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A Vote for Grass Fed Beef and
Against Animal By-Products in Feed
Ask A Healer Nutrition Series
Grassfed Meat - Nutritional Information. Maybe it's not where's the beef but what did the beef eat? Grass fed or grain fed beef ... which is healthier?
by N J Howell
Suggested Reading: Organic Favorites
Having become educated on the fact that cattle create more greenhouse gasses than cars, I am in the camp of not eating much red meat. However, when I eat red meat, I most definitely look for grass fed and I want it to be organic if possible. The very best beef is also grass-finished. If you are looking for grass fed beef, I can suggest a company that is scrupulous in their quality and nutritional research.
Ecological issues aside, when it comes to the question of grass fed beef vs. grain fed beef, there are supporters on both sides. Personally, it just makes sense to me that a cow allowed to live out in the pasture, grazing as nature intended, will have far superior meat to one that is in a stall for most of their life. In my own experience,
beef and milk taste better when they source from a pastured cow. They taste lighter and cleaner somehow than grainfed.
Of course, quality depends on the grass quality too, in addition to how the animals are treated and processed. There are companies that certify they raise and process animals in a humane fashion. I look for those because I believe a happy animal is a healthy animal.
Organic grass fed is not always available so it's good to read the fine print on the
labels and even email the company for more information on the grass that is consumed.
If you are used to grain fed beef, there are a few differences: The taste of grass fed may require a little getting used to. I prefer it but others have said they had to adjust to it. If grilling, please note that grass fed takes a lot less time to grill because it has less saturated fats than grain fed. On the other hand, grass fed beef has more of the healthy omega-3's than beef rendered from cows on a grain diet.
Most companies that sell organic products are open to giving consumers more information because they are in touch with the concerns about purity.
Learn more about grass fed beef benefits at the Mayo Clinic website. Just search for "grass fed beef". Interestingly, I couldn't find a similar resource extolling the virtues of grain fed beef....If you know of one, let me know.
Before You Eat Beef, Consider What the Cow Has Eaten - How healthy is the beef you are consuming?
You are what you eat... Cows are also what they eat. Did you know that some cattle are being fed animal by-products? For example, according to this Source: report on meat processing and your food, way back in 2001:
Bones, skin and connective tissue, such as tendons, are used for the production of gelatine which is then used in human food (desserts, gummed candies, marshmallow and prepared meat products), ANIMAL FEED (coats of vitamines, binders of feed pellet and dog chews), pharmaceutical (hard and soft capsules) and technical use (in the photographic industry for paper coating and as acomponent in silver halide emulsion coatings, etc)
Mixture of bones, meat trimmings and offals are rendered into fats and into animal proteins which are then used in human food, ANIMAL FEED, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and technical products;- offals and meat trimmings are used as fresh raw material in pet food and pharmaceuticals or, following strict heat treatment (i.e.133"C for 20 minutes at 3bars of pressure, in animal feed.
This same report went on to say there are no risks from these uses......that meat and bone were introduced into animal feed a long time ago. Yet, they also acknowledge that something went wrong and
trace the origin of Mad Cow disease to contaminated food. Cattle eating cattle.
In my opinion, Mad Cow Disease was a problem waiting to happen (and I wouldn't be surprised if researchers find a link between by-products in chicken feed and the bird flu). To feed a cow ground up meat by-products, and particularly the by-products of other cows, goes against the natural digestive system of the animal and also, I believe it weakens
the cow's immune system resulting in less healthy cows....less healthy meat.
GMO's and Grainfed Beef
If a cow is grainfed, there's a darn good chance they are being fed GMO corn or soy. That's another good reason to choose grass fed beef if you can find it. A cow that mostly eats genetically modified grain is more likely to have health issues. If you don't eat gmo foods, why would you eat meat from animals fed gmo grains?
Health Care Disclaimer: The information contained in article on grass fed beef vs grain fed beef, as well as the information excerpted on the report about animal by-products and Mad Cow Disease represent my current level of research into a complicated matter.
Be pro-active in your own health by doing further research in determining the best beef for you and the ones you love to consume. I encourage you not to assume that FDA-inspected means best.
It's good that there are regulations governing bacteria and other harmful substances in our meat but consumers must
stay involved in all aspects of how meat goes from field to table, to insure that healthy beef remains an option.