Where’s the Beef?
|Feed Lot Cattle.|
|Free Range Cattle.|
If these pictures aren’t enough to get you to switch please read on!
Better yet, what’s in the beef? If you have been following my mobile updates on facebook (eliza – joe szymanek) you may have noticed that from time to time I post a picture of my breakfast, lunch or dinner. Often times that meal will include grass fed of free range beef. Why make this distinction? What’s the big deal? Why should you care what the cattle your about to eat ate before it was slaughtered? Here is my attempt at shedding some light on that issue. It’s not all the info but some of the highlights. For more info consult someone in the know who you trust or ask me. I probably can’t answer the question but will surely consult Shitty Britches (He might not know either but is a passionate and informed researcher).
Most of the cattle we eat are grain fed for some part of its life. In most cases the cattle is introduced to corn a few weeks prior to slaughter at the advantage of the producer, not the cattle or the consumer. Those advantages include: corn-fed cattle gain weight much more quickly than strictly grass-fed cattle; corn fed cattle fit much more easily into the current feed lot system, thus resulting in a cheaper product; corn fed meat is what we have grown to enjoy. It has a consistent flavor and texture (think MacDonald’s, how can they make sure a burger tastes the same in Philly, San Antonio, and Hawaii).
Aside from being happier animals, grass-fed free-range beef is also better for you. Meat from a grass-fed steer has about one-half to one-third as much fat, is lower in calories, higher in vitamin E, higher in omega 3 fatty acids (a very good thing considering they reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, and do other great things within the human body). Grass-fed cattle is also higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Who cares? Well, grain fed ranchers for one. The benefits of CLA are so widely acknowledged (because of their ability to lower the risk of cancer) that ranchers who don’t grass finish their product add CLA supplements to their animals.
Again, these are a few highlights and just the beginning of a long and healthy discussion that will lead to fat ratios, digestion in general, and just how awful a mess we have made of things. If you want to make the switch to free range meats (like our family) it will take a little effort. The beef bought at most grocery stores will be corn fed unless it is clearly marked free-range or grass-fed. Plus, it’s usually a little more expensive. Is it worth the investment? For us it is. You only get one vessel to tramp around the planet in, why not invest and fuel yourself with the best product possible.
If you don’t trust me, just want to read up, or fancy yourself an informed consumer check out this link http://www.luciesfarm.com/artman/publish/article_85.php. It is where I stole most of the above info and a great place to start your new meat journey.