Grass Fed Beef, Pt II: An Introduction to the Pros of Grass-Fed Beef

This is the second part in a 4-part series relating to grass-fed beef – we already presented an introduction to grass-fed beef, and now we will examine the pros (that is this article), the cons, and then we will present you with our own assessment of whether grass fed really is better, or if it is not as good as you would hope!

From Week 1, “An Introduction of Grass-fed Beef”:

            “We love beef – as a nation, as families, and as individuals… really the whole world over (barring specific religions) is in love with a lovely pink and marbled piece of meat.  It probably goes back to our primal instinct to eat the highest-energy food available to make the hours of hunting and gathering give us enough energy to keep going.

            Or, maybe it just tastes godly, and for that reason alone we seek it out!

            I know that I love beef, and I am sure that you are here because you are also in love with the sizzle of the steak, the smell of the searing beef, and the taste of a perfectly cooked piece of meat.  Better yet, smother it with onions and mushrooms… maybe serve it with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and some roasted broccoli…

            But NEVER serve it with steak sauce (Sorry/not sorry, A-1)… because properly cooked steak is one of the best tasting things on the planet!

            However, most of us know that there are various qualities of steak – to learn more about meat qualities (and get a killer selection of recipes), make sure to request our complementary e-book on all things meat.

            With all of the information we gave you in that book, there is still one key thing that we did not cover in that book, and it is important that we talk about it… and that thing is grass-fed beef.”

            Since last time we were here we discussed the “what” related to grass-fed beef and compared it with grain-fed beef.  But today we start taking a look at the pros (benefits) that are associated with grass-fed beef.  Stay with us, as the information that we provide is going to start to offer you a free education at the school of Wayside Butchery… and that education will pay off in the best ways possible…

            Saving time, saving money, and having the best possible food for you and your family!

Pros of Grass-fed beef

            While there are both pros and cons to grass-fed beef, this week we are going to opt to focus on the pros.  Yes, this article is going to have a positive bent to it, and hopefully it will get you thinking of reasons that you might want to have grass fed beef… but another hope is that you will ask a key question…

“If these are the pros, then what are the cons?”

            That would be a great question, and it would be one that we at Wayside would be happy to answer next week.

            But for now… let’s really look into the pros of grass-fed beef:

Heart Health.  The Mayo Clinic has released information that the more natural and healthier diet that the steers consume when they are grass-fed carries over to the meat that they produce.  Most of us should be worried about our health, and paying attention to what goes into our bodies is critical to ensuring that we live long and happy lives (so that we can keep eating beef…). 

Bearing the idea of being healthier, the data provided by the Mayo Clinic does show that grass fed steers produce meat that is:

·       Has more Omega-3 fatty acids (these are the heart healthy acids found in fish and eggs)

·       Lower in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids (these have become associated with severe heart and

cardiovascular conditions)

·       Higher in anti-oxidants

·       Higher in natural vitamins

·       Higher in protein than grain-fed beef

·       Higher in trace mineral content while containing a lower heavy-metal mineral content

·       Overall less total fat and cholesterol than most other cuts of beef

            Most of us want to be healthier, but most of us do not want to give up what we call the “good foods” in life.  Can you imagine giving up beef altogether?  At Wayside we are beef fanatics, and that being said, we cannot imagine living without beef.  However, we all know some people that have been told by their doctor to watch out for the dangers of red meat due to heart conditions, blood conditions, or other health concerns.  With this holding true, grass fed meat might be the best way to go to ensure that people who suffer from afflictions can still get their meat… great taste, and less risk of danger brought about by the foods consumed.

A Small Tangent…

            If you think about some of the more popular eating plans that exist today, three immediately come to mind; paleo, ketogenic, and carnivore.  While there are definitely some benefits to these diets, most researchers do make mention that there are specific problems with these diets.  

            Without going into great detail, the risks that are associated with these diets often include nutritional deficiencies from not having dairy and enough carbohydrates, increases in blood lipid levels, and decreased mental performance (typically this last point is only while adjusting, but it is worth mentioning).

            If you consider that grass-fed beef has more of the things that you want, and fewer of the things that you do not want, it makes perfect sense that grass-fed beef should be an option if you have to have a primarily meat-based diet.  That being said, it might be safer for you to eat grass-fed meat in large quantities than grain-fed meat if you are not supplementing your diet with carbohydrates and sugars.

Grass-Fed may Save the Environment

            There is some evidence that grass-fed steers actually are better for the environment than grain-fed steers.  This is due the fact that normally (but not always, as you know if you read Part I!) grass-fed meat is not pumped full of antibiotics in dangerous levels, their care is normally more humane, and there is less spread of disease among the bovine population when they are permitted to free-roam.

            One other point to think about when we are talking about the effects of grass-fed environments for cows and steers will relate to the production of methane…

            Yeah, not a pleasant topic, but something that should be thought of…

            Cows and steers that consume a grass-fed diet actually do produce more methane; this is a fact.  However, the processing plants that produce the grain and alfalfa that grain-fed cows eat produce more methane than the increase brought one by grass-fed cows.  This does not consider the fact that these plants also produce more carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, both of which are harmful to the environment in increased quantities.  Considering this, eating grass-fed may actually help the environment. 

The Taste?

            Yes, the question mark placed above is not a typo – this is a pro that is up for debate.

            There is a major difference in the taste between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef.  This is important because, it does not matter if you are helping yourself, helping the environment, and doing what is right…

            If your meat does not taste the way you want it to taste, then you are simply not going to eat it!

            Am I right?  Yeah… thought so.

            Grass-fed beef has been stated to be much gamier than its grain-fed counterparts.  If you are someone that really enjoys heavier and gamier meats and poultry, such as venison, quail, goose you will probably find the taste of this meat preferable.  If not, then you might find that the taste is too sharp for your liking.

            As we said, this one is going to come down to what it is that you like.  If you like this, then great!  If you don’t, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the classic grain-fed variety of meat. 

To Sum it all up…

            Remember… we are not done yet!  We still have to mention the cons to grass-fed beef (coming up next week), and we also need to rate the two side-by-side for pros and cons… and the goal will be to come to a clear winner.

            This being said, what do you think so far about the idea of grass-fed beef?  Is this something that you have tried, want to try, or just do not care to try?  If you have tried it, how did you feel about you experience?  Also, if you have any subjects about beef that you want to discuss, let us know!  We want to give you the information that you want to have, so tell us what it is that you need!

            On that note, let’s have a conversation – leave any and all comments down below, and one of our staff members will likely take the time to respond to you! 

            Look out for our “cons” list on grass-fed next week – and remember:

            Until next time, live well, eat well, and be well!