Part II – Grain Finished Beef – Okay, so what’s wrong with grain finished beef?
First, is the whole realm of unintended consequences that feeding grain to cattle and other ruminant livestock has for our environment.
We’re only just starting to see the environmental impacts from the corn mono-culture that’s developed as a result of the practice of feeding grain to livestock. Fish kills, dead zones in the oceans, ocean acidification, changes in the weather patterns…
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! But there’s so much more to it than that.
The grain we’re feeding the most of is corn – an unsustainable crop.
Part of the reason it’s used so widely used is due to the tax subsidies corn farmers get from… the U.S. government – and where do they get it? From you!
This is a really complicated economics issue that is going to require a blog post dedicated solely to it, so for now, all you need to remember is that all that cheap food you get? Yeah, you’re paying for it… in your FICA taxes.
Second, how about a simple “Grain fed beef just not good for you”?
Thinking in the context that grain is cow candy – which would you think would have more nutritional value? Cows fed Skittles – or cows fed grass? I’ve been screaming this from the rooftops for years… This is just simple common sense.
The way your food was raised materially changes the composition of the food itself.
MULTIPLE studies have shown that the omega 3’s in beef literally disappear in the 3 months they spend in the feed lot. That’s LITERALLY, in the LITERAL sense of the word.
We’ve been fed this lie all our lives that an egg is an egg, and beef is beef, and a strawberry is a strawberry, and that calories = calories – and that is all B.U.L.L.
Cows that eat grain have lower levels of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid).
We’re only really beginning to get a grasp on how this molecule works in our body, but basically everybody agrees, it’s a good guy, and we need it, and we’re not getting enough of it, and most of what’s available artificially is NOT the same thing.
Cows that eat grain have a higher body pH.
Nutritionists are learning a lot about how the pH of your body controls like, a lot of stuff. Your gut flora, your hormone levels, inflammation in your body, and so much more is affected by this. When cows eat grain, it acidifies their body, having all of the same affects. You eat the beef, and the cycle compounds on itself.
The fat composition of grass fed vs. grain fed cattle is dramatically different.
Cows that eat grain have higher saturated fat. Moreover, cattle that have eaten grass actually have vitamins and nutrients in the fat itself. You may have noticed that your grass finished beef fat has a more yellow color to it. There’s a reason for that – plant chlorophyll is the reason.
Proponents of grain fed make a lot of arguments…
But at the end of the day, cows in nature eat grass. Nobody can argue with that.
That’s literally what their bodies have evolved to be able to process. Grazing herbivores like cattle also serve a specific purpose in nature’s grand life cycle. It is my personal opinion that as stewards of these animals and of the planet we inhabit, we should respect that.
Most of these arguments center around efficiency and how we need to be able to feed more people… They also make the loop that the average consumer cannot afford $7 a pound or more for ground beef.
But here’s the thing…
We eat more meat per person today than we ever have… even though our lifestyles are far more sedentary than they’ve ever been.
This system of efficiency, and argument about the cost of production ISN’T about feeding more people at all – it’s about feeding people more.
We would all do well to eat smaller portions of higher quality food.