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Before you start reading the “Grass-Fed Beef In A Nutshell” essay, let me make a blanket statement. 100% grass-fed meats, from any kind of critter, are the most perfect food for man. Grass-fed meats will supply 100% of your body’s nutrient requirements in perfect balance. Grass-fed meat is the ONLY food type you can eat exclusively and still have optimal body function. Of course, for this to occur one must know their meat is 100% grass-fed and be VERY careful about how they cook their meat. Cooking actually destroys some vital nutrients required for life! Pretty radical statement you say? Well, once you gain a full understanding of what is and is not real food, you’ll sing the same tune. But if you are hung up on conventional wisdom, you will remain a lost soul. For starters, conventional wisdom thinks grass seeds are a proper food for man and beast. Yet for decades scientists have known that from the very beginning of life on Earth the foundation food for all animal life has been the green leaf. There is a huge chemical difference between a green leaf and the seed of a grass plant. That means something. Unfortunately, our country’s food system is based on the large seeds of the grass plant (called grain). It is the eating of seeds and the avoidance of the green leaf that causes universal body failure (chronic disease). And worst of all, most of the scientific nutritional research you read about addresses the symptoms of the grain-based food system — not the cause. In other words, scientists are trying to figure out the proper supplements that required to keep bodies healthy after eating grain. They do not address the problem head-on with the only practical solution which is to avoid grain. That’s because avoiding grain is not acceptable for most folks. Therefore chronic disease remains one of our country’s most widespread and most expensive problems. Did you know that the only reason Omega-3 fatty acids are discussed these days is because our nation’s food system is based on grain? If it was based on the green leaf nobody would be concerned about Omega-3 fatty acids. But since it is based on grain everyone must take Omega-3, multi vitamin, and mineral supplements! Why is this? If you can’t answer that question you had better visit the Omega-3 Essay section of our Web site. When you do, keep in mind that quantity of anything is meaningless. For optimal body function it is the overall balance of all nutrients that is critical. So anytime you read about quantity in terms of Omega-3, the nutritionists making those recommendations know of only the grain-based food system. Therefore their advise addresses symptoms, not causes. This means they do not know anything about The Real Diet of Man.
Grass-Fed Beef In A Nutshell
For generations we’ve been told that grain-fed beef is better beef. It’s a great, natural, healthy food. But that rosy picture steadily loses its luster as new scientific discoveries in the fields of human health and nutrition keep advancing.
The August 1998 issue of the Angus Journal included a supplement titled Feeding Options. In the supplement’s first article, written by Troy Smith, there’s an interesting line. “For the ruminant animal, there’s nothing more natural than range.” (“Range” means “large pasture.”) Just think about this for a moment. Notice the words “natural” and “range.” Also, “there’s nothing more natural” means that every other situation is less natural. Probably the least natural cattle feeds are waste products from bread plants, potato processors, breweries, ethanol plants, and candy factories; corn silage; and GRAIN. Yes, grain!
Cattle, like all other ruminants and many other critters, developed on this Earth eating green leafy plants, mostly grass. They ate virtually no grain. In fact, there is not an animal species on this planet (which includes people) that evolved eating grain! This is important since scientists are reporting that many of America’s leading health problems are due to diets top heavy in Omega-6 fatty acids versus the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids come mainly from grains which are also deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, or rather the appropriate balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acids, come mainly from green leafy plants, some nuts, and of course animals that ate green leaves.
The story about fatty acids is very important. It started unfolding back in the early 1980s when nutritionists and scientists started making new discoveries about fats. They knew there were many different fats, but they did not fully understand the role they played in animal body function. But they started realizing that some actually play a pivotal role in human health. Some of the most crucial fats are in the list of compounds found in the membranes of every cell in a human body. That means some fats are not what we usually associate with the fat we can see around our waist for instance. With more study the dietitians and scientists figured out that the human body needs a very particular balance of certain essential fats in its diet because the body’s only source for those fats is food. Two of the most important essential fats are in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acid families.
After isolating these fatty acids scientific experiments determined that if the ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids in cell membranes exceed 4:1, people develop more health problems. This is especially meaningful since the ratios in grain-fed beef can exceed 15:1 whereby grass-fed beef is down around 1:1. (See the accompanying chart that was copied from Jo Robinson’s book: Why Grassfed Is Best!) Similar ratios are also found in ALL grain-fed versus grass-fed livestock products! The products include all meats, poultry, dairy, and fish. For instance, skinless chicken breasts from the store are 18:1 and it does not matter if the chicken is Tyson, organic, vegetable fed, free range, or grown-on-the-moon chicken.
