Grass Fed Beef
What’s the latest trend in the meat world lately? If you guessed one hundred percent grass fed beef, you’d be on the money. So, what’s the hype for? Is it worth it? “Don’t all cows eat grass? Aren’t they all grass fed?”. Today, Papa Earth is at it again, demystifying the meat gossip so you won’t have to be so chicken about beef.
To start: What is 100% grass fed beef?
Beware of marketing for there is no standard and varying criteria across independent certifiers on how much grass a cow needs to have eaten in their life in order to gain a grass-fed title. When a consumer is uninformed, grass fed beef can easily be mistaken for 100% grass fed beef or grass fed, grass finished beef. We believe that this intentional labeling could be to mislead buyers and give them the impression of getting the goodness of the counterparts that customer might have been hoping to get.
Bovine raised to be eaten typically all spend some time outside in fields and pastures eating their multiple stomachs full of grass. This would mean that the animals were, at some point, grass fed, no matter what happens next. Most cows we raise for beef are eventually relocated to indoor feedlots in large numbers to be fattened up by feeding them grain instead of grass or hay. This is how the animals get nice, thick and juicy and produce those larger looking steaks and rumps we are used to seeing line grocery stores aisles. This is called grain finishing. This is the feeding cycle of cows that are grass fed, grain finished.
This takes place for a number of reasons but mainly because it’s more cost and space effective to raise the animals this way. Cattle are fed corns and grain that are high in energy and starches making them grow larger and quicker than cows that would have stayed on an all-grass diet. Feedlots that keep the cows closer together also drastically reduce the amount of land that the animals can roam and/or allow cattle raisers to fit more cows in the same area than a farm raising their cows strictly on grass might need. These practices are driven largely driven by the increased demand for meat but results often in poor animal wellness and lower quality, though relatively inexpensive, beef.
All this to explain that 100% grass fed beef is the beef that comes from cows that have only eaten as close to nature intended their entire lives. First, they drink cow’s milk from their mothers and then dine happily until slaughter on grass, wild greens, alfalfa and hay – which is simply long dried grass – over the winters when they are brought into their barns. These are animals that are grass fed and grass finished that give us our delicious and nutritious 100% grass fed beef. Papa Earth beef products are all grass fed and finished on top of being antibiotic-free.
Benefits of eating 100% grass fed
The interest around 100% grass fed beef is increasing because more and more consumers are paying closer attention to their nutritional needs and where their food comes from, whenever possible.
More nutrient dense
Eating beef that comes from cows that lead a rather natural existence when it comes to their diets wasn’t just good for the animals but it translates in to benefits for the eaters as well. 100% Grass fed beef is actually better for you than the grain finished beef. It is more nutrient and fatty acid dense while being lower in calories and saturated fats. On top of being a great source of protein, 100% grass fed beef has also been linked with reducing the risks of developing heart disease and strokes when it replaces the conventionally raised type throughout an entire diet.
Rich in Omega 3’s
It doesn’t end there. This leaner beef is becoming top-shelf because its proportions of vitamins, beneficial fats and antioxidants are also higher and they pack up to 50% more omega 3s than their grain finished cousins. Grass fed beef is less likely to have cultures of bacteria that are resistant to medications and superbugs that are easily transmitted through consumption to humans. All of these health boosting nutrients and facts are linked to improved immunity, have anti-inflammatory properties and, from a food safety standpoint, are the superior choice for your meals.
Low in calories
If you’re a calorie counter or want to lose weight, protein consumption is critical. Based on the average American consumption of beef in a single year, which is around 30.4 kg, upgrading your beef will save you upwards of 16,600 calories while you reap the better deal health wise to begin with. At an increased cost of about $300 more per year for a single person, it could still easily fit in to a reasonable budget and be a worthwhile trade for some improved health.
Helps to lower blood sugar levels
Next on the list of benefits are conjugated linoleic acids. If you’ve never heard of them, you were like us before doing some research. CLA, as it’s known, is a fatty acid that helps support healthy blood sugar levels. Managing blood sugars can reduce the risk of or help prevent serious conditions like diabetes. Obesity is also linked to blood sugars as they cause inflammation in the body and also make weight loss more difficult.
CLA is also pretty unique in that it has anti-cancer properties, which is more typical of plant-based foods. Compared to grain fed cows, their grass eating counterparts produce meat with higher concentrations of what is one of the strongest elements in building a natural defence to cancer.
