Confused about the difference between grass and grain-fed? Our resident Nutritionist and Health Editor Melissa Fine explains it here for those of us who want to eat our meat more mindfully.
Grass-fed cattle and chooks graze on green pastures like nature intended them to, where as grain-fed animals reside in lots and live on corn and soy. So what’s the problem with the latter? Grain-feed is high in omega-6 fats, livestock who live on the stuff - as well as the eggs and dairy products they provide us with - may also be higher in omega-6 than grass-fed varieties.
Although omega-6 is an essential fatty acid (meaning it’s necessary in our diet), the typical Western diet is already too high in omega-6 due to our high intake of grains and seed oils. An omega-6 intake that far exceeds our consumption of omega-3 (in oily fish, linseed, walnuts, chia seeds and greens like Brussels Sprouts) can encourage inflammatory processes.
Is there a taste-difference between grass and grain-fed? Grain-fed beef tends to be fattier and more marbled. The fat in grass-fed beef on other hand looks more yellow; this is from certain plant pigments called ‘carotenoids’ inherent to pastures. Another pro of grass-fed meat - the carotenoid ‘beta-carotene’ is a precursor for vitamin A, which among its many roles, is important for eye and skin health and the integrity of the protective mucous membranes that line our respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, helping to reduce the risk of infections.
If you want to eat more grass-fed animals products, it’s worth buying organic dairy products too. You can even get grass-fed whey protein powder now, like the one by Bare Blends; minimally processed, their creamy Vanilla Bean WPI (Whey Protein Isolate, the best kind) is also free from GMOs (genetically modified ingredients), hormones and synthetic pesticides.
Can’t find grass-fed meat at the supermarket?
Your butcher is your best bet or try your local farmer’s market. You’re also more likely to get better quality meat this way.
Why We Like Bare Blends Vanilla Bean Native WPI?
Bare Blends whey has all the advantages of 100% natural pastures. The milk for this whey protein is derived from cows that are grass-fed and graze year-round on natural pastures. It is GMO-free, hormone-treatment-free, pesticide-free and undergoes minimal processing.