Monday, June 14, 2010

How to tell if the cows from your store-bought organic beef ate grass or were force-fed grain

Lets talk about what grass-fed beef really means... and how to tell what kind of "organic beef" you are buying.  The brand of beef you buy may be labeled organic but how was that animal treated, fed, and is it still good for you?  Even if your cows were fed organic grain, they can be called organic.  However, since cows were not meant to eat grain, that does not mean that the organic beef you bought is good for you.  Cows were meant to eat grass.  They are Herbivores. 

What is the difference between Industrial Beef and Grass-Fed (also called Pastured) beef?  Industrial beef is beef meat that comes from penned, grain force-fed cows.  What is wrong with this method of farming, besides the discomfort and mistreatment of the cows?  Since cows were not meant to eat grain, they tend to get sick when they eat it.  When they get sick, they began to need antibiotics and hormones.  Their stomachs become so acidic from the grain, e coli and other harmful bacteria become abundant, and the meat has to be sterilized and radiated before selling.  Have you ever heard about how cow flatulence destroys the ozone layer?  Only grain-fed cows have this kind of ozone-reducing flatulence, because their stomachs are not happy.  I am not positive, but I'm willing to bet that pasture-raised cows do not have flatulence.
Pastured Grass fed cows eat grass on a pasture, as nature intended.  Their meat is higher in vitamins A and D, omega-3 fats, CLA, and butyric acid. Conjugated linoleic acid  (CLA) and butyric acid are anti-cancer fats that are not found in industrial beef.  Grass fed beef is also lower in saturated fat. 

How can you tell what kind of diet your store-bought cow ate?  Grain-fed cows have white fat and pastured cows (who eat grass) have yellow to green fat.  I believe yellow means they were grain-fed at the end of their lives to fatten them up. A little bit of grain is not that bad, but you definitely want beef from cows who ate mostly grass.

I buy my pastured beef from a local farm, and here is what it looked like when it cooled in the fridge (this is the liquid from my pot roast).  No fear! This fat is good for you. Read some Michael Pollan Books or Nina Planck's Real Food for more information on healthy natural fat if you are having some doubts.

Now you know what you are buying!  That marbled white fat in your steak is bad saturated fat and that steak had to go through a lot of unnatural steps to make it to your table. Grass eating pastured natural cows are cheaper to produce and are not harmful to the environment.  Their meat is healthier for you and you can support your local pasture farmer and save money by buying direct!

As you can see, the cow I got this meat from ate only grass, hence the greenish-yellow cast to the fat.


  1. Nice useful short post with a message. My style of writing. VBR Hans

  2. "Only grain-fed cows have this kind of ozone-reducing flatulence, because their stomachs are not happy. I am not positive, but I'm willing to bet that pasture-raised cows do not have flatulence."

    Thank you. It's about time someone besides me figured this out (I haven't found reference to this fact on any of the grass-fed or pastured beef blogs, but maybe I am just looking in the wrong place).

    Anyway, nice blog! I am enjoying going through the recipes. I arrived here thanks to Lisa Mac at Sugar Free Low Carb Recipes.


I love to hear from you! Please let me know how you changed a recipe, and how it came out. I don't do nutritional information anymore, sorry! I just provide the *free* recipes. I try to reply to comments but don't have much time these days. I hope to revamp this site eventually.... but for now I am still a working Mom and this is my hobby.
*If you would like to post the carb counts by using an online carb calculator, please go ahead* I don't provide them anymore, it's a miracle if I even get a post up these days! Thanks!