Here’s the 411 on grass fed cows and how to tastily and safety consume them!
Cows are ruminant animals. The rumen is a chamber in the stomach that breaks down plant fiber into smaller, easier digestible components. This process is how cows turn grass into a quality protein source. It is important the rumen maintain a stable balance of fiber, energy, nitrogen, and water as this directly affects the microbes and bacteria – which in turn stabilize the rumen pH.
If the ingested food source has an improper balance, the pH in the rumen will drop. A drop in pH causes an increase of lactate producing bacteria and a loss of lactate-utilizing bacteria making the rumen very acidic. An acidic rumen over time will cause an abscess in the liver. According to www.eatwild.com, it is reported that 15-30% of animals raised on feedlots have liver abscesses. In addition an acidic rumen allows E-coli bacteria to survive and once ingested by humans (who have a naturally acidic stomach) that E-coli can thrive. The easiest way to prevent strains of E-coli is to keep the pH of a cow’s rumen neutral. This is achieved by feeding it its natural diet of grass. During the winter month’s cows can also eat hay, root vegetables, and fermented hay silage.
Ruminant animals are meant to eat fibrous grass and plants. Not the conventional low fiber grain feeding methods practiced today. It is proven that supplementing with grain doesn’t supply a healthy balance of nutrients for the rumen causing inflammation skews the perfect balance of Omega 3, Omega 6 and CLA levels. So why are cows given grain? Grain feeding boosts productivity (fattening process) making it cost effective.
Your Life is at RISK!
Okay, maybe not immediately but there are some major factors to consider. As consumers, most of us are under the impression all meat is the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth! An animals diet directly influences its later nutritional value. According to a study done by Oklahoma States Agricultural department, the grass fed beef cows yielded much higher levels of CLA than that of conventional grain fed beef cows. CLA (conjugated linoleum acid) is a type of fat linked to reducing tumor growth. Beef from grass fed beef cows are the richest known source of CLA.
An additional study done by Oklahoma State’s Ag department showed the meat from grass fed animals had four times more omega 3 fatty acids than those of grain fed meat. Omega 3’s are fats most commonly found in seafood and fish, they are the most heart friendly of fats. People with a rich omega 3 diet are 50% less likely to suffer a heart attack. The problem with grain feeding is that over time (65 day period) omega 3’s begin to diminish within the meat by over half a percentage. By consuming conventional grain fed meat, which is most commonly found in commercial grocery stores, you put yourself in a pro inflammatory state. This is one of the leading causes to many of the diseases we see that have become epidemic in our society.
Understanding of the relationship between an animal’s digestive system and its effects on our own bodies’ chemistry has come a long way over the past 10 years.
If we can agree the meat from a conventional grain fed cow puts us at risk for inflammation than it follows, the same inflammation can occur by consuming the milk yielded by the very same cow. The same rings true for protein powders coming directly from the whey derived from milk. Animal protein is always favored over other protein sources because of its outstanding amino acid profile. Choose wisely where your protein, of any source, comes from.
Back to the Pasture!
Where your food comes from, and what your food consumes, is far more important than any new radical fitness program out there, counting calories or any other fad people are following to lose weight. I don’t believe in the coined phrase ‘you are what you eat’ instead, I believe there is much more value in ‘you are what you eat has eaten.”
The best choice for overall health when consuming beef is to choose sources from the basic practices of farming our grandfathers, fathers used. Instead of the slogan “where’s the beef” maybe we should be asking, “where’s that beef coming from?”
Robinson, Jo. “Eat Wild – Basics.” Eat Wild – Basics. N.p., 2010. Web. 27 Feb. 2015.
“Beef Cattle Challenges – Rumen Function – Alltech.” Alltech, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.
Meadows, John. “The Mountain Dog Diet-A Healthier Way to Get Lean/Add Muscle…or Both!” Elite FTS The Mountain Dog DietA Healthier Way to Get LeanAdd Muscleor Both Comments. Elite FTS, n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2015.