Real Beef is Grass-Fed Beef

When we switch from grain-fed to grass-fed meat, then, we are simply returning to the diet of our long-ago ancestors, the diet that is most in harmony with our physiology. Every cell and every system of our bodies will function better when we eat products from animals raised on grass.

Most beef purchase has been grain fed (high corn diet).

Grain-Fed vs Grass-Fed Beef
Grain-Fed Beef Grass-Fed Beef
Added Hormones Usually No
Fed Antibiotics Usually No
Fed Grain Yes No
Omega 6:3 Ratio 20:1 (bad) 3:1 (good)
CLA (conjugate linoleic acid) (reduces disease risk) Low High (good)
Beta Carotene, Vitamin E & A Low High
Total Fat High & Saturated Proper Balance
E. Coli Risk (ground beef) High Very Low

Major Source of Omega 3 fats & Green

Grass-fed meat is lean and lower in calories. A 6 oz. steak from a grass-finished steer has almost 100 fewer calories than a 6 oz. steak from a grain-fed steer. Why should YOU be eating grass fed beef?

  • Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner than grain-fed beef.
  • Omega 3s in beef that feed on grass is 7% of the total fat content, compared to 1% in grain-only fed beef.
  • Grass-fed beef has the recommended ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats(3:1.)
  • Grass-fed beef is loaded with other natural minerals and vitamins, plus it’s a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a fat that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders.
  • Beef, in its natural grass-fed state, is a health food of the highest order. (5,6)
  • Grass fed beef has a much smaller carbon footprint than grain fed.

In humans, vitamin E is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. This potent antioxidant may also have anti-aging properties. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin E.

Extra Omega-3s

Although grass-fed meat is low in “bad” fat (including saturated fat), it gives you two to six times more of a type of “good&” fat called “omega-3 fatty acids.”

Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most “heart friendly.” People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to have a serious heart attack.3

Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to be afflicted with depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.4

The reason that grass-fed animals have more omega-3s than grain-fed animals is that omega-3s are formed in the green leaves (specifically the chloroplasts) of plants. Sixty percent of the fat content of grass is a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic or LNA.

Cattle Genetics & Calving

95% of the females are bred using artificial insemination with the best genetic US bulls based on growth weights, disposition, marbling, rib area, birth weight

Cattle are split into two herds to produce two calving seasons (gestation is about 9.5 months):

  • Fall calving: October – December
  • Spring calving: March – May

Cattle Raising: The Details – more than you need to know

  • No growth hormones or steroids
  • No antibiotics (used in rare cases to treat severe cattle infections such as foot rot, pink eye or pneumonia)
  • Not confined
  • Pasture raised – pastures sectioned for grazing rotation of 200 acres
  • What the cattle eat:
    • Entirely grass / pasture diet during non-winter months (when there’s grass, duh)
    • Winter months (Dec-Mar): grass / pasture diet of brood cows is supplemented with hay, wheat midds and protein from composted broiler litter. These hard working nursing moms need extra during the cold period.
    • Early age winter calves (Jan-Mar): cows milk is supplemented with grass/hay and a mix of grain, soybean husks and corn gluten to ensure a strong start to life and avoid disease. These calves will be off this ration at least 1.5 years before they are ready to sell.
    • Grazing pastures: no pesticides or herbicides are used (most weeds are pulled and occasionally weeds (thistle) are spot treated with herbicide)
    • Calves vaccinated against common bovine diseases and treated for worms (standard practice across cattle farms)
    • Pesky cow flies (which can carry disease) are controlled using insecticide ear tags, direct application or face rub

References

  1. Fukumoto, G. K., Y.S. Kim, D. Oduda, H. Ako (1995). “Chemical composition and shear force requirement of loin eye muscle of young, forage-fed steers.” Research Extension Series 161: 1-5. Koizumi, I., Y. Suzuki, et al. (1991). “Studies on the fatty acid composition of intramuscular lipids of cattle, pigs and birds.” J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 37(6): 545-54.
  2. Davidson, M. H., D. Hunninghake, et al. (1999). “Comparison of the effects of lean red meat vs lean white meat on serum lipid levels among free-living persons with hypercholesterolemia: a long-term, randomized clinical trial.” Arch Intern Med 159(12): 1331-8. The conclusion of this study: “… diets containing primarily lean red meat or lean white meat produced similar reductions in LDL cholesterol and elevations in HDL cholesterol, which were maintained throughout the 36 weeks of treatment.”
  3. Siscovick, D. S., T. E. Raghunathan, et al. (1995). “Dietary Intake and Cell Membrane Levels of Long-Chain n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and the Risk of Primary Cardiac Arrest.” JAMA 274(17): 1363-1367.
  4. Simopolous, A. P. and Jo Robinson (1999). The Omega Diet. New York, HarperCollins. My previous book, a collaboration with Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos, devotes an entire chapter to the vital role that omega-3s play in brain function.
  5. http://www.mercola.com/beef/health_benefits.htm
  6. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/benefits-of-grass-fed-beef?page=1
  7. http://onlygrassfed.com, http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/10, http://www.csuchico.edu/grassfedbeef/research/health-benefits.shtml
  8. Data from: Smith, G.C. “Dietary supplementation of vitamin E to cattle to improve shelf life and case life of beef for domestic and international markets.” Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1171