Vegetarians who personally avoid eating meat for health reasons will sometimes suggest to their friends that, in general, eating meat is harmful to health. But the all-encompassing term “meat” is a misnomer, as there are many different kinds of meat that a person can eat — conventional, feedlot-based meats; organic, grass-fed meats; and everything in between — and some meats are actually healthy, while others are not.
Most of the meat sold in the meat section at your local grocery store, whether it is beef, chicken, pork, or fish, comes from animals that have been raised in an industrial environment, and fed artificial foodstuffs that would not otherwise have been a part of their natural diet. Conventional beef, for instance, typically comes from cows raised in confinement, that have no access to pasture, and that are fed an unhealthy diet comprised of genetically-modified (GM) corn and soy byproducts during the final stages of their lives.
Throughout their lives, these same conventional cows are often pumped up with artificial growth hormones, including antibiotics that help them develop faster and preliminarily avoid the diseases they would otherwise not develop if they were raised in an unconfined environment. Because their living environments are routinely infested with feces and filth, conventional cows are much more susceptible to disease than, say, pasture-raised cows.
Unnatural diets destroy animal health, quality of meat
Cows are ruminant animals, which means they are meant to eat grass, not corn and soy. When cows eat the latter, their digestive systems largely reject it, making them more prone to developing chronic illness. The term “feedlot bloat” refers to the digestive disorder characterized by the unnatural development of foam in the rumen — the rumen is the first compartment of a cow’s stomach — that is a result of eating unnatural feed.
Corn and soy byproducts, in other words, so disrupt cows’ digestive systems that the poor animals develop a severe inability to breathe, and sometimes even die. High-grain diets are disastrous for ruminant animals like cows, and yet it has become common practice in today’s industrial food system to feed cows high amounts of grains in the last few months prior to their slaughter.
The situation is much the same for chickens and pigs, which are typically held and confinement and fed an unnatural diet that changes the composition of their meat. Even fish meat, much of which is now “farm-raised,” comes from fish that are not allowed to feed and develop naturally, which results in a significant compositional change in the quality of their meat.
Choose meat from wild, grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic, unconfined, non-grain-fed animals
The end result of such atrocious animal husbandry practices is that the final meat product is filled with antibiotics, hormones, and various other toxins, as well as imbalanced fat profiles that promote chronic illness and obesity. Industrial meat, in other words, is a serious threat to human health, and humanity would do well to take a more proactive approach in avoiding conventional meats for their own well-being.
So what about things like grass-fed beef? Or pasture-raised chicken and eggs? Or wild salmon? These healthy meats often get lumped in with the unhealthy meats into a single category known as “meat,” which is both confusing and inaccurate. It turns out that animals raised in their natural environments, whether that be pasture for cows and chickens or streams and oceans for fish, produce meat that is rich in essential nutrients, healthy fats, amino acids, and high quality proteins.
A simple rule of thumb is to avoid meat from animals that were fed GMO feed, and that were raised in confinement, and instead choose grass-fed, pasture-raised meat from organically-tended animals.
To learn more about the benefits of grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, visit:
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