0

votes

Is 10% grain-fed beef superior to conventional beef?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 24, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Diamond Willow Organic beef says it's grass-fed/pastured except for during the winter months, which the cows are fed up to 10% organic grain. It's twice as expensive as conventional beef, but it is very difficult to find grass fed beef where I live except for the farmer's market, where it's always frozen. I can't figure out how it compares to conventional... does anyone know?

Cbd8b6fb640d5ce9021d975326db81f2

on August 08, 2013
at 02:41 AM

Grain-finishing is a big gray area and the effects vary because the animal can be grain-fed for anywhere between 90 and 160 days preceding the kill. That's 3-to-7 months; its not trivial. People with celiac disease get sick from grain-finished beef. Oh I misread the percentage, I'll update my answer.

235e74b9adb57eff80592f064e1d298b

(421)

on August 02, 2013
at 01:11 PM

That's not true, cows that are grain finished, at least where I egt them from are completely antibiotic free and steroid free and are free range as well. I know this not only because the farm states it but also because I have visited this farm. Check it out yourself http://hollinfarms.com/pages/beef.html.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on July 26, 2013
at 06:33 AM

I said the cows were being fed 10% grains, not grass. They would be 90% grass fed.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on July 26, 2013
at 06:27 AM

How do you know how old the meat is though? Considering it's been frozen, and aged I assume...

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on July 26, 2013
at 06:17 AM

I don't mind frozen meat but the farmer's market only has a few tiny pieces of meat and they'll only have soup bones once a year or sometimes not at all. They never sell organ meats. So my choice for that is either conventional or 10% grain fed in winter.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 25, 2013
at 08:58 PM

You don't get a half or whole cow back from a meat processor without it being frozen. What are you going to do with 500 pounds of unfrozen beef? ;)

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 06:31 PM

and now two have learned a new word. I am the biggest offender of any for botched phrases -- that's just one that I see all the time :)

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 06:30 PM

Big Worm, I buy direct from a farm. They send to the butcher, he butchers I get the meat back frozen.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 06:30 PM

Hey Todd --> http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hyperbole

Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on July 25, 2013
at 05:37 PM

That doesn't make sense. A cow raised on pasture is going to eat the grass that is in the pasture. So, you are not going to have a 100% grain fed pastured cow. It would make no sense to go through all the extra expense of raising a cow on pasture, only to try to prohibit it from eating grass just so you can force it to eat grain. This is why I asked if you meant 10%. That would make sense to me. I agree that a pastured cow that is supplemented with grain in the winter (when pasture is not available) is going to be more healthy than supermarket CAFO meat.

235e74b9adb57eff80592f064e1d298b

(421)

on July 25, 2013
at 05:09 PM

If you buy from supermarkets... No. But if you buy from a farm/ranch then they absolutely do kill to order and in many cases you have to wait a period of time for that kill. Witht that said, you will still need to freeze your beef... unless you are palnning a huge cookout with few hundred people or so.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 25, 2013
at 04:05 PM

Thanks for the edit, CD. Never thought about that phrase before, and now I know a new word: eggcorn. ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 25, 2013
at 03:22 PM

Do people think they kill cows to order? Seriously, you butcher a cow and freeze the meat, there's simply too much to eat/sell quickly.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 02:05 PM

I mean 100% (which is obviously hyperbole). Any pasture raised, steroid-free, antibiotic free, artificial hormone free cow is going to be better than what you can get from CAFO. The differences may be small to minimal, but I'd rather local, grain-fed over CAFO.

Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on July 25, 2013
at 01:52 PM

Do you mean 10% grain fed is going to be better than CAFO beef?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on July 25, 2013
at 02:28 AM

As a minor, non-scientific comment, frozen grass-fed beef doesn't seem noticeably worse in quality, especially when compared to conventionally fed beef.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on July 25, 2013
at 02:27 AM

As a minor, non-scientific comment, frozen grass-few beef doesn't seem noticeably worse in quality, especially when compared to conventionally fed beef.

  • B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

    asked by

    (232)
  • Views
    2.3K
  • Last Activity
    1427D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

9 Answers

best answer

1
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on July 25, 2013
at 08:32 PM

If you buy in Fall, there will be no chemical test that will tell you whether the animal was fed grains during the preceding winter. The meat of a fully grass and hay fed animal and that of a winter-grain-fed and growing-season-grass-fed animal will be identical. It takes six months to completely change the muscle and the fat of an animal. Now, I prefer fresh, but given the constraints, I buy once a year, frozen meat in November. It has the best fat and the most minerals.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on July 26, 2013
at 06:27 AM

How do you know how old the meat is though? Considering it's been frozen, and aged I assume...

