There’s a lot more to food than taste, texture, smell and appearance. In fact, the origin of foods tells you more than any package label. Take steak, for instance. There’s a good chance that your choice beefsteak was fattened in a feedlot using a diet rich in grain (corn and soybeans) to speed the fattening process. Antibiotics and growth hormones are mainstays of this confinement production system and producing meat and dairy products this way leads to environmental damage, poorer quality food, and the loss of small farmers. The good news is: You have a choice.
Pasture-raised meat and dairy products offer a healthier and environmentally friendly
alternative to those raised in feedlots. These animals are given plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and are mostly fed grasses or stored forage. The pastures are carefully managed to keep the grasses healthy and provide the animals proper nutrition while protecting the environment. Because pasture-raised animals do not live in crowded, highly stressful conditions, they can be raised without growth hormones or antibiotics.
- Good for You
- Pasture-raised beef has less fat than beef fattened on grains.
- Pasture-raised beef fat has a healthier profile than that from grain-fed beef. Omega-3 fatty acids found in pasture-raised meats may help prevent heart disease, and contribute to healthy brain and nervous system functioning.
- Pasture-raised meat and dairy products have naturally occurring CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). This fatty acid may protect against heart disease and diabetes, prevent some types of cancer, improve immune functioning, help build lean body mass, and act as an antioxidant.
- Pasture-raised meats have more Vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin is a potent antioxidant and may lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Pasture-raised cattle have lower amounts of a very dangerous strain of E. Coli.
- Soil erosion reduction of 50 to 80 percent.
- Pollutant run-off cut in half.
- Small to moderate flooding, resulting from farmland run-off, reduced by over 30 percent
- Bird and wildlife habitats increased by five times
- Greenhouse gasses reduced by up to 40 percent
As a food consumer, growing research points to emerging health benefits from eating pasture-raised meats and dairy products, such as:
Good for the Producer
Research shows that converting fields from corn and soybean crops — ingredients found in typical factory farm feeds — to pastures has substantial environmental benefits including,
Make the right choice for your health, your environment, your local producers and your community. Choose pasture raised dairy and meat products.
Composed by Kristine Ranger, The Learning Connection, Dewitt, MI. Kristine is a leader in the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” movement in Michigan and offers coaching and consulting services to small businesses and non-profits. Visit www.knowledgenavigators.com to learn more.