The way cows are fed can have a major effect on the nutrient composition of the beef. Whereas cattle today are often fed grains, the animals we ate throughout evolution roamed free and ate grass. Many studies have shown that the nutrients in beef can vary depending on what the cows eat.
Most cows start out living similar lives. The calves are born in the spring, drink milk from their mothers and are then allowed to roam free and eat grass, shrubs or whatever edible plants they find in their environment. This continues for about 6 to 12 months. After that the “conventionally” raised cows are moved to feedlots. Large feedlots are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) this style of factory farm tend to be really nasty places, one of the few things we agree on with the vegans!
There, the cows are rapidly fattened up with grain-based feeds, usually made with a base of soy or corn. They are then often given drugs and hormones to grow faster, as well as antibiotics to survive the unsanitary living conditions. The cows live there for a few months and are then moved into the factory for slaughtering. Then theres the damage that this sort of operation causes to water supplies, if you don’t want manure in your drinking water, you should support grass fed beef.
Compare that to our local grass-fed Longhorn, which weather permitting, live out their entire lives on lush Devon grassland in Clovelly. When it is too wet outdoors they have access to indoor space and are only fed Silage there (A sort of pickled grass if you were wondering) which is produced by our farmer Piers and is cut from the fields at the same farm in Clovelly.
Not only does Grass-fed mean vastly better living standards for the animals, its better for the environment and is a much more sustainable method of farming.
Grass-fed beef doesn’t just taste better….It is better for you too, with significantly more valuable nutrients than grain-fed beef.
Humans have been eating meat throughout evolution and our bodies are well equipped to digest and absorb the nutrients from meat. Traditional hunter-gatherer populations like the Masai and Inuit got most of their calories from meat and remained in excellent health. This is possible because red meat even conventional grain-fed meat, is incredibly nutritious. Regular grain-fed beef is loaded with Vitamin B12, B3 and B6. It is also very rich in highly bioavailable Iron, Selenium and Zinc. Meat contains some amount of almost every nutrient that humans need to survive. Meat also contains high quality protein and various lesser known nutrients like Creatine and Carnosine, which are very important for our muscles and brains.
However, grass-fed beef is even more nutritious than that
• Grass-fed beef contains carotenoid precursors to Vitamin A, such as beta-carotene.
• Grass-fed beef is the only kind of beef that contains conjugated linoleic acid. Grain-fed beef has none. Conjugated linoleic acid is a type of fat that might be very important for preventing weight gain.
• Grass-fed beef has a better fat quality. Specifically, it has up to 5x more anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats and significantly fewer inflammatory Omega-6 fats.
• Grass-fed beef has much more vitamin K2 Vitamin K2 helps get calcium into your bones (where it belongs) and not into your arteries (where it causes plaque and heart attacks).
• Grass-fed beef has more antioxidants especially Vitamin E.
• Grass-fed beef also contains more Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus and Sodium