I am the daughter of an avid hunter and I grew up eating venison. My Mom said she never needed to buy conventional beef because my dad harvested enough deer to feed our family each year. He is a legend.
I never thought much about this until I started to feed my own family. Fortunately my husband is on his way to legendary status and also loves to hunt. But we like a variety of different meats and as you probably know, growing kids consume a lot of food.
Why I decided to purchase grass fed meat.
One year we were not able to stretch our venison until the next deer season. In the words of Steven Rinella, it was a meat crisis. I was in search of some ground beef.
Ok, I’m going to stop for a minute and just say that I really dislike the “game” of trying to find the best meat at the grocery store. Am I the only one who finds those sticky, juicy shelves where all the meat packages are laying absolutely disgusting?
After much research, and reminding myself to feed my family with the best nutrient dense foods, I made my decision. I chose to purchase grass fed beef and pastured pork and chicken for our family.
This was not a difficult decision because I found the benefits far outweighed the small cost increase from the conventional counterpart.
What are the benefits?
If you were to ask any 5 year old what cows eat, I guarantee they would say grass. When cows are in their natural habitat they are free to roam and graze. They eat the top blades of the grass because they are the most nutritious. Why? Because the top of the grass gets the most sunlight. Their bodies make the best use of that food and the animal becomes an incredible source of nutrients.
For example, have you ever purchased or seen grass fed butter? Kerrygold is a good example. The color is a rich, deep, vibrant yellow. When cows graze and eat green grass, their milk becomes rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and CLA causing the change in color of the butter. In fact here are some more vitamins and minerals that come from pasture raised animals:
- Vitamins A, B, D, E and K
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
Isn’t this an incredible list of benefits?
What’s the harm in conventional meat and dairy?
Conventional meat and dairy is depleted of the benefits I listed above. The meat we eat from these animals is laced with antibiotics and we are not even aware of it.
Non pasture raised animals are fed a diet of GMO corn or soy, that just like humans, is foreign to their bodies. The negative effects of their diets are passed to the consumer. However, I’m going to stop here because this post is about the goodness of pastured meats.
Where can I find grass fed, pastured meats and dairy?
I would like to encourage you to consider supporting your local farmers. Join a co-op. Seek out a grass fed cow to fill your freezer for the year. This not only keeps your local economy strong but allows you to check out the conditions of the farm for yourself. It is super fun for the kids as well!
We visited our co-op farm and let me tell you, I was blown away. The farmer treated each animal like it was part of his family. I had never seen such pristine, luscious pastures in my life and the farm environment was immaculate.
It was all I had hoped to see and more. My kids still talk about it to this day.
Many grocery stores also carry grass fed and pastured meats. Aldi and Walmart have fabulous choices for incredible prices! I love to buy ground beef, and chuck roasts from these stores. And their steaks are a great splurge for a fancy dinner in at home. Here is a tip if you enjoy lamb. Aldi carries lamb and the back of the package says it’s from Australia. You can count on meat sourced from Australia being pasture raised. Even though the package may not state that. This is a great affordable option for some delicious lamb. This is research I’ve done that I’m passing along to you.
In the end, you do what you can for your family. If you can’t afford these options, maybe you buy them occasionally or watch for them to go on sale and then stock up to add to your freezer. This is what I often do. I want to give you some options for healthier alternatives than the ordinary cheap conventional meats.