The terms ‘grass-fed’ and ‘grass-finished’ are definitely in vogue right now, but what’s all the fuss about? Is grass-fed beef the same as grass-finished beef? What difference does it make to your overall health? A steak is just a steak, right?
Well…no, not really.
Beef can only be as healthy as the cows it comes from. The cows can only be as healthy as the pasture they eat. The pasture can only be as healthy as the soil it grows in. And the soil can only be as healthy as the farming practices imposed on it.
By farming holistically, managing every facet of the production system and not just the animals, you end up with a product on your dinner plate that is far more than ‘just a steak’.
Here at The Food Farm, we’re passionate about producing food that is good for you, good for the animal and good for the planet. That’s why we produce only 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef- just as nature intended.
Why is grass-fed beef better for you?
Grass-fed and finished beef is better for you in many ways. Firstly, it tastes amazing! But equally as important, there are loads of health benefits associated with grass-fed and finished beef, including:
- Higher levels of antioxidants in the form of Vitamins A & E
- Significantly less saturated fat
- Higher in anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s- these are also good for your heart and your mood
- Much healthier ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, reducing risk of chronic disease
- Higher in selenium which has anti-cancer properties and can improve mood
- Higher in beta-carotene which has anti-cancer properties
- Higher in vaccenic acid, which converts to CLA (the champion anti-cancer fat)
- Much more nutrient dense- and your body knows it! You’ll feel more satisfied with a smaller portion of grass-fed and grass-finished beef
However, these health benefits only come from beef that is grass-fed AND grass finished.
In Australia, the term ‘grass-fed’ is unregulated, which means it can be used to label meat that has come from cattle born on grass but finished on a grain-based diet. This is a far cry from the beef you get from The Food Farm. Our cattle are born, raised and finished on grass meaning you get delicious meat with all the health benefits.
What’s wrong with grain-fed beef?
To put it simply, cattle are naturally designed to consume two food groups in their lives; they start on milk and progress to pasture. And that’s it. But most of the beef you buy from the supermarket is from cattle that have been finished on grain in order to fatten them up faster.
What’s wrong with feeding grain to cattle? Actually, quite a lot.
A cow is a ruminant, and its digestive system was not designed to cope with grains. But apart from grain-based diets not being good for the cow, it’s also not good for you. Here’s some of the reasons why:
- Grains grown for feedlot use are often treated with chemical fertilisers and pesticides which are harmful to the environment, the animal and to us
- Feedlots routinely treat livestock with antibiotics and hormones (now termed ‘rumen modifiers’ to prevent illness and loss, this is in contrast to a system of rotational pasture grazing, where the livestock are healthy and robust
- Cows are not supposed to eat grain – a grain-based diet causes inflammation and changes the fat composition in the meat which has been linked to cancer, heart disease and auto-immune dysfunction
And if cows could talk, we’re sure they’d tell you their lifestyle is way better in a grass-fed and grass-finished production system! And believe it or not, this also makes a huge difference to the end product.
Is grass-fed beef better for the environment?
Here at The Food Farm, we manage things from the ground up. We view farming as a system, not just a collection of enterprises. We manage the soil, taking into account the microbial activity, ground cover, water and pasture diversity. We believe that by promoting diversity in what our cows eat, we are also promoting diversity within the ecosystems on the farm and thereby maintaining habitats for a wide range of species within the environment.
Now compare this to a grain-based system such as a commercial feedlot. This system of ‘factory farming’ is in no way regenerative, in no way healthy for man or beast, and is based solely on economics. At The Food Farm, we believe in regenerative agriculture through holistic management. We prioritise the welfare of the animals, the local economy and the broader environment. Yes, this translates to a higher price per kilogram, but in a sense- can you put a price on your health, or that of the planet?
When you buy from us at The Food Farm, not only are you buying a premium grass-fed and grass-finished beef product, but you’re also benefiting from meeting your farmers! There’s so much to be said for knowing where your food comes from, and the integrity with which it has been produced.
We work hard to produce the healthiest grass-fed and finished beef to nourish you and your family, and we’d love to see you on the farm or at the Gosford City Markets!