Is Grass Fed Beef Worth the Money?
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love it when the weather gets warmer. Yes, the kids go outside and play more and I get to put away all the boots and winter clothes and break out the shorts and sandals. But the best reason – it’s BBQ season and I get to hand over the cooking duties to my husband!
Grilling outside is an easy way to make dinner without having to turn on the oven. And since I already shared my tips on how to grill healthy, I figure today I would help you decide what types of beef to grill.
When you go grocery shopping, you’ll often see different types of packaged meat – regular and organic or “grass fed”. Which one should you buy?
Well, you know the old saying “you are what you eat”? The same is true for cows. The nutrients in the beef we consume are dependent on what the cows eat.
Temple Grandin, a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, has said that “grain is like cake and ice cream to cows“. Of course they like it, but it’s not good for them. Or you.
All cows feed off a grass for about the first six months, but grain fed cows are moved to feedlots called CAFOs (concentrated animal feed operations) where they will eat exclusively corn and soy and are also given supplements like hormones and antibiotics.
Why corn? Because it fattens the cows quickly. Grain fed cattle will get to their slaughter weight up to a year faster than grass fed. Also, farmers who do not grass feed their cows do not need large amounts of pasture, so that saves them money.
Now about the soy – if this is your first time here you probably don’t know how much I dislike soy. The FDA has pushed soy as a healthy food, but in fact soy is 93% genetically modified.
The USDA defines grass fed as the when the animal eats “grass and forage” after weaning and has “continuous access to pasture during the growing season”.
Grass fed beef is becoming more popular, the amount of grass fed cattle farms has increased from 50 to around 2,000 since 2002. And for good reason, the beef that comes from grass fed cows contains less fat and calories, and has about five times as many omega-3s as grain fed cows. Plus there are more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in grass fed beef.
Wondering how it compares in taste? Well since grass fed cows roam around while they eat the grass, they build more muscle. That leads to more marbling of their meat, which is where the flavor is. It also makes their meat a higher grade.
And as a bonus, grass fed animals are also better for the environments because less energy goes into growing grass than growing grain.
Bottom line: Just eat real food that eats real food.