What’s the difference between conventional and grass-fed beef? And what about organic, pastured, or grass-finished? Where do cows being fed genetically modified corn and soy fit in? And how do these types affect taste, the environment, and ultimately, us when we eat them?
Even as a nutritionist I was confused. To be honest, raised as a city boy, I never thought much about how a cow lived or what it ate before it arrived as a medium-rare ribeye steak on my dinner plate, one of my favorite meals. I assumed there was someone in charge feeding it well and doing the right thing environmentally. I had other things to worry about; I didn’t think I had to worry about this, or so I thought.
That is until I began to see articles and various documentaries about conventional cows being fed genetically modified corn and soy to fatten them up quickly and cheaply, living on CAFOs, which are essentially huge feeding lots where cows eat, drink, defecate, and die, shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other cows, without a blade of grass in sight, making them sick, and requiring antibiotics to keep them alive long enough for slaughter.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
So which is the healthiest beef choice?
It seems obvious we wouldn’t want to eat the meat of an animal raised in such an unnatural environment; when we eat conventional beef, we could get sick. But that’s just what many of us are doing when we don’t eat the beef from cows that have grazed on grass – aka, grass-fed.
So that brings us back to names. Grass-fed, grass-finished, and pastured beef can and should mean the same thing; cows raised on pastures and eating grass, the way they’re supposed to live and eat. The word organic alone can just mean the cows are eating organic corn and soy, not grass. To assure you are getting the best beef possible, choose organic grass-fed beef.
Studies show that the beef from organic grass-fed cows is healthier, having more heart healthy omega 3’s, and less total fat and calories. It’s also one of the best sources of protein on the planet, essential for building bones, muscles and essential to every cell in the body.
Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef
– Higher omega 3 fatty acids
– Less fat & calories
– Reduces high blood pressure
– Reduces cancer risk
– Reduces heart disease risk
– Better for the environment – sustainable
And, anyone who’s tried it will tell you, it just tastes better. Whether it’s a grilled flank steak, freshly ground burger, or pot roast, when you eat grass-fed beef, your getting the best taste and nutrition.
These cows are typically raised on smaller, local farms, and require more labor and resources with smaller yields. That’s why it costs slightly more. But it’s worth the cost because the farmers are stewards of the earth and uphold high animal welfare standards; raising healthy, delicious beef, in an environmentally responsible way.
When you buy organic grass-fed beef, you are getting the best product, and supporting smaller farmers, and the environment, at the same time.