5
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 25, 2013
at 03:26 PM

The idea that anything less than 100% grass-fed organic is garbage is utter BS and needs to die. I'd put up my beef against any 100% grass-fed organic BS and it'd come out on top. It's grain supplemented, grass-fed, can't be labeled organic because organic labeling is marketing gimmick, but for all intents and purposes it is organic.

It's not a black and white issue, there's lots of shades of gray.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 25, 2013
at 04:05 PM

Thanks for the edit, CD. Never thought about that phrase before, and now I know a new word: eggcorn. ;)

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 06:31 PM

and now two have learned a new word. I am the biggest offender of any for botched phrases -- that's just one that I see all the time :)

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 01:16 PM

First, 100% Grain fed beef is going to be better than the anti-biotic/ massive hormone laden CAFO beef.

Second, Why do you care if the beef is frozen at teh farmers market?

At the farmer's market they don't always have sufficient refrigeration, so they freeze the meat. You buy it, leave it in a dish for a few hours to thaw and come up to room temperature, and then cook it.

Truely, any meat you get is frozen. When you get to the market, they've pre-thawed it for you -- sometimes it's frozen and thawed more than once. I would wager that frozen beef at teh farmer's market is fresher than anything you can buy at the store.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 25, 2013
at 08:58 PM

You don't get a half or whole cow back from a meat processor without it being frozen. What are you going to do with 500 pounds of unfrozen beef? ;)

235e74b9adb57eff80592f064e1d298b

(421)

on July 25, 2013
at 05:09 PM

If you buy from supermarkets... No. But if you buy from a farm/ranch then they absolutely do kill to order and in many cases you have to wait a period of time for that kill. Witht that said, you will still need to freeze your beef... unless you are palnning a huge cookout with few hundred people or so.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 02:05 PM

I mean 100% (which is obviously hyperbole). Any pasture raised, steroid-free, antibiotic free, artificial hormone free cow is going to be better than what you can get from CAFO. The differences may be small to minimal, but I'd rather local, grain-fed over CAFO.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on July 26, 2013
at 06:17 AM

I don't mind frozen meat but the farmer's market only has a few tiny pieces of meat and they'll only have soup bones once a year or sometimes not at all. They never sell organ meats. So my choice for that is either conventional or 10% grain fed in winter.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 25, 2013
at 03:22 PM

Do people think they kill cows to order? Seriously, you butcher a cow and freeze the meat, there's simply too much to eat/sell quickly.

Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on July 25, 2013
at 01:52 PM

Do you mean 10% grain fed is going to be better than CAFO beef?

Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on July 25, 2013
at 05:37 PM

That doesn't make sense. A cow raised on pasture is going to eat the grass that is in the pasture. So, you are not going to have a 100% grain fed pastured cow. It would make no sense to go through all the extra expense of raising a cow on pasture, only to try to prohibit it from eating grass just so you can force it to eat grain. This is why I asked if you meant 10%. That would make sense to me. I agree that a pastured cow that is supplemented with grain in the winter (when pasture is not available) is going to be more healthy than supermarket CAFO meat.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 06:30 PM

Hey Todd --> http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hyperbole

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 25, 2013
at 06:30 PM

Big Worm, I buy direct from a farm. They send to the butcher, he butchers I get the meat back frozen.

1
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on August 27, 2013
at 01:53 AM

In regard to how do I know how old the beef is. I ask for a whole steer (4 families), set up an appointment with the butcher, and have the farmer (always the same since 2006) take it to the butcher. I show up two weeks later, after about 12 days of cold aging and one day of cutting and packing.

I would have to disagree that 10% grain fed is not significant. It will not change many other nutrients, but omega6/omega3 will be changed significantly, because the fats will be predominantly from grains. I would like to also see a paper that tells us what grains, and their gut altering effects, have on the gut-produced vitamins B12 and K2.

1
C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

on July 25, 2013
at 01:05 PM

Largely depends on whether the cow was grain-finished or grass-finished, as SUSTAINEDfitness noted. A cow can be fed grain for the first 6 months of its life, but the standard I've seen is that if it spends its last six months or so eating grass (i.e. it's "Grass-finished") it will resemble the nutritional content of a cow that is all grass-fed. However, I can't find any links to back that up, so take it with a grain of salt.

