2

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The importance of grass fed beef?

Answered on June 07, 2016
Created February 13, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Hi, I'm new to paleo, so I was hoping I could get some answers here... The grass fed beef at my Whole Foods is very expensive... I'm adopting the paleo lifestyle with the goal of getting healthy and fit. Does it make a difference buying organic beef from Whole Foods as opposed to grass-fed beef from Whole Foods?

Also what does it mean when they say some of the meats are grass-fed/grain finished? I didn't understand that... Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

4164a77c7ccf4839ec7f1e665d27cc6d

(1085)

on February 23, 2012
at 08:49 PM

I cant get on the standard beef train. There are so many issues with standard beef and it goes beyond the omega 3/6 ratios. If money is an issue you have work smarter. Order online from US Wellness Meats (last I checked it was under $6 for a pound of grass fed ground beef) or buy from a local Farmers Market if you can. Grass Fed and finished beef can be found much cheaper than many people think.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 19, 2012
at 05:28 PM

"So if your beef is grain finished just means they started right, but ended at the feed lot for slaughter." Buying beef at Whole Foods, I'm sure you're right. This isn't always the case for grain-finished beef out in the sticks. I can't find any local grass-fed beef that's not grain-finished (northern Wisconsin) some times of the year because by the time butchering rolls around in the spring, there's little to no plant matter to be had for feed. So don't hesitate to ask if you're looking local and can only find grain-finished.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 19, 2012
at 05:27 PM

"So if your beef is grain finished just means they started right, but ended at the feed lot for slaughter." Buying beef at Whole Foods, I'm sure you're right. This isn't always the case for grain-finished beef out in the sticks. I can't find any local beef that's not grain-finished (northern Wisconsin) because by the time butchering rolls around in fall and spring, there's little to no plant matter to be had for feed! It's not always a bad thing, so don't hesitate to ask if you're looking local and can only find grain-finished.

F4a6fc9f0b701e12cdf2ad5dadaeb2dd

(360)

on February 14, 2012
at 11:53 PM

the cheaper option is to buy standard beef like paul said, and add grass fed animal fat onto it

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on February 14, 2012
at 04:21 PM

safe your money and buy the standard beef

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 13, 2012
at 09:14 PM

The O3 content in the meat can decline pretty drastically in just a few weeks in the feedlot. It is expensive to buy steak at Whole Paycheck though. Get adventurous, go check out some Halal butcher shops if you have any nearby. Lamb and goat are usually cheaper than cow, and I think they taste better too. There are places online you can buy a "freezer lamb" too, which means you can fit the whole beasty in your normal freezer.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 13, 2012
at 09:12 PM

The O3 content in the meat can decline pretty drastically in just few weeks in the feedlot. It is expensive to buy steak at Whole Paycheck though. Get adventurous, go check out some Halal butcher shops if you have any nearby. Lamb and goat are usually cheaper than cow, and I think they taste better too.

966da443ced20be2c4181fc8ce35290c

(35)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:32 PM

Thanks Kevin. Very helpful! I'll do my best to stick to veg-fed meats!

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11 Answers

9
9b0a4701e373d4dd13831cfb9b13f42d

(1677)

on February 14, 2012
at 04:58 AM

Go over your budget, I find people who claim they can't afford grass fed meat often could be cutting out other things like booze, cable T.V.etc.

Make an investment in your health as you can pay now or later through the health care system.

5
263f4d936a63d03f2c4454334997551a

on February 13, 2012
at 08:42 PM

If you want quality, certified grass fed is the best. It's has normal Omega levels from 3, 6 and 9, whereas grain-fed cattle are low in 3 and 9, and very high in Omega 6. It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C that's virtually missing in factory farm beef so it's basically more nutritious.

The second bad part to factory farmed beef, or any meat really, is that the grains which we are all ready trying to avoid with Paleo are carrying over indirectly into your animal fat. Good clean saturated animal fats are ideal on Paleo if you can afford it. This is the whole reason we avoid vegetable, canola and other engineered oils, and stick with olive oil at the least at least for low heat cooking, coconut for the plant oils particularly with high heat cooking, and then animal fats in that same regard. Fat and oil derived naturally is ideal.

There is another concern as well with factory farming is that some of the feed may not be high quality feed to begin with. They could add in fillers and basically junk to fatten up the cow at the last few weeks of existence within crowded, often dirty feed lots.

So if your beef is grain finished just means they started right, but ended at the feed lot for slaughter. If you think about how fast you can get healthy from eating and living the Paleo way, imagine just how unhealthy the cattle can be after a month on grain and a nasty feed lot? It works both ways. Of course it's nearly impossible to eat grass fed 100% of the time, but the more the better.

My beef between the two sources of meat is that grass fed meat often taste better, if you like meat. It has more flavor any ways, so you basically get what you pay for.

