Grass Fed v.s Grain Fed – why what your food eats matters!


This is not really an article if you are a vegetarian or vegan, however if you do dabble in consuming proteins from animal sources, the best way you can be ethical, health conscious and sustainable is by eating grass fed and finished meats which are ethically raised and sustainably managed.

Wow that was a mouthful (HA), so what do I actually mean?

Well there are a few different ways we can eat meats, which provide our bodies with optimum nutrition to feel good health wise. On top of fuelling our bodies with the most nutritious meats we want our animals to be raised to a standard that is natural, comfortable and ethical where the animal has the best life possible. Finally for our future generations we want our farming to be sustainable and make sure the land is used and not abused.

So let’s break down why eating grassfed and finished meats are better for you than just any old meat from the supermarket.

Healthy Meat:

When animals are raised, the way they are treated, what they eat and how they are raised contribute a lot to how beneficial the meat you consume is.

There are a few different ways animals can be raised. One major way is grass vs. grain fed animals. Animals that are fed a diet of grain or corn can have some major health issues and consequently pass them on to the people who eat them.

There is a balance in our body that must be maintained for optimal health. This balance is your ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 which for optimal health should be about 1:3. However, due to a grain fed diet, animals produce way too much omega 6. Having too much omega 6 in your body (at the current average ratio of 1:18) can lead to an inflammatory environment in your body.

Inflammation leads to many of the common lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers.

So how do you avoid this? You need your produce to be grass fed and grass finished. Grass finished means the animals are grass fed up until they enter the abattoir. Just grass fed can mean the animals can be fed grains in the feeding lots before slaughter, which means they are then high in omega 6.

The best way to know whether your food is grass finished is to become friends with your local butcher who will know. Shop around at different butchers to find out where your meat comes from and wether it has had a healthy life that means it will be healthy for you!

Here is a good start
Check out where they source their meats from and you can compare with other butchers!

Ethically Raised Animals:

Basically not all meats are created equally – from a farming point that is. If you feel bad for eating meats but love the taste and the nutritional benefits then consuming ethically raised animals is for you.

These animals are free to roam, free to eat what nature intended them to eat and live a happy life. Many grain fed and grain finished animals are taken to what’s called a feedlot before slaughter. In this feedlot they pack small areas of dirt with thousands of other animals, cramped, living and eating in their own faeces.

Due to the unsanitary conditions of so many animals packed in such small pens, the animals are pumped with antibiotics to make sure they don’t fall sick and also hormones to fatten them up within a short period. So in turn you will be eating all those hormones and antibiotics – wreaking havoc on your digestive system and health.

Again this creates an unhealthy animal for us to consume not to mention the huge amount of stress the animal goes through being in the feedlot. If you want to do your part for the animals you eat, choose ethically raised, grass fed and finished meats.


Sustainable Farming:

Biodynamic farming as defined by Rudolf Steiner is a method of organic farming which requires a holistic understanding of agricultural processes and using the land in such way that reduces soil erosion. Soil erosion is the basis for unhealthy, unproductive land, the type of land we need to avoid so we can keep on farming.

Sustainable farmers use techniques on their farm to be biodynamic in producing the best produce and land for their farms. Supporting local farmers who do this supports the environment and sustainable long-term farms.

Feeding animals grains is a huge strain on the environment due the vast areas needed to grow crops. Having grass fed animals is a healthy environmental alternative, not to mention the farmers are not using synthetic pesticides to grow crops which leak into the near by water supply.

Finally methane is a huge factor in global warming and raising especially cattle contributes highly to this problem. Reducing your cattle intake over other meat such as kangeroo is a great way to help the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.

Overall, the main message is eat grass finished, ethically raised, sustainably managed animals for your health, the animals and the environment!

Want more? Check out our other blogs on Paleo:

A response to anti-paleo articles
Is eating your daily yogurt harming your health?
What is Clean Eating?

And some of our easy Recipes

Paleo Banana Bread
Butter Chicken
Breakfast Frittata

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About the Author

Elle has a passion for women's fitness and helping girls improve their self-image through fitness. Her vision is to create a CrossFit gym, which allows women to learn how to move, build their strength, learn to be healthy and gain respect for their bodies showing them how amazing they really are! Find out more