormones to the cows.  I am now realizing how controversial this subject is.  However, once explained to me, I get it.  The cows get one growth hormone when entering the feed yard – it’s given under the skin of the ear.  That growth hormone costs only $5 each, but will increase the weight of the cow by 60 pounds – you would have to give a cow 3000 pounds of feed to equal 60 pounds.

With the growth hormone, the cows turn feed into muscle faster and more efficiently, meaning they can mature quicker and produce leaner beef.  Studies have shown that any residual hormones found in meat (or milk for that matter)  are so low that it can’t cause any harm to the human body.  In fact, you would have to consume 115 pounds of meat in a single day to have any ill effect of eating meat that had been treated with growth hormones.

So therein lies the difference between grass fed and grain fed.   I personally have never eaten grass fed beef – mainly because of the price tag.  There are opinions that some people think the cow is happier in the pasture being grass fed, and it is unfair to pen up cows who are grain fed.  Well guess what?  They did a study and put GPS on both sets of cows and even the “free roaming” cows and the penned in cows moved basically the same amount.

Cows like to stay together and not stray too far from one another.  They also don’t like to be too far away from their water source.  But grass fed cows are not easy to take care of due to weather changes.  Lubbock actually is in year three of a drought.  About ten days before we got there they had four inches of rain, so everything looked green, but one of the workers said had we been there just 10 days earlier, everything would have been brown and dusty.

And in the end, the difference between grass fed cows and grain fed cows – 2 grams of fat less than per serving.

feed yard 2

feed yard collage

Some other interesting facts:

  • One cow produces 600 pounds of meat, or roughly 1200 meals out of one cow
  • The Hale Center Feed Yard goes through 2 million pounds of feed a day

lubbock 2014 096

  • The Hale Center has a staff PHd nutritionist on site, as well as a veterinarian
  • The Feed Yard harvests 60,000 tons of manure that is then bagged up and sold to a compost company
  • Tyson Foods buys all of their cattle
  • The cows on the pen drink 12 gallons of water  day
  • If cows require antibiotics – they are closely monitored and have a 21 day waiting period before they last took antibiotics until its safe to ship
  • 500 employees work at this Feed Yard – wow!
  • The cows enter the Feed Yard around 700 pounds, and will double in size while there – usually going leaving between 1350 and 1400 pounds

Tomorrow I’ll talk about our day at the Matador Ranch.  It was an educational day for sure!

Yesterday’s breakfast packed a fiber punch – since I used black beans, a high fiber English muffin and had fruit on the side – that plate had 17 grams of fiber!  And the chicken was marinated using this recipe – I grilled the chicken breast on Sunday night when I was doing the whole roasted chicken.  I under cooked it just a bit knowing I would heat it up yesterday.  I had it with 3/4 cup cooked brown rice and grilled zucchini – so tender and delicious.  Carrie, this is the recipe I used for this Greek chicken, which was different from what I put on the whole roasted chicken.

breakfast lunch

It was so nice outside, I decided to walk – I got my steps in – over 11,000 for the day!  Today is supposed to be rainy, so I’ll hit the gym at lunch today.  I haven’t been there in over a week!  Tony makes fun of the hat I am wearing – calls me Elmer Fudd! Open-mouthed smile

6.9 mon 053

So dinner last night was his and hers.  As much as I think I’ll like salmon (and I tried it and it wasn’t too bad) it still doesn’t float my boat.  I’ll stick with shrimp thank you very much.  Holy cow was my shrimp good!  I marinated half a pound of shrimp in this:  juice from one lime, zest form one lime, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 teaspoon sriracha, 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  I was inspired by this recipe.

Tony topped his salmon with dried dill and butter.  The butter melted and made for a crispy skin.  We bought that piece of salmon at The Fresh Market for $6.  The salmon at our regular grocery store didn’t look too good.

6.9 mon 022

He cooked his on a cast iron skillet that was smoking hot when he put it in there.

6.9 mon 034

I used my Williams Sonoma flexible metal skewer – I love that I don’t have soak a wooden skewer, and it helped that I bought them with a gift card!

6.9 mon 038

6.9 mon 044

And I have the same amount of my dinner as leftovers for lunch later this week.  Grill once, eat twice!

Another blogger I met for the second time . . .


Born in South Carolina now living in Atlanta, Georgia, Amee is a Southern girl through and through – love her accent!  Although she probably thinks I have a Chicago accent!  While not a registered dietician, she is obsessed with recipe makeovers to make dishes more healthy for her husband and two kids.  She is now a certified Crossfit trainer too, she authored a children’s book and loves learning more about health and nutrition so she can pass that knowledge onto her fitness clients.

Some of my soon to make recipes from her site:  These Mediterranean steaks – love the topping on these, sans the onions of course!


And this dish – Zucchini and Sausage Parmesan “Pasta”  I’ve been wanting to get a spiralizer for a long time, this recipe may just make me get out and get one!  She’s got about 56 Paleo recipes too.  It was great to see you again Amee!


If you made it all the way down to the bottom of this post – I thank you!  Promise after tomorrow my posts will be normal sized again.  Off to cook up a steak potato breakfast hash for breakfast – make it a great day!

Disclaimer: This trip was provided to me free from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to review for the blog. All opinions are my own.