Trying to go to the grocery store and read all these labels, or find the small print to understand what they mean by their large catchy, healthy looking labels is at times overwhelming. We try to get our food from local CSAs but food in our house goes faster than the once a week time we get it from the CSA with three growing boys. So I go to the local grocery store and try to decipher labels. I stand there looking over the many different labels that are just screaming “PICK ME, PICK ME!” organic sounds good, but so does cage free and then there is free range! I found this article on what all the different labels mean and which ones are better – hope this helps you as it did me!
Then there is buying meat and the occasional 1/2 gallon milk – it says on the label grass-fed or grass grazed, but in doing further research that does not necessarily mean that is all they ate – cows when fed grain will produce more milk and will get fatter and provide “more” meat – as one grocer told my husband – well if you don’t feed the cows corn then you won’t get that “nice marble look to the meat” – that’s okay by me – I prefer not to have my meat have a marbled look.
I have found two websites so far that have helped in my research of what it means to have grass fed cows. One is Eat Wild and the other is Grassland Beef – I have read and also just heard from a doctor that purely grass-fed cows have higher levels of Omega-3, they have more good fats and less bad fats, and richer in antioxidants, and as I have read from farmers that their cows are healthier when they just eat grass, and so there is no need to pump them with antibiotics – yes it produces less yield, but from the farmers side maybe not necessarily – they do not have to buy feed, or antibiotics for the cows – they just need land for them to roam. One researcher looked at all the nutrients that a grass fed cow provided and it showed high levels of omega-3 with a perfect balance of Omega-6 – if the cow just eats 1/3 of his diet on corn/grains – that balance is cut in half – omega-3 levels drop while the Omega-6 levels stay where they were – not giving us the benefit of the Omega-3s when we eat/drink as when the Omegas are balanced.
I don’t think I have it in me to become a farmer – so I will just search for one to help me provide the best kind of nutrients for my family. If you have any tips or websites to help, I would love to hear about them.
Happy label reading!