Protein Foods - Grass or Grain Fed?

Food animals have provided protein foods for us for a long time. There requirements are small but there must be an equitable exchange.

Cattle and Bison have always eaten grasses. This is their natural diet. We had a cow when I was young. I use to pretend Bossy was chewing on gum. She looked so happy just chewing away. Very relaxed and happy.

She was just chewing her grass for the second time. It was part of her daily routine. A cow will stand there for hours chewing it's cud. The cow and other similar animals have four stomachs. They have a system of digestion quite different from ours. But it has been working a long time while keeping our grasses trimmed.

Why Did We Switch Over to Grains?

Someone had a bright idea to change the system. Why? Perhaps they wanted to support the chemical industry. They seem to be benefiting now with the sale of antibiotics. Who else benefits? The grain or corn growers? The feedlot cattle raisers? The consumer? You might answer this after reading further.

Here's what happens to the cow that has to eat the grains instead of grasses.

     Grain fed Cattle in a Feedlot!
Grain fed Cattle in a Feedlot
  • The cow will develop acid indigestion which turns into inflamation in their first stomach's intestinal wall.
  • Their is a leaking into the bloodstream which causes liver problems.
  • Then comes bloating from poor digestion and can result in breathing difficulties, or even death.
  • Along with these problems, Vitamin B1 has been reduced and not making it to the cows brain so paralysis can occur.

The solution is to feed the animal antibiotics and other drugs to handle the various stages of decline.

This does not result in healthy protein foods and yet this is what we get if the cow can stand up at slaughter.

Who pays?

It costs more to care for the food animal in a feedlot than on the open range. Looking further, we find that the government is subsidizing the feedlot operation so they will be profitable. We pay in our tax dollar even if we don't eat this meat. When we are struggling to find high quality protein foods, we are made to support an industry that is not ethical in their food growing practices.

It Gets Worse

Someone decided to stretch the grain by adding other types of protein to it. Here's what happened:

  • Animal feed was supplemented with animal blood, meat scraps, and animal feces.
  • Cow remains can be fed to chickens and pigs, whose remains can be fed back to cows.
  • Cows and pigs are vegetarian, chickens eat insects, not dead cows.
  • The above sets the stage for Mad Cow Disease.
  • The consumer of these products are being given unhealthy food, to put it mildly.

"In 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required that most protein derived from ruminants (cud-chewing animals) be kept out of feed given to other ruminants." In January 2005, this was not being fully implemented according to Consumer Reports. See the second link below for full story.

You may wonder if the feedlots are now ethical and no longer at risk. There is a video that you may want to watch at the Eat Wild website below, if you are curious. Just know this video is not an "easy" watch. The headline was enough for me.

Eat Wild
Consumer Reports

So What is So Great About Grass fed Beef or Bison?

The animals are happier and living a better life which is important for any living animal. The cattle are getting their natural diet, and value has been added to their life. In return man is compensated with higher quality protein foods, whether it be in the form of meet or dairy products.

Contented Cattle in a Pasture

As a food source, grass fed beef or bison are usually:

  • Higher in Omega 3's which is the good fat.
  • High in Vitamin E which ensures freshness longer.
  • Hgher in iron which is a natural form and can be used by the human body.
  • Lower in fat which can be counted as one of the heart healthy foods.
  • Higher in Vitamin B12 which supports good blood oxygenation, supports the heart, and nervous system.
  • Lower in calories which is a BIG, BIG plus since we are having an epidemic of overweight people.
  • Have about 22 to 28 grams of protein in 3.5 oz of cooked meet which makes this an excellent choice from any list of high protein foods.
  • High in selenium which has been shown to promote more happy faces.
Ensure that the protein foods you buy are truly completely grass-fed. There has been deceit in this area by providing only grains for the last 3 months before harvest. This does three things: fattens the animal, reduces the omega 3's and reduces the health of the animal. The full disclosure of grain-fed on the label has been withheld. There was a new label rule on this. When there is evidence that the industry is adhering to the new rule, I'll pass the information on to you.

References

  • http://www.eatwild.com
  • http://www.consumerreports.org
  • http://www.bisoncentral.com
  • http://www.cattleweb.net
  • http://www.tallgrassbeef.com
  • http://www.americangrassfedbeef.com



Please feel free to email me if you have questions or comments. I am always happy to respond.

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