Do you know what your cows eat? The health benefits of dairy and beef can be affected by a cow or steer’s diet. Cattle that eats grass and are raised organically produce food with far more nutritional value and far less danger than those that are fed grains and raised conventionally.
Today, milk and meat from organic, grass fed cattle are growing in popularity even though they are generally pricier than conventionally raised cattle products. What’s the difference and is it worth the cost?
How Cattle is Conventionally Raised
Most of the dairy and beef in your grocery store comes from traditionally raised cattle. They are fed a diet that includes GMO corn and soy, and other foods that are difficult for a cow’s 4-part stomach to digest. They are kept in pens, usually indoors, and therefore at for risk poor sanitation habits as their stomachs struggle to process grains that are not part of their natural diet. These unsanitary conditions are part of the reason that beef can carry salmonella. In order to combat these issues, they are injected with antibiotics.
Danger in Your Milk
Conventional milk has an additional danger. It is treated with the hormone rBGH or recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. Created by Monsanto, this hormone is injected directly into the udders of cows to help them grow faster. According to Organic Consumers, this hormone has been linked to breast, colon and prostrate cancers. Cows treated with rBGH have a higher risk of infections. While some of these infections can be visible and treated, microscopic incidents can be missed and infect your milk.
The Benefits of Grass Fed, Organic Beef and Milk
Pasture-raised cows, on the other hand, roam free, grazing on the grass they were built to digest. Cows are rotated through grazing areas so that they get the best nutritional value from the grass and to spread their manure evenly in the pasture. Because they are free to move around and mostly eat food that is handled well by their systems, the risk of salmonella is much lower.
In addition, grass fed beef can be healthier for you. According to the Mayo Clinic, grass fed beef may have less fat, better omega-3 fatty acids, more linoleic acid which may reduce risk of heart disease and cancer, and more antioxidants. A recent study, in fact, showed that organic milk is higher in vitamins.
The benefits of products from grass fed organic cattle include:
- Leaner beef
- Better balanced Omega 3 in beef
- Less risk of salmonella, bacteria and other contaminants
- No carcinogens, GMOs, hormones, or antibiotics
- Less exposure to pesticides
- More nutrients and antioxidants to protect against disease, including Vitamin E and beta carotene
- Natural, cruelty-free way to raise cattle
- Tastes better
Where To Get Grass Fed Beef and Milk Products
Organic Valley offers a full line of products from milk, cream and butter to meats, produce and healthy snacks, many of which are available in your local supermarket. They source products locally, so you can find your region of the country and the nearest farmers they use. They are organic and farmer-owned, so you can feel confident you are supporting your local economy while feeding your family safely.
Organic Pastures carries raw dairy products, including whole and skim milk, cream, butter, kefir and “truly raw cheese.” Their products are available throughout California, at stores and local farmer’s markets, and they also ship products. Their raw milk is full of probiotics, easy to digest and is a super food, providing enzymes, antibodies, amino acids, good cholesterol and more.
Stonyfield is available in your grocery store. They offer yogurt, butter, milk and creamer, frozen yogurt and smoothies, all certified USDA organic. They are even working to strengthen the organic dairy farming business in the Northeast. Check out their website for where to buy and coupons.
Nancy’s Yogurt also makes cultured soy, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and kefir in addition to yogurt. They are all organic and available in supermarkets or health food stores around the country. Check out their website for where to buy and coupons.
Organic Valley, Organic Pastures, Stonyfield, and Nancy’s Yogurt are all ShiftCon sponsors.