When sourcing animal proteins (or products derived from animals) there are a lot of new claims to navigate like “free-range,” “pasture-raised,” or “sustainably caught.” These terms offer insight as to whether the animal was raised ethically or not—a factor that can weigh heavily into your decision-making while shopping. However, when it comes to the term “grass-fed,” things aren’t quite so clear. While grass-fed generally refers to cattle that feast on grass rather than grain, it’s not an all or nothing claim. So you have to do a little research to know if your buys truly fit the bill. That said, sourcing grass-fed products can yield big benefits both for your overall nutrition and the environment. Here’s why the grass may indeed be greener when you choose to buy grass-fed brands.
What Is Grass-Fed?
While there’s no official government standard for the label “grass-fed,” there are third-party certifications. The term is used to describe animals who, after weaning, feed on grass as their primary food source rather than corn or grain. It’s important to read labels carefully as not all grass-fed products are antibiotic-free or even 100 percent grass-fed (in some cases, the animal’s diet is supplemented with grain and corn).
Benefits of Grass-Fed
From the quality of the meat itself to the overall health of the environment, there are many benefits to choosing grass-fed products. When it comes to beef, grass-fed meat is traditionally leaner and more nutritious than grain-fed beef. In addition, animals that are pasture-raised contribute to the health of the soil since it regenerates as livestock is rotated through the land (a practice known as rotational grazing). Rotational grazing helps reduce carbon in soil, which in turn offsets carbon emissions that are released through deforestation, land clearing, and fossil fuel burning.
Tips for Shopping Grass-Fed
When shopping grass-fed beef, it’s important to know the difference between “grass-fed” (which refers to an animal that spends the majority, if not all, of its life eating a grass diet) and “grass-finished" (which means the animal ate grain for the majority of its life and grass at the end of its life). To ensure you’re buying beef or animal-derived products that are completely grass-fed, be sure to shop “100 percent grass-fed” items.
Top Grass-Fed Brands
These grass-fed brands boast bold, rich flavor.
Our meat and seafood program includes partners who are dedicated to cultivation practices we believe in, like regenerative farming, sustainable fishing, ethical treatment of animals, and rotational grazing.
Thrive Market Premium Cuts Beef Box
Sourced from the lush Patagonian prairies in Osorno, Chile, one of the few places in the world that allows for year-round grazing, our 100 percent grass-fed beef is earthy and robust.
Great Lakes Gelatin prides itself on simplicity and quality, producing high-quality meat-based gelatin using collagen hydrolysate that’s nearly flavorless and odorless.
Derived from grass-fed beef, this pure, Paleo-friendly and gluten-free protein source (11 grams per serving) includes hydrolyzed collagen that won’t congeal, and easily dissolves into hot or room-temperature liquids.
Meet the cream of the crop when it comes to grass-fed organic milk products! This company got its start in 1988 and has since grown an extensive product line without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
Rich, buttery, and wonderfully smooth, this lactose-free spread is the result of the time-honored Indian method of making ghee, in which the milk solids separate from the butterfat.
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