Conventional Vs. Organic Meat
It seems like the question of whether or not it’s worth paying more for organic meat is always coming up.
For me, this is one of the areas that I won’t compromise on when it comes to buying groceries for my family.
The documentary Food Inc. was the catalyst for my shift from conventional to organic meats, as well as other dietary changes. Goodbye, McDonalds! Adios, Burger King!
Before that, I never really thought too much about the food on my plate... besides the time that I, as a kid, went from loving veal to never touching it again after learning how the baby cows weren’t allowed to play and frolic like I imagined they should be able to.
I guess I just assumed animals would be treated humanely and our food sources were safe.
That image was shattered after getting a glimpse into the world of Big Agro (Agriculture). It’s a world where profit reigns supreme. Forget about quality or care.
This goes against everything I believe in.
But I know that not everybody is willing to pay more for meat based solely on the treatment of animals, so this is for those that fall into that category.
They’re eating what?
Let's talk about the diets of the cows from the two different camps.
The cows from CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or conventional cows) are fed grains mainly because they're cheap and they help get Bessy to the slaughterhouse that much faster.
With the introduction of grains to speed up the fattening process, corporations added antibiotics into the grain, as well.
It was discovered that cows given small doses of an antibiotic, like tetracycline, would gain up to 3% more weight than they would otherwise. The thought is that the antibiotics kill the gut flora and in turn, inhibit the animal's ability to utilize its food efficiently. Hence, the cow continues to eat and get fat.
Safety and protocol for feeding is borderline criminal
Just look at the Mad Cow epidemic that plagued Great Britain from 1986-1993. Mad Cow disease is spread by recycling bovine carcasses for meat and bone meal. They then feed this back to their cattle.
Pretty disgusting, right?
We have had our own cases here in the U.S. beginning in 2003 and, as recently as 2014, there was a massive recall in the name of “precaution”.
Organic meat, or what I refer to as grass-fed and finished, is raised differently.
Grass-fed cows eat what they were meant to...grass. They graze and eat as cows should. They aren’t administered antibiotics and run no risk of contracting Mad Cow disease. There hasn’t been a single documented case of it in the grass-fed industry.
Grass-fed cows have a higher Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio than conventional beef.
Grass-fed beef has more beta carotene, vitamin E and folic acid. It has more of the “good” saturated fats and all of this enables the body to be in better shape to fight illnesses.
One thing to take note of here is that you want to make sure the beef is always grass-fed and finished. Just 3 months of grains in trying to “finish” the cow before butchering, shows that the benefits of grass feeding significantly decline.
If not for the animals, for you
I think the link between antibiotics and weight gain is very interesting.
The fact that the conventional cattle industry is banking on the destroyed gut microbiome allowing the cows to keep eating should be one huge alarm bell ringing in your head.
We know there has been a massive spike in antibiotic usage and we also know there is an obesity epidemic.
I’m not saying that there is a direct correlation, but I am more than a little suspicious.
Between E-coli outbreaks, Mad Cow disease and antibiotics, you don’t have to be an animal lover to see why it would make sense to opt for organic.