Organic meat- more nutritious AND delicious!
While there are certainly enough reasons for me to buy organic produce, the benefits from organic meats and animal products are even higher. The truth is, we Americans generally eat far too much meat. Especially when considering how environmentally damaging factory ranching is, we’d all benefit from reducing our average consumption.
It costs more to buy pasture raised beef than grain-finished. This is due to two factors. First, finishing a cattle on grain and hormones significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to bulk up a cow for slaughter- possibly by over a year! That’s a lot less money that a rancher has tied up into taking care of this animal. Second, the economy of scale of having a huge number of animals crowded into a single feedlot allows for much higher yield in a certain amount of space. This doesn’t however, take into account the actual cost of feeding them. Luckily for large meat producers, corn and soy (the primary grains in feed,) are among the most highly subsidized crops in our country. So while it is less efficient to feed a cow grain compared to grass, there just aren’t the government subsidies available for pasture land.
Is it better for you?
I can certainly tell you that while there may not be a large nutritional benefit from selecting an organic carrot over a conventionally grown one, there is a major nutritional benefit to picking organic grass-fed beef. First, levels of Omega-3 fatty acids are higher, and there’s as much as 5 times the levels of beta carotene found in grain-finished beef. Total fat is significantly lower, and grass-fed beef has more than twice the antioxidant content.
Next time, we’ll take a look at the larger impact of eating grass-fed beef.