What is Pasture-raised?
They're Home on the Range
Also called grass-finished, pasture-raised meat is from animals that spend their entire life eating grass after being weaned. Pasture-raised beef is a product of animals that naturally eat grass that is "farmed" by ranchers. This ranching technique differs than the mainstream method of sending cattle to feedlots for fattening on grains until they make "market weight."
Healthy Eating Choice
Pasture-raised meat has a different nutritional makeup and is free from antibiotics and hormones. According to Jo Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of "Pasture Perfect," who also did a presentation at the Mealani Research Station in 1996, products from pasture-raised animals are better for you because they are produced in the way "nature intended." Similar to wild game, pastured animals contain the amounts and kinds of nutrients your body "expects" to digest.
Thumbs Up on Nutrition
Animal science research shows pasture-raised beef is easier to assimilate and lower in calories and total fat; in fact, it can have the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast, wild deer or elk. Pasture-raised beef has two-to-six times more beneficial, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. In addition, a Colorado State University study found meat from pastured animals "has four times the amount of Vitamin E and is one of the richest known sources of conjugated linoleic acid." CLA has suppressed cancer in the laboratory and is known for its body weight management properties.
Antibiotic and Hormone-Free
Robinson's website, Eatwild.com, reports animals raised and finished on pasture "are not given growth hormones or antibiotics because they are allowed to grow at a natural pace and don't have the diseases and complications that come from being fed grain in crowded and stressful feedlots."
Bacteria found in pasture-raised beef has a neutral pH and is less likely to survive the natural acidity of the human digestive tract-our first line of defense against infectious diseases. On the other hand, the digestive tracts of grain-fed animals can be abnormally acidic, and over time, pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli adapt to the acidic environment and have a better chance of surviving human digestion. In addition, pasture-raised animals are never fed commercial feed, which could contain meat or bone meal from animals infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease).