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Grass Fed Or Grain Fed-How Do You Find Out?
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34 posts in this topic

In the USA (not sure elsewhere), you'll see two labels for grass fed beef. '100% grass fed beef' and 'grass fed beef.'

100% means the cow was fed AND finished on grass. A simple 'grass fed' usually means it was grass fed but the feed may have been supplemented with grains, or the cow was finished on grains.

Organic means that even if it WAS finished on grains, they weren't genetically modified grains. If it's not organic, some of the grain is almost guaranteed to have been genetically modified, at least in the USA.

Although I'd have to say that according to research, there actually is a difference between meat that has been grass fed and finished vs. grain fed. Grass fed is actually healthier for people to eat. Researchers have done numerous studies on it, actually. Below is one that looked over a lot of previous research to see what conclusions could be drawn.

"...Research spanning three decades supports the argument that grass-fed beef (on a g/g fat basis), has a more desirable SFA lipid profile (more C18:0 cholesterol neutral SFA and less C14:0 & C16:0 cholesterol elevating SFAs) as compared to grain-fed beef. Grass-finished beef is also higher in total CLA (C18:2) isomers, TVA (C18:1 t11) and n-3 FAs on a g/g fat basis. This results in a better n-6:n-3 ratio that is preferred by the nutritional community. Grass-fed beef is also higher in precursors for Vitamin A and E and cancer fighting antioxidants such as GT and SOD activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries.

Grass-fed beef tends to be lower in overall fat content, an important consideration for those consumers interested in decreasing overall fat consumption. Because of these differences in FA content, grass-fed beef also possesses a distinct grass flavor and unique cooking qualities that should be considered when making the transition from grain-fed beef. To maximize the favorable lipid profile and to guarantee the elevated antioxidant content, animals should be finished on 100% grass or pasture-based diets."

from http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/10

So...grass fed seems to be the healthier way to go. If you can afford it because wow is it expensive!

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Whole Foods has introduced a new grading system for their organic beef 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. I didn't have time to stop and read it all but only 5 means it hasn't had any grains and is entirely grass-fed (and they didn't have any). Hubs had bought me some Whole Foods beef and insisted it was grass fed, but it must have been a 4 (mostly raised on grass, I believe) because I was awake all night.:blink:

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I am so lucky to live where the buffalo roam. The bison I get here was raised in either the National Park right up the road, or the State Park a little further up the road. Because they can't let the herds get too big, every year they round them up and sell some of them. The meat locker a few blocks away always buys enough to be able to sell it all year. All of these bison are 100% grass fed and no hormone or antibiotic injections either. And SO yummy!

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I had a bison steak last night (have to get it from Wal-Mart now, they bought up the supply - TJ's can't get it) and it was pretty tough. Next time it's ground and seasoned (by me of course).

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Bison steaks have to be cooked S-L-O-W-L-Y, and should always be cooked rare. The first time I had a bison steak, the gormet cook ignored that advice, claiming that if he seared it at a really high temp and then turned the heat down, it would "seal in the juices". It was barely edible.

But grinding and seasoning your own sounds good too. Quite often people ADD fat to their ground bison because it is so darned lean. But of course they add contaminated beef fat so what's the point? I imagine you could pour a little coconut oil in with it, or if you eat bacon, some bacon fat but either way, remember to cook it on a low heat so it cooks slowly, and cook it rare, or at least medium. Well done is OK if you are trying to make hockey pucks. :lol:

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I'm in Australia where it's sensible to have a fear of snakes because gosh knows they are likely to be one of the top 10 world's most deadly.

With the grassfed/grainfed health difference, I read paleo websites where they talk about the omega 6 and omega 3 ratios and they try to eat all grassfed. So there are some difference but most people aren't going to get to that level of care with what they eat. I do laugh though when I see "corn fed chicken" here like it's something to be particularly excited about.

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My family was on a bison kick for about two years, I got sick of it quick. The way they fixed it had very little flavor and whatnot o.O

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I'm in Australia where it's sensible to have a fear of snakes because gosh knows they are likely to be one of the top 10 world's most deadly.

With the grassfed/grainfed health difference, I read paleo websites where they talk about the omega 6 and omega 3 ratios and they try to eat all grassfed. So there are some difference but most people aren't going to get to that level of care with what they eat. I do laugh though when I see "corn fed chicken" here like it's something to be particularly excited about.

Bananakins, one of the reasons I would not join the Christchurch exodus to OZ :lol: Not to mention the jumping spiders!!!

And as for the omega 6's vs. omega 3's, it is something I consider. :o

And as for the "corn fed chicken", they do that in NZ too, and I love it. I pass it right by :D

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This has been a very interesting post to read. I have been trying to make better selections when it comes to meat, but the US labeling for meat is so confusing (and in many cases, rather useless).

I recently started buying meat from the local farm which is not labeled as 'organic' but I know that they they treat the animals with respect, and they have great variety (beef, pork, lamb, and goat). I have gotten many different cuts so far, and they have all been great!

When I do need to supplement with grocery store meat, I try to choose things with no antibiotics/growth hormones. It is not as good as the farm meat, but if the bulk of what I eat is good farm-meat, then I am better off than eating 100% grocery store meat...

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