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Whole Foods Vegatarian Diet Fed Meats

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM

I went grocery shopping at whole foods today for grass fed and finished beef. I couldn't find anything that said specifically "grass-fed" in the meat section. All I found was vegatarian diet. Is this the same?

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:35 AM

I don't know if you have control over your tastebuds, maybe not, but I can definitely taste and feel the difference between CAFO meat and grassfed meat. It's got a different mouthfeel than the CAFO stuff.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 12:41 PM

The only way to really know is to raise your own chickens. Unfortunately that's much more annoying....and way more expensive....

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 12:37 PM

And while you're preparing it in your kitchen, how can you determine whether they were telling the truth....a certain grassy feel?

E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b

(831)

on September 24, 2012
at 12:31 AM

Right the 100% grass fed is usually in the meat case not out on the prepackaged shelf.

21a6d566710c9e860fd22ac17fb8bebc

(10)

on September 22, 2012
at 12:29 AM

thanks that answers my question!!!

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6 Answers

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4
125dfe387c83d848c2fe92de6d8bfdf0

(365)

on September 21, 2012
at 11:15 PM

To quote Mark Sisson from one of his "Dear Mark" Entries (forgive the length, but it puts things into perspective):

Most vegetarian cows are a lot like the average human vegetarian. They???re not out there eating fresh salads, buckets of green vegetables, berries, roots, and tubers; they???re eating vegetarian microwavable pizza, pasta, vegetarian desserts, and Tofurkey. In other words, they are still eating junk, just not junk that contains animal products. But because the term ???vegetarian??? evokes images of perfect health and purity ??? images we know from seeing vegetarians in the wild and our own dalliances with that way of eating to be mostly fantasy ??? it sells products. Now if a human vegetarian (who has complete control over his diet and a real stake in its quality) can???t be bothered to do it right, imagine the quality and composition of a vegetarian cow diet put together by a food producer whose primary interest lies in maximizing profits. It???s certainly not fresh green grass, or else they???d put ???grass-fed??? on the label.

The one that really bugs me is the vegetarian-fed chicken. While I acknowledge the sneaky underhandedness of labeling their diets vegetarian, at least cows, lambs, and goats really are physiological vegetarians. they aren???t really lying about the animals physiological dietary requirements. They actually are vegetarians who would, except for the odd bug or other microorganism picked up in the course of munching on grass and forage, never eat animal flesh. But chickens? Chickens are omnivores, through and through. Domestic chickens actually come from the red junglefowl, a voracious omnivore from the jungles of Asia. One study (PDF) on the feeding habits of red junglefowl found that earwigs, bees, wasps, ants, termites, crickets, locusts, snails, leeches, and snakes formed a significant portion of their diet, with females (the egg-layers) eating a greater proportion of vertebrates/invertebrates than the males. Ask any chicken farmer and they???ll laugh at the notion of a vegetarian chicken. They will eat bugs, mice, lizards, and sometimes each other. They are unequivocally omnivorous and feeding them a vegetarian diet produces subpar meat and eegs.

So while I wouldn???t call it a complete sham ??? you don???t want your beef having eaten chicken manure, for example ??? it???s not anything special. Cows being vegetarian does not deserve a special announcement.

Hope this helps!! ~ Cricket

21a6d566710c9e860fd22ac17fb8bebc

(10)

on September 22, 2012
at 12:29 AM

thanks that answers my question!!!

2
4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on September 22, 2012
at 12:57 AM

Personally, I cannot afford pastured chicken, so I buy organic. While grass fed and pastured is best, I like knowing that my chickens and grain fed beef is not being fed shit and other animals.

CAFO cows are fed, literally, chicken litter. Chickens are fed rendered parts of animals. Their feed spills into the litter, and that litter (and spilled feed, and chicken shit) gets fed to cows.

So, in short, from the worst to the best:

CAFO

antibiotic free

Vegetarian fed

Organic (which is antibiotic free and vegetarian fed, has some outdoor access, and fed organic nonGMO grains)

*For Chickens:

Pastured (with pastured defined as "getting to run around and eat bugs outside)

Pastured, Gmo free feed

Pastured, soy free, no gmo in the feed.

*For Beef:

Grass fed, non GMO Grain finished

Grass fed, grass finished, supplemental grains

Grass fed, grass finished

1
32d059a467e99a4fc83201407a4a238d

on September 24, 2012
at 12:18 AM

"Vegetarian-fed" drives me NUTS. Chickens are omnivores dammit. To me it just represents the appalling disconnect most Americans have with their food and its source. (Not pointing fingers. I used to be one of them.)

1
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on September 24, 2012
at 12:15 AM

If it's grass-fed the packaging will say it's grass-fed because you can make more money that way.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 12:37 PM

And while you're preparing it in your kitchen, how can you determine whether they were telling the truth....a certain grassy feel?

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:35 AM

I don't know if you have control over your tastebuds, maybe not, but I can definitely taste and feel the difference between CAFO meat and grassfed meat. It's got a different mouthfeel than the CAFO stuff.

1
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on September 22, 2012
at 01:56 PM

Did you ask someone behind the counter whether they had any grass-fed beef? My Whole Foods has it right out there on display, but it's pretty easy to miss unless you know what to look for, since there's so much stuff going on in that case.

E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b

(831)

on September 24, 2012
at 12:31 AM

Right the 100% grass fed is usually in the meat case not out on the prepackaged shelf.

1
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on September 22, 2012
at 01:57 AM

The main reason they advertise "vegetarian fed" is because of mad cow (BSE) scares a while back. I guess they thought it came from cows eating ground up other cows. I think it's more of a food safety marketing strategy than anything to do with convincing people they're nutritionally superior.

But as others have explained, "vegetarian" does not mean grass fed. From the POV of the producers, wheat, corn, and soy are not "other animals," so cows eating the standard grain and soy feed can be called "vegetarian." (Not to mention eating bakery seconds, unsold danishes, donuts, Fritos, chips, etc.)

And like Cricket's answer, I get so annoyed when I see "vegetarian fed" chickens. Chickens are omni-freaking-vores. They're supposed to be running around in a field, and eating grass and weeds, yes, but also pecking around for worms, grubs, insects, etc.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 24, 2012
at 12:41 PM

The only way to really know is to raise your own chickens. Unfortunately that's much more annoying....and way more expensive....

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