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The Straight Cut on Beef

The ongoing shortages in our industrial food supply chain are showing us just how disastrous it is to rely on outsourced meat to feed our families. There has never been a better time to ditch the grocery store meat and get back in touch with local farming. Thankfully there are still some farmers who believe in raising their cattle with integrity, which provides us with true organic options that are safe for consumption. 

 

In an ideal scenario, if you are purchasing beef, it should be organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed & grass-finished. This means the cow is never in an enclosed pen, given antibiotics or fed anything other than the grass they roam freely on. 

 

However, most beef you will find in the grocery store, even in more high-end stores like Whole Foods, is using language to obfuscate your understanding of what you are purchasing. Many brands use labels like “humanely raised” and antibiotic-free to distract you from the fact it is not organic or grass-fed. While “humanely raised” and “antibiotic-free” are extremely important, it must be organic and grass-fed. When beef is not organic, cows can be fed things such as GMO corn and feed. This is most often contaminated with dangerous pesticides like glyphosate. In essence, you’re better off eating air!

 

Grass-fed cattle also produce some of the most nutrient and vitamin-rich meat available. Studies show that grass-finished beef contains three times more vitamin E  than grain-fed cattle, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. Grass-fed meat also contains higher levels of vitamin A, which is beneficial for skin and eye health. 

 

A new protein identified in foods called Glutathione (GT) has the amazing capacity to reduce free radical damage in the body.  GT compounds are higher in grass-fed beef compared to grain-fed. Consuming grass-fed beef can help prevent DNA damage as GT protects the cell from other proteins and oxidized lipids that can break it down. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT)—which are coupled enzymes that work together as powerful antioxidants are also higher in Grass-fed beef. 

 

Grass-fed animals also have a higher concentration of α-linolenic acid and other omega-3s according to the Director of Research and Development at Applegate Natural & Organic Meats. It is important to supplement your diet with additional omega-3s (grass-fed meat is the best source for this) because it helps negate the bad effects of the typical American diet which is high in inflammation and Omega 6. 

 

We are often told that cows are bad for the environment. However, that is an unfortunate misdirection from the true cause of the problem: factory and industrial farm practices. These practices damage the surrounding ecology with toxic runoff and pesticides, which make their way into our ground, water, and air. In fact, the Earth needs healthy free-roaming cows to maintain its natural biodiversity, which is essential for a healthy planet. Well-managed herds of cows allowed to roam on open pastures mimic the same patterns of wild herds that once moved across the plains fertilizing the planet, aerating the soil and helping grass and natural vegetation grow. 

 

When cows are allowed to roam pastures, as they would naturally, they can eat as many natural plants and grass as they please without growing hungry or overfeeding. When ‘biomimicry’ is allowed to take place (cows mimicking the natural grazing of wild herds), biodiversity thrives and the Earth is happy. Naturally, grazing cows also helps trap Co2 in the ground despite the fear-mongering and vilification of cows and small farmers taking place today.

 

One of the safest alternatives is to purchase your meats from a local farm.  Make sure you speak to the farmer about their practices and the feed they provide (or do not provide) for their animals. The farm should be classified as organic and engaging in regenerative practices that make the land healthier for the animals and ultimately for you. 

Your gut, brain and planet will thank you!

 

References: 

Contributors, W. M. D. E. (n.d.). Grass-fed beef: Is it good for you? pros and cons, nutrition information, and more. WebMD. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/grass-fed-beef-good-for-you 

Gunnars, K. (2019, December 4). What’s the difference between grass- and grain-fed beef? Healthline. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/grass-fed-vs-grain-fed-beef 

Humane®, C. (2017, November 30). What meat labels like ‘organic’ and ‘grass Fed’ actually mean-and whether you should care. Certified Humane. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://certifiedhumane.org/meat-labels-like-organic-grass-fed-actually-mean-whether-care/ 

10 things you didn’t know about grass-fed beef. Eat This Not That. (2020, February 18). Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.eatthis.com/grass-fed-meat-facts/