I spend a lot of time thinking about what we eat. But until recently, I hadn’t stopped to really think about what my food was eating or not eating. I did look for labels like organic, no hormones, no antibiotics, but that was pretty much the extent of it. Today, I know better. Our family has made the switch to all organic, grass-fed beef and pastured eggs and chicken, but for this post, I’m going to focus on why grass fed beef.
First of all, grass fed beef by definition is never fed any grain, corn or soybeans. It’s organic so it’s also never fed hormones or antibiotics. It’s as the name says – grass fed. Without getting into all the environmental benefits (which are many)…let’s spend a few minutes comparing grass fed and grain fed beef.
Grass Fed Beef
- Free of E. Coli 0157
- Less fat
- More Vitamin A
- More Vitamin E
- More beta-carotene
- Contains alpha-lipoic acid – essential for cell metabolism it also lowers blood sugar
- More CLA – powerful antioxidant reported to help prevent cancer, lower triglyceride and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- More Omega-3 fats – the good kind that helps lower triglycerides, increases HDL (good cholesterol) and reduces inflammation.
- No mad cow’s disease
Grain Fed Beef
- No CLA
- Unbalanced ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Can contain E. Coli 0157
When I first started researching the benefits of grass fed beef what really jumped out at me was what was missing from grain fed beef, specifically the vitamins, CLA and Omega-3s. I can’t help but make a connection in my own mind between what’s missing and the diseases that are often attributed to red meat. We still don’t eat a lot of meat, but when we do I believe that grass fed is the most nutritious option for our family.
Yes, it is more expensive, especially if you purchase it from a local grocery store. But there are other options. Seek out a local farmer that raises grass fed cows and pastured chickens. They usually offer a farm share for a monthly fee which entitles you to several cuts of beef, chicken, eggs and even soup bones. I’ve found this is the most affordable option in most cases. Many will also allow a la cart orders. Consider visiting the farm before you make your choice or ask friends for recommendations. We found our farm through a friend on Twitter. Farmer’s Markets are another great resource for grass fed beef. If all else fails, there are several companies that sell online including Tropical Traditions. But I think local is always best.
Have you tried grass fed beef? What do you think? Where do you buy it?