Is Grass-Fed Protein Worth The Extra Money

Have You…Herd?

Whether you have been following us on social media, are on one of our Custom Meal Plans, or have been reading our blogs, you surely have heard us recommend grass-fed as an alternative to conventionally raised cows. If you are purchasing beef, or any type of dairy product, choosing to purchase a product that is sourced from grass-fed cows has advantages.

Keep reading to discover…

  • What factory farms are really feeding their cows
  • How grass vs corn fed cows can affect the food you are eating
  • Where you can purchase grass-fed products

We all know that what we consume can have major health benefits or consequences, but the same is true of the animals that we consume.

In fact, the nutritional value of a cow can vary depending on what that cow consumed and how they lived throughout their life. In order to obtain the most nutrition from a cow, that cow needs to be provided with adequate nutrition as well.

We are what we eat after all, correct?

If Conventionally Raised Cows Aren’t Eating Grass, What Are They Eating?

When you buy meat from the grocery store, you usually have meat from a cow that is either grass fed, or grain fed.

Most cows begin life with drinking milk from their mother and the next 6-12 months eating grass in pastures. This is where the difference comes in.

Cows that are raised conventionally are taken to feedlots and fed grain, rather than grass. These lots, called CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) are places that confine the animal for more than 45 days at a time and does not grow vegetation.

Because no vegetation grows here, the animals are fed grain that consists mostly of corn and soy. This is cheaper and can be done on massive scales, as grass fed cows require more pasture to roam and feed.

The conditions in which these cows are raised are unsanitary and can cause a lot of health problems in the cows. To prevent this, the cows are pumped full of antibiotics, which can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can threaten human health through the creation of superbugs that can contaminate meat and cause illnesses that are harder to treat (1).

They are also given growth hormones to make the animal grow faster, bigger and thus, provide more meat.

Another reason that cows are fed grain is that it helps to quickly fatten the cow up, increasing the fat deposits inside the muscle tissue of the cow. This produces the marbling that many people look for in meat and the taste that people are familiar with.

In comparison, grass-fed cows spend their lives in a pasture, raised on the grass they are biologically made to eat, resulting in a healthier animal and thus, healthier meat.

How Does Grass-Fed Affect the Food We Consume? 

One thing is for sure. Whether your meat is from a conventionally raised cow or grass-fed cow, it will be packed with nutrients.

But just because they are both packed with nutrients, doesn’t mean that they are equal, as they both have their good qualities.

The first difference between grass fed and grain fed cows that you will notice first is the taste. Because cows raised on grass have less fat and less marbling of the muscle, which many people look for when choosing a meat.

Because the cows that are fed grain are done so consistently, the flavor is often more consistent, whereas the flavor of grass-fed beef can vary depending on the life of the cow, when it grazes, the grass it grazes on and how often. This means that sometimes, the meat of a grass-fed cow can be less flavorful, while other times, when done well, the quality of taste can far exceed that of a conventionally raised cow.

And while most people enjoy the taste of a good steak, the reality is, that isn’t the only reason we are consuming it.

If it was, there would be a lot fewer people struggling to stay healthy.

As mentioned, there are different health to both conventionally raised cows and grass fed. Both are nutrient dense and full of essential amino acids, vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, and minerals, such as zinc, iron, and selenium (2, 3).

Let’s break it down:

  • Grain fed cows typically have more saturated fat and monounsaturated fat, the good kind that lowers cholesterol, than grass-fed cows (4,).
  • Grass-fed contains almost 5 times as much Omega-3 as grain fed (6).
  • Grass-fed also contains twice as much CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) as grain fed, which is associated with reduced body fat (7).
  • Grass-fed contains more vitamin A and E, and cancer-fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) (8).

Although both conventionally raised cattle and grass fed have their separate benefits, grass-fed wins out for being more nutritional and cleaner, as it lacks added growth hormones and antibiotics, which is a practice used in the US.

⚡ Related: Learn what countries ban the use of added hormones and antibiotics in their cows.

Grass fed is even better for the quality of life of the cow, as feeding on grass on a pasture is better for the cow than being stuffed in unsanitary lots and fed corn and soy-based grain.

We don’t recommend corn or soy for you to consume, so the same should go for the food that you are eating, especially if it is not made to eat those things.

Where Can I Get Grass Fed Products?

Grass-fed beef and grass-fed butter are becoming more common in traditional grocery stores, especially if you live in a larger city.

If your local grocery store does not carry it, ask them if they could order some for you. Many grocery stores are more than happy to meet your request.

If you are on a Custom Meal Plan, you will want to be sure that the beef and any dairy products you are using are grass-fed, so you can be sure you are consuming the best.

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