Grass- Fed meat vs Grain-Fed and Why I Stopped Eating Vegan
The two main reasons why I decided to stop eating meat and dairy was because I believed that all animal products were harmful to human health and I did not want to feel guilty of taking the life of another living creature for my own pleasure. If you are curious about how my vegan experience went, I will say in short that I did really good. I did not feel lethargic, I loved everything I was eating, I stopped taking my Iron pills I was prescribed for being low, my daily headaches went away, I never craved meat and cheese, it opened me up to new foods and new flavors, I began to be more aware of how my body feels and how foods give me energy, I learned a lot about nutrition, my skin cleared up tremendously, my hair got a strong shine to it, I woke up feeling great, and I did not find it a challenge to eat vegan and feel good. I love fresh food and I’m a big foodie, so I had no problems trying out new foods and getting creative with my meals. I seem to have adapted well to veganism and raw vegan.
Here are some notes on how grass-fed meat compares with grain-fed meat.
“…antibiotic growth promoters are used to ‘help growing animals digest their food more efficiently, get maximum benefit from it and allow them to develop into strong and healthy individuals’. Although the mechanism underpinning their action is unclear, it is believed that the antibiotics suppress sensitive populations of bacteria in the intestines.” (info here)
European Nations have already banned the use of antibiotics for livestock after realizing the harm antibiotics are doing. Another thing is, people who eat meat from cows with antibiotics, they are consuming antibiotics themselves from eating the meat, making them also build an intolerance to anti-biotics. Anti-biotic use is also known for harming our healthy gut flora (killing our good bacteria) and having a negative impact on our immune system. (You can find more information about anti-biotics harmful effects online like this article or click on this study)
What is even better are cows that come from small local family farms. Go to your farmers market and get to know your farmer who sells local meat. They even show pictures of their farmland and their animals being raised there.
Transporting corn for livestock feed takes up a lot of energy whereas the grass feed is just right there, on land.
Factory farms pollute our waters. (link)
- Fats: Too much Omega 6 in ones diet causes inflammation. We need a good balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3. A good ratio to go by is a 2:1 or 4:1 of Omega 6 to Omega 3. The amount of Omega 6 is the same in grain fed cows and grass fed cows. However, eating meat from mostly grain fed cows you will be getting a small amount of Omega 3 as there is only small amounts of Omega 3 found in grain fed cows. With grass fed meat, you will be consuming a higher delicious dose of Omega 3 fats, because of the fat found in grass which the cows are eating. The fat in grass is 60% of a type of Omega 3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic or LNA. Omega 3 fats are essential fatty acids, meaning we need to get them from outside sources because our bodies don’t produce it. They are good for our cardiovascular health, our moods, to reduce internal inflammation, helps with our ability to concentrate, regulates our hormones, plus many more benefits that helps our body keep functioning and building. The best sources for Omega 3 are from fatty fish and a good quality fish oil supplement. EPA and DHA are the important sources of Omega 3. You can get Omega 3 from Flax seeds, but Flax only contains ALA, which is partially converted to EPA and DHA in the body. Another great sources besides fatty fish and fish oils are Algeas.
- CLA A newly discovered healthy fatty acid that may have anti-cancer properties and may help burn body fat: We are aware that to benefit the most to protect ourselves from cancer is too eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. What makes CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid) very unique is that it is an anticarcinogen present in animal foods. Researchers are discovering that CLA supports a healthy heart (link)may protect against breast cancer (link), prostate cancer, and colon cancer (link) Cows that have been grass fed have three to five times more CLA than cows that have been grain fed. CLA is a health promoting natural occurring trans-fatty acid. Kate Clancy, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, has stated that early research in rats has linked higher CLA levels with easier weight loss. A great source for CLA intake is from grass fed dairy (grass-fed butter, milk, cheese)
- All variaties of beef that are grass-fed will have lower amounts of total fat content compared to conventional fed animal. A grass-fed steak has about 1/3 less fat than a grain-fed steak of equal portions of steak. The fat from grain-fed animals harm our health, cholesterol level, and is inflammatory.
- Grass-fed beef has higher concentrations of Vitamin E, antioxidants, B-Vitamins, Vitamin A, calcium, selenium, and magnesium.
- Research shows that grass-fed beef has 10 times more beta-carotene (anti-oxidant), 3 times more Vitamin E, and 3 times more Omega 3 fatty acids.
“Historically, mad cow has never been reported in cattle which are totally grass fed. The outbreak in Britain and Europe which occurred 15 years ago has been linked to the practice of using animal by-products in feeding.” (link)
- Gut problems affect health: Cattle that are fed grain (food not designed for their stomach to handle) have a high chance of getting E. Coli in their gut and spreading it.
- The main saturated fat in meat is called Stearic Acid, and has been proven to have a neutral effect on cholesterol levels, or even reduce cholesterol. Good quality fats are essential for the body, and are not linked to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). Fat from grain-fed cattle is inflammatory because it gives us a higher ratio of Omega 6 fatty acids
Reason for being more expensive:
To harvest grain/corn fed cattle it takes about 14 months, whereas for grass fed cattle it can take up to 24-28 months. Corn is cheap and is a good source to fatten up cattle, quickly.It takes more time to raise grass-fed cattle than grain/corn fed cattle.
Retailers are aware that some people are willing to pay more money for grass-fed and are responding to this. A long time ago it used to be that the consumer would buy grass-fed meat directly from the producer and make an arrangement to buy a big portion of the grass fed animal. Grass-fed meat has become big business now.
I prefer to go to the Farmers Market and buy my beef from the Grass-Fed Ranch. Eventhough it is not much cheaper from the grocery store, sometimes the farmer gives me a good deal on the meat that I bought from them. Also, I buy from them because it is local meat, I get to know about their practice in raising the cattle, and the quality of their meat.
Grass-fed meat is healthier for us to consume, but the question still lies on whether a grass-based system for cattle is really sustainable and possible to feed an entire nation. With the growing of our population, we have to find balance between health and sustainability.