The Grass-fed Moo-vement
Natural cattle farming produces happier, healthier beef
As summer starts to heat up, few things get the average American’s mouth watering like a nice, juicy burger sizzling on the grill. However, not all burgers are created equal. Recent talk about pink slime and antibiotic content in ground beef has led many to cast a skeptical eye on our common processed meats and start searching for superior, natural alternatives.
On today’s farms, most cows are kept locked in pens and stuffed full of grains, corn and soy. With these factory-style tactics, farmers can fatten up and slaughter cows more quickly, but real cows don’t eat grains—they eat grass. The resulting beef is actually of significantly lower nutritional value than beef from traditionally-raised, free-roaming, grass-fed cattle, so to get the protein you need for your medical weight loss diet, try grilling up a little grass-fed lean beef. Here’s why it’s better for you:
- Nutritional superiority. Higher in the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and a fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) known to reduce the risk of cancer, grass-fed lean beef has a leg up on the processed competition when it comes to valuable nutrients.
- (Usually) antibiotic and hormone free. With factory-style farming, cows are confined to close quarters, so they need to be pumped full of antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease. However, these antibiotics end up in the beef we eat and contribute to the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that make diseases more threatening to humans.
- Factory-farmed beef also contains remnants of the growth hormones used to speed up the process, which can result in serious health problems. The USDA doesn’t prohibit the use of antibiotics or growth hormones, but the majority of grass-fed, naturally-raised beef is entirely free of them. Check the packaging to confirm that your grass-fed lean beef doesn’t contain these additives.
- Lower in fat. Most cuts of grain-fed beef have a fat profile similar to that of skinless chicken, making them significantly less fatty than your everyday grain-fed beef. Your typical 6-oz piece of grain-fed beef will also have 100 more calories than its natural, grass-fed counterpart.
Though the health benefits of grass-fed beef are significant enough, the factory farming process is also incredibly inhumane and detrimental to the environment. Cows are grazers, meant to roam free and chew grass to their hearts’ content. Feeding cows grain can lead them to develop myriad painful medical conditions, while confining them to close quarters causes an enormous amount of water and ground pollution. The process of farming huge amounts of corn for cattle feed also uses tons of chemical fertilizers and fossil fuels that harm the environment.
On top of all of these benefits, grass-fed lean beef just tastes better. So for a happier you, happier cows and a happier planet, try throwing some grass-fed lean beef on your grill this summer but only in moderation.