When we think about beef we tend to think of cows grazing in lush green fields contentedly munching on rich pastures.
In reality much of the beef we eat has spent its life in a feedlot being fed grains such as corn, and increasingly science is showing that this grain fed cattle is a poor imitation of grass fed. All these benefits come before we even look at the environmental impact.
Surely all beef is just beef? Well there is some truth in the statement that you are what you eat. Both for us and animals. Cows have had millions of years of evolution to ensure that they get a full range of nutrients from the huge variety of grass and weeds that a healthy pasture will contain. Compare this to the mono culture of grains that grain fed cattle are commonly fed and you can see why many people think grass fed is the best way to raise beef and dairy cattle.
Studies have shown that there are measurable differences between grass fed and grain fed beef, most noticeably in the fatty acid composition and the amount and range of antioxidants. Antioxidants are those things that repair the damage done by our body’s processes every day. They protect against cancer, and maybe even help against aging. Some are even visible, such as the slightly different colour in grass fed beef, that’s down to the extra beta carotene, which can be changed to vitamin A by your body. More of these antioxidants means more cancer fighting properties and the cholesterol composition means that grass fed is better for both body and brain.
But what about the environmental impact? Grain fed beef means that fields are given over to growing a crop, including the pesticides, herbicides and water usage that comes with growing any crop. Once it’s been harvested it is then transported, often across international boundaries to be fed to cattle. All too much deforestation is taking place the world over to provide space to grow corn for consumption by cattle.
In contrast grass fed cattle are fed on the grass that requires far less processing, fewer pesticides and herbicides. Grass can be grown on marginal lands that are unsuitable for growing crops, and obviously needs little or no transport, other than the effort on the cow’s part to walk to the next mouthful.
Grass fed is better for you, better for the environment and is a far superior taste in our opinion. Do you need any more reasons to tuck into a juicy grass fed steak? We didn’t think so either. Check out our blog to get some great recipes for your next meal. All our beef is kept happy and healthy on our pastures. Great for them and even better for you.