Pasture Perfect – A Book Review

In Book Reviews, Nutrition by James0 Comments

How can you benefit from choosing meat, eggs, and dairy products from 100% grass-fed animals? Jo Robinson’s Pasture Perfect answers this. Essentially there are four primary benefits that come with pastured produced products: they’re great for – your health, the animals, the farmers, and the planet. It’s a four-dimensional win-win. Pasture farming is the type of farming I’m interested in because it works on these four different levels adding tremendous value to each one. In addition to revealing why pastured is “perfect” the second half of the book doubles as a recipe book providing over 70 pages of recipes for pasture produced food.

What’s in the Book?

Chapter 1 – Imagine
Chapter 2 – Back to Basics
Chapter 3 – Down on the Pharm
Chapter 4 – The Feed/Food Connection
Chapter 5 – Grass-Fed Beef
Chapter 6 – Super Healthy Milk
Chapter 7 – Grass-Fed Bison, Lamb and Pork
Chapter 8 – Free-Living Poultry
Chapter 9 – Where To Find it / How to Cook it
Recipes
    Beef
    Bison & Venison
    Lamb & Veal
    Pork
    Poultry & Egg
    Sauces & Rubs

Highlights

Good For Your Health

Grass finished meat and dairy outscore grain finished meat and dairy across the board. The first way grass finished wins is in the fat category. There is less fat in grass finished meats, and the fat that is there is a healthy fat loaded with vitamins and minerals. The second way grass finished wins is in the calorie column. A six-ounce steak of grass finished beef carries 90 fewer calories than its grain finished counter part. The third benefit and one of the most significant differences is food from grass-fed animals contain 2 to 5 more times omega-3 fatty acids than food from conventional animals, yielding a more balanced and healthy Omega-3 to 6 ratio. Just as important as the omega-3 grass finished yields a high amount of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). In addition grass finished products have more TVA, vitamin E, beta-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium and potassium. The differences are not slight either. When looking at the numbers grass-finished nutrition is off the charts in comparison to grain-fed. Grass finished products are not just the healthiest type of meat and dairy you can consume, they are one of the most overall healthy foods you can eat.

Good for the Animals

In addition to yielding tremendous health benefits, pasture finished products yield the best life possible for the livestock. Anyone who has ever seen in person or an online video of a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) also known in the beef industry as a “feed lot” and in the chicken industry as a “chicken house” doesn’t have to think long about the question of whether or not the animals are stress free and healthy. The bottom line is life for animals that are raised and finished in these environments is a torturous existence. The animals are unable to express their instincts which is what keeps them calm and happy, and they are riddled with infections and disease due to stress and poor sanitation. Something new I learned about theses operations that shocked and disgusted me was the diets fed to cows in some of these places. Most people think cows are at least eating grains, however this is often not the case. They are often times given stale food stuffs like pizza, candy corn, and even chewing gum! If it’s true that you are what you eat ( and it is) it follows that you are what what you eat eats (and it’s true). Animals on pasture live the best possible lives adding value to the land and eventually whoever consumes them, and the time they are alive live a near utopian existence. I say this because even in nature animals face more hardships from predation and food shortages than they do on well managed pasture operations. And the “less harm” vegan argument for not consuming animals falls apart when we look at all the small animal and insect deaths that occur to produce food for vegan diets. Pasture farming actually improves the natural environment, and with it comes an increase in wildlife. It creates a net benefit for animals the cannot be surpassed by nature or any alternative model offered by man.

Good for the Farmers  

Chicken farmers who operate large chicken houses are hardly farmers. Most of them have day jobs and the only interaction they have with the chickens is picking up dead ones each morning and feeding and watering the ones that made it through the night. Today’s modern farmer has succumbed to the government carrot of subsidies and when you look at their income most of them are barely making it or are on the verge of losing the farm. Not too long ago farmers farmed because they loved working with the land and the animals. Most farmers today spend the majority of their time sitting in the chair of a tractor or at a desk. Pasture farming allows farmers to get back to the land and the animals incorporating modern low-cost technology, break free from government subsidies and dependence, and sell directly to consumers which allows them to farm full-time and earn a respectable profit. The movement is growing and there’s currently thousands of farmers with inspiring testimonials of how they shook off the bad advice they’d been sold by various invested interests, and are now independent, making money, and enjoying their trade. Nothing has reinvigorated the love of farming like modern pasture farming.

Good for the Planet

If you believe that man-made global warming is a threat then you better start supporting pastured farming. Pastured farming puts millions of tons of CO2 into the soil every year. If you don’t buy the man-made global warming pitch then you’ll still love pastured farming because it eliminates all the pollution created by CAFOs. Modern agriculture has rightly earned a bad reputation for environmental degradation, however pasture farming not only eliminates the pollution but it actually transforms the land for the better. Rotational planned grazing has reversed desertification all over the planet. This means more water and more food at very little cost – the animals and nature work together to benefit the planet and humanity. There is no better solution to improving the environment than pasture farming.

Final Thoughts of a Wannabe Farmer

The public did not become interested in grass-finished products until they discovered there were direct benefits for them, a revelation that did not gain any serious attention until the year 2000. Prior to this all animal products were considered to be nutritionally equal. In addition most people had no idea how their meat was being raised. Most people assumed cows were raised and finished on grass, chickens didn’t have their claws and beaks removed, animals were not being pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, and certainly not riddled with disease from lying in their own feces all day. Change happens because people get new information, and that’s what happened with the pasture raised movement. Once people had this new information they were faced with a choice – to ignore it, or to act on it. More and more people are getting the information and acting with their conscience. Pastured meats create in my view a true value meal. A value meal is not the cheapest biggest combination of food stuffs you can find. A value meal is a meal that reflects your values from inception to ingestion. What other value meal gives back to the animal, farmer, environment, and consumer the way pastured products do? Few, if any. One of the reasons I want to be a grass farmer a.k.a pastured meat farmer is because I want to incorporate my values into what I do for a living. Pasture farmers create great value and I look forward to being a part of that legacy. If you’re looking to create your own value meals go to eatwild.com where you can find farmers all over the country (and in your area) who are pasture farming and selling their products. Do it for your health, the animal’s wellbeing, the environment, and the farmers!

This is What a Grass Finished Beef Operation Looks Like 

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