All cattle eat grass in one form or another, so what does “Grass Fed Beef” really mean? According to the USDA the definition of Grass Fed Beef is “grass and forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning.” What's interesting is approved “grass (foraged) fed” cattle can receive up to 20% of other feed (such as grain and other foodstuffs) and still qualify for this label. While that label says Grass Fed, its not the grass fed you are looking for.
When looking to purchase the best quality meat, you want to choose Pasture Raised Beef. That means the cattle should be born and raised on the land and 100% pastured raised in the field, without any additional foodstuffs. For example, the cattle we raise at True Pasture Beef are from a closed herd, meaning they are born and raised on our land, with all natural grass that is free from pesticides or fertilizers, and are hormone and antibiotic free. This is one of the main benefits of finding and buying meat directly from a local farmer; you know what you’re getting, where its coming from and you have a local farmer to direct your questions to. No call center, no middle man. Just straight from the Pasture to your Plate.
When you’re choosing the right meat for you and your family, these are things to consider, but
the big question is why do you want to eat it? Besides tasting amazing, here are the three main reasons to eat Pasture Raised Grass Fed Beef.
We’ve all heard “we are what we eat” and the same is true for cattle. What they consume
eventually becomes what we consume. Wild grass is the best and most natural food source for cattle. Its what nature intended. You want to avoid grain fed cattle, as grain can include corn, spent grains from breweries and distilleries, soy hulls and even old bread products. Often times, these are leftover from other products, which is not a healthy diet.
The big nutritional advantage of Grass Fed cattle is the kind of fat we get from them. Grass Fed beef has a balanced combination of the essential Omega-6’s and Omega-3’s, which are easier (and better) for our bodies to consume. We can’t produce these kinds of fats, so we have to consume them, however consumed out of proportion, it can do a lot of damage. A diet that is balanced in Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s reduces inflammation, helping to prevent heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, alzheimer's, many types of cancers, and more.
It also packs a punch with protein; one quarter pound patty has 20 grams of protein. It also has other kinds of nutrients that our bodies need and is an excellent source of B12, Selenium, Zinc, Niacin, B6, and is also a good source of phosphorus, choline, iron, and riboflavin.
In conventional beef production, starting the 1950’s, the use of antibiotics has been a routine practice and the FDA reports that nearly 80% of all the antibiotics used in the US is used on animals, and of that share, 83% are used on healthy animals as routine practice. Most Pasture animals are only treated if ill (and often they are removed from the pasture entirely). Simply put, Pasture cattle eat “clean” with little to no intervention and are therefore “cleaner” for us to consume.
For more fun facts on the nutrition of beef, visit www.beefnutrition.org
Grass Fed Beef, living on pasture land are a part of the natural cycle of plant life. Studies
indicate perennial grasses are better for soil. We use top soil quicker than can be replaced
when shallow-rooted plants like corn, wheat, and soy deplete the soil of critical nutrients.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, cropland in the US is being eroded at least 10 times faster than the lost soil can be replaced by natural processes. Perennial grasses extend deep below the earth’s surface and lift nutrients back up to the surface for other plants and all the way up the food chain. When cattle graze, they cut the grass and the root stays intact, which has positive effects on CO2 and the top soil. Grass crops are also more environmentally friendly because it reduces flooding (due to that rich top soil) and contributes much less to global greenhouse-gas emissions.
For more on how Grass Fed Beef is better for the environment (and other resources):
#3 Animal Welfare
Animals that are raised in open pastures get to do what they do best – act like animals. It lets them express their natural behaviors, instead of engaging in abnormal behavior because of the boredom and stress of being confined in small spaces. Cattle raised in open pastures are less likely to develop health problems because they’re eating food they were meant to eat, in an open, natural environment where they were meant to live. It’s not rocket science, it’s letting nature take its course and the result is healthier, happier cows. For example, at True Pasture Beef, we have over 5,000 acres of happy cows on our two ranches right here in Southern California.
How can you tell if your beef was raised in a factory/industrial farm or the Pasture? The easiest way is to ask the Farmer!
|Kristi Lee Graham, founder of True Pasture Beef|
Go Get Your Beef On! Whatever your reason for choosing to eat Pasture Raised Grass Fed Beef, know you’re eating the best beef on the planet. To find a local farmer near you, we suggest visiting www.eatwild.com and remember to ask the Farmer all the questions you want!
by: Kristi Lee Graham, founder of True Pasture Beef, a sustainable California CSA that raises home grown, free range, 100% grass fed beef, serving Southern California. Connect with her on Social Media: facebook.com/truepasturebeef on Instagram
@truepasturebeef, or visit www.truepasturebeef.com
to ‘meat the herd.’
Some of this information was compiled from www.humaneitarian.org , www.beefnutrition.org ,
http://www.nrdc.org http://therealfoodguide.com www.ams.usda.gov www.authoritynutrition.com