Why Choose Grass Fed and Free Range?
There’s no hiding it, we’re big fans of meat. Super respect to the vego’s and vegans out there, but that’s just not where we’re at. HOWEVER we have an admission to make – when it comes to meat, we are 100% discriminatory. We won’t just ingest any old animal – we’re waaaay pickier than that. And there is a few bloody good reasons why, and why for the sake of your health and happiness, we think you should be too.
What are are talking about? Grass Fed and Free Range of course!
…is as simple as it sounds. In its life, the animal consumes only grass and grass-like food – pretty much anything you’ll find in an open field that can be naturally ingested by a cow.
Although most commercial cows start their lives on a grass-based diet, they are later moved into crowded barns and are fed grains to fatten them up. There are a few reasons farmers prefer this method – the big ones being that it is cheaper and faster. Since grains are rich in calories, they do a much quicker job at helping cows gain weight. It’s also cheap for consumers because the cost savings made by the farmer are transferred straight to you.
You know how they say you are what you eat? Well it’s the same for animals!
So let’s look at the science. A cow that eats grass will provide meat with a much richer nutritional content than that of a grain fed cow – which makes sense, cows are naturally designed to eat a plant based diet. One of the most talked about benefits of consuming grass fed meat is its omega-3 fatty acid content. Research shows that grass fed beef consists of 2 to 5 times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain fed beef.
Grass fed beef also has 2 to 3 times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain fed beef. CLA is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that is found naturally in meat and dairy products. It has powerful antioxidant abilities and research shows that it may even help protect against diabetes, cancer and wait for it… heart disease. The reason for the dramatic difference is that grain-based diets bring down the pH in a cow’s digestive system, preventing the growth of a bacterium that makes CLA. We highly recommend you take the time to watch the doco Fed Up (currently available on Netflix in Aus) which will give you a really great visual representation of the damage a grain fed diet does to a cow’s interior – we guarantee you’ll think twice before that next Macca’s run!
And that’s not all; grass fed meat trumps grain fed in its vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content as well. Beta-carotene, (the precursor to vitamin A) is found in high quantities in grass fed cows because it is found abundantly in plants. Grains, however, do not contain carotenoids like beta-carotene.
Grass fed beef is also higher in vitamin E, catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione, which are antioxidants that protect cells from oxidation. Grass fed is also superior in its mineral content, including iron, zinc, sodium, potassium and phosphorous.
What about Pork & Chicken?
When it comes to poultry there’s been a lot more media coverage about the benefits of free-range. Predominantly, commercially raised poultry is packed with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and a whole lot of other nasties that can make chicken consumption a health hazard. Some studies show that long term consumption of chemical-laden chicken may give rise to early onset puberty and even cancer risks. In addition, conventional chicken may have also been exposed to heavy metals and other contaminants from factories.
Outside of the nutritional benefits of free-range poultry, is the humane aspect that should definitely be taken into account. We’ve all seen the images of thousands of chickens packed into cages with deformaties, of pigs that are bred over and over again and never see the the sun – as humans we have an obligation to put a stop to these practices. Luckily in Australia, we have loads of opportunities to get our hands on free range poultry products, just ask your local butcher or check the tags in the supermarket.
But it Costs More?
You’re right, better quality meat products cost more. But here’s the thing – paying a little extra to look after your health now, is going to save you dollars in the long run by avoiding those hefty bills that come along with chronic illness and disease. And if you don’t make yourself a priority – who will?