There is also another important thing to keep in mind with Paleo, the hunter/gatherer diet, is to always hunt out new sources of meat and suppliers. Get online and see who else provides these meats. Sometimes there are sources that you might have to drive an hour to get to, but you might be able to save enough to make the drive worth it to buy a week or two before your next trip. Sometimes the CSA's in your area might even offer a pick up. The fun part about being Paleo is hunting your sources of food. Generations before they had to hunt it in the range, now we have to hunt it everywhere besides, and some even still hunt the old fashion way. It's what works best for you, but don't always assume Whole Foods is your only option.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 19, 2012
at 05:27 PM

"So if your beef is grain finished just means they started right, but ended at the feed lot for slaughter." Buying beef at Whole Foods, I'm sure you're right. This isn't always the case for grain-finished beef out in the sticks. I can't find any local beef that's not grain-finished (northern Wisconsin) because by the time butchering rolls around in fall and spring, there's little to no plant matter to be had for feed! It's not always a bad thing, so don't hesitate to ask if you're looking local and can only find grain-finished.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 19, 2012
at 05:28 PM

"So if your beef is grain finished just means they started right, but ended at the feed lot for slaughter." Buying beef at Whole Foods, I'm sure you're right. This isn't always the case for grain-finished beef out in the sticks. I can't find any local grass-fed beef that's not grain-finished (northern Wisconsin) some times of the year because by the time butchering rolls around in the spring, there's little to no plant matter to be had for feed. So don't hesitate to ask if you're looking local and can only find grain-finished.

2
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on February 14, 2012
at 04:49 AM

Hi JEL,

You might find this food quality guide helpful:

http://www.balancedbites.com/PDFs/BalancedBites_FoodQuality.pdf

2
51acbea34cdfbe9b94f4847b8b24bfb9

on February 13, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Short answer, yes grass-fed matters and 100% fed and finished is best.

Here is a great link http://www.athleat.co.uk/grass-fed-beef-or-organic-beef.html

966da443ced20be2c4181fc8ce35290c

(35)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:32 PM

Thanks Kevin. Very helpful! I'll do my best to stick to veg-fed meats!

1
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on February 23, 2012
at 09:55 PM

Buy shanks, buy heart, buy the cuts as far from the center of the animal you can get. Buy bones and maker beef stock. learn to braise and slow cook. Eating Better by eating Less is Paleo. Flat iron and skirt steaks , you will find are even better than the high price cuts.

1
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on February 19, 2012
at 05:09 PM

Aside from the ethical considerations, if it's a financial issue, buy lean conventional meat and use pastured butter liberally. You will get a more cost effective way of getting the good stuff from grassfed meat on a budget.

1
E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on February 19, 2012
at 04:45 PM

I wrote an article about the importance of choosing grass-fed and pastured meat on my new website (which is still under development): http://www.eat-real-food-paleodietitian.com/paleo-diet-and-pastured-grass-fed-meat.html

The eatwild.com website also has a lot of good information about the importance of choosing grass-fed: http://eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

and on top of the ethical and nutritional reasons, IT TASTES SO MUCH BETTER!!!! :)

0
C407e87d3af74496157d3c0f291aab0c

on June 07, 2016
at 04:10 PM

For me grass fed beef has improved my energy level every day from the junk food that I was eating, it makes me feel a lot healthier than I have been in the past eating regular beef. I tried HarvestBox Meats, they have a cool website set up to learn about the farmer that raised your meat so you don't have any worries or concerns, its great! Check it out, it works for me!

0
Cd759f77e1dfe9ee6a3d4859b72b634c

on April 01, 2016
at 02:11 AM

I am the farmer and owner of Vitality Pastures in Souther New Jersey. We raise 100% grass fed beef and pastured pork. When I say 100% grass fed that mean the animals ate nothing but grass fed milk when they were calves. Then the calves begin to eat grass actually very soon but their main diet is still the grass fed milk from their moms. That goes on for a year. Then the diet is only grass becuase their mom won't let them nurse any more becuase she has a new calf every year. After that the diet is only pasture and hay. I move the cows nearly every day with certain exceptions.  So organic doesn't mean 100% grass fed. And grass fed doesn't mean 100% grass fed / finsihed.  Some beef is grass fed until a certain point then moved to a grain diet to add wieght fast before the butcher. My advice is to find a good farmer, visit the farm, and ask them if the cattle have ever eaten grain. 

Good Luck!

Michael Adamucci - Owner Vitality Pastures

0
9bde3aef64ac06a7429f3bd4b36d166a

on February 23, 2012
at 08:23 PM

Don't forget grass-fed beef is leaner and will therefore cook more quickly. Like most good beef, except in the case of slow cooking recipes, you want to enjoy the meat on the rare side. Definitely don't go over medium rare. Also, slicing thin AGAINST the muscle grain will do a lot for a less tender cut of meat. I go for 100% grass-fed and organic at www.greensburymarket.com. Whole Foods is in fact not much cheaper at all and it's certainly not dry aged unless you have them go to the vault for $30+ a pound.

0
F04b91bf22f7ff96e83af8c50c46bb55

on February 19, 2012
at 04:39 PM

The world of grocery store grass fed beef can be misleading. Cows that exist in huge feedlot herds, but that are fed grass as their diet, can be labeled as grass-fed. Most people think of lazy afternoons grazing in idyllic pastures when they see grass-fed, but this is not necessarily so. For American Paleo's, you can find farmers listed on Home Grown Cow that raise all kinds of animals in all manner of ways. This is a great way to ensure you're getting the quality of meat you desire, at a price that generally beats retail (even with any cost of shipping you may need), and the best part, is you're directly supporting a farmer, who only earns approx 10 cents of a retail dollar. With that level of earnings, no wonder mass production has taken root. But back to us...if you order in bulk, you'll get even greater savings, and a quarter side of beef will generally fit in the average freezer section of most refrigerators. We saved enough over retail with our first quarter, that we were able to purchase a freezer and now we keep chicken and pork stocked too.

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