Grass-Fed versus Grain-Fed

In 2000 there were approximately only 50 grass-fed animal operations in the United States.  Today there are 1,000s.  Anyone who has been to a local farmer’s market or specialty grocery store has seen the grass fed animal products.  Why does it matter?

Animals that are raised on grain / corn based diets are held inside in very tight quarters eating out of a feed trough.  These conditions do not allow the animals to exercise and move naturally.  The result is the animal has higher levels of saturated fat and lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids making the meat significantly less healthy for consumers.  These unhealthy conditions lead to disease and the use of medicines and antibiotics.  The overuse of antibiotics leads to mutations by bacteria and eventually the antibiotics are no longer viable.  The tight conditions and constant feeding are the result of one concern – the bottom line.  Mass produced animal products come down to how much meat one can produce per square foot to be profitable.  

The problem is that it is a short sighted bottom line.  It may cost us less at the cash register, but it is not the only place consumer’s pay.  The negative effects of concentrated animal feeding operations are paid for by consumers in other hidden areas because of the environmental costs to air, water and soil, increased use of fossil fuels, increased heart disease for the consumer and increased health insurance costs for us all.  

Grass fed animals are in the pasture walking, running, galloping and eating.  The exercise creates a healthier animal in general, lower in saturated fat content and as much as twice as high in omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to human health.  They act as a barrier to the pre-cursor of many of our modern diseases including the number one killer, heart related diseases.  

Grass fed animal products may cost more at the cash register but they cost less everywhere else, especially to your own health.  As one builds their grocery budget, decide how much will go to animal products.  You will not be able to purchase a greater quantity, but the quality will be better and it will be better for all of us.