A quick course on the differences between grain fed and grass fed meats
A cow was born to eat grass; that’s how its body and physiological systems are designed. Humans decided to start feeding them grain. Now, you wouldn’t put diesel in a car that runs on regular gas and not expect anyproblems, would you? It’s the same principle when you feed grain to a cow. The fat from the grain-fed cow becomes denatured. This means that when we eat the cow’s meat, our bodies do not recognize the fat, and since we don’t have the enzymes to break down a fat we don’t recognize, we don’t absorb it. So it sits in the body and begins an inflammatory reaction on the cellular level.
You may be thinking, “I’m pretty healthy…This can’t be affecting me that much.” Well, statistics say that you’ve got a good chance that it is! Two-thirds of Americans will die of cancer, heart attacks, or strokes. People in the United States rarely die of old age anymore.
Cellular inflammation leads to:
- cardiovascular disease
- hormonal issues
- type II diabetes
- skin conditions
- neurological disease (such as Parkinson’s)
- slower brain development in children, and ADHD symptoms
- certain types of cancer
Not only is feeding grain to a cow unatural, but the grain itself has usually been tainted by man. Many studies show the damaging effects of genetically modified (GMO) grains, and the herbicides and pesticides that are used in conjunction with them, but let’s just focus on the latter for now. Picture an acre of grain. Now picture that whole acre being sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. Let’s say it’s spaghetti night at your house and your family just ate a pound of regular grocery store beef. By the law of concentration, you and your family consumed one acre of treated grain, in just one pound of beef. Yikes!
So what’s the hype with grass fed and free range meat?
Good fats, such as the kinds found in animals not fed grain, nuts, coconut, and other natural souces, are the most lacking nutrient in the Standard American Diet (SAD), not vitamins and minerals. Grass fed and free range meats offer many of the fatty acids missing from the SAD. In France, where grass fed and free range meats are more common, they consume more fat and cholesterol, yet have lower rates of stroke and heart disease. And in the November 2004 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, studies showed that saturated fat in grass fed meat actually helped to prevent heart disease. Good fats are essential for hormone production, cancer prevention, brain development, reduced inflammation, cellular healing, and weight loss. Did you hear that last one? A diet high in good fats will help get rid of those stubborn pounds.
What to eat instead.
Avoid commercial meats, and look for labels that read grass fed or free range. Even if you don’t get organic, just getting grass fed is moving in the right direction. These changes don’t deprive you of the food you love. On the contrary! They make eating them even better. Applegate makes really good grass fed hot dogs, and they are even available at some Krogers. Gabby’s Burgers in Nashville uses only grass fed meat and it’s one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Kerrygold is the best butter you’ve ever had — grass fed or not — and Trader Joe’s has it cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen.
Upgrade your diet with grass fed and free range meats!
Sources for More Info
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Pompa, Dan. 21st Century Health & Weight Optimization Guide. Revelation Health Solutions, LLC. 2010.
Duckett, S.K., D.G. Wagner, et al. (1993). “Effects of time on feed on beef nutrient composition.” J Anim Sci 71 (8): 2079-88.
Siscovick, D.S., T.E. Raghunathan, et al. (1995). “Dietary Intake and Cell Membrane Levels of Long-Chain n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and the Risk of Primary Cardiac Arrest. JAMA 274(17); 1363-1367.
Aro, A., S. Mannisto, et al. “Inverse Association Between Dietary and Serum Injected Linoleic Acid and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal
Women.” Nutr Cancer 38, no.2(2000): 151-7.
Lopez-Bote, C., R.Sanz Arias, A.I. Rey, et al. (1998). “Effect of free-range feeding on omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-tocopherol content and
oxidative stability of eggs.” Animal Feed Science and Technology 72:33-40.
Creative Commons licensed pics.
Credit for cow pic- Jeroen_Bennink. Changes made: Callout/text added to original cow image.
Credit for girl and spaghetti pic- Steven Depolo. No changes made to original.