You’re probably already using organic milk in your coffee and yogurt with your breakfast and plating up organic meats for dinner. Now you can easily upgrade those efforts even further by reaching for 100% grass-fed dairy products, meats and more.
What makes grass so good? “Grass-fed meat and dairy have more omega-3 fats and more of a health-promoting fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventional,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey, psychiatrist, author of The Happiness Diet and the upcoming book Eat Complete, and an expert on food’s connection to brain function. “It’s a relatively small amount of these fats, much less than in seafood like fatty fish—but those small amounts consumed regularly make a real difference” in the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats in the diet. When we consume too much omega 6 vs. omega 3 (very common in Western diets), we’re more vulnerable to inflammation, heart disease and cancer, and brain function can suffer as well, research shows.
If you’re thinking, Doesn’t organic dairy and meat come from grass-fed cows anyway? The answer is, sort of. Organic means the cows have had some access to pasture, but their food likely was supplemented with organic grains. That’s certainly better than conventionally raised cows, but 100% grass-fed nets you the most nutrients, including antioxidants like vitamin E. Grass-fed beef is usually lower in fat overall, as well.
Lucky for us, lots of companies are meeting the growing demand for grass-fed products. Here are a few new ones we love:
Stonyfield Organic Grass-Fed Yogurt: This rich, creamy, tangy yogurt is delicious topped with fruit or added to a smoothie for breakfast. Swap it in for sour cream in dips or dressings, too.
Organic Valley Grassmilk Raw Cheddar: This cheese, available in mild or sharp, is complex and luscious. Shred it and toss some on a salad, or enjoy a few slices as a snack with whole-grain crackers or an apple.
Annie’s Organic Grass-Fed Mac and Cheese: It’s “for the kids,” we know. Whether “they” prefer classic mac and cheese or go for shells and white cheddar, you can get that same flavor with cheese made with milk from grass-fed cows.
The New Primal Grass-Fed Beef Jerky: There’s no shortage of jerkies on the market these Paleo/primal days, but this brand stands out because, along with being grass-fed, it’s free of added nitrates, low in sugar (sweetened with honey and pineapple juice) and relatively light on the sodium—yet still full of great flavor.
Epic Grass-Fed Bone Broth: Trend alert: Bone broth and grass-fed come together in one bottle, with jalapeños adding a spicy kick to this rich, flavorful brew. It adds a layer of flavor to recipes, and is delicious enough to drink straight–nothing like those old cans of broth our parents used to use.
Epic Grass-Fed Beef Tallow: Now that old-fashioned animal oils, once banned from healthy kitchens, are back in vogue, you can add amazing flavor to stir-fries, roasted vegetables, eggs and more with this product. Along with its rich flavor, it has a relatively high smoke point of 400ºF, so it’s good for many applications.