Do you remember the scene in The Lion King when Mufasa explains the “Circle of Life” to Simba?
As father and son look out over what’s called the “Pride Lands,” Mufasa explains how a good king respects all of the creatures, from the “crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”
Then Simba asks, “But dad, don’t we eat the antelope?”
Mufasa goes on to explain that when they (the lions) die, their bodies decompose and become part of the soil and grass. The antelope then eat the grass, and that’s how all living things are connected through the “Circle of Life.”
I wish more people would remember that scene when confronted with the question of whether or not to eat red meat. It’s been demonized and many people think it’s cruel and unhealthy to eat it.
If we’re talking about factory farmed red meat, which is certainly not produced according to the laws of nature, then I would have to agree.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media is failing to let people in on a little known secret: not all red meat is produced in a way that is harmful to our people, our animals, and our planet. As a matter of fact, when cows roam on pasture and eat the grass they were meant to eat, they not only lead healthy and happy lives, but they become an extremely nutrient dense food that is a much healthier choice than many other protein sources that are available.
I can’t think of a better example of the “Circle of Life.” Can you?
With all that stated, and without going into too much detail about the horrors of factory based farming methods, here are my Top 5 Reasons to Eat Grass Fed Beef:
- Grass fed cows are treated humanely. They roam one area of pasture, and then move on to the next. They live healthy, happy lives, instead of being forced to suffer through a miserably confined and crowded existence.
- Grass fed cows eat what they were meant to eat: grass! When they do, they don’t get sick and require large doses of antibiotics to fight infections, like their grain fed “friends” do. Can anyone say for sure that they don’t pass through to us? The fewer antibiotics we expose ourselves to, the better.
- Grass fed cows give back more to the environment than they take. When properly rotated from one section of pasture to the next, they fertilize the grass and nourish the soil. Just think: by eating the grass, they actually make more of it! If that’s not a sustainable practice, I don’t know what is.
- Grass fed cows harness the power of photosynthesis. They convert energy from the sun into nutrient dense food for themselves, for people, and for any and all living things. People can’t digest grass the way ruminants can, which is an important clue that eating meat is aligned with the laws of nature.
- 100% Grass fed beef is a much healthier choice than conventional beef. It is high in omega 3 fat, which many of us are not getting enough of, and doesn’t contain nearly as many toxins, pesticides, pollutants, and pathogens as conventional beef does.
Did you know that more of the world’s land is suitable for animal grazing than it is for growing annual crops? Using the land this way doesn’t require the use of large doses of chemical based pesticides and fertilizers the way grain based factory farming methods do. It’s a win-win situation for our people, our animals, and our planet.
In ch 10 of his book, Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan states:
“Grassing over that portion of the world’s cropland now being used to grow grain to feed ruminants would offset fossil fuel emissions appreciably.”
He goes on to elaborate that doing so would replenish not only our land and it’s soil, but it would remove billions of pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year!
Why haven’t factory farmers changed their ways? The truth is, it’s not a transition that can be made overnight, and it has to be done right. Not just any farmer is willing to commit the time, effort, and energy that’s required to successfully practice pasture based farming.
Industrialized methods are much easier to implement on a large scale, and converting the many factory farms and corn fields they depend upon would probably take years, if not decades, to carry out.
The good news is that there are farmers who have taken the time to understand what it means to run thriving, environmentally sound pasture based farms. They strive to rotate their livestock so that they are eating grass nearly 100% of the time. You just have to seek them out.
If you can’t find one in your local area, I suggest you look for 100% grass fed beef at a natural food store. There are also plenty of pasture based farmers who ship their products. One of them is US Wellness Meats, and you can find my affiliate link on the sidebar of this blog. Please note that I will earn a small commission if you purchase through my link, which will offset the cost of maintaining this blog.
While it may seem like a challenge to seek out food of the highest quality at first, it doesn’t take long before you’ve replaced your old, uninformed habits with all new, healthy ones. I don’t know about you, but I find it liberating to be able to enjoy red meat without the guilt.
None of us can make perfect food choices all the time, but we can strive to crowd out the not-so-great choices by welcoming in healthier ones whenever we have the chance. Dollar by dollar, bite by bite, meal by meal, those little changes can really make a big difference.
An added bonus for our efforts: just as Simba learned a valuable life lesson from Mufasa, our children can learn so much from parents who show them how important it is to make informed choices.
Where do you get your grass fed beef from? Please do share!
Please note that this post has been shared as part of the Real Food Wednesdays blog carnival.
Time Magazine article: How Cows (Grass Fed Only) Could Save the Planet
Chapter 10 of Michael Pollan’s Book, Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth