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Grain-Fed vs. Grass-fed, confusion.

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  • Grain-Fed vs. Grass-fed, confusion.

    Hey guys,

    I've been eating strictly grass-fed meat for the past 6 months and have enjoyed it. However, today at a friends house all he had was grain-fed from the supermarket so we cooked it up. It was perhaps the most delicious steak I've ever tasted. I expected some watered-down version of grass-fed but for some reason it was delicious.

    One point that may be pertinent is that this is the first "fresh" meat I've had in 6 months that's never been frozen. Perhaps this may account for the taste difference?

    In looking for some further information on this I came by this quote by The Bear:

    "What the animal eats is not going to matter so far as nutritive value is concerned, so long as the animal was healthy. A plant may indeed be dependent on its nutrition, but the animals we use for food have the ability to manufacture in their bodies or with the aid of commensal organisms living in their intestines, many if not all of the nutritive substances they require which may fall missing in their diet. Food animals are herbivores, they live on feed which has the lowest level and format of organic-nutrient value on the planet- they are highly evolved, complex organisms which are specialised in converting low value feed into high value meat. Any proposal that the nutrient quality of meat is different due to what the animal is fed is only propaganda serving a special interest, like the organic farming mob. There is no nutritional difference between 'organic' meat and any other kind- except of course, the cost per unit to the buyer.

    It really doesn't matter which red meat you eat, all are much the same other than texture and flavour. Likewise with fowl. It may matter with fish, they vary in a lot of ways, some are downright deadly poisonous. The flesh of a healthy animal is a complete food, it is not what they eat, only that they eat enough of whatever it is to thrive and be healthy. Variety in food is a human social-concept. A herbivorous animal will eat whatever plant of the specific group they are evolved to eat that is available unless or until that plant's natural protective toxins cause distress.

    Sheep bison and cattle are grass eaters. Deer and goats however are browsers, and will eat almost any plant except grass. The problem with grain as food for the grass-feeding ruminants, is that the natural bacteria in each of the various 'stomachs' are not very good at digesting it. Feedlot cattle are fed a bacterial mix which replaces the normal flora with ones which can digest grain. I do not think this is a particularly good idea, but it in no way damages or lessens the nutritional value of the resulting meat."

    It has been ingrained (horrible pun, my apologies) in me that grass-fed is the best and it no doubt is in terms of the animals well-being, but does the feed really reflect that much in the meat?

  • #2

    In my experience meat that has been frozen does not taste as good as fresh meat.

    The Bear's argument doesn't make it past the first sentence:

    What the animal eats is not going to matter so far as nutritive value is concerned, so long as the animal was healthy.</blockquote>

    Well if you ate grain as your primary food source do you think you would be healthy? Grains are not a natural food source for cattle either, so do you think they are healthy when grain fed?


    • #3

      Most people prefer the taste of grain fed beef. It&#39;s more tender.

      That&#39;s one of the big reasons why it is done.

      I prefer my grass-fed steaks to any other steak, but I know what I&#39;m doing now.

      I buy fresh and eat it within about 4 days or so of purchase. Freezing meat makes it dry. Trying to defrost it quickly make it even worse (put it in the fridge overnight to defrost it).

      The cut is important. You can still ruin a good steak, but you can&#39;t make a fantastic steak out of a bad bit of meat.

      I cook my steaks outside on the BBQ. They need to be sealed fast and well, then cooked as desired. I also use tallow to seal the steaks.

      I don&#39;t use salt, but that can also be used to help you steaks come out better.

      I can buy fillet steak (fed who knows what) cheaper than grass-fed t-bones. The fillet will always come out more tender, but I prefer the taste of the grass-fed t-bones.

      The "Seven Deadly Sins"

      Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
      Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
      Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)


      • #4

        I had my first grass-fed beef the past week. Some ground meat I used in spaghetti sauce (i just ate the sauce, no pasta, lol) for my son, in the hamburger vegetable soup recipe I found on this site, and then last night my husband and I ate some grass-fed filet mignons (small ones) I got at the farmer&#39;s market yesterday morning (all meat had been frozen).

        I can definitely notice a taste difference. It&#39;s more musty tasting, and the steaks had a different color to them and a LOT more blood. This might be due to the different, local rather than big-agra processing, I don&#39;t know. But, does this sound typical?


        • #5


          By any chance, do you have any Halal butchers in your area? It has been my experience that due to the way they slaughter and handle the meat, that it is way fresher and far more delicious. There is none of that musty "off" taste, because all of the blood is drained from the animal to start with.

          I have to say, I have never been a fan of frozen meat in general; it&#39;s okay in sauces, etc...but when I have a steak, I want it to be perfect.

