Why Grass Fed and Free Range Beef
If you look back fifty or sixty years ago, almost all beef was grass fed. Remember the whole cowboy routine where the cattle would be driven across the plains? That was how it was always done. The only problem with this method was it took a long period of time for the beef to put on enough weight to slaughter, think four to five years.
Today, cattle are around 14 to 16 months at the time of slaughter. Now just how is a cow supposed to go from 80 pounds at birth to 1,200 pounds at slaughter in just over a year? It takes enormous quantities of grains, protein supplements, antibiotics and growth hormones to put on that much weight that fast.
The most dangerous thing with a ruminant, cows are called ruminant because they have four stomachs and chew cud, on a grain diet is bloat. We commonly know about this issue with pets, but we never consider it with cows. The starch from the grain prevent gas from being expelled the normal way, so the cow’s stomach fills up with air and turns on itself, blocking the flow of blood to vital organs and pressing against the cow’s lungs. If this is not corrected immediately, the cow could suffocate.
Grain-fed animals are more susceptible to a form of cow heartburn, called acidosis. Usually this causes the ruminant to get very sick and need antibiotics. Many of the cattle farms today keep a continual stream of antibiotics flowing for their cattle so they do not have to continuously pay a veterinarian to come out and take a look at the same issue over and over. Why not solve the problem all together and use the antibiotics all the time?
This overuse of antibiotics is not only dangerous to the cows; it also has a lasting effect on us. Feedlot beef, as we know it today, would be impossible to maintain if it weren’t for the routine use of antibiotics. Unfortunately this leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, creating new super-bugs that are growing stronger against the antibiotics that we are using, forcing scientists to produce stronger drugs and cattle farmers to raise prices to cover these costs.
Grain-fed cattle also have a higher susceptibility to E. coli bacteria due to the acidity that forms in their intestinal tracts. Cattle digestive systems are naturally Ph neutral and the E. coli bacteria thrive in acidic habitats. This increases our risk of getting E. coli when we eat undercooked meat.
Unlike grain-fed cattle, grass-fed beef is not full of all the antibiotics and hormones and take the time to bulk up instead of trying to force it. Because of this, the grass-fed beef is not only lower in overall fat and saturated fat, but it also has the added advantage of providing more omega-3 fats. These omega-3s are found in grass, which is another source high in these good fats. Once cattle are fed grain, they start losing the omega-3s from their tissues and generally only have a remaining five percent left by the time they go to market.
Because of these high amounts of good fats, grass fed beef has a bigger flavor profile that beef is supposed to have. Also because of the omega-3s, grass fed cattle are almost four times higher in Vitamin E and are much higher in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is associated with lowering the risk of cancer.
Try grass fed beef and see what natural beef really tastes like. This is how our beef is supposed to taste. Not only will your taste buds thank you but so will your healthy body along with the cattle farmers are who trying to do right by nature. Remember that grass fed free range beef won’t taste the same as the beef you have probably been eating. There is a difference but once you taste it you’ll never go back to beef that wasn’t raised all natural.