Grass-fed beef. We all have heard about it and seen it in stores, but what makes it so much better than the conventional corn-fed cows? Remember, you are what you eat. More importantly, you are what your food eats. Two steaks may look very similar but the nutritional profile of one blows away the other. Grass-fed beef, if purchased from a legitimate source, can be an excellent source of protein, fat and fatty acids.
First of all, the natural diet of a cow consists of eating grass. Cows raised on pastures can be seen eating grass pretty much all day long. They get all their nutrients from eating grass. The unfortunate cows who are raised in conventional farms have it much worse than their relatively free friends. Conventional cows eat a diet that consists of corn, wheat, soy, byproducts, even candy and peanut shells. This diet is unnatural and creates high levels of inflammation. The cows get sick as a result of this inflammation and require steroids and antibiotic injections. All these effects are passed into the food that will end up on your dinner table. All the impurities of an animal’s life ultimately get consumed by us. Grass-fed cows are usually raised in more humane conditions, not trapped within the barn. They are eating their natural diet and get sunshine. These cows get sick much less and don’t require as much medical intervention. Federal regulations prohibit use of antibiotics in grass fed animals.
Grass-fed cows are also raised for longer periods of time which gives the animal and its meat more time to develop. Conventional cows are pumped full of steroids and growth hormones to accelerate growth and size of the animal in shorter periods of time.
Out in the fields, happy cows get more exercise which definitely results in healthier meat. Cows squeezed together in a barn usually can’t move too freely around the premises.
One of the most interesting benefits of eating grass-fed animals is the balance or ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. It is 3:1 and fits within the guidelines of healthy eating. This ratio is favorable to avoid inflammation in the body.
In my opinion, grass-fed beef tastes better. Some say it is tougher or more difficult to cook but to me, the taste plays a big role. On the grill, this particular kind of meat needs a little more attention and less heat.
One animal I have become a fan of in the past few years is bison. Bison cattle are handled differently than cows. They graze pastures and don’t live in barns. It is also prohibited to use antibiotics and steroids on bison. The taste isn’t gamy at all and bison is a great source of vitamin B6 and selenium. I prepare my signature 🙂 meal where I mix ground bison with avocado, tomatoes and eggs in a pan with coconut oil. It’s a great source of calories for those of us who participate in rigorous exercise.
As far as choosing a legitimate provider of grass-fed beef and not getting ripped off, I recommend doing research on the brands available at your grocery store. If it is a company that has a questionable reputation when it comes to providing what you actually pay for, this information will most likely pop up on google.
There is still some warmth left in this fall, get to grilling!