Does the Quality of Your Meat Affect Your Health?

Posted on Nov 8, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

You already know that the image of a fresh family farm is infinitely more pleasant than that of a factory farm. Obviously, wide-open spaces, a loving family of caretakers, happy animals and fresher produce looks a lot better than cramped spaces, pesticide-sprayed plants, and animals living in poor conditions. But does the way your meat is raised actually affect your health in any way?

Turns out, what’s good for animals is good for us. And there’s plenty of science behind the idea. Here are just three of the reasons why farm-fresh products are better for you and your family’s health. Cows in a meadow

Omega-3s and Grass-Fed Meat

Much like free-range eggs, grass-fed meats contain much higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than conventional alternatives. Here’s why.

Cows are evolved to eat grass. They are part of a suborder of mammals called ruminants, which means that they have a specialized second stomach specifically made for digesting grasses. Essentially, when grass enters this stomach, the mammal derives nutrients from it through an internal fermentation process. It then passes into the second stomach, which is more like the one that we non-ruminants have, where it is digested again. This is how large animals like cows can get enough energy from a food as light on calories as grass, and still grow large.

Now, corn is technically a grass, which is why cows are physically able to digest it. However, in nature, cows and their relatives graze primarily on prairie grasses, which are much less calorie-dense. Factory farms give cows corn for two reasons: 1. It is a highly subsidized crop, making it cheap to buy, and 2. It fattens up the cows much more than their natural diet would.

When cows eat all this corn, though, they’re eating more omega-6s than omega-3s … much like the majority of modern Americans. Medical research shows that the Western diet now contains a ratio of roughly 14:1 omega-6s to omega-3s, when it should be closer to a 1:1 ratio. This leads to inflammation in the body, which may cause a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease. It is for this reason that many health experts and nutritionists recommend supplementing with omega-3s.

… or, you could just eat a diet rich in vegetables and grass-fed proteins that has that natural ratio built in by default.

Antibiotics

The use of antibiotics has also become a major problem. While we don’t think it’s wrong to use antibiotics when animals are sick, we do have a problem with supplementing with antibiotics on a consistent basis for the wrong reasons.

Due to overcrowding and nutrient-poor diets, animals in factory farms become very likely to get sick. In modern times, it became standard practice to feed animals antibiotics – even when they weren’t sick – in an attempt to bypass common-sense health standards and prevent too many animals from dying.

In 2013, the FDA finally restricted this practice, but the law will be put into effect over a number of years. And also, we prefer to just make the change ourselves. Do you really trust farms that depend on the government to tell them to practice ethical and healthy standards? We certainly don’t.

So what does this mean for your health? A growing body of research has shown that this overuse of antibiotics is leading to resistance in humans. It is becoming more and more difficult to treat illnesses, as bacteria are evolving to survive antibiotic exposure. Pretty scary stuff…

Hormones and Additives

Growth hormones are another big problem in farming. The FDA openly states that as long as a hormone is proven to be effective, it’s perfectly okay to use it. The point of this, of course, is to generate profits. Big farm operations add these growth hormone’s to their animals’ feed (or implant them under the animals’ skin!), which increases the amount of fat on the animal.

This creates a much fattier meat, which also raises the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of the product. It’s also suspected to increase rates of obesity among consumers.

So, with all these factors tipping the scale, so to speak, what would you rather feed your family? Meat as nature intended it, or meat that’s been scaled up to be fattier, worse for your heart health, and bad for the treatment of diseases? We personally feel that the answer is a no-brainer.

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