A few years ago, I was invited by the director, Robert Kenner, to attend a screening of Food, Inc., in Los Angeles. This invitation was all thanks for my brother who filmed much of the movie. I jumped at the opportunity to see the film.
What struck me the most while viewing the film is that food works best if we let it do what it was created to do. Tomatoes left to ripen on the vine are sweeter, have a much greater nutritional value and a flavor that cannot even compare to the tomatoes that were plucked while still green and left to ripen on the truck while in transit. The same goes for cows.
Cows were created to eat grass. Their digestive systems were designed to consume grass and yet lately, due to ease, cost and control, many cows are being fed grain. Now we all know that grain, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, but when cows start eating something other than grass things start to go wrong.
As things have started to go wrong for cows because of their unnatural diet, science has solved the problem by creating antibiotics that combat the diseases that arise. Rather than solving the problem by changing their diet, which would eliminate the need for antibiotics, we are now consuming meat from “cows that are essentially being kept alive by drugs” (baronbeef.com).
So now that we got that out of the way, let’s focus on the benefits of grass-fed beef. For me the most important part is that it just plain tastes better. Richer, meatier and more complex in flavor. But there are other reasons as well. “The animal itself thrives because it is getting the food it was designed to eat and it converts that food to muscle and fat that is higher in minerals, vitamins, CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid) and Omega 3 fatty acids, and lower in cholesterol and fat” (baronbeef.com). Even though grass-fed beef isn’t injected with antibiotics you have a much lower risk of getting diseases associated with beef such as E-Coli and Mad Cow Disease.
To learn more about this and in general where our food comes from, I can’t recommend the film Food, Inc. enough. Also, any of Michael Pollen’s best-selling books, like the Omnivores Dilemma, provide a very thorough look into the world behind the food on our plate.
In the meantime, I highly encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity to purchase and enjoy grass-fed beef. Not only can you eat it in good conscience but you will be thrilled with the wonderful taste that comes from cows that eat a diet they were created for.
by Ashley Rodriquez, Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom.
You can read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com