          Of course, I am blessed, in that my local butcher has grass-fed from time to time, although it&#39;s expensive. But he can also tell me the name of the farm it came from, and is extremely proud of his product.


          • #6

            I really want to find a local source of fresh grass-fed meat but it simply isn&#39;t working. All grass-fed meat in this area has been previously frozen and there are no butchers that sell it fresh that I know of. I think U.S. Wellness has "fresh shipments" twice a month but they are quite expensive, plus, I couldn&#39;t order in bulk because that would defeat the purpose of fresh meat if I then froze it myself.


            • #7

              There are so many variables when trying to compare grass vs. grain fed beef. The breed, the cut, and the slaughtering, to name just three.

              I had noticed on visits to Mexico that the beef wasn&#39;t particularly wonderful. And when you walked by the stalls and stands with beef on display there was an unpleasant odor.

              Well, I got my answer on my last serious visit. I was staying in a village three hours from the pavement and one of the folk slaughtered a cow. They cut the neck, nothing wrong with that, and hung it up by the hand legs. And started cutting it up right away. No draining time for the blood to leave the carcass! I believe that Kosher law specifies some time because blood is "life" and one shouldn&#39;t eat "life. The steers get time to drain in commercial slaughter houses, too.

              As a result, the meat holds a lot of blood, which results in funky smells and taste.


              • #8

                I&#39;ve only had two cuts of grass fed beef and I have to say that I like the grain fed taste better. I thought it was maybe b/c I was overcooking them (first time using an oven and not a grill) but it sounds like I&#39;m not alone.

                Hmmm...I was hoping it would taste better.


                • #9

                  The primary reason for eating the grass fed beef is to rebalance your omega 3 to 6 ratio.

                  Grain fed meats will keep your omega 6 up were grass fed provides more omega three.


                  • #10

                    There is only 4% PUFA in beef to start.

                    So even if your steak has 100g of fat only 4g will be PUFA. Sure 3.8g of that is Omega 6. Take another fish oil capsule.

                    Don't be a paleotard...






                    • #11

                      I&#39;m trying it out myself, honestly I just made a $22 rib eye steak (just one) that is grassfed (and grass finished) from Whole foods. Honestly I don&#39;t taste much of a difference. Not sure if I&#39;m going to spend a check on grass fed meat if I don&#39;t taste much of a difference. eating primal is the biggest challenge, after that eating even "cleaner versions" of primal foods will help, but it&#39;s not drastic if you ask me. I&#39;m all for clean food, but it gets rather expensive buying everything "top notch" as well.


                      • #12

                        I agree, as a newbie to the Primal lifestyle, I&#39;m trying to ease into it rather than going 100% right from the start. I think for now I will be getting standard beef from the local grocery store and taking fish oil to help balance my omegas.

                        I have yet to get into my free range chicken from a local farm...looking forward to that.


                        • #13

                          Buying in bulk and freezing has fine results for me. The $avings are pretty steep when you buy a half a beef or more. And I&#39;ve not found freezing to cause much flavor loss to the meat, unless it is in the freezer over a year or more. And with vacuum sealed packaging, the meat is well preserved.

                          And The Bear is a great guy, but his argument does fail as poindextrose pointed out, the animal is not healthy being fed grain!

                          But that said, as chima_p pointed out, the omega 6 ratio is not a big deal, mathematically. That&#39;s one to ponder. I know Dr Eades has mentioned that the elimination of processed foods, industrial vegetable oils, and grains from our own diet is by far the most important part of re-gaining our proper omega 6/3 balance. Supplementing and then going grass fed are just the last 5% of fine tuning it, so no need to be vapor-locked over eating some grain fed meat, even eating grain fed meat often. I trust Eades&#39; take pretty well.


                          • #14

                            @Chima_p and Acmebike: I hear you, and I completely agree that ditching the veg oils and grains is the priority.

                            On the other hand, because of issues with inflammation, I am trying to get my dietary 6:3 ratio down to between 2:1 and 1:1.

                            If I eat that grain-fed steak with 3.8g of omega-6, I have to take 4-7 fish oil capsules to attempt to balance it out (500mg omega-3s in each). Gulp. And I already know that taking too many fish oil capsules makes me bleed, so taking a small handful with dinner isn&#39;t gonna work.

                            So I think I&#39;ll be sticking with grass-fed whenever possible. And maybe I&#39;ll have to accept that a 2:1 ratio really isn&#39;t realistic for me.


                            • #15

                              chima_p - where did you get your information on the 4% PUFA in beef? Would like a resource to refer to as I contemplate incorporating less grass-fed (becoming cost prohibitive). Thanks!

                              Acme - if I recall correctly, you mentioned living in the Black Hills - not far from me. Where do you buy your beef?