Grass-Fed Meat: Hype Or Hope?
I came across this article and want to share it with you, because it reflects my ideals of
good responsible nutrition in respect to meats. Nothing spectacular just to remind us. Thanks for reading. If I only plant a little seed in your approach to health and food it is all worthwhile
then. Thank You!
So it goes:
“This is a fact: Cows weren’t meant to eat grain. Seriously.
It’s just not their natural diet. You can make them eat it, just like you can make
lions in the zoo eat Cheerios, but it’s not what they normally eat, and they won’t do
well on it. And you won’t do well if you eat the meat of grain-fed cows. Here’s why;
Cattle in the U.S. begin life on a pasture, and usually stay there for 12-18 months.
But then about 97% of them get shipped off to feedlots—also known as CAFOs, or
confined animal feedlot operations— and that’s where the problems really begin.
From the point of view of Big Food Corporations, feedlot operations are awesome. Grains are
superb at fattening cattle. (You might have noticed that they do the same thing for
most humans.) So are antibiotics—which feedlot farmed animals are given a ton of;
antibiotics fatten the cows right up. And even if they didn’t, those antibiotics are
still needed because the cattle get sick from the double whammy of being confined
in such close quarters and being forced to eat an unnatural diet of grains. They’re
also given hormones (like bovine growth hormone). All this stuff winds up in their
meat, and—especially— in their fat.
So the meat (and milk) that comes from cows that primarily spend their life being
fattened up on grain at CAFOs is simply not the same meat or milk that comes from
their pasture-fed, grass-grazing brethren. The fat content is different, the nutrients
are different, and except for the fact that they both contain the same amount of
protein, grain-fed meat is just not the same food as grass-fed meat.
Organic meat and grass-fed are not the same thing, though a lot of grass-fed meat
is also organically raised. Organic meat that’s not grass-fed may indeed be free of
some unwanted chemicals, but it is still nutritionally inferior to grass-fed meat,
because when a ruminant is taken off pasture and fattened on grain, it loses a
number of valuable nutrients.
Compared with grass-fed meat, grain-fed meat has only one-quarter as much
vitamin E, one-eighth as much beta-carotene, and one-third as many omega-3
fatty acids, if indeed it has any omega-3 at all. Feeding large amounts of any type
of grain to a grazing animal will have this effect simply because grain itself has
fewer of these nutrients than fresh pasture does. And since most of these animals
are corn-fed, and since over 90% of corn in the US is genetically modified to
contain the Bt toxin, one can only speculate what effect this has on the quality of
the meat that comes from these animals, and on the health of the people who
consume them. (Monsanto—that wonderful, public-minded company that gave us
Agent Orange– assures us that GMO food like their Bt-toxin containing corn is
completely harmless to humans. I don’t know about you, but that sure makes me
feel a lot better.)
Grain-fed animals also produce far more of the pro inflammatory omega-6s and far
less of the anti-inflammatory omega-3s. The balance between these two fats is
essential to human health. We get far too many omega-6s and far too few omega-
3s. The fat in grass-fed animals is much closer to a healthy balance between these
two essential fats. The fat in grain-fed animals is heavily weighted in favor of the
pro-inflammatory omega-6 and only contributes to the imbalance in our diet.
Compared with grass-fed products, organic grain-fed products are also relatively
deficient in a cancer-fighting fat called CLA—conjugated linolenic acid. CLA has been
widely studied for its anti-cancer and tumor-fighting ability, as well as for its ability
to reduce the accumulation of abdominal fat. CLA may be one of the most potent
cancer-fighting substances in our diet. Feeding animals a diet with as little as 1% CLA
significantly inhibited tumor growth and prevented the spread of breast cancer cells
to lungs, peripheral blood, and bone marrow. When you feed a ruminant grain—
even as little as two pounds a day—its production of CLA plummets..
So as far as I’m concerned, grass-fed meat is the only way to go.
While you can get grass-fed meat at farmers markets and through collectives, it’s
not always easy to find.”
Posted by: Jonny Bowden
....end of article
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