What is all the fuss about grass fed beef anyway? And what’s the difference between grass fed and grass finished?  Does all this matter?  To clarify, let’s start with a few definitions.  All cattle are grass fed, to a point!  Once calves are weaned from mama, they are typically turned out on some sort of pasture or range to grow up.  It’s at the end of their yearling year when the processes diverge.  Cattle destined for the typical grocery store will head to a feedlot to be finished on a mixture of grains and roughage in small pens.   Grass finished cattle will stay on pasture or range, right up until harvest (slaughter) time.

The effect of these two different feeding programs has a dramatic effect on the meat.  Beef from a grass fed & finished animal has almost half the fat content of beef from a grain finished animal.  In fact, grass fed beef has about the same fat content as skinless chicken or wild elk!  Meat this lean can actually lower your LDL cholesterol levels, according to a 1999 study by Davidson, M.H., D. Hunninghake, et al.

Grass fed & finished beef is also higher in omega-3 fatty acid, the “heart friendly” fat.  People eating a diet high in omega-3’s are less likely to have high blood pressure and are 50% less likely to have a serious heart attack.  Omega-3’s are essential for brain health and may reduce the risk of cancer.  Cattle that have been in the feedlot more than 90 days have less than .2% of omega-3’s in their fat!

Other benefits of grass fed & finished beef are higher levels of Vitamin E, higher levels of CLA, higher levels of protein, lower in calories and GMO free!  So if you are serious about healthy eating, consider grass fed & finished beef.  An excellent place to shop for locally produced, grass fed & finished beef is The Honeyman Stores and local farmers markets.  Other great resources include www.EatWild.com and www.GoodFoodFinderaz.com.

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Special to Yavapai Healthh & Wellness News

May 21, 2023

By:  Kim McElroy   928-708-9385