Earlier this year, the “Dr. Oz” television show aired a segment on a type of meat that many consumers may have heard of but still may not be entirely familiar with: grass fed beef. The segment explains that grass fed beef in Arizona comes from cattle that are fed a diet of grass, while much of the beef that many of us are likely used to eating comes from cattle that are fed a diet of grain.

The segment also sheds light on the fact that a diet of grain, which is typically very inexpensive for farmers, allows cattle to gain weight quickly, ensuring that a farmer can raise larger numbers of cattle that will ultimately be used to produce meat. Additionally, to aid in their efforts to raise cattle quickly and increase their profits, farmers have over time provided fattier beef for the least expensive price possible to satisfy consumers who have grown accustomed to the taste of this fatty beef.

However, there is an option that is healthier for consumers and more humane for animals: grass fed beef. This type of beef provides a number of benefits:

• Grass fed beef products are a healthy alternative to grain fed beef: Research has shown the numerous health benefits that grass fed beef products can provide, including lower risk of heart disease, lowered cancer risk, better effectiveness in weight loss, a better source of healthy fats and a good source of vitamins and minerals.

• Grass fed cattle are raised in more humane conditions: The majority of cattle in America are raised for a short time on grass and then “finished” in confined feeding areas with a diet of grain. This type of diet is unnatural to them. Conversely, at the Arizona Grass Raised Beef Co., our 100 percent grass fed and finished, free-range cattle roam around large expanses of Arizona ranch grasslands. Our cattle forage for their food across naturally occurring grasses and are never given corn, pellets, silage, antibiotics or added growth hormones.

• Grass fed beef is a sustainable and environmentally beneficial option: According to industry research, typical operations that raise cattle that eat a grain-based diet consume a significantly high amount of fossil fuels, resulting in higher levels of environmental pollutants when compared to the Arizona Grass Raised Beef Co.’s free-range approach. The ranching practices that we use to produce grass fed beef in Arizona meet all sustainability guidelines. We strive not to place a drain on our surrounding communities. One way in which we meet this goal is by obtaining water from natural resources.

• Grass fed beef provides a locally sourced alternative: Beef that is grass fed is more likely to be local than grain fed beef. This allows a consumer to more easily verify where their food came from and to trust the quality of the product. Beef that travels a shorter distance before being shipped tends to be fresher than non-local beef options.

Interested in making the switch to grass fed beef in Arizona? Look for high-quality beef products from Arizona Grass Raised Beef Co. at retailers and natural grocers across Arizona, and in an increasing number of restaurants throughout the state. You can also order online through our nationwide e-commerce site!