The marketing prowess and lobbying strength of the US cattle and meat producing industry never ceases to amaze me. The fact that it seems when you ask most chefs both inside and outside of the US what kind of beef they believe is the best tasting and healthiest they will, by and large tell you that US Angus corn-fed beef is the absolute best. Why? Because of the marbling, they all reply. As someone who has had the pleasure of dining on New Zealand beef, grass-fed Australian beef, Irish beef, and, my personal favorite, Argentinian beef straight from the farm, it galls me a little how obtuse these purveyors of “fine quality food” can be and how awesome the marketing people who tell us “Beef is what’s for dinner” and we blindly go off to seek a crappy t-bone marinating in its own blood at our local Piggly Wiggly. Trust me when I say, dining on Argentinian beef so fresh you can still hear it “moo” (sorry to all my vegan readers or those a bit squeamish) is better, by miles, than US corn-fed angus. On top of that, these cows have lived happy lives grazing in the sunshine, lying under the moonlight, and chowing down on dandelions and other greens in neighborhood gardens.
Forget the taste for a moment though. Let’s talk about the energy of the food we eat. If you are one of the majority of people who do eat protein from animal sources, think for a moment about the energy of the animal you are about to chow down on. Commercially raised cattle are subjected to horrible conditions; confined to small spaces with nary a blade of grass in sight, forced to live in their own filth, often castrated with no trace of anesthesia, fed constantly food their bodies cannot hope to assimilate or from which they have no hope of absorbing a smidgen of nutrients, shot with hormones, antibiotics (because with all those vile conditions they are sure to get sick), and then, when they finally end their miserable lives, they are herded, stunned, well, I am not going to go on from there because it makes me cry just to think about it.
You may wonder if I feel the same guilt when every animal dies for food. Not to sound heartless but no, I don’t. I feel guilt when I know over 80% of grain grown in the US is fed to commercially raised cattle and poultry when people are starving and that this grain they are fed is poison to their bodies. (As poisonous as improperly prepared grains are to our bodies.) I feel guilt knowing that these animals who were meant to be exposed to sunshine, green grass, and fresh water, never see the light of day, or if they do, it is still in a constant state of anxiety herded from one place to another with cattle prods all in paths filled with their own excrement. I feel guilty when animals are not allowed to live “happy lives”. I refuse to buy (or even order) conventionally raised beef, pork or poultry for this reason. It’s just bad energy.
I know, I know, but aren’t all animals valuable? Yes, indeed they are, but I disagree strongly with many vegans when they say “meat is murder” when if the animal is allowed to live in a sustainable way, foraging, grazing, with no hormones, no grains, then the beef produced is better for the environment (believe me when I say you do not want the world overrun with cows) and for those that still do want to eat beef, the energy of a cow that lived a happy life is miles better than a cow that lived in a constant state of stress. A cow allowed to graze and forage is a cow with a much more balanced Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio (better for cardiovascular health) and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which reduces the risk of certain kinds of cancers.
For those that still drink dairy, grain fed beef raised conventionally contains far more puss and blood cells not to mention is not suited for drinking raw and the moment you pasteurize and homogenize the milk it has none of the enzymes needed to be able to digest it. This might be one reason at least two-thirds of the population is lactose intolerant. Properly raised grass-fed cows, on the other hand, allowed to follow normal birthing cycles are less likely to produce questionable quality milk and more likely to produce milk capable of being consumed raw.
For those of you who believe raising cattle is bad for the environment, let me assure you, many producers of grass-fed cattle are using what they call intensive grazing instead of overgrazing which causes erosion on a mass level, whereby a small herd of cows is confined to a small area of grass for sometimes as little as half a day until that grass is “chewed down” to a few inches at which time the herd is moved to another area and is rotated around never going back to the same spot until the grass is able to fully recover. This way is highly sustainable and beneficial for the grasslands.
Because most every region has grass-fed beef producers, the chance consumers will be able to buy much more locally, thereby cutting down on the carbon footprint of having to transport conventionally raised beef, is greater.
To summarize, grass-fed beef is better for the environment, better for your heart, better for your immune system, and is just as tasty if not tastier than conventionally raised beef! Although I am not a huge meat eater, I know when I do choose beef, what choice I make for my family.