When you think of cattle you picture them roaming open fields eating grasses, sedges, bushes, clovers and other plants and leaves they find around them. Like the California Cheese ads, they are “Happy Cows”
The best quality grass-fed cattle and sheep will be fed like this before leaving the farm, while some farms “finish” their animals with grain for a period of time before they leave the farm. This technique is used to “fatten” the animal up. Notice I said they feed their animals grains to fatten them up!!!
Ask your butcher if the meat they supply is “finished off” or grass fed to the end? Ideally we want to consume meat that is grass-fed to the end, and here’s why…
Feed-lot grain fed animals are usually kept in restricted areas and fed an all grain diet. This may include wheat, corn and soy, and these are usually GMO grains. These animals are highly stressed and sometimes the farm and pen conditions can be atrocious.
So what is the big deal about grass-fed or grain-fed?!?
Grains are full of omega-6. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory in out bodies, promoting inflammation, this inflammation is what drives disease. When an animal is fed grain, it takes on this omega-6 load into its tissues and fat, and the we eats this.
While high omega-6 is not ideal, the main health issue for consumers is that grain-fed meat is extremely low in omega-3.
Seeking as much omega-3 from real food sources is one of the principal aims in creating vibrant health. Therefore eating grain-fed animals is not providing us with the power punching anti-inflammatory omega-3 content that our bodies require, but a bucket load of pro-inflammation omega-6 instead.
Grass-fed meat is much higher in omega-3.
It is also higher in B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals including magnesium, calcium and selenium.
Additionally, the living conditions of free-range grass-fed animals is of a higher standard than fed-lot grain-fed animals. A better farming environment, means less stress for these animals, which is better for both the animal and the consumer.
Grass-fed is substantially better for your health than grain-fed. When you switch to grass-fed for you and your family, you are also aiding in the demand for free-range farming methods which is better for the animals and the industry.
Organic beef is still probably grain fed, just it is organic grain and not pesticide laden GMO grains, so it will be a bit healthier, but will still have the far higher proportion of inflammatory omega-6 oils.
The same also applies to chickens, fish, and other farmed animals. They are fed a diet or predominantly grains which yields the same excessive balance of omega-6. Even salmon who many buy for the health benefits of omega-3 oils, are grain fed and lacking the beneficial omega-3 oils.
So when you go to the store, look for grass fed, free range, or wild caught.