The vegan lifestyle is all the rage these days, but I believe in eating animal products like eggs and meats like chicken, turkey, and beef. Why? Animal products are our only source of naturally-occurring B12 in foods, and B12 is kind of essential to living. You have to have B12 to maintain good health. Getting it from a supplement is not sufficient although adding a supplement to do just that, “supplement” your diet, is not a bad idea.

However, when eating animal products, it’s important to keep in mind that they aren’t all created equal. Seek out and purchase high-quality meats – grass-fed, organic, free range, wild caught.

Where’s the beef?

Today I want to talk specifically about beef. How can you be sure you’re purchasing the healthiest beef and why is it important?

All animals have a diet which they were created to eat. For instance, snakes eat rodents, birds, amphibians, and insects. Frogs eat flies. And pandas eat bamboo. Once, we went on an overnight field trip to the zoo. We learned all about the animals and how they’re fed a diet that is specific to their species. It was actually quite fascinating to see how many diets the zoo can accommodate, feeding each animal their own particular diet blend.

Well, it turns out that we were also created to have a certain kind of diet. There are certain nutrients that we need and certain “foods” (I use that term loosely) that are harmful to our bodies. Yet, we choose to eat them anyway. Animals, by instinct, will naturally gravitate toward the food they were created to eat, but we humans have other ideas.

Guess what? Cows were created with a specific diet, too. Their natural diet is grass.

You’ve heard it said that you are what you eat. While that’s true, you’re also what you eat eats. In other words, when you eat beef, you also eat what the cow ate. A cow can eat grains and live, but it’s not what it was meant to eat. When you purchase beef, you have the option to get something called “grassfed” beef. What this means is that the cow was fed grass, not grains. If your beef doesn’t say 100% grassfed, it was fed grains.

Why does that matter?

Cows are fed grains for convenience, profit, and mass production, not for the best interest of our health but rather for the best interest of someone’s fat wallet. Just because they sell it, and it’s cheaper, doesn’t mean you should buy it or consume it.

What’s the big difference? I’m glad you asked! Grass is much more nutrient dense than grains. Grass-fed beef provides 7 times more beta carotene, 2 times more vitamin E, 3 times more omega 3’s (with a better ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s), and more CLA’s. CLA stand for conjugated linoleic acid. It’s a type of fat that’s really healthy for us and protects against cancer, diabetes, & heart disease.

Conversely, when you eat grain-fed beef, those grains were genetically-modified (GMO) and so you’re consuming genetically modified grains. The cows are kept in crowded environments so they have a higher risk of e coli which means they have to be given antibiotics. Yep, you guessed it! You get to eat those, too! In fact, 80% of antibiotics bought in the USA are for administering to animals, not humans. You may think you’ve rarely taken antibiotics and yet you’ve probably been consuming them daily.

On top of that, these conditions are unsanitary and bad for the environment. It leads to soil and water pollution. And, it’s not good for the cows themselves. They are meant to be out grazing and pooping in an open field. This is the healthy and natural environment for both them and us.

What to look for

So, the next time you’re purchasing beef, be sure it says 100% grass-fed or research what you’re buying to make sure that it is 100% grass-fed. If it doesn’t say 100%, it could mean that it was fed grass once in its life. This is the only requirement to call it “grass-fed.” Happy shopping and happy eating!