Friday, January 28, 2011

What's the beef with Beef?

There are so many places to start when talking about organics and food information. I decided to start with beef. My main reason is Barbara Kowalcyk.

Her story is highlighted in the movie Food Inc., and her story very much stuck with me. Barbara was just any ordinary mother of a two year old little boy. They were on a family vacation and they were traveling. Just like we have done so many times, they ate hamburgers at drive thru fast food restaurants. Her little boy, Kevin ate a hamburger contaminated with E.coli. He died a little over a week later due to complications from E.coli.

I know that this is a sad story, but the saddest part of her story is that the company that processed the hamburger knew about the E.coli before Kevin ate his hamburger and did not recall the meat. There were other deaths related to the same contaminated meat.

I have a very hot injustice button, and this story hit it dead on for me. And of course the company should get in trouble for not reporting! Its just common sense. Nope. "In 1998 the USDA implemented microbial testing for salmonella and E.coli 0157h7 so that if a plant repeatedly failed these tests, the USDA could shut down the plant. After being taken to court by the meat and poultry associations, the USDA no longer has that power" -

What?! I could not believe what I was hearing. So, even if they are testing the food, they are not recalling it as they should, and the USDA can't do anything about it. This is crazy! As you are watching it is overwhelming and maddening. But there are things that we can do. Basically know what you are choosing when you are at the grocery store.

The answer? Grass Fed Beef.

First of all, grass is what cows were designed to eat. The other beef that you buy is grain, or corn fed. Corn is not a natural food for a cow and it throws off the acid balance in their stomach which allows for the E.coli. (Companies treat the grain fed beef with a variety of things, including chlorine gas to help stop the E.coli) A grass fed cow has a balanced stomach acid, and therefore kills off the E.coli naturally, without the use of any treatments or chemicals.

The nutritional content of grass fed beef is superior to grain fed. It is higher in Vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids and Conjugated Linoeic Acid (CLA- has been linked to cancer fighting). Not only are there more nutrients, but there are less calories! Yes! Less calories. A grass fed steak can be up to 50% less calories than a grain fed steak.

Grass fed cows are healthier and healthier cows require less hormones and antibiotics.

I know. Informational overload. There are so many things to consider and this is just beef! I think that if we just take it one topic at a time and talk it over together, it won't be so overwhelming. I would love to hear your feedback on this, and other facts that you have found.

As a mom, I know that we are bombarded with info about everything from immunizations, to car seats, to what schools to send our kids to. I hope that by talking and sharing we make that an easier burden to carry.

If you want to learn more here are a couple sites that I found helpful.


Fawnda@Fireflies and Jellybeans said...

Great info Sherrie!

Beef often times makes me sick... I wonder it it is because it is corn fed and not grass fed! Something to look into!

I have just avoided it, but maybe I will try to get some grass fed beef, and see if it is better for me tummy! :)

Nicole said...

Love your post, Sherrie! Since watching Food Inc, I have not purchased corn fed beef (among other things)and am amazed at how better my husband and I feel! My 2 yr old son wouldn't eat a hamburger of any kind before we switched over and now, he will! Not sure if it's a texture thing or what (there is a difference).
It's worth noting to sign up for Laura's lean beef newsletters/emails. They often send out $1 off coupons and it's avail at Super Target and most supermarkets. If I don't have a coupon, I've found Trader Joe's to be the best value!

Sherrie said...

Nicole, there is a huge difference in texture and taste! I didn't tell my husband that we had switched, and he kept raving over how good the meat was. I also think it takes on the seasonings much better.

Thanks for the heads up on the coupon. It does get a bit more expensive buying grass fed.

Auntie Bee said...

Thanks for the info, Sherrie! I have been advised not to watch Food Inc, because I am a sensitive soul. :) I know I should have some of that information, though, so I'm glad you boiled one aspect of it down for me.
It's such a cliche, but MONEY TALKS! If consumers would refuse to buy poor-quality corn-fed beef, then farmers would stop raising it.