Why Eat Grass Fed Meat?
Top 10 Reasons to Eat Grass-Fed Meat
By The Natural Resources Defense Council
Humans can't eat grass, but the meat we eat should come from animals that did.
Truth be told, we do eat a little bit of grass. Three-quarters of all human nutrition comes from wheat, rice and corn, all of which are grasses. But what we eat is actually their seeds, the dense package of complex carbohydrates that is the specialty of annual grasses. Perennial grasses, which are more common, pack a larger proportion of their energy in their roots, stems and leaves; the building block for these is cellulose. Humans cannot convert cellulose to protein, but cows, sheep and other ruminants can, thanks to the resident bacteria in their highly specialized fermentation tank of a stomach, known as a rumen.
Grass-fed beef, as its name implies, comes from animals that eat perennial grasses all their lives. In contrast, "Grain-fed" beef is what is most commonly sold in supermarkets. While all cattle are grass-fed at some point in their lives, conventionally raised cows spend the majority of their lives feeding on corn and other grains, typically in a confined feedlot.
So what's the big deal? Why is it so important to choose grass-fed when buying meat?
- Grass-fed animals don't need the large quantities of antibiotics that feedlot cattle do.
- Perennial grasses are better for soil.
- Animals that are grass-fed their entire life are healthier--and their meat safer for you.
- Grass-fed animals produce the right kind of fat.
- The corn fed to feedlot cattle is fossil-fuel intensive and heavily subsidized.
- Perennial pasture reduces flooding and pollution-laden runoff.
- Perennial pasture is a carbon sink.
- Modern grazing methods match the efficiencies of industrial-scale grain production.
- Pastured animals are treated more humanely.
- Grass-fed is more expensive. (Yes, you read that right.)