“Though you won’t see it mentioned in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 100% Grass-fed beef is a health food. A 2021 report, Health Promoting Phytonutrients are Higher in Grass-fed Beef and Milk, advances the idea that people who consume grass-fed meat or milk products benefit from the many pasture-plant nutrients concentrated in these foods.”

Grass-Fed Beef for a Post-Pandemic World, by Ridge Shinn and Lynn Pledgler
Grassfed Beef

Cows Were Meant to Eat Grass!

Despite what some retailers and big food corporations may say, cattle are exquisitely designed to thrive on a diet primarily consisting of grass. Their intricate digestive system, specifically designed and evolved for grazing, enables them to extract maximum nutrition from fibrous plant material. This allows them to concentrate nutrients from grass and forage that is crucial to human health. As ruminants, cows possess a complex stomach with four compartments that work harmoniously to break down cellulose and extract essential nutrients from grass and other forage. From their uniquely structured teeth to their specialized microbial population within the rumen, every aspect of a cow’s anatomy is finely tuned for the consumption and digestion of grass.

Nutritional Benefits of Grassfed Beef

Grassfed beef offers a range of nutritional benefits that make it a compelling choice for health-conscious individuals.

Grassfed Beef has a Better Ratio of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Compared to conventionally raised beef, grassfed beef has a better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids tend to be inflammatory in nature, and omega-3 fatty acids tendon to be anti-inflammatory in nature. Your body needs the appropriate balance of both, which is approximately 1:1. Conventionally fed, or grain-fed, beef have higher amounts of omega-6 compared to omega-3. Grassfed beef have been shown to have omega-6:omega-3 ratios much closer to 1:1.

Grassfed Beef is Higher in Antioxidants and Cancer-Fighting Compounds

Grassfed beef is typically richer in antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, which play a role in supporting a healthy immune system. Moreover, it contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of healthy fat that may have potential anti-cancer properties.

Grassfed Beef Lessens the Need for Antibiotics and Resultant Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens

A notable advantage of grass-fed beef production is the reduced need for antibiotics and the subsequent emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Unlike conventional cattle operations that often rely on subtherapeutic antibiotics to prevent illness in crowded feedlots, grass-fed beef systems prioritize the animals’ natural resilience and well-being.

By providing ample pasture access, allowing for a more diverse and nutritious diet, and minimizing stress factors, grass-fed beef operations create an environment that promotes animal health without routine antibiotic use. This not only mitigates the risk of antibiotic exposure to humans through meat consumption but also maintains the delicate balance of beneficial microbes within the cows and their surrounding environment. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens have become a huge societal health risk over the last several decades, and most of it can be traced back to antibiotic misuse in livestock.

Grassfed Beef Contains Concentrated Phytonutrients that We Can’t Obtain from Plants

While plants are frequently recognized for their phytonutrient abundance, grassfed beef provides a unique supply of concentrated phytonutrients that can supplement a plant-based diet. Phytonutrients are naturally occurring substances found in plants that provide a variety of health advantages, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Cows accumulate these beneficial phytonutrients in their tissues when they feed on various pastures rich in a variety of plants. Some phytonutrients that accumulate in Grassfed beef are not available to us through an eating the plants that originally contained the. As a result, eating grassfed beef can add vital phytonutrients to our diet, improving our overall nutritional intake and potentially providing distinct health benefits.

Environmental Benefits of Grass-fed Beef

In addition to its nutritional benefits, grass-fed beef has significant environmental advantages that make it a sustainable choice for conscientious customers. The environmental effect of grass-fed beef production is much lower than that of traditional systems, from minimizing greenhouse gas emissions to supporting biodiversity and protecting natural resources.

Grassfed Beef Sequester Carbon

Grassfed cattle have emerged as a powerful ally in the fight against climate change, thanks to their unique role in carbon sequestration. As these cattle graze on lush pastures, their consumption of grass triggers a remarkable natural process. Through a phenomenon known as photosynthesis, plants draw carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and convert it into organic matter stored in the soil. Grassfed cattle play a crucial part in this equation by stimulating plant growth through grazing, which encourages more carbon to be captured and stored in the ground.

Grazing grass encourages the grass to release more root exudates (i.e. liquid carbon) in exchange for Nitrogen and other nutrients from soil microbes. These soil microbes then incorporate and sequester carbon into the soil. Studies performed in conjunction with Will Harris of White Oak pastures have shown that holistically grazed cattle sequester more carbon than they release in their lifetimes, and can partially offset additional green house gases.

Grass-fed Cattle Lead to Healthier Soil

By allowing cattle to graze on diverse pastures, such as those practiced at Willow Creek Ranch, a symbiotic relationship is formed. As the cattle graze, their hoof action and manure contribute to nutrient cycling and organic matter accumulation, fostering the growth of beneficial soil microorganisms. These microbes play a pivotal role in enhancing soil structure, increasing water-holding capacity, and improving nutrient availability to plants. Through the careful rotation of cattle across paddocks, the land is given time to rest and regenerate, allowing forage plants to recover and rebuild root systems. This, in turn, promotes soil stability, reduces erosion, and creates a resilient ecosystem.

