What Are The Differences Between Grass-fed, Grass-finished and Organic Beef?
If you are not a vegan or a vegetarian, you will agree with me that beef is one juiciest, delicious meat you have ever tasted. Nonetheless, when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, we need to know what exactly we are eating, if it is good for your health, even though it tastes good. This led us to investigate one of the favorite sources of protein in the world- Beef. How well do you know your beef?
The first thing you need to know is, there are Grass-fed, Grass-finished, and organic beef. Yes, they all have the same features, but they sometimes do not look or taste the same. Secondly, understand that all cattle, whether Grass-fed, Grass-finished, and Organic eat grass.
Grass-fed beef is cattle that ate grass or at least started with grass diet but continued with grain until it is ready or mature for consumption. There are two primary reasons why farmers opt for this method of raising their cattle
1- It depends on the availability of grass in the area; some locations cannot produce grass or plant all year round; this made farmers to feed their cattle with the next option- grain.
2- For fatter animals; cattle that feed on grain are usually fatter, meatier and apparently with more profit due to their large sizes.
Furthermore, grass-fed beef does have a better nutritional value such as essential nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, iron, and protein. They also offer a good omega 3:6 ratio and healthy fat per three-ounce serving.
Grain-fed cows are mostly given synthetic estrogen, growth, and testosterone hormones; all these are the reason the cattle are larger than the grass-finished cattle. We indirectly consume these hormones, and antibiotics from the grain-fed beef we eat. It makes us gain more weight than when we eat grass-finished, after all, we are what we eat.
Grass-finished beef is cattle that ate grass all through their lives, with no addition of grain in their diet. The benefit of this kind of meat is the nutritional value; you will get more omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A, E, and CLA (fat that is beneficial to the heart). Unfortunately, this kind of beef is rare and expensive in the market because of the low profits. One of the companies that provide this type of grass-fed and grass-finished beef at a good price is ButcherBox.
Most beef available in the market is grain-fed, feedlot, factory farming. The grains used here are GMO, which means genetically modified organisms, and they are soy and corn. However, some acclaimed grass-finished beef is factory farming with grass pellets. In addition, these cattle do not have restrictions on pesticides. In essence, the farmers can use pesticide on the farm, or antibiotics to treat the cattle.
The ideal grass-finished beef is gotten from cattle that have access to pasture, and they are forage-fed without the grain of course. Most people mistake Grass-fed beef for organic beef; if you want 100% organic grass-fed beef, you will need to look for meat with such label.
Furthermore, grass-finished cattle are pasture-raised cattle; they are outside, grazing in fields, it is the reason they produce leaner beef for our consumption. However, grass-finished or pasture-raised cattle are difficult to rare, because you need a lot of space for them to graze. 100% grass-finished cattle take twenty to twenty-four months before it is ready for consumption. Health-wise, 100% grass-fed cattle are nutritious; they produce beef with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a healthy fat as stated above.
Organic beef is similar, if not the same as the pasture-raised cattle. They are cattle that are pasture-raised without using antibiotics, and hormones like the grass-fed beef. Moreover, they are strictly raised without most conventional pesticides; these are fertilizers produced with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge like ionizing radiation, bioengineering. They have the same nutritional values as grass-finished beef.