The Cowboy Corner Edition 5 VOL 1.

Posted by Connor McCauley on

March 2 2024

1. Health and Fitness
2. Update on Panhandle Fires

Health and Fitness

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In this edition, I would like to talk to you about beef's most apparent nutritional value: protein. But, why trust me to give you this information?  Over the years, I have been on a mission to find the best diet for myself: from vegan and vegetarian (pre-ranch, obviously) to  light beef and heavy beef consumption. I have been active my whole life, from cross-country running and weight lifting to downhill skiing and mountain biking. Being so active means I’ve learned how to fuel my body.  With this experience and countless hours of research, I feel confident on how eating can affect the body.  

However, before I do so, I want to point out the diet I felt the worst on. For me that was, hands down, the vegan diet. I did not do this for any other reason than to see how it affected my health. No, I was never a PETA supporter. However, the two months I was vegan, I felt terrible– even following the advice of my hippie Colorado vegan friends. The benefits of animal proteins and fats, even if that is just through milk and cheese, are clear. After leaving my vegan diet, I was struck with more energy, a better mood, and a better-looking me.

My recovery from this poor diet came from good animal fats and, more importantly, protein. A protein molecule contains amino acids and is one of life's most crucial building blocks. Protein is how we build and repair muscles and the skeletal system. Acquiring protein through animals, particularly meat, is the best form of it. On top of that, beef is one the most tasty and versatile forms of enjoying a high-protein meal. 

Why is beef a better protein source compared to something like peanut butter or almonds? That involves a few factors, starting with the protein molecule itself. Peanut butter, for example, is an incomplete protein molecule, meaning it lacks all the essential amino acids involved with protein synthesis. To absorb peanut butter protein, you will need to find another protein source with the lacking amino acids. In other words, the protein in peanut butter is not completely bioavailable.  Not only this, but to receive the equivalent amount of protein, there is a vast calorie-to-protein ratio difference. In order to eat 35 grams of protein, you need to consume 860 calories of peanut butter. For almonds, you need to consume 960 calories. Beef, on the other hand, you need to consume just 250 calories to acquire 35 grams of protein.  Need another reason to eat beef?  It’s completely bioavailable, meaning you’ll be able to absorb and use all the protein available.  

If you’re still unsure of the benefits, did you know peanut butter has more fat and just as much saturated fat as a ribeye? Too often, red meat has a reputation for being unhealthy due to cholesterol. Yes, beef has cholesterol, but frequently, this becomes a problem with a poor exercise routine and an overindulgence in junk food. If you're going to cut out food to lower fat and cholesterol, why not start with sweets and fried food? Think about how you will fuel your body and let your muscles recover from exercise, work, or play.  You won’t get enough protein from salads and fruit alone, you need protein to repair muscles and feel your best. 

I recommend eating beef for its nutritional value. If you are someone who needs to watch their cholesterol, ask your doctor about eating sirloin, a steak low in fat. If you seek to lose weight, I would ask if there are things with no nutritional value adding to your caloric intake, like soda or fried foods. I would ask everyone if it is possible to get into an exercise or sport where protein can be your friend. Overall, animal protein, especially beef, is extremely good for health.

Fun Fact: It is recommended for athletes in sports where muscle growth needs to be optimized, that you eat one gram of protein per pound of body weight.

After all my tests with different diets, I concluded I felt the best on the high-beef diet as long as I exercised. Too often, it was the toppings that came with beef that made me feel sluggish or gain weight. It was the fried aspect, like chicken fried steak or the ranch on the beef tacos. Once I ate steak unfried and kept my tacos light, I found an amazing formula. The protein fed my activities and helped me build muscle. Beef protein has a perfect compounding effect, so I choose beef in my meals.

Update on the Panhandle Fires

Some of you may be wondering about the fires that were in the vicinity of the ranch. It was a crazy day starting Monday. When I first moved to Colorado, I was a lift operator and stared at an anemometer all day. I can tell you pretty accurately that we were dealing with 60 mph gusts. Later that day, delivering your tasty beef to the UPS driver, I heard about the first fire that he was forced to drive around. Fortunately, this fire did not turn into anything significant.

Smoke blowing in from the fires north of us


Unfortunately, there were plenty of fires that caused a lot of damage. The Smoke Creek fire north of Amarillo has burned over 1 million acres and is now the largest fire in Panhandle history. The persistent high winds and dry conditions led to this natural disaster. However, I have a little insight that the news does not claim. I can tell you this fire was also caused by rain. Yup, you read that right, rain. We had a significant overgrowth of grass from several years of good rain. That meant there was extra fuel for this fire. Fuel that was very dry from winter and drought.

Fire is a natural phenomenon in the grasslands; this is nothing new. Humans have prevented natural burns from happening. In turn, fuel can heap up and cause a much worse fire than usual. This fact is not unknown, as controlled burns have been occurring since the times of Native Americans. These burns would speed up what nature would eventually do on its own.

I'm not a massive supporter of controlled burns in the Texas Panhandle. I'm just pointing out that they support the fact that fire can be a good thing for nature. However, fire is not a good thing if it is taking out people's livestock and homes. We, as humans, are now in a tough place as we live throughout vast portions of the grasslands. Fire might be good for nature, but it is not suitable for us.

Fortunately, we were blessed and did not have to deal with fires at the ranch or in Amarillo. I will also report that there was a good snowfall on Thursday, and more snow fell than anticipated. At our house, we had the most snow out of the winter season. We will see how much the snow helps by the end of the week. We continue to ask for prayers as most of our fires happen this time of year. We also ask that you pray for those who lost homes and livestock in the fires. I’d like to thank all of our customers who have been calling and writing in to see if we are doing well.

Faith working cattle in the snow


Photo of the Month


Get to know the author: For those new to reading my newsletter, my name is Connor McCauley, and I'm married to a fifth-generation rancher. I write these articles from my perspective a lot of the time. As someone raised in the house of a stockbroker in southeast Pennsylvania, my perspective contrasts with my new Texas ranching life. In 2015, I moved to Colorado and pursued a career with the ski resorts. That is where I met my wonderful wife, Helen. In 2021, we moved to her family's ranch full-time, and I became a mix of things from ranch hand to marketer to retail manager.



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  • Great article. I was wondering if the conspiracy theorists on were correct about the fires being deliberately set to harm the independent ranchers. Conner’s comments assures us these prairie fires are part of the natural life cycle of the prairie. Glad you guys are ok.

    John Berry on
  • Glad to hear y’all weren’t impacted by the fires.
    I’d order some more tasty beef to support the ranchers, but my small freezer is FULL ! – just got a big box in yesterday and had to shuffle and re-stack to get everything in. We’re ready for spring grillin’.
    Happy Trails

    Mike on

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