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A friend just called me from Whole Foods to ask me what the difference is between vegetarian-fed and grass-fed beef.  There is a BIG difference between the two, and his question has inspired me create a ripple to share the answer with you.   

Grass Fed Beef

Traditionally, all beef was grass-fed beef, and it took 4 – 5 years before a steer was ready for slaughter.  In the United States today, the majority of meat that is available is feedlot beef.  Feedlot beef can contain corn, protein supplements, and growth hormones, which makes animals grow at a much faster rate.  In fact, on this type of diet, it only takes a little over a year before a calf is ready for slaughter.  This is a faster and more profitable process, but it comes with dangerous consequences to our health.  Switching animals from a grass-fed diet to an all grain diet damages their digestive system, which is remedied with antibiotics in order to prevent sickness or death.  I bet you didn’t count on your meat containing antibiotics last time you grilled up those steak tips.

Grass-fed beef is lower in total fat than grain-fed beef, and many studies have shown that it is higher in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.  Knowledge is power, and it’s important to know the difference between vegetarian-fed (or grain-fed beef) vs. grass-fed beef.  Yes, grass-fed beef is more expensive, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It is healthy to cut down the amount of meat in our diets.  Consider spending the same amount of money on meat per week, but substituting a couple of meals per week with a vegetarian or vegan option.  Asking questions like my friend did today is a powerful step towards making healthier choices for you and your family.

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