Grass fed vs grain fed meat: Part 2 of Vegetarian vs. Eating Meat. Click here for part 1 on Vegetarian vs. Meat eating: which is healthier.
Which Meat is healthy and Which is not?
Is Grass fed beef really healthier and why?
There is some confusion on this issue considering that all cattle are initially raised on grass. After birth, mother’s milk, and grass fed pasturing for 6 to 12 months (usually around 8 months) conventional cattle are then shipped off to feed lots where they gain their last several hundred pounds. At these convention farms or (CAFOs) Cattle are also typically treated with growth hormones, antibiotics and fed an unnatural non-organic feed of grain and GMO corn, soy, and other matter such as dead animal parts and even excrement, all of which are FDA approved livestock feed. (1)
Eric Schlosser, who wrote "Fast Food Nation", said, since 1993, half a million children in America have been made ill by the E. coli bug. Feeding dead cats and dogs to cattle was legal in the US until 1997 when the government banned the practice because of fears over mad cow disease. Dead horses and pigs, however, are still occasionally ground into cattle feed. The USDA also imposed rules reclassifying as "safe for human consumption" animal carcasses with cancers, tumors and open sores. Do you really want to eat beef like this? When you feed your family 100% grass-fed beef, you can feel quite confident that you are doing the best you can to dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of most infections including E.coli.
Omega 3 and 6 Fats
Regarding fats in our diet, scientific experiments determined, after isolating fats in the cell wall, that if the ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3 fats exceeds 4:1, people have more health problems. This is especially important, since grain-fed beef can have ratios that exceed 20:1 whereby grass-fed beef is down around 3:1. This is important in the treatment and prevention of Coronary artery disease, hypertension, arthritis, cancer and other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
Further, organic animal products such as eggs, organ meats and bones provide a wide variety of essential and supportive nutrients such as sulphur containing molecules, Vitamin B12 (which cannot be obtained from plant sources – (6)), Calcium, trace mineral, fat-soluble vitamins and more. Organic naturally raised (free range or grass fed) also have more favorable fatty acid profiles. Quality animal nutrition not only provides nutritional value that can’t be obtained from vegetarian diets, but supports liver function, detoxification and general tissue healing. See Part 1 for more on this.
Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is:
- Two to four times richer in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids giving Grass-fed beef a recommended ratio of omega 6 to 3 fats (3:1.)
- Higher in "good" unsaturated fats and lower in "bad" saturated fats and is naturally leaner than grain-fed beef.
- Loaded with over 400% more of vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and E (alpha-tocopherol).
- Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
- Grass-fed beef is loaded with other natural vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium where as grain-fed is not.
- Grass-fed is a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a fat that reduces the risk of and fights cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders. (CLA is only available in grass-fed cows)
- Beef, in its natural grass-fed state, is a health food of the highest order.
- Grass-fed tastes noticeably better than grain fed.
- Grass-Fed beef is virtually devoid of risk of Mad Cow Disease.
See Part 1 to learn the devastating effects Commercial factory farms have on the environment as well as the inhumane ways in which they are raised.
Keep in mind that grass-fed meat is almost always preferable to just certified organic, since most organic beef is fed organic corn, which is what causes the list of health problems associated with eating beef. Also since most grass-fed beef is also organic. Ideally, grass-fed organic is the way to go.
If you don’t have a local source, you can buy grass-fed beef and other organic meat by clicking the link below:
Butter & Milk
Butter from grass-fed cows is actually one of the healthiest foods you can eat for your heart. Although saturated fat had previously been demonized it has been shown to be very healthy for you debunking old beliefs. Organic Grass-fed butter is loaded with Vitamin K2, which aids Vitamin D3 and de-calcifies your arteries. It also contains Anti-inflammatory fatty acids called Butyrate. It is especially important to note that the alternative of Margarine and Vegetable Oils have devastating effects on your health.
For more on the benefits of butter:
- Butter is superfood- www.healthy-holistic-living.com/grass-fed-butter-is-a-superfood.html
- Saturated fat is good - authoritynutrition.com/it-aint-the-fat-people/
As mentioned in part 1 how much meat you should eat based on your nutritional type can be found by taking your nutritional type test here. (products.mercola.com/nutritional-typing/)
I would like to add that I do not eat pork, simply because almost all pork is raised inhumanly in the US. I am not anti-pork so much as I am anti factory farms that raise pork. If you know of a local farmer that raises pork organically, pasture-raised such as Polyface farms, then by all means I recommend consumption. For more information about the unhealthy ways in which most pork is raised see these links here –
- - www.undergroundhealth.com/put-down-the-pork-chops-us-pork-is-hazardous-to-your-health/
- - http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2012/02/the-trouble-with-pork-part-2/
I also never eat any processed meats, hotdogs, bacon, cold cuts and of course non-organic factory farmed or commercial turkey, chicken or farmed fish. (In other words, nothing that isn’t natural. If you are unsure, ask yourself, did our early ancestors from hundreds of years ago have this? If not, it’s probably processed and unhealthy.)
Organic food currently represents less than 2 percent of the food economy, and local food makes up well under 1 percent. Supporting these economies over the conventional factory farm model has been proven to benefit your health, the environment and the humane treatment of animals.
Scientific literature that support the health benefits of grass fed beef –
Know the terms:
- All natural – typically means meat that is minimally processed with no artificial or synthetic products. This is not regulated, so anyone can put this on their package. This means very little if anything.
