Rich, natural and healthy CLA can be found in animal products like meat and dairy from grass-fed animals. Simply increasing your intake of true grass-fed meat products will increase your intake of this important fatty acid. Before you rush out to any supermarket and get the organic beef or worst, the regular beef, for that juicy dosage of CLA, STOP!
There is a (huge) difference between the “regular”, organic , grass-fed, and even grass-finished beefs. To read more on this subject, check out a follow-up blog I am writing now – to be published here soon highlighting the difference among these terminologies.
The “regular” beef are your typical commercial beef from animals fed with grains, exposed to antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals, and for the most of time live inside of a confined space feedlot (as opposed to free roaming), and are not treated by animal nor environmental friendly standards. This is the most abundant type of meat available on the market today.
The “organic” term is so loosely defined nowadays that frequently, it simply means that they are much like the “regular commercial” animals (yes, including the antibiotics and other “bad” stuff), but are fed with organic grains instead. The organic term can mean very differently to each farmer/rancher you talk to. So be sure you ask before you buy!
Oftentimes certified organic beef is misunderstood to be grass-fed; it’s not necessarily so. Beef products that are considered to be “organic” come from animals being fed organic grains, especially corn, which still results in most of the negative health problems that I have highlighted earlier for grain-fed animals.
Grass-fed beef are gaining popularity amongst consumers. However, USDA definition of “grass-fed” animals leaves much to be desired and therefore, it is difficult to predict what you are actually getting. Consider what American Grass-Fed Association (AGA and Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) says about the USDA standards – “As it stands, the USDA Grass Fed standard only requires access to the outdoors during the growing season,…In some states this may mean that six months out of the year, animals can be kept confined as long as they are fed grass and forage. AGA requires animals to be on pasture or range to earn the AGA seal.” “The tenets of the AGA standards mirror the forage feeding practice of the USDA verification program but go much further in encompassing more attributes that consumers care about. These attributes include no antibiotics, no synthetic hormones, no confinement and high animal welfare.” A Texas rancher commented: “We firmly believe that a true grassfed claim is a holistic approach to raising cattle that goes beyond a simple [USDA] forage protocol.” Click here to read more.
Since all of the above have “loopholes” in their standards, what is the best form and way to ensure the beef and derived dairy products you get are of unquestionable quality? How does the term “grass-finished” sound? It is a new term coin-phrased to reflect the animal is completely, 100% grass-fed throughout the entire life of the cattle. In addition to that, the animals are free from pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers, no antibiotics, hormones or vaccines, animals are treated with kindness and respect to environment and the land and soil management follows good old biblical methods.