While grass-fed was become a recognizable term when shopping for meat, there’s some confusion between the definitions of grass-fed and grass-finished. If grass-fed describes meat from cattle that consumed grass, what does the term “grass-finished” mean?

Simply put, grass-finished beef is derived from cattle that ate nothing but grass and forage for their entire lives.

Grass-fed, on the other hand, may be used to label meat from cattle that were started on a grass diet, but finished on a grain-based diet typically during the last few months of their lives and to help them quickly gain weight before being sent to slaughter. In the feedlot corn and soy are the primary foods. At the feedlots, cows may also be fed candy, chicken coop waste, and the slaughterhouse remains of pigs and chickens. Unfortunately cattle are NOT required to be raised on an exclusive grass-fed diet in order to receive the grass-fed label.

There are several reasons why we as consumers want all of our beef products to be derived from grass-finished livestock. Grass-finished beef is 20% lower in calories than grain-finished beef and has higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA’s (Conjugated Linoleic Acid — an essential fatty acid that fights cancer and inhibits body fat), as well as Vitamins A and E. It is also healthier for the environment and the animals, as grass-finished cattle are not subjected to life in a feedlot where they become sick from eating a diet unnatural to them, and emit large amounts of methane into the air—further contributing to global warming.

So if health and wellness are important to you, it’s good to know the distinction between these two terms when shopping for it. Grass-finished beef may be marketed as grass-fed beef, but not vice versa.

Grass-finished meat is distinctive and you can recognize it when you look at its intramuscular fat. When the fat has a yellowish tinge, this is a strong indication that the animal has been entirely grass-finished. When you choose to eat beef that has been grass-fed in its entirety, you’re getting all the nutritional benefits of premium meat. It tastes great– and is much better for you!

If you’re convinced that grass-finished meat is the superior option we’d encourage you to check out Butcher Box. Butcher Box is a unique company with the goal of making 100% grass-fed (and grass finished) meats accessible and affordable to everyone nationwide. It’s a really cool idea: a subscription box service that brings grass fed beef, organic chicken, and pork to your doorstep every month (two months, or three months). For more information on Butcher Box, or to place your order visit them at https://www.getbutcherbox.com/#_a_grassfedcolumbus

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