If you’ve been on any healthy living blogs, read about real food, watched the news… basically if you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve heard about grass-fed beef. It’s a pretty hot topic with lots of debate surrounding it. Since the discovery of cheap grain, the average industrial cattle farmer has fed our cattle grain. And why not? It’s cheap, it is fairly easy to come by, you can raise more cattle on a smaller lot, and it fattens them up faster. When you think of it from a money-making farming perspective… it makes a lot of sense. There is a large demand for beef, they want to get as much of it available for purchase and consumption as quickly as possible. Grain makes all of that possible.
So, really why not grain?
First and foremost because bovine weren’t made to eat grain!! They’re made to consume grass. Grain-fed cattle are contained on feed lots. They’re all crammed in there together. They all eat from the same pile. They have no where to roam around and enjoy themselves and eat the way nature intended. Another thing? They aren’t even just fed grain necessarily. There have been reports of them being fed anything from corn to garbage.
So, when these cattle are sandwiched onto these feedlots like a can of sardines, illness becomes a problem. One gets sick, they get another sick, and on down the line it goes. This is a bad deal. It’s bad for the cattle, and it certainly isn’t any good for us humans. What happens when they get sick? They get antibiotics of course! Why is that a problem? Because those antibiotics are now in the meat that you and your family will purchase from the supermarket, cook up and consume. Which means you’re eating meat that could potentially be tainted with antibiotics. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care to have my supper with a side of penicillin.
Another problem with feed lots?
They’re bad for the environment. They produce tons of waste, literally tons. Too much for the ground around it to handle. What’s that do? Pollutes our land and our water. Growing the grain to feed these cattle so they can in turn feed us is also a problem. We’re using our own food (corn) to feed our food. Something about that doesn’t sound quite right. Kind of counterproductive when you think of it. Grass… we don’t really eat grass. Cattle love grass! They will happily eat it all the time. Of course, this in turn means they grow slower and not quite as large, but patience is a virtue!!
What does grass-fed really mean anyway?
Grass-fed cattle are just that grass-fed. They live more along the lines that nature intended. They’re more free-roaming. They roam around and eat the grass at their leisure. What’s all this mean? It means they’re happier, healthier animals! This is a great thing! If they’re happier and healthier and eating what and the way they were born to eat, we have healthier food not pumped full of heaven knows what! They were more humanely treated and enjoyed their lives more freely.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel good. I like meat, I believe animals were put on this Earth for several reasons, one of those reasons is to one day become food in order to sustain another life. I also like to know that the animal who has blessed me and my family with a meal lived their lives to the fullest. That they were able to free-roam and do their own thing. Forage. Walk. Nap in the pastures. I like to know that they lived their lives more the way they were intended to live them. It makes me feel good.
Okay, why do I keep hearing about grass-fed grass-finished beef, what’s the difference?
Cattle who are grass-fed traditionally finish their lives on a feed lot. Why? Because it takes a enormous amount of time to finish off cattle who are solely grass-fed. Most commercial farmers don’t have the time or resources to let them finish growing eating solely grass. So, when they’re older, they are moved onto a feed lot to finish out their days. They were able to spend some of their life eating and grazing the way nature intended, but in the end they are just like the rest. Although, they live on feedlots for a shorter time, they still wind up there. It is better than nothing, though. At least they didn’t live their entire lives on a feedlot.
Some farmers do finish off the cattle with just grass. No feed lot involved. This process takes a lot longer than placing the cattle on a feed lot. So, it is a little harder to come by. Choices are becoming more available as more people start thinking about the impacts of industrial farming and try to change their ways!!
How do I find grass-fed beef and how do I find out how it is finished?
Your local butcher can help you! You can ask around at your local farmers market as well. Word of mouth goes a long way in these situations. A lot of super markets are now carrying grass-fed beef. As more and more people become conscious of how their habits and food consumption affect the environment, things like grass-fed beef and other sustainable meats and produce become more readily available. If you find grass-fed and want to know if it is grass-finished, just ask. The label doesn’t always say but most of the time a knowledgable butcher knows their source and can let you know how the cattle was finished.
Another way to get quality, grass-fed, grass-finished beef is from US Wellness Meats. Their stock is free roaming, grass-fed, grass-finished, and treated humanely. I buy a lot of products from them, especially now that we are back in Indiana. In Montana sustainable meat was a lot easier to source than it is here. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook you probably saw the big haul of beef tallow and pork lard I just got from them! Their products are shipped fast, come well packed in a cooler, with an insulating bag, and dry ice. My products are always still perfectly cold when I receive them, even in the dog days of summer! You should check them out US Wellness Meats sells quality grassland meat products.
I hope this post is helpful! I hope it brings light to why what you eat matters. It only takes one person to make a difference. If I start eating it and you start eating it and pass that information along to your friends we will all be in a better place. Grass-fed beef is much less intrusive to the environment. The cattle help keep invasive weeds out of the pastures, which keeps them from spreading into other areas. They’re happier and healthier which in turn makes us healthier for consuming meat that was raised in sanitary, healthy, happy conditions!!
I love hearing from my readers so please share!! Do you eat grass-fed meat? How did you source it? Do you like it?
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