Our modern wellness culture and greenwashing tendencies have completely blurred the definitions of “homegrown,” “farm fresh,” and even “grassfed.”
A humble trip to the grocery store and you’re quickly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of labels and claims on different products– especially meat.
This makes it difficult to know what ethical and holistic sourcing actually looks like and what you should be putting in your cart (and your body).
In this post, we’ll demystify “farm-to-table,” share our go-to ranches for beef and tallow, as well as leave you with some practical tips to start living an honest (and doable) grassfed lifestyle.
Nutritional benefits of “grassfed” over “grainfed.”
You are what you eat, right? This applies to us and cows.
When cattle are fed soy and corn-based diets, their tissues don’t store up the same concentration of nutrients as their grassfed cousins.
Grains disrupt the cattle’s complex digestive system designed to ruminate on pasture. This can shift the pH level in their stomach, causing bloating and other health issues leading to elevated stress levels.
When herds are free to roam lush pastures (as nature intended), they consume antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are simply missing in grains.
This translates to more nutrient-dense meat on your plate and richer tallow on your face.
Grassfed beef contains significantly more carotenoids (vit A), vitamin E, zinc, sodium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Forage-based diets also boost the CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) content– this essential fatty acid is well-documented to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. (1)
Studies also show that when livestock forage on phytochemically rich land, their tissues are much less prone to protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation, which often causes systemic inflammation in us meat eaters. (2)
A good rule of thumb is that healthy cows equal healthy humans.
Difference between grassfed, grass-finished, and pasture-raised.
This can be tricky territory.
The main difference between these different labels is supplementation and quality of life.
“Grass-finished,” “pastured,” and “100% grassfed” means that the animal exclusively ate grass and forage their whole life. While “pasture-raised,” can imply the animal was supplemented with grain later in life.
Though these labels give some information, they don’t tell the whole story. We still don’t know if that cow freely roamed on pasture, enjoyed a low-stress life, or was truly healthy at the time of slaughter.
The only way to get the full picture is to know your rancher. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to take them out for coffee or know their favorite color… but it does look like checking out their website, asking good questions, and even visiting the ranch if possible.
What is regenerative agriculture? Why care?
Cash crops, conventional ag, and factory farms have dug a deep hole.
They’ve eroded the soil, depleted nutrients, decreased water quality, and increased air pollution.
We should care (a lot) because 95% of our food comes from the soil. This is a big deal.
The solution? Regenerative agriculture.
Farmers and Ranchers who practice regenerative agriculture work with nature, not against it.
By limiting synthetic fertilization and tilling, allowing animals to graze, and rotating crops, they help build soil porosity and boost organic matter. This significantly improves carbon and water retention, creating healthier soil and cleaner air. (3)
Ranches we love (and know you will, too).
We care about you, the animals, and the soil. That’s why we’ve partnered with these regenerative ranches to source only the best 100% grassfed tallow for all our Fatskn products.
Based right here in Alberta, Canada, all of the ranches listed below sell directly to consumers (that’s you!). So you can order or stop by to pick up some meat from these happy, healthy animals.
Not local? Keep these sites in your back pocket.
To find a regenerative farm or ranch near you, check out the free resources below:
- EatWild.com is a sustainable and pastured products directory serving North America. Simply click your state or province to get instantly connected with farms and ranches in your community.
- LocalHarvest.org is a farmer’s market, grocer, restaurant, cafe, and farm directory for U.S. locations.
- RegenerationInternational.org is a regenerative agriculture map that helps you locate farms and ranches all over the world that have the same mission in mind. Healthy animals. Healthy soil. Healthy people.
As always, while we hope to be a no-nonsense resource, we encourage you to do your own research to find the healthiest options for you and your family. You can check out our whole collection of good-for-you, tallow-based skincare products by clicking the link below. We hope to see you there!
- Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010 Mar 10;9:10. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10. PMID: 20219103; PMCID: PMC2846864. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20219103/
- Provenza FD, Kronberg SL, Gregorini P. Is Grassfed Meat and Dairy Better for Human and Environmental Health? Front Nutr. 2019 Mar 19;6:26. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00026. PMID: 30941351; PMCID: PMC6434678. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30941351/
- Erika Larsen, Julie Grossman, Joshua Edgell, Greg Hoyt, Deanna Osmond, Shuijin Hu. Soil biological properties, soil losses and corn yield in long-term organic and conventional farming systems. Soil and Tillage Research, Volume 139, 2014. Pages 37-45. ISSN 0167-1987. https://experts.umn.edu/en/publications/soil-biological-properties-soil-losses-and-corn-yield-in-long-ter