From the lowly cow we get two things, great red meat full of vitamins and minerals not found in any other source and milk. The problem in the last 100 years has been what man has done to these poor creatures that have resulted in diseases in not only the cows themselves but in the people who consume the products.
It Doesn't Have to Be That Way
Most people say that meat is meat, so why should I pay more for meat from grass-fed animals (chickens, lamb, goat, pork and beef)? Another question is, "What do you mean by nutrient dense?"
Something rather serious has occured in the last hundred years that has changed meat in a dramatic way. Farmers started giving grain to cows and sheep and shutting these animals plus chickens and pigs up in small pens or buildings. While it's okay to give chickens grain because they have a gizzard to grind it up, for the other animals grain is not natural.
Many years ago I had a friend who was one of the officers of the Nebraska Beef Board. We were discussing the high incidence of E-Coli in beef. I shared with her that I believed that the problem was primarily because farmers were feeding and/or finishing their beef with high grain diets. She confided with me that the USDA Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska actually did a study that no one on the Beef Board wanted to publish. It seems that when the Research Center withdrew grain from beef for the last 90 days before processing that the incidence of E-coli found in the meat was almost non-exhistant.
Why is that? Well, I believe, that because God created Cows, Goats, Sheep and Pigs with multiple stomachs, they were to primarily eat grass. What happens when they are fed grain? They gain extra fat for one thing, but primarily it messes up their digestive system. When the animal gains lots of fat it means more money in the farmers pocket. Now I'm a farmer and I could personally use more money in my pocket but I don't think it should be at the expense of my animals or the consumer.
What concerns me most is how it messes with the animals body systems. As humans we have a stomach to mush up the food, a small intestine to remove all the nutrients it can get out of the food and a large intestine to push out the unused portion along with any toxins the body has removed from whatever we've eaten or come into contact with. If something goes out of wack with this system we get sick. Sometimes this system gets so sick that it actually will leak toxins back into the body and we get even sicker.
This is the same thing that happens when a rudimentary animal eats grain. It messes up his system so that he gets sick, thus toxins remain in his system and actually can leak toxins into the muscles and other parts of his body. I feel like it is of primary importance to warn you now that the liver of any animal that is NOT grass fed should NEVER be eaten because of the high toxic load in that liver.
Equally important is the nutrient dense issue. The difference between grass-fed and grain-fed is dramatic.
Grass-fed meats tend to be much lower in total fat than grain-fed meats. A perfect example: Take a sirloin steak from a grass-fed beef. It has about one-half to one-third the amount of fat as the same cut from a grain-fed animal. When meat is this lean it can actually lower your LDL Cholesterol levels.
The bonus is that because grass-fed meat is so lean, it is also lower in calories. Fat typically has 9 calories per gram, compared with 4 calories of protein and carbohydrates. Of course, the more fat contained in the meat means a greater number of calories. Thus, a 6-oz grass-fed steak has almost 100 fewer calories than the same size steak from a grain-fed animal.
Jo Johnson of Rain Crow Ranch says, "If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to grassfed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year—without requiring any willpower or change in eating habits. If everything else in your diet remains constant, you'll lose about six pounds a year. If all Americans switched to grassfed meat, our national epidemic of obesity would begin to diminish."
There are several bonus' to discuss. We've already discussed that grass-fed beef is low in the 'bad' fats but did you know that it give you 2-6 times more of the good fat called "omega-3 fatty acids." When a person has good amonts of omega-3's in their diet they tend to have lower blood pressure, are less likely to have serious heart attacks, be afflicted with depression, ADD or Alzheimer's. Omega-3's can also reduce your risk of cancer. Reason? Omega-3's are formed in the green leaves of plants. Sixty percent of the omega-3 found in grass is called alpha-linlenic or LNA.
Jo Johnson proclaims, "Switching our livestock from their natural diet of grass to large amounts of grain is one of the reasons our modern diet is deficient in these essential fats. It has been estimated that only 40 percent of Americans consume a sufficient supply of these nutrients. Twenty percent have levels so low that they cannot be detected. Switching to grassfed animal products is one way to restore this vital nutrient to your diet.
The meat and milk from grassfed ruminants are the richest known source of another type of good fat called "conjugated linoleic acid" or CLA. When ruminants are raised on fresh pasture alone, their milk and meat contain as much as five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets.12
CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer.
In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA --- a mere 0.1 percent of total calories ---greatly reduced tumor growth.13 Researcher Tilak Dhiman from Utah State University estimates that you may be able to lower your risk of cancer simply by eating the following grassfed products each day: one glass of whole milk, one ounce of cheese, and one serving of meat. You would have to eat five times that amount of grainfed meat and dairy products to get the same level of protection.
There is new evidence suggesting that CLA does reduce cancer risk in humans.
In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet, had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels of CLA.
Switching from grainfed to grassfed meat and dairy products places women in this lowest risk category. Vitamin E In addition to being higher in omega-3s and CLA, meat from grassfed animals is higher in vitamin E. In humans, vitamin E is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. This potent antioxidant may also have anti-aging properties. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin E."
So when we say nutrient dense, that is exactly what we mean. You will find more nutrients per ounce in products from a grass-fed animal than their factory produced counter parts.
I know a lot of you have complained about the higher cost of grass-fed vs grain-fed and I hope now you understand more why it is better for you to pay the extra to purchase products from animals that are healthy and can actually make you healthier.
The NY Times best selling author, Jo Robinson, has an informative book "Why Grassfed is Best!" on the benefits of grassfed beef. She has done a great service educating America about this healthy beef and her book is a "must have" in your library of health books. Please visit her web site at www.eatwild.com to purchase the book and learn more about this healthy beef.
We will discuss Nutrient Dense Eggs next week.