Two foods you probably aren’t eating
July 17, 2012 Admin 0
This particular article was going to be called, ‘Foods you should be eating’ but as someone rightly pointed out, you aren’t going to start eating beef if you are a vegetarian and butter will be off the menu if you are a vegan. But if you are consume both beef and butter (and if you don’t maybe you should?) then this article might help you upgrade your food choices of these two potentially valuable foods.
Also sometimes referred to as grass fed butter (which can be confusing to some), pasture butter is made from the milk of cows that have been allowed to graze in pastures and meadows in the summer months. Their calorie intake comes from grass and other graminoids and plants like thistles, clover, dandelions etc. Additionally they will also consume hay and field sourced silage.
Butter, the type you can pick up just about anywhere is usually made from milk obtained from the usual intensive farming methods, where cows will eat some grass, but obtain the majority of their calorie intake from foodstuffs such as cow pellets. These are a sort of amalgamated mix of grains, rice, vegetable oil and whatever else that is available. They do not necessarily replicated the nutritional needs of the bovine.
The difference between regular ol’ butter and pasture butter is largely a matter of composition. Pasture butter is higher in the fat soluble vitamins, A, D and K2. It is also one of the richest sources of the short chain fatty acid, butyrate. Butyrate shows some interesting results in the study of Metabolic Syndrome, where it may help people reduce overall bodyfat levels, regulate cholesterol and aid in insulin stabilisation.
In general, pasture butter is also usually produced as certified organic which is another bonus when considering swapping your regular brand to it. It is naturally more yellow than intensively farm sourced butter so there is also no need to add colourings to it. Whilst it may be more expensive and not as widely available as regular butter, you can always buy it in bulk (by the box) and freeze some for the winter months.
Grass Fed Beef
Once again the name is little misleading, as it was the cow that was eating the grass and also it often amazes some people that all cattle aren’t eating grass anyway. Most food scientists will refer to conventionally fed cattle as ‘grain fed’. But in general, you can take the diet example in the pasture butter section as the diet of the grass fed beef cattle. Feeding cattle on grains and cow pellet feeds alters (in a bad way) the balance of essential fatty acids present in the meat.
The ratio of Omega 6 to 3 fats in regular intensively farmed beef can often be 10 : 1 or as high as 22: 1. As the western diet is criminally low in Omega 3 intake and the ratio to Omega 6 are already way out of kilter for health, consuming regular ol’ beef with its high levels of Omega 6 will do you no favours.
So what about grass fed beef ? Well the Omega 6 to 3 ratio is around 3 : 1. That information alone should be enough to make you swap out your conventional steaks for tasty grass fed ones, which brings me another point, grass fed beef usually tastes a whole lot better, and if you make dishes like Spaghetti Bolognese or Chili, grass fed beef mince is often a lot more granular and has way better texture making the dish even more tasty.
Just make sure that your source of grass fed beef is ‘grass finishing’ their cows. Some farmers will let the cows feed on pasture but finish them off before slaughter with cow pellets and grains which kind of defeats the object doesn’t it ?