So let’s talk about what we need to check out.
If the package doesn’t say what the cow ate:
If they won’t talk about it, you need to worry about it.
Agribusiness keeps cows penned up, hip to hip, all their lives. Their lack of mobility means their muscles…our steak…doesn’t amount to as much as it should nutritionally.
And the lack of information on the package often means the cow’s diet includes the remains of slaughtered cows, which could lead to mad cow disease. Fortunately, that’s becoming rare. But cows don’t eat meat when left to their own choices. At all. It’s hard on them. Why take any risk?
Also, factory farms don’t want cows hanging around for very long, so they shoot them up with hormones to spur growth and get them to market at warp speed. And we get to “enjoy” those hormones, too. We don’t grow though; we just put things in our body that don’t belong there.
Plus, hip-to-hip living is hard on marginally healthy cows. They get sick easily. Hundreds of sick cows are not a pretty sight (the mind boggles), so here come antibiotics into the feed. And we get to become antibiotic-resistant without so much as taking one pill. That’s not exactly the stuff dreams are made of, but that’s the deal.
You’ll see some labels saying the cows haven’t received hormones or antibiotics for some weeks before slaughter. Sounds good, but nobody knows if the hormones and antibiotics are actually gone in the time allowed.
And still the beat goes on. Amazingly, the beef we eat has even more problems than meat offal, hormones and antibiotics: Cows were never meant to eat grain. Let’s talk about that next.
When the package says the cows ate only grains:
You certainly have to call this good news because it eliminates any chance of mad cow disease.
And the package may even say that no antibiotics or hormones were used. (Be careful, though, with wording that says no antibiotics or hormones ‘were added.’ That can mean anything.) But count it a plus if the cows never received any antibiotics or hormones.
But that still leaves us with a problem. Cows aren’t designed to eat grain; they don’t do well on it. Plus, the grain is soy and, sometimes, corn. Both are genetically modified, which forces us into a giant medical experiment. GMO foods damage human DNA; twenty years or so down the road, we’ll get the results. Oh, good, something to look forward to.
Besides the involuntary GMO science experiment, grains change the composition of beef. Grain-fed beef has less saturated fat (omega 3), which our bodies need, and more vegetable fat (omega 6), which creates problems.
In fact, grain-fed flips the ratio of good omega 3 and bad omega 6. Grass fed beef is an omega 3 powerhouse; grain fed beef isn’t.
That’s how they come up with studies that say red meat is bad for us. The researchers never consider what the animals eat. It’s superficial science at best.
But it fits the preferred mantra. Poobahs have been denouncing saturated fat for years now. If they mention omega 3 fats, they always talk about fish. Well, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Beef does a body good.
Just not grain-fed beef. Grains increase the bad vegetable fat (omega 6) in the meat, and we end up getting more of that and less of the saturated fat that’s so good for us.
Why is this a problem? Vegetable fats cause inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is a leading cause of dread diseases. Cardiovascular disease, for instance. Cancer, too.
Yet you’ve probably never read an article or seen a news report that even mentioned this huge problem. You’ve only heard reports–shouted at top volume–blaming saturated fat for everything bad.
When the package says meat comes from grass-fed cows:
Grass provides cows with their natural diet. But, to agribusiness at least, grass-fed cows take up too much room and require too much effort. They also take too long to get to market.
But their meat contains more nutrition because the cows get to use their muscles, and the saturated fat hasn’t been diminished. This is beef the way it’s meant to be. And it doesn’t take our bodies down the inflammation road to disaster.
Usually, grass-fed cows don’t get hormones or antibiotics, but checking the label–or asking the farmer–is a good, just-in-case idea.
As you can see, it matters a lot what cows eat.