What cows eat is a huge contributing factor, to the quality of the beef we consume throughout our lifetimes. It is always important to consider what food the food we eat consumes.
“As intensive farming methods and cheap imported meat supply supermarket demands, consumers are losing the right to enjoy meat reared naturally and locally, to know how it was farmed, what it has eaten and where it came from. We believe its time to go back to better” – Paul Ross, The Marvellous Meat Co. Founder.
True grass-fed beef is from cattle that maintain a 100% grass diet all year round, throughout their lifetime. This would mean grazing grass in the fields during the summer months and eating hay or silage made from grass in the winter months. No grains. Just grass.
The vast majority of beef consumed in the UK will have been fed grains and other additives as well as grass. Why? Because the animal grows faster and is thus ready for market faster. But cows are herbivores. They are designed to eat only grass and it’s only the commercial demands placed on farmers that encourage them to feed extra rations.
The breed that we raise, the Sussex, are well known for their ability to thrive on a grass only diet which is why we love them. The big continental breeds such as Limousin and Charolais, are huge and need rocket fuel to grow. Hence maize, grains and other high protein feeds which they receive. Our suckler herd system means that calves drink their mother’s milk for several months before going on to grass which again, is very different from the breeding of most beef animals in the UK.
However, the perseverance to conserve such a key factor in the quality of the diet for a farmers cattle, has both health benefits for the cows and the carnivore.
Grass-fed beef is not only lower in overall fat and saturated fat, but it contains more omega-3 fats – a direct result of a grass-fed diet, as the grass contains water which adds to the density and moisture of the beef once butchered and hung.
These essential healthy fats are mostly found in flaxseeds, fish, walnuts, soybeans and other meat from animals that have had the luxury of dining on omega-3 rich grass.
Other key nutritional benefits of consuming grass-fed beef, are increased levels of vitamin E, B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin and higher levels of minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
It is important not to confuse grass-fed beef with natural or organic as both can overlap and cross over when it comes to marketing each.
Natural may be used on a label for meat if it does not contain any artificial flavouring, colouring, chemical preservative or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient.
This definition only applies to how the meat was processed after the cattle were processed and does not apply to how the animals were raised, whereas organic labelled meat has to be food standard certified from cattle raise on organic pastures.
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