Less Chemical Pesticide and Herbicide Use

A fundamental distinction between grass-fed beef production and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) lies in the reliance on chemical inputs. CAFOs often require vast amounts of grain and corn grown in monocultures, which inherently requires significant synthetic pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer use. Contrast that with grass-fed beef operations, which eliminate the necessity for synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers typically used in monoculture crop production. By utilizing multi-species rotational grazing and allowing cattle to forage on diverse pastures, the natural balance between animals, plants, and soil is restored. contributes to cleaner waterways, healthier biodiversity, and a reduced environmental impact.

CAFO’s are Not a Humane or Safe Way to Raise our Food

A CAFO, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, is a large-scale industrial facility where a large number of animals, such as cows, pigs, or poultry, are confined in a relatively small area. In CAFOs, animals are typically raised in densely packed conditions, often in enclosed buildings or feedlots, rather than on pasture. These operations are designed to maximize production efficiency and streamline the process of raising livestock for food.

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) pose significant concerns when it comes to animal welfare and food safety. In these facilities, cows are subjected to overcrowded and confined conditions that restrict their natural behaviors, leading to increased stress and compromised well-being. To accelerate weight gain, CAFOs often rely on the use of growth hormones and antibiotics, raising ethical questions and potential health risks.

Furthermore, the practice of feeding cows grain, chicken litter, and waste candy to fatten them quickly is not only unnatural but also poses potential hazards. Such practices can contribute to digestive issues and an imbalanced nutrient profile, compromising the overall health of the animals and raising concerns about the safety of the resulting meat.

Beware of Green-Washing in Retail Stores

When shopping at stores, it’s important to watch out for green-washing, especially when it comes to goods like grass-fed beef. Even though the word “grass-fed” sounds good, it is important to learn more about where the food comes from and how it is made. Some stores may use misleading advertising by saying their beef is “grass-fed” when, in reality, the animals may have only spent a small part of their time on pasture or were fed grain in their later years.

To make sure you’re getting real, high-quality grass-fed meat, look for labels or certifications from a reputable company that say the animal was raised according to strict grass-fed standards throughout its entire life. Better yet, get to know your farmer! Sourcing Grassfed beed locally allows you to verify the cow’s pasture environment for yourself. If you educate yourself and pay attention as a consumer, you’ll be able to make decisions that support open and sustainable farming methods.

What Types of Things Are People Saying about Grassfed Beef?

“Grass-fed beef is the best when it comes to taste and richness! It’s amazing how much the natural diet of grass changes the taste and quality of the meat.

“I’m glad to know that the cows I eat were grown in a more natural and kind way. It feels good to support farmers who prioritize animal welfare.

Grassfed beef has less fat, more omega-3 fatty acids, and just seems healthier.”

“I love that grass-fed beef is not only tasty but also better for the environment. It’s great to know that I’m doing something good for the environment while eating a great meal.”

“If you care about the well-being of animals, it’s obvious that you should choose grass-fed beef. I like the openness and peace of mind that come from knowing that the cows lived a normal, stress-free life.”

“I’ve found that grass-fed beef has a unique flavor that I really like. It’s a sign of how well the cows have been treated and how well they’ve been eating.”

Humane & Ethical Treatment

Grass-fed beef production is a more fair and moral way to take care of cows. By letting them graze on open fields and eat their natural diet of grass and forage, we respect their natural habits and improve their health as a whole. This way, cows can go wherever they want, follow their natural habits, and live in a less stressful and more comfortable place.

Also, grassfed beef methods often put an emphasis on avoiding hormones and antibiotics. This makes sure that the animals are raised in a way that doesn’t expose them to too many unneeded interventions. By choosing grass-fed beef, we put the ethical treatment of cows first, which makes animal agriculture more kind and sustainable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is grass fed beef any healthier?

Grassfed beef offers a range of compelling nutritional benefits. It has a better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, with ratios closer to the ideal 1:1 balance. Grassfed beef is also higher in antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, as well as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may have anti-cancer properties. Furthermore, grassfed beef production reduces the need for antibiotics, resulting in fewer antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Additionally, grassfed beef contains concentrated phytonutrients that are not easily obtained from plants alone. By consuming grassfed beef, individuals can enjoy these unique nutritional advantages, enhancing their overall health and well-being.

What are the cons of grass fed beef?

Some consumers believe grass-fed beef is less tender than conventionally raised and grain-fed beef. However, taste tests and fat-analyses have suggested the total intramuscular content may be similar, and in some cases the taste of Grassfed beef is superior.

What’s the difference between ground beef and grass fed ground beef?

Conventional ground beef comes from beef cattle that have been raised in confinement operations for the last part of their life and fed grain, chicken litter, and candy waste to put weight on them as quickly as possible. Grass fed ground beef comes from cattle raised in a more natural situation, rotating through pastureland and grazing on grass and pasture forage.

Is there a difference in grass fed beef?

Conventional beef refers to meat derived from cattle raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where they are typically fed grain-based diets and may receive growth hormones and antibiotics. In contrast, grassfed beef comes from cattle that have been exclusively raised on a diet of grass and forage, allowing them to graze freely on open pastures. Grassfed beef is known for its leaner meat, higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and increased concentrations of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients. It also promotes more sustainable farming practices, respects animal welfare, and contributes to healthier ecosystems.