Friday, June 1, 2012

Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed Beef

Certain foods have become stigmatized as 'unhealthy' by the mainstream media, maybe even so much that we can say demonized. One of them is beef. The once healthy slab of juicy, red meat often thrown between two buns has been turned into one of the most heart damaging, cholesterol raising foods. Why has this happened?

Well for starters the cattle raising industry has changed dramatically in the last 50 years and the farm has now become a factory. Cows are no longer grazing on fresh green grasses but are neck in neck lined up in confinements lots, covered in mud and feces being fed genetically modified corn. These cows are very sick from the filthy disease ridden environment they are forced to live in and the unnatural pesticide laden diet they are fed. Anti-biotics are infiltrated in the water and food to rid their bodies of all the harmful bacteria while they are continually given steroids and hormones to increase their growth. These types of operations are called CAFO's, Confined Animal Feeding Operation and are wrecking havoc on the health of our families, our livestock and our environment.

Because the animals are fed corn, possibly soy and even other animal by-products they become very sick. This also increases the amount of Omega 6 fatty acids in the meat which are highly inflammatory. Grass fed beef actually contains plentiful amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, sometimes up to 4 times as much as commercially raised beef. Omega 3's are the anti-inflammatory counterparts to Omega 6's that are essential to disease prevention and a healthy heart. Grass-fed beef also contains 4 times as much Vitamin E and is an excellent source of the potent antioxidants Zinc and Selenium as well the cancer preventing Conjugated Linoleic Acid, also known as CLA. CLA is limited in the diet but can be found in dairy or beef raised on pasture. Grass-fed beef contains less saturated fat and healthy forms of cholesterol that our bodies need for the formation of steroid hormones and healthy cell membranes.
Don't fret, it's actually quite easy to get back to the farm! Look for 100% grass-fed beef, it will most likely be certified organic and possibly labeled as 'pastured'. This means the beef are raised on a farm, in the sun, roam freely and eat their natural diet of fresh grasses! When it comes to beef don't settle for anything less, it's vital to the health of you and your family, these animals and our planet.

Learn more on the Eat Wild website and you keep an eye out for tours of local ranches in your area. There is actually a tour of one of Santa Barbara's sustainable cattle ranches this Saturday, June 2nd at 12:00. The tour will be led by Elizabeth Poett, owner and rancher of Rancho San Julian which is in Lompoc. More information can be found on Wise Traditions Meetup page.

Local Grass-fed Beef:
-Rancho San Julian
-Dey Dey's Best Beef Ever

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