Updated: Feb 7, 2020
It's January, time to begin an exercise program, and a 30 day no-fail diet. We have overindulged during the holidays and now we vow to become fit and healthy again! We go to the gym for a few weeks, and in order to become fit and healthy we must "limit" red meat, right?
No, no, and NO! Okay, if you genuinely prefer the flavor of chicken or fish over grass fed beef, by all means eat more chicken or fish. If that's not the case, eat grass fed beef and reap the health benefits of this super food! Just make sure it is 100% grass fed and finished, NO GRAINS.
Red meat continues to get a bad rap. Anyone who is overweight, has a serious health problem, or simply wants to eat a healthier diet is advised to cut back on red meat and eat more chicken or fish.
The underlying assumption is that all red meat is the same, and that it is bad for your health.
Truth is, grass fed beef is far healthier for you than grain fed beef, and it is even better for you than chicken. The color of the meat is not the problem. The real problem is what the animals are fed.
Let's be clear, all beef is a good source of high-quality protein, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and the B-complex vitamins. Here's the thing, grass fed beef is superior to grain fed beef in a number of key ways. Grass fed beef is lower in fat (this is important to many, but it is also important to note that there are a lot of nutrients found in the fat) and calories and higher in omega-3 fatty aids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). These differences alone justify a switch to grass fed beef.
When cattle are raised on pasture their meat contains more Vitamin E, an important antioxidant.. Vitamin E protects us from free radicals, helps boost our immunity, and may lower our risk of coronary heart disease.
Grazing cattle consume about ten times more Vitamin E than the amount added to a typical feedlot diet.
The more Vitamin E in the animals feed, the more Vitamin E in the meat. If it's in their feed, it's in our food.
If you look at the fat on grass fed beef, you may notice that there is a creamy or sometimes yellow hue, not the stark white that is common in grain fed beef. This is good, what you see are a number of antioxidants in the carotenoid family, like lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene.
The color can vary, depending on the season, the quality of the grass and the age and breed of the animal.
A comprehensive study done by Clemson University and the USDA was published in 2009. According to this study grass fed beef also has more thiamine, riboflavin ,calcium, magnesium, potassium, and TVA, a good fat that can be converted to CLA in our bodies.
Another key finding from this study is that grass fed beef has fewer of the types of saturated fat linked with heart disease.
Now, equally as important to us as everything I have stated above is the fact that our animals are NEVER confined in a feedlot, fed grain, implanted with growth hormones or given antibiotics.
They graze the prairie, when you are out there you breathe fresh air and you can see cattle slowly grazing their way across the pastures or lying down chewing their cud.
This truly is better for you, better for the animal and better for the environment.
Jo Robinson, founder and director of EatWild.com has done extensive research and written numerous books about grass fed meat and dairy production and much of the information written in this blog can be found in her book "Pasture Perfect".