Grass fed or grain fed, what is the big deal, you might say. No, it is not an easy take. Grass fed beef is extremely different from its industrially-raised, grain fed counterpart. The beef raised in organic ways produces healthy tallow compared to the one raised with preventatives, pesticides and through inorganic means.
Beef has been gaining a lot of bad rap these days. Too much has been said to prove that beef or beef tallow is not as good as we think. True. It is not as good as we think because what we eat today is not the beef or tallow our ancestors ate. Our ancestors fed themselves with natural and organically raised cattle, not the CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) monitored cows.
Benefits of red meat: Beef has several credits to it. First, it offers the biggest boost of protein per ounce of traditional food. Next, it is an excellent source of niacin, vitamins B6, B12, K2, selenium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and riboflavin. It is a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is said to have anti-cancer properties. It is also high on omega-3 fatty acids. With all these and our pro-fat leanings, we cannot possibly forgo beef in our diet and tallow in our day-to-day use. But there are certain things we need to be careful about while using beef. The first thing is to find out whether your beef fat is from grass fed or grain fed cow.
Happy cow is dead: If you have an image of a happy cow grazing grass in an absolutely peaceful and serene state, you are at fault. Almost no cow is happy now. At least the American CAFO regulations and the grain feed make it so. The grass fed cow is different from its grain fed cousin in the following ways:
1. CLA quotient: Only grass fed, organically-raised cows contain conjugated linoleic acid. Industrial cows do not. The CLA quotient has anti-cancer properties and can help decrease the risk of insulin resistance.
2. Omega-6 and Omega-3 ratios: In grass fed cows, the ratio of Omega-6 is to Omega-3 fatty acids is 1:1, whereas in the industrial ones, the ratio is 6:1. The latter is an alarming and skewed up ratio that can lead to inflammation or can be a possible precursor of chronic conditions.
3. E.Coli presence: Grass fed and finished beef is less likely to be infected with acid-resistant E.Coli bacteria that can set a series of digestive problems in humans. However, you need to check if the cow is fully grass fed. Sometimes, farmers switch over to CAFO rules and industrial, grain diet after few months of grass feeding. This makes the cow lose all its initial omega-3 resources and other nutritional benefits.
4. Antibiotics, pesticides: Because of the CAFO conditions and poor grain diets, most of the cows are prone to sickness. To avoid this, they are administered with preventative doses of antibiotics. This causes antibiotic resistance in us, resulting in ineffective medical treatment. Some administer toxic pesticides in growing feed for livestock. Often these carry hormone-disruptive and cancer-causing substances into the human body.
5. Hormone implants in cattle: Industrially-reared cows are often subjected to growth hormone implants in order to provide continual hormonal supplements for animals. This may have a huge impact on humans taking heavily-hormoned cows. The American livestock is especially full of such hormone implants.
With all these in practice, the grain fed American cow is indeed overloaded with impurities and fat. This is why the humanely-raised, grass fed organic cattle offers all the health benefits of the traditional beef taken by our ancestors.