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Grass or Grain-Fed, Free Range and Pasture-Raised

What’s the difference between grass or grain-fed, free-range, or pasture-raised when it comes to beef cattle and poultry? It can be confusing and advertising can be misleading. Read on to learn the difference.

Grass-Fed or Pasture-Raised

Grass-fed is also referred to as pasture-raised. For beef cattle, this means the cows live on grass without supplementation from grains of any kind. In the winter months, they live on hay which is just grass in a dried state.

Grass or Grain-Fed
Pasture-raised or grass-fed cows

Poultry that is pasture-raised refers to those that have outdoor access to scratch and peck at grass and bugs but shelter from hot sun, cold or wet weather. They are also supplied with feed. In other words, they are allowed to roam (somewhat) freely to do what comes natural to them.

Grass or Grain-fed
Free-range chickens

Grain-Fed Issues

Grain-fed refers to the cattle and poultry that are raised on grain alone.

The problem for cows lies in the fact that they (like many humans) cannot properly digest grains which causes numerous health issues. The reason for this is because cows are ruminants meaning their digestion process requires a fermentation stage.

The big issue for massive, grain-fed poultry stations is the lack of space for the birds to spread their wings, literally. Chicken and eggs sold in stores may claim to be “cage-free” but that doesn’t necessarily indicate they are raised humanely.

In fact, large grain-fed cattle and poultry stations are known to support inhumane practices too. Too often cattle and poultry are packed like sardines into a small area.

Animals fed corn as the grain leads to a whole other problem as corn is highly linked to GMO issues.

Then you have individuals like myself who are allergic to wheat. It took me years to figure out why I react to some eggs but not others.

Hybrids

Some cattle start off grass (pasture) fed but then end up receiving grains to fatten them up for market. This is referred to as “finishing.” Done humanely, (without overcrowding) this should not be a deal breaker.

You may not care whether your beef, poultry, or eggs are grass or grain-fed, free-range or pasture-raised. Educate yourself on the difference and you may just start caring.

These pictures were taken at my uncle’s farm where their cattle and chickens are grass-fed or pasture-raised. I love to visit this childhood-invoking farm with my grandchildren.




Omega 3 vs 6 Fatty Acids

When researching a previous post about healing fats, I learned from Unlockfood.ca that the balance between omega 3 vs 6 fats is another health concern. Basically, most of us consume too many omega 6’s and not enough omega 3’s. Read on for the ideal ratio between the two fatty acids, and how to tip the balance to ensure you are achieving it.

What’s the Difference?

First of all, you have to know the difference between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Both are important for maintaining a healthy body and neither is manufactured by our bodies, so must be obtained from our diets. The trick is knowing which foods provide which fatty acid so you can alter this very important ratio between them in your diet.

While omega 6’s are found in the foods within a common modern daily diet, omega 3’s are usually supplemented. Both omega 3’s and omega 6’s have health benefits and drawbacks.  

Omega 3’s:

Omega 3’s are crucial for our brain, hormone, and immune function,  good vision and hair, skin, cell, and tissue growth. They are helpful in treating symptoms of lupus, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, breast and colon cancers, and irritable bowel disease.  A deficiency in omega 3’s can result in conditions such as depression and mood swings, poor memory, fatigue, poor circulation, dry skin, and more. Avoiding these adverse, unhealthy conditions is a great reason to learn how to do so.

For maximum doses of omega 3’s, choose from this list:

  • cold water fish (sardines, salmon, herring etc) and fish oil
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • garlic, flax seeds,  walnuts
  • extra virgin olive oil

Omega 6’s

Omega 6’s are helpful in treating the symptoms of arthritis, diabetic nerve pain, menopause, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, eczema, and even allergies. Too many omega 6’s on the other hand can cause depression, dyslexia, obesity, hyperactivity, and other health problems.

For doses of omega 6’s, (in moderation to achieve the healthiest ratio of omega 3 vs 6) choose from this list:

  • wheat, whole-grain bread, and cereals
  • grain-fed chicken and their eggs
  • refined vegetable (soy, corn, sunflower, safflower) and grape seed oils
  • nuts
  • meat from grain-fed animals
  • processed and fast foods

Ideal Ratio of Omega 3 vs 6 Fats

The trick is to strive for the correct ratio between omega 3 vs 6 fatty acids. The problem comes when too many omega 6’s, especially from vegetable oils and grain-fed (as opposed to grass-fed) meat are consumed. These outweigh and overtake the benefits of omega 3’s.  This happens because the omega 3’s and omega 6’s compete for the same enzymes to aid in their metabolism.

Although a ratio of 1:1 between omega 3 vs 6 is the ideal balance to strive for, studies have shown modern diets to be as high as 1:16.   This higher proportion of omega 6’s is leading to the increase of many disease states within our modern societies including arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and other inflammatory processes, as well as numerous types of cancer.

Start getting healthier by paying attention to the ratio of omega 3 vs 6 fatty acids in your diet. Then make some changes before your health takes a turn for the worse.




Omega 3 vs Omega 6 Fatty acids

When researching a previous post about healing fats, I learned that the balance between omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats is another health concern.

What’s the Difference?

First of all, you have to know the difference between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Both are important for maintaining a healthy body and neither is manufactured by our bodies, so must be obtained from our diets.

While omega 6s are found in the foods within a common modern daily diet, omega 3s are usually supplemented. Both Omega 3s and omega 6s have health benefits and drawbacks.  

Omega 3s:

Omega 3s are crucial for our brain, hormone, and immune function,  good vision and hair, skin, cell, and tissue growth.  They are helpful in treating symptoms of lupus, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, breast and colon cancers, and irritable bowel disease.  A deficiency in omega 3s can result in conditions such as depression and mood swings, poor memory, fatigue, poor circulation, dry skin, and more.

  • cold water fish (sardines, salmon, herring etc) and fish oil
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • garlic, flax seeds,  walnuts
  • extra virgin olive oil

Omega 6s

While omega 6s are helpful in treating the symptoms of arthritis, diabetic nerve pain, menopause, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, eczema, and even allergies, too much omega 6s can cause depression, dyslexia, obesity, hyperactivity, and other health problems.

  • wheat, whole-grain bread, and cereals
  • grain fed chicken and their eggs
  • refined vegetable (soy, corn, sunflower, safflower) and grape seed oils
  • nuts
  • meat from grain fed animals
  • processed and fast foods

Ideal Ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s

The problem comes when too much omega 6s, especially from vegetable oils and grain-fed (as opposed to grass-fed) meat, outweigh and overtake the benefits of omega 3s.  This happens because the omega 3s and omega 6s compete for the same enzymes to aid in their metabolism.

Although a ratio of 1:1 between omega 6s and omega 3s is the ideal balance to strive for, studies have shown modern diets to be as high as 16:1   This higher proportion of omega 6s is leading to the increase of many disease states within our modern societies including arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and other inflammatory processes, as well as numerous types of cancer.

Start paying attention to the ratio of Omega 6 fatty acids to Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet and make some changes before your health takes a turn for the worse!

photo credit Pexels 4110334