The health problems associated with diets high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3 are cancer, heart disease, depression, obesity, insulin resistance, allergies, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis, diabetes, attention deficit syndrome, and the list goes on. These diseases are not associated with bacterial infections. They are all body failures, not from aging, but from improper diets. (For a far more extensive picture on what is and is not proper food for man and beast please go to the Omega-3 Essay section of our Web site. We know the positive health story for natural grass-fed beef is ironclad. But if this is your first exposure to grass versus grain, you need to study up more than just this article.)
What About the Eating Experience?
Beef “quality” grades (prime, choice, select, and standard) are supposed to compare the “eating experience.” The grade is based on fat content. The greater the quantity of intramuscular fat in the meat, the higher the grade. The higher the grade (more fat) the more tender the meat. (Fat is more tender than muscle!) But everyone knows that sometimes standard grades of beef (beef with low levels of visible fat) provide better eating experiences than some prime grades of beef. So the current grading system is not perfect. Yet it’s the measure the beef industry uses to sell beef to the consumer. Since this quality grading system is based on grain-fed fats (high Omega-6 and low Omega-3 Fatty Acids — saturated fat), it promotes the wrong kind of fat, rather bland tasting meat, and meat tenderness as the most important aspects of meat. Alarmingly, it totally neglects the nutritional characteristics of the meat and the actual eating experience.
Unfortunately, what the “industry sells” is what the consumer believes it wants. Therefore industry wants the fattest grain-fed beef possible because Americans believe the beef with the most marbling and a close trim on the external fat is the best beef. Of course, a few consumers actually want healthy, nutritious food. But the vast majority really do not care. The want cheap and bland!
The consumer’s fascination with bright-white saturated fat (which develops when cattle are fed grain) started about a century ago and industry picked up on this consumer preference. The feedlot industry then evolved on the back of the grain feeding concept. Therefore for the past 60 years the modern grain-fed beef industry has been promoting fat as the reason why beef has good flavor, why it is juicy, and why it is tender. All the while it has been promoting fat the beef industry has had to fight a rearguard action because many “modern” health problems have been linked to eating beef. But it wasn’t until just recently that scientists determined that it wasn’t just beef that caused the dramatic increase in health problems in the United States, but the feeding of grain in the production of all meat, poultry, dairy, and fish/shrimp products (plus the feeding of grain to people) and the dramatic reduction of Omega-3 fatty acids in the American diet that was a result. To this day the beef industry is still ignoring the grass-fed health conscience story. But the facts are overwhelming and in time the consumer will wake up and industry will change and provide the consumer with grass-fed meats.
We know that there is at best a 10% correlation between intramuscular fat and tenderness.
We know that studies comparing tenderness in grain-fed beef versus grass-fed beef have shown no significant differences. (Grass-fed beef is not as consistent because it is raised in an uncontrolled environment.)
We know that in grain-fed beef the flavor is in the fat, and that the meat has very little flavor.
We know that beef from cattle that graze lush grasslands definitely has flavor in the meat, plus the visible fat.
We know that fat is juicy, but meat can be juicy too, so fat isn’t needed for a juicy steak.
We know that nutritionists say people shouldn’t eat excessive quantities of saturated fat. Yet they say the human body requires a proper balance of the right fats. And we know that the proper balance of the right fats comes automatically from livestock grazing lush grasslands. That’s why we should eat their visible fat for our health!
We know that diets high in Omega-6 fatty acids and low in Omega-3 fatty acids are very bad for human health.
We know that grain-fed beef products have high ratios of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids even when they are “extra lean.” (That’s because the fatty acids are components of all cell membranes.)
We know that beef from cattle grazing lush grasslands is a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids. And, unlike grain-fed beef, it is also high in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), beta carotene, and vitamins A and E.
For a fact the consistency, flavor, look, smell, and texture of grass-fed beef differs from grain-fed beef. Therefore some consumers will have to learn to appreciate the differences if they are going to eat grass-fed beef. Others will like it immediately because it actually tastes like beef. Others will gladly learn to like it because it does a body good. In all cases folks will need to learn how to properly cook grass-fed meats.
Yes, the time for Grass-Fed Beef and other Grass-Fed livestock products is now.
Grass-Fed Meats, They’re What’s Best for Dinner!
Beef’s Nutritional Ledger
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega-6 Fatty Acid
High & Saturated
Original and Bold
All Other Factors
E. coli Danger