Grass-Fed Beef

While the purpose of Mapawatt is to focus on things you can do to directly lower your energy and water consumption, I just can’t help writing a blog about the other big player in our life:  Food!

While searching for my wife and my Valentine’s Day meal at Whole Foods, I stumbled upon a beautiful grass-fed boneless ribeye from a local farm, White Oak Pastures.  After reading Pollan’s book Omnivore's Dilemma, I’ve been much more sensitive in my eating decisions.

In his book, Pollan has a whole section on “corn-fed” beef.  Before his book, I thought “corn-fed” just meant it was special.  What I didn’t know, is that without massive doses of anti-biotics, cows can’t survive eating corn.  Their stomachs can’t effectively process it. They have evolved to eat grass, yet farmers realized they could get a bigger cow to market faster if they shoved corn down their throats.  Here is what the author John Robbins has to say about grass-fed beef:

“Switching a cow from grass to grain is so disturbing to the animal's digestive system that it can kill the animal if not done gradually and if the animal is not continually fed antibiotics. These animals are designed to forage, but we make them eat grain, primarily corn, in order to make them as fat as possible as fast as possible.”

Worst of all, farmers don’t feed them this corn in a beautiful country meadow, they do it in a feedlot. This is a gated piece of dirt where the cows are crammed with little room to move around, let alone stay clean.

If the above isn’t enough to convince you, grass-fed beef is healthier for you, being higher in Omega 3’s, beta carotene, vitamin E, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)

Finally, many people - including myself - think grass-fed beef just tastes better!  While yes, it may cost a few more dollars, think about how great a decision it is for your health, the animal's health, and in supporting your local community.  To me, supporting local, sustainable farming methods is a no-brainer and something you can immediately start doing to make an impact in your life and surrounding environment!

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Based on a research "CLA is a naturally occurring fat found in animal and dairy fats such as beef and poultry that are not fed grains.As soon as you start to feed cattle grain they start to lose their ability to produce CLA.Animals that graze on pasture have from 300 to 400% more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot."
The nutrients in grass-fed meats and their relative balance are down the centerline for the nutrient requirements our human bodies require,no more no less. There is no other food that compares to the nutritional perfection of meat from a grass-fed critter.Therefore, grass-fed meats are a nutrient standard.

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