Grass-Fed, Organic or Factory Raised Beef?
When people wake up to the horrors of factory raised beef, some decide to give up meat entirely. Others, looking for more humane sources of meat, consider grass fed or organic options.
At the same time, improving the quality of one’s food intake is often a part of the picture when people look for ways to improve their diet. In general, the closer a food item is to its most natural, unprocessed form, the higher the level of food quality.
So, for example, a whole apple is of higher food quality than a store-bought apple pie. A steak is generally of higher food quality than a chicken hot dog and its fillers. And a baked potato is of higher food quality than a bag of processed potato chips.
But what about meat? Is there really a difference between grass-fed meat, organic meat and conventional, factory- raised meat you buy in a grocery store?
In a series on Why Grass-Fed Meat Is Healthier Than Grain-Fed, nutrition coach Dave Asprey wrote, “Factory meat has the wrong fatty acids, contains obesity-causing hormones, and usually has mycotoxins (very nasty biotoxins formed by mold in cattle food and meat processing). Grass-fed meat is in a league of its own.”
Farmers dedicated to raising healthier, less contaminated cows often, but not always, will produce meat that is both grass fed and organic. Standards for labeling food organic vary from country to country, so you should understand the difference.
Grass-fed cows are allowed to graze in open fields for natural food, as opposed to being fed chemical-laced grain while penned up in a factory setting. In colder months, the diet of grass-fed cows might be supplemented with alfalfa or something close to their natural diet.
To get an organic label in the US, cattle cannot be confined to overcrowded lots and unsanitary conditions. Nor can they be fed or exposed to artificial pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, or other chemical nasties. Also, at least in the US, organic certification is expensive, so grass-fed beef might be technically organic even without the labeling.
Meat producers claim that grass-fed and organic meat is healthier because it has less fat, fewer calories and includes more healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. A recent analysis of scientific studies on the benefits of organic meat concluded, “Both organic meat and milk provide 50% more of the omega-3 fatty acids that are important in human nutrition. Organic meat has slightly lower concentrations of two saturated fats that are linked to greater risk of cardiovascular disease.”
If you decide to give grass-fed or organic beef a try, you’ll certainly be improving your health and also showing your support for the manufacturing of higher quality food.
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Author: Rebeca Espinoza