1

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partially grass fed beef; better of two evils?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 06, 2011 at 5:29 PM

i have been sourcing grass fed beef and pastured poultry in my area.

i found a group of small farms ( www.beefconnections.ca/ ) who grain feed over the winter, but use no hormones or antibiotic. the second source i found is at a farmer's market, but they finish the beef with potatoes and grains.

is this better than feed lot beef? or should i keep looking?

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on June 09, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Or that was my take on the DVD discussion of the need for grain fed beef. Other than my disagreement with him about the fat content of grain fed beef being bad...I actually learned a bit and validated quite a bit of what I had already been living for many years before ever hearing of the paleo diet or primal diet or any other such "cute" name for it.

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on June 09, 2011
at 03:29 AM

That may be. We never put ours in the feed lot to finish them. We always just used grain to supplement the hay and our cattle were all healthy. So the ones in question... they should be OK since they are just wintered on grain. I'm pretty sure though that the disease issue comes from the living conditions of the feedlot, not the grain they eat. I've been doing this for many years and am in most excellent health simply from not eating the bad things myself...not worrying about what my food ate to become my food. A DVD I bought from Dr. Cordain indicated the fat is the problem. I disagree

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:07 PM

thank you. i like seeing numbers :)

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:04 PM

that is what i thought also, but i have yet to find a "grass fed only" in my area.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:03 PM

shipping across the boarder may not be an option. Canada Customs would likely hold up the delivery. i think what you suggest about the overwintering makes sense.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:00 PM

the vendor at the farmer's market led me to believe the cows are fed the potato/grain mixture solely to add weight and had nothing to do with wintering; so its last meals before slaughter. the co-op seems to only do this in the winter, so maybe i will wait for the fall buy.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:45 PM

I thought the bigger issue with the grain is that cows weren't meant to eat it and it makes them sick which is why they feed them antibiotics to prevent illness.

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6 Answers

1
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on June 06, 2011
at 06:27 PM

My grass-fed farmer told me putting a grain-fed cow onto grass for x-amount of time negates the damage done by grain. My thinking is the cows fed grain in the winter would be ok by spring or summer if they're put back on grass long enough before slaughter. Maybe you can buy as much as you can in bulk over the spring, summer, and fall.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:00 PM

the vendor at the farmer's market led me to believe the cows are fed the potato/grain mixture solely to add weight and had nothing to do with wintering; so its last meals before slaughter. the co-op seems to only do this in the winter, so maybe i will wait for the fall buy.

1
776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

on June 06, 2011
at 05:34 PM

The overwintering would be my bet as the lesser of two evils. 100% grassfed would be better though... I don't know about shipping over international borders (I assume you're in Canada from the link), but can you buy from a source like U.S. Wellness Beef? If you buy in bulk and freeze then it will be around as economical as buying from local farmers, and the meat will be 100% grassfed and good. I would recommend to keep looking and to consider driving pretty far to get a bulk shipment if you can and freeze it.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:03 PM

shipping across the boarder may not be an option. Canada Customs would likely hold up the delivery. i think what you suggest about the overwintering makes sense.

0
451114d9ae1e0f9e1a028cce5538e790

(226)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:42 PM

It is better than feedlot beef, but not nearly as good as 100% grass-fed beef. You can compare the fat profiles in Table 3 of this study. It shows that the more grass is in the diet, the better the resulting meat. It also shows that 100% grass-fed beef is substantially better than any mix of grain, grass, or silage.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:07 PM

thank you. i like seeing numbers :)

0
095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:29 PM

Growing up, all our cattle were grass fed in summer, into the fall. Hay fed through the winter, and because hay doesn't have all the nutrients that green, growing grass has...we supplemented with grains and corn. Our beef was much leaner than feed lot beef. Grain supplemented isn't an evil...and I think much of the "grass fed only" is a bunch of hooey anyway. The grains turn into meat when the cow digests it and uses it to make muscle with. Yes, there is more fat. But do you think our ancestors really avoided fat? All animals, including us take the the fatty parts of meat easier because that's where the taste is...and evolutionary development to get us to take the part of the food with the most stored energy. Fat has 9 calories/gram instead of just 4 like the protein. Sure, grass fed is great...I actually prefer it over feed lot beef...but in reality, it's beef... actually hay/grain wintered beef is best to my palate, but that's what I grew up on.

So to answer your question... eat the local beef...you know it's not full of toxins from some feedlot, from being imprisoned in it's own filth, it will be fine.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:45 PM

I thought the bigger issue with the grain is that cows weren't meant to eat it and it makes them sick which is why they feed them antibiotics to prevent illness.

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on June 09, 2011
at 03:29 AM

That may be. We never put ours in the feed lot to finish them. We always just used grain to supplement the hay and our cattle were all healthy. So the ones in question... they should be OK since they are just wintered on grain. I'm pretty sure though that the disease issue comes from the living conditions of the feedlot, not the grain they eat. I've been doing this for many years and am in most excellent health simply from not eating the bad things myself...not worrying about what my food ate to become my food. A DVD I bought from Dr. Cordain indicated the fat is the problem. I disagree

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on June 09, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Or that was my take on the DVD discussion of the need for grain fed beef. Other than my disagreement with him about the fat content of grain fed beef being bad...I actually learned a bit and validated quite a bit of what I had already been living for many years before ever hearing of the paleo diet or primal diet or any other such "cute" name for it.

0
Medium avatar

on June 06, 2011
at 06:23 PM

This isn't really an answer to your question, but there really isn't a need for them to feed grain in the winter. That's what hay is for. Farms that have grassfed cows feed hay during the winter.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:04 PM

that is what i thought also, but i have yet to find a "grass fed only" in my area.

0
E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on June 06, 2011
at 06:21 PM

I think a big part of what makes it much, much better is that if they're eating grass from the pasture, they're getting exercise and living a decent life instead of constantly cooped up in their own filth.

In northern areas, there aren't many options for winter feed, so anything grass fed is going to have to come from a very moderate climate. If you can do so by supporting your local farmers if possible, all the better.

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