Cattle have eaten grass and meadow plants for most of human history. These plants are the natural diet of cattle, and they thrive on it. Cattle eating their natural diet of grass (or eating hay in the winter when forage is scarce or impractical) produce the most nutritious and oldest food of humankind—grassfed meat.
Meat from cattle fed their natural diet of grass and meadow plants is full of nutrients that our bodies have adapted to use over the long years. Why would anyone want to mess with this perfect food?
The answer is simple—money. Producers can save a lot of time and money by using chemicals and drugs to increase the growth rate of cattle, and by feeding them grains and industrial byproducts.
Industrial byproducts that would otherwise be thrown out—as garbage.
Cattle should eat grass, not garbage.
The Prevalent Use of Industrial Byproducts in Feed
While all cattle start out eating grass, they are finished in different ways, usually in a feedlot. This period is usually at least ninety days, and often more. There is no grazing in a feedlot, and no living grass.
Most Americans are totally unaware of what is fed to finish most cattle. They are told that conventional beef is “corn fed”. This is only partly true. What is also largely unknown is the fact that corn and other grains are not the natural food of cattle, and cause the composition of their meat to be different than that of grassfed cattle. What is not publicized is the other things fed to conventional cattle.
These include substances which are industrial byproducts of the food industry. This includes the sludge left over from making soybean oil, the sludge left over from making canola oil, in fact the many sludges left over from making almost any vegetable oil. It includes the sludge left over from making beer and whisky, and other distilled beverages. These sludges, which used to be thrown out as garbage, are used to make feed for cattle, and sometimes food for humans, in the case of soy sludge. Most of these sludges contain chemical residues from processing, and most of them are GMO. In addition to this industrial sludge, cattle are often fed expired candy bars and bakery goods, loaded with sugar and other sweeteners, and chemicals. These expired goods are often served to the cattle when still in their plastic wrappers. Another product used to make feed for cattle is restaurant plate waste, which would otherwise also be thrown out as garbage.
The government says it is safe to feed these substances to cattle, so it must be safe. But safe does not mean ideal, or even desirable.
In my opinion, garbage should be thrown out, not fed to cattle.
The Blessings of Grass Feeding
Cattle have been fed grass and meadow plants, and dried grass, for most of human history. Eating rich, living grass gives many beneficial qualities to the meat and fat of cattle, providing invaluable nutrients including an ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, CLA, and many others. These advantages diminish with each day in the feedlot, as the cattle are fed substances which are not their natural diet. See Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.
Science has not discovered everything about nutrition, and new things are constantly being discovered. I believe that there are other nutrients in grassfed cattle which have not been discovered yet, which are also beneficial. What I do know is that humankind ate cattle raised on grass and meadow plants for most of history, and found the meat and fat of these grassfed animals to be a wonderful food.
I know from my own experience that nothing energizes and restores me like grassfed meat and fat, the favorite food of our ancestors.
Grassfed meat is also much tastier than industrial meat, if it is cooked properly. I know how to cook it, and it is my favorite food, for taste, nutrition, and feeling satisfied after eating.
Which is why I say that cattle should be fed grass, not garbage.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.