The Return of Pasture-Raised Beef, pt II

The Return of Pasture-Raised Beef, pt II

Last time we talked about pasture-raised meat, we went a little off on the tangent of the dangers of factory raised meat.  Today, we will get into the benefits of pasture raised meat and poultry!  This is important, as farms have been a staple of world culture for thousands of years, and people have often taken great pride in the health of their crops and animals, and the reputation they had for treating the animals, earth, and plants as family.

Lovely green pastures

Lovely green pastures

            Alright, we are back to our regular program!  We hoped you enjoyed our journey into the world of spices for your beef, and then again enjoyed visiting its cousin article on spicing other types of meats

            Now that we have finished that detour (and it was an enjoyable one), we are glad that you are back with us to take a look at the benefits of pasture raised meat.

            Last we were here we went a little further than we meant to talking about the risks and dangers of factory farmed meat, and we think that article is great reading prior to getting into this one.

            To sum it up in the short version – factory farming is diminishing meat quality, and it is also far from good for the humans that are eating it.  Again, go back and read up on factory farming and the potential for problems that arise from the way the animals are treated, fed, and (not properly) care for.

            Having gotten that out of the way, let’s get into the idea of pasture-raised meat… but to get there I want you to do something for me…

            Really think about how things used to be in this country.  There were rolling farmlands across most of the land, and there were seemingly endless plains where livestock grazed and lived. 

            It seemed that there were endless supplies of cattle, buffalo, deer, and bison on these seemingly endless plots of gorgeous and green lands.

            Can you picture it?  The vast stretches of green land teeming with animals?

            I know that most of us can do that without a problem; most of us have seen a western, Little House on the Prairie, or Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman (or maybe I am just dating myself at this point)… but the idea is we know what that can look like.

            We know that there was a time, based on that alone, when animals roamed freely, and the Natives and the early settlers that followed were able to hunt animals as needed for food.

            Now, when these settlers began building farms, it was normally a family farm, and the results of that farm were for immediate use or for bartering, assuming you had extras.

            These early family farms were marked off and fenced in, but the animals were still permitted to roam freely on pastures.  The animals got to do what animals were meant to do:

            They got to move, they had the chance to eat grass and other naturally grown food.  In fact, in these open pastures, farmers were often able to teach the cattle to eat weeds… which proved to be good for the cattle and the land.

            What you will notice in this scenario is that the animals were never locked into a rack and left there day in and day out for their entire lives.

            Why?  Because the farmers of old knew… animals needed to be treated with respect and given the chance to be healthy to produce quality meat.

Pasture Raised Produces Quality

            While many people believe that modern advances in medicine put us in a position where these factory farms know best, this is not accurate.

            In fact, the science is in!  And the science is explicit in that pasture fed an pasture raised animals are superior to those that are not raised as such. 

            In fact, when you compare pasture-raised meat to factory raised meat, the evidence is very clear.

            Not only does a cut of pasture raised meat always look more appealing, but the fact is that the pasture raised meat has less fat and fewer calories than the poorly fed factory animals. 

            The reason for this?

            Eating the foods that they were designed to eat allows for the animals to eat foods that are higher in the proper nutritional balance that their bodies require.

            This does not only apply to the large animals and livestock… chickens also benefit from being free-range (another term used for pasture-raised animals).

            Not only do the chickens benefit, but the eggs that are laid by chickens that are pasture raised have lower cholesterol and high nutritional content.

Fresh eggs in their natural environment.

Fresh eggs in their natural environment.

A Little more about those Eggs…

            We mentioned the better nutritional content in eggs that come from pasture-raised chickens.  This is true, and there is another thing to think about…

            Just like the appearance of a cut of pasture-raised and fed beef just looks better when its cross-cut, the same can be said for the eggs.

            If you have never seen a fresh, pasture-raised egg cracked open, it is a sight to behold.  The yolk is truly golden and the egg whites are not working hard to separate from itself and the yolk. 

Other Animals…

            Of course, there are pigs and other animals that can be pasture raised, as well.  The pigs that are pasture raised tend to have meat that is more tender than if they are raised in a sty.  Pigs that are permitted to root, snort, and seek the foods that they want (instead of the traditional slop we all know of) produce healthier, less fatty, and better tasting meat than their factory raised counterparts.

            The same can be said of lamb and mutton… the meat is just healthier, and it does taste so much better!

Finally, and this is the clincher…

            Most people that are vegan are so because of the treatment of the animals.  I have to agree with the vegans on this point; no animal should ever be badly treated.  Animals were put here to be a part of the ecosystem we are all a part of, and they should be treated with respect.

            However, as the Native Americans will tell you, respect does not mean we do not eat animals, because we all have a purpose.  One properly cared for animal can feed a family for a good amount of time.

            The point of this is simple; there are reports of vegetarians and vegans who go back to eating meat when they know that the animals are treated well.

That is all we have for Today!

            Alright, we have gone through a lot of information.  As you can see, pasture-raised meat is superior to the lower-cost factory meat that is what most of us eat.  The taste is better, the nutrients are more balanced, and it is better for the environment and the animals, as well.

            This coming Friday we are going to be talking about the proper temperature for cooking beef, and the proper internal temperature for food safety.

            We will see you then, and we look forward to it!

            Until then, eat well!