April 22nd, 2013 06:00:00 am
MEAT THAT IS HEALTHY
Yes, it does exist and there is a science behind it! It starts by understanding a little bit about the design of the animal...
A ruminant is a mammal that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again. The process of rechewing the cud to further break down plant matter and stimulate digestion is called "ruminating". There are about 150 species of ruminants which include both domestic and wild species. Ruminating mammals include cattle, goats, sheep, giraffes, yaks, deer, camels, llamas, antelope, etc.
The primary difference between a ruminant and non-ruminant (called monogastrics, such as humans, dogs, and pigs) is that ruminants have a four-compartment stomach. The four parts of the stomach are rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum.
This difference indicates that cows are not designed to eat grain; they're designed to convert fiber into amino acids. Grazing on grass! A forage diet!
As a result, try to forget for a moment, everything you think you know about beef such as: it's high in saturated fat; the best cuts are marbleized with fat; it's a splurge food; it increases your risk for certain diseases.
It turns out that a lot of these issues are triggered by an unnatural pH in a cow's first stomach. The fermentation chamber that initiates what will ultimately be the critical balance of fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and enzymes that are essential for human nutrition, the first stomach must be healthy in order for an animal to produce healthy meat. THE COW IS WHAT HE EATS!!
Forage-grazing animals have a healthy, highly-functioning pH of 7, which allows for an abundance of the essential fermentation bacteria that create high levels of CLA, omega-3s, branch-chain amino acids, vitamins and digestive enzymes. But even a small amount of grain can throw all this off: just 30 days on a grain diet can offset 200 days of grazing chemistry.
Unfortunately, when an animal lives on a heavy-starch grain diet, that healthy pH 7 suddenly plummets to a highly acidic pH 4. With this increase in acidity comes a different kind of fermentation bacteria: one that impedes the production of healthy fats like omega-3s and CLA and increases the level of omega-6s. Another troubling side effect? Animals require daily doses of low-level, feed-grade antibiotics to allow their livers to cope with abnormal acidity. This is why you see so much about antibiotics in our meat and dairy supply... the cows are on an inappropriate diet that increases the fattening effect therefore more meat and more money, but decreases the quality for the consumer.... Follow the money and you will find the culprit.
And as if all that weren't bad enough, this less-than-perfect management system demands that grain-fed animals be given growth hormones to quickly fatten them in the race to harvest. But all this new weight doesn't come in the form of healthy, lean muscle. With less exercise than their pasture-raised, forage-fed counterparts, grain-fed animals develop the heavier, marbled muscle mass that is the hallmark of a high-carbohydrate, low-fiber diet.
It's no wonder most beef isn't good for you: the ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 approach 20 to1, CLA and vitamin levels are minimal, and it's full of antibiotics and hormones. No wonder we've all been told for years to eat chicken and fish to offset our beef consumption.
Think Again… Think Grass-Fed: With a natural diet of high-protein, low-starch lush forages combined with daily exercise and clean water, pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle are some of the healthiest animals around, that produce a very healthy nutrient-rich food source. Though it may take a little longer for them to develop, the sustainable farmers featured below ban the use of any hormones. And since the animals have a healthy pH of 7, there's no need for antibiotics. Their cattle are hearty and content thriving on the best of the environment.
Even better, they pass the wealth of nutrients they consume in their daily diet on to us. Grass-fed beef is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fat found in salmon, in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a proven cancer fighter, as well as vitamins A and E, branch-chain amino acids, digestive enzymes and essential nutrients that are known for their antioxidant properties. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
Sustainability: The key is in keeping the best quality forage in front of animals on a daily basis with a rotation grazing sequence. The benefits of grass-fed farming include: it is better for the planet (it's not just carbon-neutral; it's carbon-negative), it is better for the animals, and it is better for people (CLA and nutrients). Using the best practices of sustainable farming avoids the use of harmful additives like hormones and antibiotics, resulting in grass-raised animals that pass the best of their nutrient-rich diet on to you.
If you want to purchase quality grass-fed meats and dairy from a sustainable farm, click the banner below for a recommended resource. Or, buy from a local farmer there are likely many available in your state.
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