So Why Should We Eat Grass Fed Meat
Below I will outline the positive health benefits of eating organic grass fed meats as opposed to conventionally raised. This will help point us all in the right direction and give us a guiding light when it comes to how we choose the meats we eat and why.
Many of these topics have filled documentaries and books but we'll keep it simple and strait to the point:
- No growth hormones: Organic grass fed meats have none of this stuff. So, why do conventionally raised meats have it? The hormones are meant to grow the animal as quickly as possible well beyond it's normal growth pattern so that it can be harvested sooner. No doubt about it...if you give the animal any hormones, whoever eats the meat from that animal will most certainly get some as well. I guess that's ok if you want to get big and fat like the animal did! So, organic grass fed meat have none of these hormones for you to worry about ingesting for yourself. By the way, this stuff is banned in many countries and they will not allow any imports of meats with these hormones in it from the U.S.
- No antibiotics: Organic grass fed meats have none of this stuff either. So, why do conventionally raised meats have it? When you feed animals like cows and chickens grains and soy to fatten them up, which is not a part of their natural diet, they get sick just like we do if we ate a bad diet. When they get sick, they need antibiotics to keep them alive. Just as stated above, there's no doubt about it...if you give the animal any antibiotics, whoever eats the meat from that animal will most certainly get some as well. This is why we also see salmonella outbreaks because these diseases have become antibiotic resistant. Organic grass fed meats are much less susceptible to diseases and thus are safer for human consumption. Antibiotic burgers anyone?
- Two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio is very important to human health. Conventionally raised meats are packed with omega-6 fatty acids because of the grain fed diet. The ratio of Omega-6 to omega-3 is about 20:1! Organic grass fed meats are loaded with omega-3 and have a ratio closer to 0.2:1. That's a very big difference! Head on over to my omega-3 / omega-6 fatty acids page to learn why this is so important. Think you need to eat fish to get a good source of omega-3? Try an organic grass fed steak instead!
- Less overall fat content: This is the reason that many conventionally raised meats have gotten a bad rap for negative health effects. Of the fat content in conventionally raised beef, up to 50% can be saturated. Organic grass fed beef can have about 10% of the total fat as saturated. Organic grass fed meats also consistently show a lower cholesterol level as well. What a difference!
- Higher nutrition levels: Organic grass fed meats can be loaded with vitamin A, E, beta carotene, lutein, vitamin B12, B6, selenium and zinc. All good stuff...
- Lower in calories: Organic grass fed beef has been shown to have less calories than conventionally raised. A 6 ounce steak can have 100 fewer calories.
- Tastes AMAZING: My wife and I took some organic grass fed beef burgers over to my parent's house one weekend recently. We grilled them up to about a medium-well and they came out absolutely delicious! Everyone commented how great they were! Let me tell you folks...this stuff is awesome. I can taste the difference and I am very confident you will be able to as well.
Ok, So Organic Grass Fed Meat Is A Healthy Food. How Do I Find It?
Finding organic grass fed meat can be a little tricky because there is a big difference between organic meat and organic grass fed meat.
Organic or Natural meat does not equal organic grass fed.
Many supermarkets will almost certainly have an organic section for their fruits, veggies and meats as well as other products hidden throughout the stores.
The organic meats you see will also have other words stamped on the packages like:
- 100% vegetarian diet
- Antibiotic and hormone free
- No preservatives or artificial additives
This is great and all are most certainly steps in the right direction, however, we're still getting the very high omega-6 fatty acid ratio in this scenario and we need that Omega-3!
The nutritional profile is also still sub-standard (as mentioned above) to reach that optimum state of vitality, health and strength we seek.
Ultimately, organic meat doesn't do much more than conventional meat.
This is because the animals this meat came from were still fed grains and soy just like the conventional meats, the grains and soy just happen to be organically grown. The organic meat is better than conventional without the hormones and antibiotics, but we're just not all the way to the finish line until we find that organic grass fed meat.
So...conventional is not good -- organic is better -- organic grass fed is the most optimum meat you can get to properly fuel your body to reach your new minimum standard of health. Period.
Where to Get Organic Grass Fed Meat
Don't let the labels fool you!
Organic meat is not the same as grass fed!
Natural is not the same as organic.
If you are to spend more of you hard earned money on healthier meat choices, spend it on organic grass fed meat!
Finding organic grass fed meat is best done in a health food store like Whole Foods or smaller local health food stores in your community. If you're not sure if you have a good health food store, just search for "health food stores" in Google maps and I'm sure you'll find one nearby.
Once you find a good health food store and go to the meat section, the meats will typically be labeled as "organic grass fed" or will otherwise be labeled in such a way to put the emphasis on it being a grass fed meat.
In Whole Foods, they use a 5-step system of ratings for their meats. You can go to the Whole Foods website for information on this system, but know that once you hit "step 4", you're now in realm of grass fed meats and that's where you want to start. We will not buy anything less than step 4.
This is a perfect segway to the next source of organic grass fed meat and it's right here at your fingertips.
There are more than a few very good and reputable websites out there that specialize in organic grass fed meat specifically and we have purchased from several of them.
We have never been dissatisfied with any of our purchases from our local health food stores or any on-line resource. Greensbury Market is one we use all the time and they're fantastic! They ship your selections frozen and you just throw them in the freezer when they're delivered.
Finding Local Grass Fed Meat
There are some great resources out there to find local farms producing some of your favorite cuts of meat. You may be surprised to learn it could be right down the street!
A resource I have fallen in love with is eatwild.com. There is a cool link you can click on that allows you to sort local grass fed farms by State as well as other good pieces of information about why grass fed meat is so good for our health, the health of our planet and the welfare of the animals.