Grass-fed vs. Feedlot

Link: Nutrition and Flavor

Are you amazed by how much the food world has changed in the last 10 years? I am, and the Real Food world made it happen. It was moving along at a steady pace from its inception with a bunch of “old hippies” and Whole Foods in Austin. That was 40 years ago. But the pace of change accelerated over the last ten when the retailers realized you were serious about the food thing. Now we have fast food and grocery companies competing to see who can get on the bandwagon first.

Which brings me to today’s revelation: did you know that the lack of nutrition that goes into the industrial chicken, turkey, beef, pork and lamb also dilutes the flavor? So what have they been doing since factory farms started? They are adding artificial flavors that mimic those meaty tastes. Yep, there’s a chemical company in New Jersey that does nothing but that – invents in the test tube whatever a piece of meat is supposed to taste like and sells it to the producers so their meat can taste like something it is not but used to be.

Wow. More cooked chemicals in our food that nobody told us about. And they convinced us it was “fresh”. What a bunch of rascals.

Remember, the real value is found in Real Food. JVF brings it to your door.

Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLA)

Last month we opened the discussion about the true cost of your food with a comparison of Omega 3 content in grass-fed meats versus commercial meat, revealing that grass-fed is by far the better bargain. This month we take the same approach with the emerging nutritional star, Conjugated Linoleic Acid.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) may prove to be one of our most potent defenses against cancer. Tests in laboratory animals have shown that even a small amount of CLA added to the diet greatly reduced existing tumor growth. In a Finnish study, women with adequate CLA levels had a 60% lower incidence of breast cancer. A Utah State University scientist suggests that you may be able to lower your risk of cancer by simply adding these grass fed products to your daily diet: 1 glass of whole milk, one ounce of cheese, and one serving of meat.

Grass-fed products contain 3-5 times the CLAs of industrial product. Let’s again take the midrange multiplier of 4 and compare the cost of CLAs in the competing products.

Your CLAs cost $1.44, $1.09 and $4.99 at JVF against the grocery cost of $5.77, $4.37 and $19.97.

That difference in cost is so dramatic that it should be viewed in chart form.

The Comparative Cost of Nutrition

Cost of CLA per gram of beef

So when you shop, remember: don’t shop for cheap, shop for nourishment and you will end up with the best price available.

Well-raised food brings good health to your table. Jolie Vue brings it to your door.

Next month? We tell you how only 6 ounces of grass-fed beef satisfies so much of your daily nutritional requirements. Just 6 ounces, folks. You will be impressed.

Omega-3

I’ll start with the all-important fatty acid, the Omega 3, the nutrient proven over and over again to feed the heart and the brain toward our goal of true nourishment. O-3s are found in the fats and oils of creatures that are created to eat either from a grass-based diet (beef, pork, chicken, lamb and eggs) or an algae-based diet (salmon and other seafood). But in order to give us food at a quicker and cheaper price, livestock and fish have been removed from their natural setting and confined in feedlots, cages and “farm” ponds. In the process, they are deprived of their natural grass diet and because of that, deprived of their source of O-3s. It has been demonstrated many times over that livestock raised on a pure grass diet will have 2 to 4 times the levels of O-3s than their companions in the corn-based feedlot (some studies have found the multiple as high as 6X. We will stay with the more conservative numbers). Farm-raised salmon are no better – they are eating feed that does not duplicate their natural environment, so…there goes the O-3s. Remember those ratios: 2 to 4 times more grams of Omega 3s in the grass-fed product.

So let’s assume that you are shopping for nourishment as well as price. You go to your local grocer and find ground beef offered at its current price of $5.77 for lean, $4.37 for a fattier pound and a Ribeye steak at $14.97. You look at grass-fed beef in the same meat counter and find ground beef at $8.00 and Ribeyes at $19.95. Which is the better value?

The feedlot beef offers a gram of Omega 3 for 5.77, 4.37 and 14.97. Assuming the grass-fed beef offers the midrange ratio of 3 grams, then the cost of the O-3s in your grass product is only $1.92, $1.46 and $6.65. Now that’s your bargain! Omega 3s at $1.46.

Let’s look at those numbers again.

Comparative Cost of Nutrition

Cost of Omega-3s per gram of beef

If you are shopping for nourishment and health, grass-fed delivers the value and grass-fed is the real bargain.

Next month we will study the value of Conjugated Linoleic Acids and the daily nutritional requirements provided by grass-fed meats. In April, we will look at the environmental benefits of a pasture-based system.

Grass-fed just keeps on bringing the value.

Our Insatiable Appetite - What’s That About?

Why do Americans eat so much? That is the question for our age, isn’t it?

If you have been around as long as I have, you are old enough to remember that the previous generation did not have to ask the question, nor did the generation that preceded them - and so on before that. How did this consumption and concomitant weight-gain happen so fast and become so extreme so quickly? There are many theories and the fact is, a situation so extreme probably requires failure from many angles, all colliding at once.

Can we reduce the collision to 2 sides of the same coin? I think so. It has to do with what we put in and what we took out of our food, and the latter may have more to do with it than the former.

The weight adding element is probably the presence of sugars in so many of our processed foods and drinks (see my early column entitled “Getting Fat on Diet Coke”.) Enough said about that - it’s the sugar, stupid.

What about the subtractions, the things that have been eliminated from our food? The loss of variety in our vegetables and fruits, and the fact that our soils are mere plant pots rather than a living thing, limits the vitamins and minerals to be ingested.

Conventional meats come from trapped animals that live restricted lives on highly restricted diets, calculated to add as much weight in as little time as possible. In short, we have worked the nutritional profile of our food down to a very narrow list. These losses may well be more significant to our dilemma than the problematic additions. Why? Because our bodies cry out for certain nutrients that can no longer be found in our food supply, or is found in such limited quantities that it never quite satisfies us. Our brain says we are still hungry while simultaneously saying that our stomachs are stuffed. The brain knows - we are not getting the nutrients we need, so we try again, only to be left again with an unsatisfied hunger for the nutrients we cannot quite find but consuming mega-calories in the process.

That is why we are so dedicated to providing our creatures with a wide variety of vegetables. Our cattle dine on the 15 prairie grasses of the southern plains, as well as the clovers and herbaceous flora that comes with it, plus the gardens we plant for them. So do the pigs and chickens, but they go even further because they are omnivores. Add the acorn and pecan nuts of the forest, the wild berries and fruits, and the vegetable garden supplements we bring them and you have the widest nutritional profile to be found anywhere. Interesting isn’t it? We grow meats from creatures raised as vegetarians. It makes the perfect food combination: protein and high quality omega-3 fatty acids with all of the vitamins and minerals from the soil and vegetable garden. Our creatures are what they eat, and we are too. Good news for all.