What is 100% grass-fed beef?
100% Grass-fed beef is beef that has been fed its natural diet of only grasses for its entire life. In the factory farms that mass-produce the majority of the nations cattle, cows are fed all sorts of things their bodies weren’t really meant to eat- corn and grains, wastes from potato and bread manufacturing, poultry litter and plastics, and even chewing gum! Cows that feed on only grasses are significantly healthier for you to eat than cows that eat mystery foods in the feed-lot. This applies to both their meat and the milk they produce.
What is the difference between 100% grass-fed beef vs. grass-fed beef vs. organic beef?
As with so many food products, there is rampant confusing and misleading labeling on beef. 100% grass-fed beef is NOT the same as grass-fed beef. Because most cows actually do eat only grass for the first few weeks of their lives (before being switched to cheaper feeds), most low-quality factory-farmed beef can technically be considered “grass-fed”. But only 100% grass-fed beef meets these true rigorous feeding standards. Organic beef meets the USDA standards for organic livestock production– such as being produced without genetic engineering, antibiotics or growth hormones- but makes no specific provision that cows must be fed only grasses. Therefore, “organic” and “grass-fed” / “100% grass-fed” are not synonymous- you can have grass-fed beef beef that is not organic, and organic beef that is not grass-fed. 100% grass-fed beef is usually thought to be of higher quality than organic beef, although it’s best if you can find one thats both.
If indeed your beef has been raised on 100% grass, this will probably be all over the packaging. But some other terms to look for are “pasture-finished” and “grass-finished”. These are legally protected terms to mean the same thing. “Pastured” and “pasture raised” are great terms for its lifestyle as well, as they tell you that the cows lived in a more natural environment- often feeding on grass- but don’t necessarily meet 100% grass-fed qualifications.
What are some of the health benefits of 100% Grass-fed beef?
- 100% grass-fed beef has two to four times the amount of heart-friendly Omega-3s than its feed-lot counterparts
- 100% grass-fed beef has way more beta-carotene than grain-fed beef. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that the body converts into Vitamin A- which is critical for skin health, vision and a strong immune system. It’s also what gives the fat its yellowish color as opposed to the stark white of conventionally raised beef.
- milk from 100% grass-fed cows is the highest known natural source of conjugated lineolic acid, or CLA. CLA is a powerhouse- it is strongly linked to reduced rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
- Grass-fed butter is extremely rich in Vitamin K2, which prevents calcium build-up in the arteries- meaning it’s strongly related to a reduced risk of heart disease
So, which one tastes better?
But of course grass-fed products aren’t limited to just meat. Give 100% grass-fed butter and milk a try and be amazed at how much more delicious they are than what you are used to. In my experience, these are more universally beloved than the flavor of the beef.
How can I find it?