Prioritize Pastured Proteins

“Pastured” has entered our wordstock as a label and is sometimes confused with the atomic age term “pasteurized”. Though they sound alike, they are not at all similar, particularly in how the foods they describe impact our health.

Meat, eggs, and milk from animals that graze on grass is referred to as “pastured”. This term has been adopted to distinguish this food from the “organic” meat, milk, and eggs now commonly found in supermarkets. While organic products are better than those laden with hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides, the organic labeling merely indicates that the animals were fed organic grains. The problem is that cows and sheep are designed to “pasture” on grass, not grain. Pigs and chickens are omnivores designed to thrive on a varied diet of plants and animal protein, not just grain.

“Pasteurized” is a term we are much more familiar with in our current food culture. It refers to the modern processes used to kill bacteria. Foods like milk and eggs are treated to prevent food-borne illnesses, inherent to factory farming. Milk is pasteurized by heating it to kill any possible pathogens and then quickly cooled. Temperatures and methods vary, but the aim is the same: a longer shelf life. Sadly, along with any undesirable bacteria, vital enzymes and healthy bacteria are destroyed in the process as well. Eggs are pasteurized by exposing them to ozone and nitrogen gases and then spraying on a food grade wax to seal the shell. You’ll notice a red “P” stamped on each egg.

Pastured eggs, milk, and meat are healthiest for us to eat as all of the vital nutrients are in tact. Even if they are pasteurized, they offer you much more nutrition and flavor because the animals were raised naturally eating grass, absorbing vitamin D from the sun, and converting cellulose to protein in the way they were designed, not living knee-deep in manure shackled to a feed trough full of grain in a parking lot. CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) produce nutritionally inferior protein and have a devastating effect on the environment, two good reasons to boycott the products they produce (cheap supermarket meat, milk and eggs).

Prioritize PASTURED foods – join a farm CSA or buying club, or buy directly from a farmer on the farm or at the farm market; even if it means buying and eating less meat, it is worth the price. You get what you pay for.

Shake the hands that feed you. Real food nourishes you in many ways.

Cooking Tips For Pastured Meat (Download a PDF)

How important is pastured protein? Rate Your Plate and find out!