Today, more people are becoming health conscious and are trying to eat a healthier diet. Grass fed beef is part of that healthier diet, as it has a better nutritional profile than typical grain finished beef. Grass fed is lower in total fat, lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease, lower in cholesterol, higher in Vitamin E, higher in beta-carotene and B vitamins, and has a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. (S.K. Duckett et al, Journal of Animal Science, June 2009)
All grass fed beef is not the same! The first point to consider is the origin of your grass fed beef. When you purchase your grass fed beef from a local producer, you have the ability to personally ask questions about how and why the cattle are raised. How are they grass fed? Are they antibiotic and added hormone free? How are they handled and harvested? These factors all have an impact on the final beef product you take home to eat.
The breed of cattle can make a difference, too. Angus cattle, for instance, have been selectively bred to marble with fat when grain finished. Criollo cattle, those of Spanish origin, have naturally fine muscle fibers as verified by the Warner Bratzler shear force test. The tenderness of this beef breed comes from the fact that its muscle fibers are fine, and is not related to the amount of fat. The Criollo is the perfect bovine for grass feeding and finishing. Beef from different breeds of cattle can have very different flavors, and the types of forage they eat have an effect as well.
An added benefit of shopping local is the boost to the local economy. For every $100.00 you spend at a local business, $70.00 remains in the local economy, compared with $13.00 for a non-local business. Your local producer pays local taxes, to support the local services we all rely on.
A great place to shop for locally produced grass fed beef is the Prescott Farmer’s Markets. Other great resources include www.EatWild.com and www.GoodFoodFinderaz.com.
Special to Yavapai Health & Wellness
by: Ann Allen (aka Kim McElroy) 928-708-9385