NUTRITION | Deidre Bloomquist | 10/26/2021
When thinking about changing nutritional habits and improving our overall health, one of the first things that comes up is choosing grass-fed animal products over conventionally raised ones, but does it really matter?
Here are the top three considerations when it comes to choosing grass-fed protein.
For years one of the main draws of grass-fed sourcing was for a higher quality protein. However, new research has questioned whether we are truly getting higher quality nutrients from grass-fed sources.
Regardless, we do know that conventionally raised cattle are often injected with hormones and antibiotics in addition to their primarily corn and grain diet, which varies from the traditional diet of cattle. Removing these factors from the cattle promotes overall health in much the same way as it does in our own bodies when we focus on the foods that promote optimal health.
So an argument can certainly be made that grass-fed protein is cleaner and more nutritious.
Grass-fed cattle are managed in a different fashion than conventionally raised cattle by encouraging their natural grazing patterns and moving the cattle across land slowly. As food resources are used by the cattle, they are moved into different pastures to feed on the grasslands. This not only impacts the food source of the cattle, but also works the land in a natural way to conserve the integrity of soil while reducing erosion and water pollution in any one area.
This also means that the manure from the cattle acts as fertilizer to reintroduce nutrients to the soil in appropriate doses to promote ecosystem regeneration. In other words, the grass grows back, the soil remains fertile, and can be reused in the future.
Purchasing grass-fed cattle also impacts to the climate. Many studies have shown that grass-fed cattle actually emit more greenhouse gases in the form of methane due to their longer lifespans (contributed to slower weight gain) than conventionally raised cattle. However, we have to also take into account the effects on soil health, carbon health, and lifestyle health of the animals which ultimately affect the climate as well.In addition to all of this, the animal welfare of grass-fed cattle is head and shoulders above conventionally raised cattle, allowing them to exist in an environment that matches their nature tendencies with minimal intrusion from humans.
Many of us look to improve our overall nutrition by focusing on diet plans, carb counting, and simply choosing higher quality foods. And while these things have shown to boost health and optimize performance, we can miss the mark by not taking the same approach to our supplement regimen.
If you’re shopping at Whole Foods for groceries to get the best quality produce available, but looking for the cheapest protein powder on the internet, you're missing a vital opportunity to align your goals with multiple aspects of your nutrition. Supplement quality and sourcing is equally as important as the real food choices we make. Unfortunately many of the products on the market for protein powders, BCAA’s, and pre-workouts are sourced from the cheapest options and loaded with fillers to make these products affordable while sacrificing nutritional quality.
Choosing clean supplements that source only from grass-fed animals ensures that thequality of your supplements aligns with your overall nutrition goals, and ultimately impacts the two factors of choosing grass-fed that we’ve already discussed.
Choosing grass-fed protein not only supports you nutritionally, but supports the natural ebb and flow of the environment to build a better life for you, as well as generations to come.
Functional Nutritionist based in Denver, Colorado. Certified L3 CrossFit Trainer who loves working with athletes on performance and health goals.
Comments will be approved before showing up.