When looking for the best meat to eat and reading the labels does not mean that it is easy to understand what things like grass fed, Organic or natural grain fed means and what the animals have been eating throughout their lives.
Organic farming and raising animals is slowly turning into a business that can be profitable.
Demands for healthy food and thus also meat is growing and more and more people realize that eating healthy is important to stay healthy and live longer.
Let’s have a look at the labels we can find in the stores.
100% Grass fed beef
This is the highest quality you can find in the stores. There are criteria on how 100% grass fed beef have to live its life before it can be labeled like that.
- Only ate grass from weaning with only other foods like hay, crop residue that not contain grain and other roughage food sources.
- Have never been confined to feeding lots and were only raised on pastures.
- Never have been injected with grow hormones or any antibiotics.
- Originate from a farm in the USA
Grass fed beef
The criteria for grass fed beef are that they have to be able to graze for food. This means grass fed.
The difference is that they can be fed with grain in the last two or three months of their lives.
This is done to let them grow more meat and in this way the farmer will get more money for the cow.
Organic might sound as the best beef, but it also means that they can be fed with corn or grain as long as the grain or corn was grown organic.
Other restrictions are:
- Born and raised on an organic pasture
- Not confined but being able to graze outdoors
- Can not be with too many cows in the same pasture
- No hormones, fertilizers, antibiotics and pesticides around
The criteria for this natural beef are:
- No artificial ingredients like flavoring, coloring or any preservatives
- No salt or other additives allowed
This all means that even-though you think that organic is the best it actually is not the case because they can be fed with corn and grain.
Grass fed sounds great but it still can be fed corn and grain at the end of its life
Natural beef as you can read here, is minimally processed but can contain antibiotics or hormones. Cows can also be kept in confined spaces to let them grow more and faster by moving less.
Health risks of cheaper and faster meat
Over 90% of the beef that is raised and eaten in the US comes from conventional farms. Conventional means that they raise the animals as fast as possible and grow as much meat as possible.
There are most of the time many cows in a smaller space and this increases the change on diseases and thus they have to be treated with antibiotics.
Their life is much more stressful than a pasture raised cow and this effects the quality of the meat and your gut health also.
Where to find Quality meat
If there is no meat available in your local stores or nearby, one of your best options is an online retailer of organic meat.
Those farmers most of the time will ship directly to you and usually have a very transparent website where they answer most of the questions. If you have more questions they probably have an email options and you can contact them there with your questions.
I will try to find some meat farms with a good reputation and publish them here.