As Jo Robinson from eatwild.com says, ”If you eat a typical amount of beef per year, which in the United States is about 67 pounds, switching to grass-fed beef will save you 16,642 calories a year.”
So as we’re all making the change to fuel ourselves with better foods, let’s take a deeper look into why we should choose organic grass-fed meats over grain-fed and “average-joe” meats from the local supermarket. What makes this more expensive version better for you? Why should you select your meats carefully? What benefits will I get by choosing a grass-fed steak over a grain-fed? You not only want to think about your meats, but also the butter that comes from these cows!
Let’s start at the beginning: as a paleo convert, you are no longer consuming grains and legumes (which of course varies depending on your body, needs, and goals). What happens when you eat an animal that’s been fed with grain, corn, soy, and growth hormones to get all plump before butchering? All the work you’re doing to avoid gluten and grains goes out the window because essentially you’re eating what they did. These foods (which are often GMOs) create unhealthy environments in the digestive systems of animals, particularly the intestines. You’re facing a handful of issues when you’ve got unhealthy, GMO filled animals that most likely are also given growth hormones and are never given a chance to graze in pastures.
When cattle is allowed to graze, they are able to convert the carotenids found in grass to convert to Vitamins A & E. Let’s not forget all the extra exercise and healthy muscles they are building from being able to roam (YUM!) What are these vitamins good for?
Vitamin A is essential for your immune system, cell health, reproduction, eyesight, and skin, while Vitamin E provides antioxidants to defend against cancer, heart disease, and blocking nitrosamine creation (poisons in your stomach created from nitrates in the foods you eat). This meat also contains higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and are lower in fat/leaner.
What other nutritious high levels do these meats contain?
- Beta Carotene
- B Vitamins
What about Omegas?
Your body needs both Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s, but with the American/Western diet as it is now, the Omega-6 coming into your bodies has been HIGH, at a ratio somewhere around 20-30:1. What you’re ideally looking for is a 1:1 ratio, but grass-fed beef has a 3:1 ratio, compared to
One thing to remember is that it is not only the grass that makes a difference, but also the breed and the cow itself. While you can have two different cows raised by the same farmer, one may be fattier and have more marbles in its cut than another. Not all cows are created equal, even in the same pastured conditions. You will even find that the fat from grass-fed cows have a different tint than the one that you have been used to. Because of the high levels of beta carotene, the fat tends to have more of a yellowish hue to it. Don’t shy away!