The Paleo diet places big importance on not just any meat, but grass fed meat. Beef that has been fed with natural grass makes it nutritionally superior to any other meat.
What Does Grass Fed Mean?
Before we discuss the benefits of grass-fed meat, it is important to pin down what we’re talking first. The meaning of “grass-fed” is exactly what it sounds like. The cow consumes grass and other grass-like things such as what a cow would naturally find when out in the field. Although this may sound ridiculous, you’d be surprised at what most farms are feeding their cows.
Most of the cows that are raised in the US begin their lives by eating grass. When the time to start fattening them up for slaughter arrives, they are moved into barns where they would eat grains only and not grass. The vast majority of the cows that we see sold has been in the modern food system do not even eat grass their whole lives!
The cows are fed grains by many farmers because it is much more profitable for them. Grains are denser in calories compared to grass, making the cows grow to their desired weight faster. Aside from that, grain is also cheaper which makes it cheaper for the person buying beef products in the grocery store.
A thing to note is that grass-fed and “organic” are not the same things. Organic meat may come from grain-fed cows, so long as the grain that was used was organic. Some beef may both be organic and grass-fed, but these are not the same.
The Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef
Nutrition – Although all beef is nutritious, cows that have been grass-fed their whole lives are significantly more nutritious than their grain-fed counterparts. The beef from grass-fed cows is the only type of beef that contains conjugated linoleic acid. Beef that consumes natural grass also has better fat quality, with specifically more anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats.
Clean Water – Meat that has been grain fed ravages our water supply. It begins with the fields were the grain that is used to feed the cows are grown. Intensive farming means that the nutrients in the soil will be depleted fast. Aside from that, fertilizer is dumped into the ground where it will run off into rivers and lakes, making water unsafe to drink and kill numerous fish.
Animal Welfare – There are many situations of animal abuse on factory farms. Many are cooped up in tight conditions where the ventilation is lacking, and they don’t have room to move around. Thankfully, cows that are grass fed are free to roam the wild and are only captured when they are needed. If you support the welfare of animals, going with natural grass-fed beef is one way to show you care.