The Benefits of Eating Grass Fed Beef

by Anna D

I love weekends because it means that I can go to the local farmer’s market to get some fresh fruits and veggies. But, last Saturday, I was surprised to see a new vendor at the Pleasant Hill farmers market that sells grass fed beef. I’ve been on the lookout for local grass fed beef and I was hoping that if I hang out long enough at the markets, I will eventually see them there. To my delight, Alhambra Valley Beef was there and I had the pleasure of buying 2 lbs of ground beef from them. The owners were very friendly and they tell you how to cook the meat properly. They also told me that their farm is located in Martinez which means I can drop by there and buy grass fed meat whenever I want which is a huge plus.

I was so excited to cook the meat that same day and we made delicious, juicy burgers and a dish of lasagna from them. So far, the burgers are gone…haha. I wanted to take some pictures of the burgers for you but they were gone before I even thought about it. Besides eating a tastier version of burgers, there are many health benefits to eating grass fed, free range beef compared to conventional grain fed meats traditionally found in grocery stores.

Lower in Fat

Grass fed meats are lower in fat calories. For example, a 3 ounce beef loin normally has 8.4 grams of fat but grass fed beef has 2.4 grams. Rember that 1 g of fat is equal to 9 calories. So, this means that grain fed beef has 54 more calories per 3 ounce serving compared to grass fed. What a big difference! But, this gets even better. Grass fed beef has 2 to 6 times more Omega-3 fatty acids which we usually only find in fish. As we know, Omega-3 fatty acids are the good fats that help us lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. So, we can say that eating grass-fed beef is heart-friendly. Speaking of the heart, they also contain 3 to 5 times more conjugated linoleic acids or CLAs which has been found to reduce our risk of having cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Most of us think that we can only get vitamins from fruits and veggies (and I’m guilty of this too). Well, I have good news for steak lovers who want to switch to grass fed beef because they also have:

  • 4 times more Vitamin E
  • 37% more Beta Carotene
  • 2 times higher in Vitamin A

From all the benefits above, you can see that eating these types of meats are very beneficial to our health. Most of all, all these benefits are backed by research. If you’d like to read some of these research, you can find more information about them here: www.americangrassfedbeef.com. Aside from these benefits, I also feel good knowing that I’m helping local farmers stay in business and farm in a sustainable way with the cows roaming freely. Most of all, the cows are hormone and antibiotics free which lessens any toxin-intake we can get from grain fed varieties.

[This graph compares the fat content between grain fed and grass fed meats]

Dry-aging Process

There’s also another reason the meat tastes better. The meat at Alhambra Valley beef is dry-aged for 28 days. This means the butcher hangs the meat in a temperature controlled refrigerator which allows the muscle fibers to relax and the flavor to build. I’ve never heard of this technique before but I can definitely taste the difference.

Difference in Cost

Of course, with all the benefits, there is a cost difference. There’s probably about $1 to $2 difference when getting cheaper cuts of beef like ground beef. Once you get into steak cuts like New York Steak or Filet Mignon, the price goes up a lot. For instance, their New York steak is $14.99 per pound which is actually cheaper when I compared it to the organic steak sold in Wholefoods and grain fed steak sold at Kinder’s meats. So, if you were to try it for the first time, try the cheaper cuts first and then decide later if you’d like to try the more expensive cuts.

Cooking Instructions

As for cooking instructions, grass fed beef are better cooked longer at lower temperatures because of its leanness. The literature from Alhambra Valley Beef says that it’s easy to overcook this type of beef so it is best to cook it medium-rare to medium if you do not mind eating it that way. They also told us not to microwave the meat due to the possibility of overcooking.

[Happy cows come from Northern California :)]

I highly recommend eating local, grass-fed beef because of the health benefits and also the taste. If you’d like to personally pick-up their beef, you can find more information about Alhambra Valley beef at http://www.eatwild.com. You can also call them at 925-228-6560 or e-mail at AlhambraValleyBeef@yahoo.com.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail Nott July 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I had no idea there were so many benefits to eating grass-fed beef. My number one reason was it tastes better! Thank you for the cooking tip too. Since my husband does the cooking, I’ll make sure he knows!

Anna_d July 26, 2010 at 9:03 pm

That reason should make you eat it easily πŸ™‚ Yes, I didn’t know about the cooking part either and I’m glad it came with cooking instructions.

Clint @ Crude Fitness July 27, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Great post! I had no idea on the benefits of grass-fed beef.
Ill save the grain-fed beef for special occasions for when Ill opt for the marbled Wagyu πŸ™‚

Anna_d July 29, 2010 at 9:01 am

Clint, I’ve heard that Wagyu beef is good too. It’s definitely worth the price πŸ™‚

Anna

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