So you may have heard the saying, “you are what you eat”, but have you ever seriously thought about it? Many times we’re content to think very little about the foods they are consuming or they simply accept that because something is organic, that it is also good for you! While this may hold true for many foods, there are other factors to consider, such as where your food is coming from and especially, what it is that your food is eating.
Cows are ruminants which means that they are creatures that are meant to graze and eat grasses. Nowadays though, feed lots and mass production farms do not allow these animals to live a natural life and this greatly affects the quality of meat that is produced once the cow is slaughtered. These cows are fed grains and by-products of the soy and corn industries which destroy their natural digestive systems and create health problems for both the cow and the humans that consume the meat such as e coli contamination, etc. Cows fed grains will not be able to live a normal lifespan and require extensive veterinary care to ensure that they live long enough to make it to slaughter. Ruminants have a unique digestive system that allows them to eat grasses and other plants, with their salvia neutralizing the acids. When a ruminant is fed a diet of corn and grains, they are unable to produce the salvia necessary to negate the acids, increasing the acid in their digestive system and causing gastronomical havoc. Corn and soy are produced en masse in this country though and are the cheapest way to fatten cattle, despite the fact that they cause disease and eventually are fatal if the cow isn’t slaughtered soon enough.
Not only is a pasture-based system better for the animal, but it is also better for those of us further up the food chain and the environment! Pasture fed beef is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and usually is organic (organic grass is easier to grow than organic corn/grains). The cows also produce less concentrated waste because they are allowed to roam large areas instead of being concentrated into manure-filled feed lots. Farmers raising pasture fed beef are also able to easily avoid antibiotics and other health treatments for their animals since the cow’s digestive system isn’t being bombarded with hard to digest foods. In addition to health and environmental benefits, there is a distinctive taste difference between grain fed beef and pasture fed beef. It’s almost as if you can taste the sunshine and greens the cow has consumed!
For more information on pasture fed beef and dairy, check out the book Pasture Perfect