Decrease in heart related deceases
Your heart will also be happier for switching to 100% grass fed beef. There is evidence that suggests that heart-related diseases decrease with an increased consumption of CLA. Grass fed beef also contains heart health nutrients and antioxidants. They have higher volumes of vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids and lower volumes of unhealthy fats and bad cholesterols. The latter are directly linked to cardiovascular diseases and in the past, a recommendation would have been to reduce or eliminate red meat consumption to help your heart. Now we are learning that consuming healthier varieties of the meats means we can still enjoy our favourite dinners while being heart-conscious.
This kind of informed eating is great and we support it wholeheartedly at Papa Earth. Not only because we can help provide you with the meat and fish to support your ventures but also because there’s a benefit to actively sourcing the best quality foods to nourish your body. Conventional beef is more likely to contain harmful bacteria than grass-fed beef.
this could be due to their differing lifestyle, mainly, and the conventionally-raised cows living in tight proximity to other animals, sometimes living in unsanitary conditions and being mass slaughtered.
A large study by Consumer Reports found antibiotic-resistant bacteria and MRSA in samples of grain fed beef but none in grass fed beef. In another, in twice as many samples of grain fed beef than in grass fed meat there were superbugs that, though rare, can cause food poisoning. The findings concluded therefore that grass fed beef carries less bacteria overall than the conventionally-raised beef.
If you’ve heard of the keto diet or the ketogenic lifestyle it is simply reducing the amount of carbs consumed and increasing the amounts of fats we consume (of course the good kinds) to prevent a rise in blood sugar levels. Beef is a large part of that diet as it is low carb and calorie, especially considering how filling it can be, but eating grass fed and finished beef might be able to give you an extra edge by being even leaner and higher in fatty acid concentrations than conventionally raised beef. Think of it as a delicious diet hack to unlock the potential of the lifestyle just a little bit quicker.
With quick results there are often drawbacks. Many who have started a keto lifestyle change come down with what is called a “keto flu”. Sodium, magnesium and potassium are easy to run low on when you cut out carbs, high fructose fruits and very starchy vegetables. Luckily grass fed beef is loaded with these essential electrolytes that aren’t being replenished as quickly as they leave your system on this type of diet.
Grass-fed beef is better for the planet and the environment
On top of all the personal health benefits, eating grass fed is more likely to be better for the planet and the animals themselves. Not only is it healthier but the way we tend to raise grass fed cows has a smaller effect on the environment than the grain fed and/or feedlot cows. As the animals are a part of a more natural life cycle and thriving in a natural environment, they contribute to a balanced ecosystem where they are raised. There is less soil erosion, greater wildlife diversity, natural water sources are of better quality and these animals produce amazing fertilizers.
When it comes to animals themselves, open pasture eating is as they were intended to dine. This is in stark contrast to grain fed cows. Naturally bovines are efficient at converting the grass that they consume in to protein (which is passed on to you) but corn and grains, not so much. Grain and corn rich diets upset their digestive systems and like us, our gut health is critical to our overall health. Remember that we are what we eat – if the cow isn’t eating well and we are eating their meat, it becomes less of what we need in turn.
Lastly when it comes to the animals, we do like to highlight what is best for the animals being raised for food and it is definitely not the feedlot life. There they are deprived of exercise and fresh air. Do with that information what you will but eating consciously should also be about eating with your conscience wherever possible.
So, is grass fed beef worth the premium costs?
We don’t believe the costs of grass fed beef to be excessive for the gain of the switch. As with most things of superior quality, the price tags tend to increase. Part of the costs you inherit are because the grass fed route costs more money and takes more time to produce than the quick-to-market varieties that can easily be picked up in stores. A lot of effort goes in to raising animals happily, ethically and naturally. When you choose grass fed, you are also more likely to be supporting local, smaller, family-run farms with margins that allow them to actually support themselves and keep their businesses running. The practice and art of properly raising cattle is often from animal loving and appreciation values that also benefit the planet.
If we haven’t yet been able to convince you, the short answer is yes. Keep in mind that any effort to eat better for yourself or the environment when you can and if it fits your budget is way better than never trying at all.
Grass-fed beef delivery service
At Papa Earth we offer a variety of grass-fed beef options. Grass fed ground beef, striploin steak, rib-eye steak, prime rib steak, stir fry, stew, blade roast, grass fed liver, heart and more. Apart from beef we also offer grass fed bison.