From my understanding of farming practices, however, it's not uncommon for farmers to feed grass-fed cows grain during the winter months if they deem it necessary for the animal's survival/well being. Think there's actually a provision for that in the USDA's standards for the term grass-fed (which otherwise states that the cow must be raised only on the mother's milk and pasture grass/harvested grass like hay).

Long story short, you're probably fine with that; after all, it's far more important to get some good quality beef than eat a bunch of chicken because your beef isn't 100% grass-fed (i.e. don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good).

Also, on the note of frozen beef, I wouldn't worry about the quality. I buy all my meat from a local grass-fed farm, and they keep their meat frozen (extremely frozen, like solid-enough-to-be-a-weapon frozen) and I've never been unhappy with the quality of the meat. Just thaw it in the fridge overnight and cook like normal.

0
0e8e7aea25471b99ad03a1a4e04b3a6d

on August 27, 2013
at 01:03 AM

If you're looking for grassfed beef during the upcoming winter months theboslife.com is the only website that ships grassfed beef, chicken, and pork during the winter months. Their farmer has a big enough ranch and harvest grass for his herd to eat grass all during the winter months. Plus it tastes great!

0
Cbd8b6fb640d5ce9021d975326db81f2

on July 26, 2013
at 03:32 AM

Because cows native food source is grass, and cows are physiologically unequipped to digest and absorb grains, cows fed grains must also be given some amount of antibiotics in order to keep them healthy. If antibiotics are not used and the cows are fed grain, you'll have sick cows. Its a no-win for everyone.

Now, as much as I dislike antibiotics in my meat, one thing I learned at the 2012 Ancestral Health Symposium was that the difference in lipid content, omega-3 and omega-6 fats, is negligible. If you're spending additional dollars on grass-fed meat for this reason, its false.

The biggest difference between grass-fed and grain-fed (industrial feed-lot) cow meat is the impact on the environment. Way less fossil fuel, less water, less chemical (hormones, antibiotics, etc) are used and way less methane is released by farting cows chowing down on carb-laden grain (seriously!). There is a presentation from a scientist that contains the numbers. I'll try to find it and cite it.

So basically, 90% grass-fed gets you most of the reduction of environmental impact from production of your meat that 100% grass-fed would.

If you live someplace with harsh winters, I'd suggest a grass-fed ranch who ships their product, such as U.S. Wellness Meats. They're legit trustworthy and good, and ship frozen. Their pemmican is amazing when its not sold out.

PS. Frozen meat is a good choice; often it can be fresher if is its frozen soon after the kill/butchering. And it definitely will be fresher than what shows up in a major grocer in thawed form. I get fresh meat from the farmer's market and put it directly into the freezer.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on July 26, 2013
at 06:33 AM

I said the cows were being fed 10% grains, not grass. They would be 90% grass fed.

235e74b9adb57eff80592f064e1d298b

(421)

on August 02, 2013
at 01:11 PM

That's not true, cows that are grain finished, at least where I egt them from are completely antibiotic free and steroid free and are free range as well. I know this not only because the farm states it but also because I have visited this farm. Check it out yourself http://hollinfarms.com/pages/beef.html.

Cbd8b6fb640d5ce9021d975326db81f2

on August 08, 2013
at 02:41 AM

Grain-finishing is a big gray area and the effects vary because the animal can be grain-fed for anywhere between 90 and 160 days preceding the kill. That's 3-to-7 months; its not trivial. People with celiac disease get sick from grain-finished beef. Oh I misread the percentage, I'll update my answer.

0
235e74b9adb57eff80592f064e1d298b

on July 25, 2013
at 03:04 PM

I have heard from many Virginia Farmers that the best beef is grass fed and grain finished. According to them the grass fed makes the beef healthier and finishing with grains gives the marblization that most beef eaters prefer. With that said what you need to look for is naturally grown, steroid free and antibiotic free beef. The biggest argument for grass fed vs grain fed is the Omega 3 vs Omega 6 content. If you get steroid free and antibiotic free you are getting good beef.

I eat this beef and it is excellent, I have had strictly grass fed from Wholefoods and there was really no discernable differene to me... except the price.

0
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 25, 2013
at 12:31 AM

Buy it in the summer or fall, and it will probably be better.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!