We eat grass-fed beef and pastured chicken and eggs almost exclusively. In my post Corn Injustice, I mentioned the horrible effects of feeding corn to cows, and the injustice of corn subsidies as part of my reason. In her book Pasture Perfect: The Far Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products from Grass-Fed Animals, Jo Robinson shows that products from animals raised on pasture are better for our health. I don’t want my basis for choosing food to just be that it does not contain anything bad such as hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides. I want to go much farther than that, and choose food that is nutritionally superior. Let me site just a few of the benefits that are mentioned in this book:
- Most grass-fed beef is so lean that it has about the same amount of fat as a skinless chicken breast. A 6 ounce beef loin from a grass-fed cow may have 92 fewer calories than a 6 ounce loin from a grain-fed cow.
- Meat, dairy and eggs from grass-fed animals has more omega-3 fatty acids than products from grain-fed animals. That’s because omega-3 originates in green plants. People who are low in omega-3 fatty acids have a higher risk of cancer, depression, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure and dementia. Grain is high in omega-6. Omega-3 and omega-6 have opposite effects on our body. For example, foods high in omega-6 promote blood clotting, while foods high in omega-3 slow it down. Both properties are essential, but if your diet contains too many clot-promoting omega-6s and too few clot-busting omega-3s, there is a risk of clots developing in your arteries increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Grass-fed animals have 2 – 5 times more conjugated linoleic acid than grain-fed animals. Studies have shown that linoleic acid may fight cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Cattle raised on pasture has more vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene than grain-fed cattle.
- Milk from grass-fed cows has higher concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E. Cows get a set amount of vitamins from food and the more milk she produces, the fewer vitamins she has for each glass of milk. So, milk from high-producing grain-fed, hormone injected cows is a weaker version of milk.
- Chickens cannot survive on pasture alone and need grain, but the meat and eggs from pastured chickens have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and E, folic acid and carotenoids than grain-fed poultry.
- Pastured eggs have less fat, fewer calories and less cholesterol. The meat, too, has less fat and calories.