Which one should you pick, grass-fed beef or regular beef? Which one is healthier? Let’s break down the differences and benefits here!
In this article:
Why Grass-Fed Beef Is Better Than Regular Meat
Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Beef: Which Is Better?
Consider this for a second: the average American eats more than 60 pounds of beef every year. This statistic tells us that beef is a staple of the American diet and an integral part of our way of life. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
If you are eating grass-fed beef, you’re probably getting a huge dose of perfectly-balanced, nutritious protein. And highly nutrient-dense foods satiate you faster, so you can’t overeat on them easily.
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Your body will literally make you put your fork down. You also won’t have to deal with ingesting chemicals if you opt to eat organic grass-fed beef.
Before going into that, let’s talk about the difference between grain-fed beef and grass-fed.
Do you know where your hamburger meat came from? Was the cow healthy or sick? Did the cow live a happy life? The answers to these questions relate directly to your well-being, as well as the planet’s.
Great news! This means you can immediately have a positive effect on both through one simple choice.
The first step to that wellness? Know the dangers related to that abundantly available, sold-on-every-corner, commercial beef.
The first danger: Grains.
Regular cows raised for their meat are given enormous amounts of corn and other grains during the second phase of their lives. Beef production is faster if farmers raise grain-fed cattle, but this may not be the healthiest option.
Grain-fed beef has high levels of saturated fat and omega-6 oils which can promote heart disease.
The Hormones and Other Drugs
Most commercial beef calves become huge in just 14 months — from 80 to 1,200 pounds.
Livestock that gains this much weight over such a short period of time most likely receive supplements in addition to their food. That’s because farmers need to keep up with consumers’ beef products needs.
While some of this growth can be put down to protein supplements, any combination of the following hormones may be implanted or injected into them:
- Melengesterol acetate
- Trenbolone acetate
And we’re finding out that our own consumption of estrogen from hormone-fed beef can cause cancer, premature puberty, and male infertility.
Now we can cue the vaccines and other medicines, which may include:
- A 4-way viral and 5-way leptospirosis vaccine and vibriosis protection cocktail
- A drug to prevent clostridial diseases which can be fatal to cattle
- Medicine to prevent calf scours
- Something that prevents and/or treats internal and external parasites
What is leptospirosis? This is a bacterial disease found in rodents, dogs, and different mammals. It is infectious to humans.
What is vibriosis? This is a venereal disease (obtained through sexual contact) common among cattle. It is a bacterial infection that causes infertility and spontaneous abortion in cattle.
Doesn’t it make you wonder what beef that doesn’t contain residues of all these chemical and anti-parasitic substances tastes like?
As if the hormone- and vaccine-injected beef weren’t sad enough, farmers are using around 28.9 million pounds of antibiotics in animal agriculture annually in the States.
In fact, around four times more antibiotics were used for animals than by humans in America in 2009. And these antibiotics aren’t primarily used to treat cow diseases or alleviate their suffering when they’re unwell.
Nope. They’re often used just in case, as well as to fatten them up and make them grow more.
The crowded conditions cows are raised in also make them sick more often, so preventative measures probably seem even more critical. Because a sick cow costs money, of course.
So what does this routine antibiotic use in cows mean for you? Unfortunately, it can mean antibiotic resistance, but it also means you might be consuming a lot more than beef when you slice into that yummy steak and slide the fork into your mouth.
Some commercial beef is irradiated, which is another way of saying blasted with gamma rays produced by radioactive material or electricity to kill bacteria. They don’t know what effect this has on the body just yet.
Gamma Rays Definition: These are the most active and energetic electromagnetic radiation, used in X-rays and in anti-cancer treatments.
Imagine you were allowed to roam free and eat all the natural food available around you for the first 70% of your life, and then you were denied some of the most basic requirements of life for the rest: fresh air, space, and normal social interaction.
It’s like being taken good care of until your old age and then being cast out into the cold. That’s basically what grain-fed cows have to deal with. In some ranches, they are kept in tight cages their entire lives.
The Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef
Why is grass-fed beef better? Organic, grass-fed beef — like Butcher Box’s beef — may:
- Have a healthier fatty acid composition and less total fat
- Contain twice as much omega-3
- Contain two or three times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a potential cancer fighter and heart disease reducer
- Come from more environmentally-friendly, (22-35% more) profitable, and sustainable farms
- Contain way less toxic heavy metals and carcinogens
- Contain no antibiotics, vaccines, hormones, or other hazardous drugs
- Contains essential minerals, antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamin E and B12, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, choline, pantothenic acid, and iron
There are other benefits of grass-fed beef. You just have to be careful to ensure you’re really getting the meat from a naturally fed, humanely-treated cow.
So where can you find this kind of beef without being tricked?
To make sure you get organically raised and fed beef, you need to look for a local supplier. Grass-fed animals can be hard to find. Start by looking for ranches that allow their cattle to graze in pastures filled with organic grass and plants.
Getting pre-cut meat from the grocery store may not be the best choice. Sadly, beef that is not grass-fed is often labeled as such. You need 100% grass-fed, not 50%! Right?
It’s important to know where to buy grass-fed beef. The best way to ensure you are really eating 100% grass-fed beef and getting all the benefits is to go straight to a trustworthy source.
Butcher Box is one of those sources. Get your clean, hormone-free, healthy ribeye steak and discount below! Tasty.
Before you think about grilling steak for dinner, perhaps, this is the time to start considering whether you’re getting the right type of meat first. To eat healthily, always opt for grass-fed beef.
Apart from searching for grass-fed beef, part of the challenge is also sourcing for ranchers who only breed grass-fed cattle or grass-fed cows. You have to be 100% sure the cows eat grass in a well-maintained pasture and they’re free of any chemicals or unnecessary medication.
If you are a beef lover, that’s exactly why you should take action towards switching to eating organic beef instead. Your body will thank you for it!
Are you consuming grass-fed beef? Let us know where to buy grass-fed beef in your area in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 9, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.