The grass-fed subject comes up a lot and it’s a very important part of the Paleo philosophy. A while back, Melissa wrote a post about the difference between grass-fed and vegetarian-fed and now, following a number of recent inquiries, we wanted to delve a little further into the subject and the need to check not only on whether your meat is grass-fed, but also whether it is grass-finished.
Grass-fed is the hottest new food label, and for good reason. Grass-fed beef describes the meat from animals who have been fed their natural diet, and hence are healthier, happier and hormone-free. The problem is, as soon as food labels become sought after, everyone wants to add the “grass-fed” title to their advertising campaign and sadly, we’re starting to catch some examples of “grass-fed”, but grain-finished.
What is grass-fed, grain-finished?
This means that the animals were initially fed their natural diet of grass, but then, prior to being slaughtered, were fattened up on grains. And that’s when we run into health side-effects. Like us, animals are not accustomed to eating grain and it causes them intestinal irritation and inflammation, resulting in the need for antibiotics and other treatments. As such, the meat we then eat has traces of unnatural sources. Grain-finished meat also boasts less omega-3 and a significantly lower amount of vitamin E, among other vital nutrients like beta-carotene, B-vitamins and minerals.
Our best grass-fed advice?
Ask your butcher if the meat is grass-fed and grass-finished. Read your labels carefully. And last but not least, see if you can purchase your meat directly from the source: from a local farm.
I personally buy my grass-fed, grass-finished meat in bulk from Corner Post Meats and highly recommend their product. Chances are, you can find a great local meat source option near you and then, not only can you be sure of the quality of meat that you are purchasing, you can also save with bulk order discounts.
Here’s to grass-fed, all the way!