- Vegetarian Fed: This refers only to an animal’s diet and does not guarantee the animal was pastured or raised humanely.
- Grass Fed: A USDA regulated label meaning, very narrowly, that that animals ate grass. According to the USDA definition, “grass-fed” animals can also be fed grain, and can be raised on grass in confinement, as long as they have access to pasture -- although "access" can be, and often is, nothing more than a facility with a door to a small outdoor area.
- Free Range: This means only that the animal has some access to the outdoors. There is no regulation for use of this term, except in the case of chickens raised for consumption. “Pasture-raised” is a more meaningful term, click here to learn more about pastured chicken.
- Organic: This label is USDA and third-party certified. It means that livestock wasn’t treated with hormones or antibiotics and was fed a pesticide-free diet.
- Humanely Raised/Certified Humane: Many ranches now choose to undergo an audit by third parties such as Animal Welfare Association and Humane Farmed to highlight their extra care. This type of label states that no practices such as overcrowding, castrating, early weaning, or denying animals access to pasture used.
These are labels are confusing and aggravating to say the least and there always seems to be a way big business can get around being completely honest.
Further, The USDA regulatory system has a tendency to favor big business, which can easily afford the USDA’s costly certification fees. Small farmers, who are often raising food in traditional, healthy ways, then are not able to legally call their products “USDA grass-fed” because they haven’t paid the USDA for that privilege.
Your best bet, which circumvents the labeling confusion altogether, is to get in touch with a local farmer (try finding a farmer’s market or community-supported agriculture program in your area to do this) who can verify that the products are raised on pasture, without antibiotics and pesticides.
By going straight to the source, you’re likely getting the absolute best meat there is, USDA-certified or not.
If you don’t have access to a local farmer near you, here is a list of grass-fed beef ranchers in the United States that can ship good quality meats right to your door:
- U.S. Wellness Meats
- Panorama Meats – Black Angus and Red Angus - www.panoramameats.com
- Country Natural Beef – Hereford and Angus - www.countrynaturalbeef.com
- Tallgrass Beef - www.tallgrassbeef.com
- Niman Ranch – A network of more than 600 independent farmers and ranchers, and probably the easiest to find locally - www.nimanranch.com
- Pacific Village – Entirely grass-fed cattle since 2002 - www.newseasonsmarket.com
Price-Pottenger Foundation - They have preserved a collection of over 10,000 books and publications, spanning over 200 years of research from most of the great nutrition pioneers of our time, including that of William A. Albrecht, MS, PhD.
Weston A. Price Foundation - The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. It supports accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies.
Slow Food - The association's activities seek to defend biodiversity in our food supply, spread the education of taste, and link producers of excellent foods to consumers through events and initiatives.
Eatwild.com is an excellent source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry, pork and dairy products.
The Meatrix - An excellent flash presentation about factory farming and links about what you can do about it.
Food Routes - Find Good Food map can help you connect with local farmers and start eating the freshest, tastiest food around. Find your local food on their interactive map, listing farmers, CSAs, and local markets near you.
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -The Eat Well Guide is a free, online directory of sustainably-raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns and hotels, and online outlets in the US and Canada.
Sustainable Food In Schools- If you don't like the food being served in your or your child's cafeteria, do something to change it! Includes guidelines on what to do, how to do it, and examples of successful initiatives underway around the country.
Oxford Vegetarian Study www.ajcn.org/content/70/3/525S.full
(2) – fallon, sally and mary enig. Nourshing traditions. 2nd edition. Winona lake, IN: new trend publishing, 1999
(3) – kellog, William r. and andrea s. dworkin. Surviving the toxic crisis. Comprehensive health publishers, 1996
(5) – Chek, Paul. Lifting the veil of deception. Vista, Ca: C.H.E.K. Institute.
(6) – articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/04/02/vegetarian-myths.aspx
(7) Jnl of American Med. Assoc. 248(12):1465, September 24, 1982
(8) Lancet 339:3/2/92
(9) Fallon and Enig, “Tripping Lightly Down the Prostaglandin Pathways,” Jnl of PPNF, Fall 1996; Lands, W.E.M., “Biochemistry & physiology of n-3 fatty acids,” The FASEB Journal, vol. 6, May 1992, pp. 2530-2536.
(10) Price, op. cit.; Fallon, S. “Nasty, Brutish, and Short?” The Ecologist, (London), Jan/Feb 1999; Enig & Fallon, “Australian Aborigines,” Jnl of PPNF, Summer 1998.
antibiotics in feed – articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/29/is-this-the-end-of-antibiotics.aspx
spices and chemicals in beef – www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Antioxidant-rich-spice-mix-shows-potential-for-heart-health?utm_source=RSS_text_news
grass fed vs conventional – articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/23/how-grassfed-cows-could-save-the-planet.aspx
grass fed – www.mercola.com/beef/health_benefits.htm
grass fed – eatlocalgrown.com/article/grass-fed-vs-feedlot-beef-difference.html?c=cure
grass fed – articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/01/benefits-of-eating-meat.aspx
grass – articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/03/07/Ethical-Meat-and-Unethical-Hype–A-Look-at-All-Natural-GrassFed-and-Other-HalfTruths.aspx
Grass fed vs grain fed meat