Friday, March 30, 2012

Grass-Fed Meat

As some of you may know, you can now purchase grass-fed meat through Atlas from Whole Earth Meats. What you might not know is why we have chosen to provide access to grass-fed meat.

It is not simply just a more expensive food, but rather very nutritionally different from other store-bought meats.

What makes it different?
First think about this: The best way to fatten cattle, and fatten them fast, is to feed them a grain-based diet (hmmm, makes sense that our own grain-based diets would have the same impact on our bodies!) Truthfully, the nutritional content of our food is dependent on the nutrition available to the animal or plant we are eating. Not only are we what we eat, but we are what they eat, too.

So let's talk about the main differences in grass-fed animals:

Fatty Acid Profile: This part can get very "nerdy, but stay with me. By this point I am sure you have heard of Omega-6's and Omega-3's. These are fatty acids that are essential to the human diet. Unfortunately Omega-6 can be inflammatory and cause a host of health issues such as asthma, skin issues, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, to name just a very few.
The American diet tends to be very, very high in omega-6, on average a ratio of 20:1 omega-6 to omega-3. Ideally, we want a closer to a 2:1 ratio of the two fatty acids to keep this inflammation to a minimum.
Your typical store-bought meat which came from an animal raised on grain, has a very unhealthy and unbalanced fatty acid profile, thus perpetuating our inflammation-caused health issues.
Grass-fed meat, however, contains twice as much omega-3 fatty acids as omega-6.

 CLA: Conjugated Linoleic Acid
This is an omega-3 fatty acid which has been proven to be a potent defense again cancer. The CLA levels from pastured animals are 3 to 5 times more than that of grain-fed. New evidence suggests hormones which are pumped into feedlot cattle reduces the levels of naturally occurring CLA.

Vitamins: Grass-fed meat is shown to be significantly more nutrient-dense than that of the grain-fed animals. Ruminants were build to digest green, leafy grasses. These green grasses ,which absorb energy from the sun, are full of vitamins and minerals. When the animals eat the nutrient-dense grasses, the vitamins and minerals are stored in the animals fat, and therefore available for us to absorb when we eat their meat.

Not only do we get the benefits listed above from consuming pasture-raised animal products, but we avoid the harmful hormones and antibiotics found resting in the fat and muscle tissue of animals who were fed to become as large as they can, as fast as they can, in the smallest, most un-sanitary of living conditions.
Give grass-fed a shot, just once. I promise it tastes 10x better than what you are used to! 

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