This post is intended to be read after this podcast! I hope you enjoy it, it’s one heck of a good time. And who doesn’t love talking about grass-fed meat??
I get it, you might be thinking “what the heck do these words like grass-fed even mean and is it worth it for me to buy foods with their label?” It’s easy to think words like “organic”, “grass-fed” and “pastured” don’t mean anything. They are everywhere and marketing keeps adding more and more buzzwords.
Today I’m going to show you some amazing transformation pictures, scientific studied and testimonials that show these are not just hype words. Buying organic, grass-fed and pastured is more than just the label. Understanding the sourcing, knowing the farmer and getting the bigger picture is my goal. I do the work so you don’t have to. You can trust the brands I recommend because this is my job, I dig deep and find every bit of dirt on them I can. And the ones that pass the test, well, they make my list!
Why labeling matters
First, let’s talk bout plant-based. I am not a vegan, phew.. get that off my chest. I eat a plant-based diet which means (for me) my diet is about 90% plants and 10% animal products like ashlee approved eggs, wild fish and wild game. If I have a plate for dinner, it’s 3/4 vegetables and fat with some kind of local meat. Lots of meals are 100% vegan and sometimes I just eat an organic meat stick for a snack. Plants first, that’s my motto.
Next, quality. The quality of meat, fruit, vegetables, fish, oils, nuts and seeds matter. Not all food is created equally… incase you haven’t noticed haha. Let’s talk about organic, grass-fed, grass-finished and pastured. Here’s another post that goes into Fair Trade and GMO labeling. It’s a good one.
Animals labeled organic don’t necessarily have to eat their natural food. They can be grain-fed which is more inflammatory and causes the animal to grow much faster = need for antibiotics. Here’s what organic does require, the animals cannot be:
- contained in a feed lot for an extended amount of time (?)
- kept in unsanitary conditions
- directly or indirectly exposed to artificial pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, or other synthetic contaminants (there are some loopholes but.. another time)
So, why organic?
Organically farmed animals contain higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and lower amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory and can wreak havoc in our bodies. This fact alone is a great deciding factor for you to choose organic since higher 6:3 ratios is linked to cardiovascular disease.
Grass-fed & Grass-finished
When an animal is grass-fed, it means the farmers try to feed them what’s closest to their natural food as possible. Grass – when it’s possible – and supplementing with grains like alfalfa in the winter or when grass isn’t available. Another big difference between grass-fed & grass-finished is that grass-fed isn’t ONLY fed grass. For the last leg of the animals life, it can be grain-fed. Good thing that defeats the purpose…!
Grass-fed means the animal was fed grass for at least some part of its life. Then, grain-fed at the end of its life.
Grass-finished means the animal was fed grass from beginning to end. No shenanigans. No questions.
Since we’re talking about beef, let’s start with that. If you ever see the “pastured” or “pasture raised” label on beef, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. Cows don’t have to spend much time on pasture and they don’t even have to be grass-fed. There is no common standard that producers have to meet to slap a big fat “pastured” on a label. The farms aren’t even inspected. Save your money and go for some of these labels instead:
- American Grass-fed
- Animal Welfare Approved
- PCO Certified 100% Grass-fed
- NOFA-NY 100% Grass-fed
- USDA Organic (dairy & beef only)
- Certified Humane Raised and Handled + Pasture Raised (eggs only)
- America Humane Certified + Pasture Raised (eggs only)
- Global Animal Partnership Steps 4-5+ (beef cattle and pigs)
- Global Animal Partnership 5 & 5+ (all animals)
Labels to ditch, they don’t mean anything worth mentioning:
- Certified Humane Raised and Handled (without “pasture raised”)
- American Humane Certified (without “pasture raised”)
- USDA Organic (chicken & eggs)
- Global Animal Partnership (steps 1-3)
Examples of why I choose this lifestyle:
- Children from families that consume organic milk had a significant reduction in eczema compared to those who drank conventional milk
- Over 30 million pounds of antibiotics are given to animals yearly (and that was 8 years ago, imagine the number now!)
- It tastes better, do the organic vs conventional strawberry test and you’ll be blown away
- I prefer to eat my meat a la carte without any HORMONES
- Supporting local farmers is all time, we love it in this house!
The before & after (had to dig deep for these gems)