Foods from grass fed, pastured animals vs. organic foods–is there a difference? Which has more nutrients?

Deciding what is a healthy diet can be full of conflicting advice. However, if we ask ourselves what foods can offer our bodies the most nutrients, we will begin to understand what foods will best support our health. Unfortunately, the common dietary dictate that we hear over and over—ie. “Eat a lowfat/high-fiber diet and you will be healthy,” does not have nutrient density as an underlying principal.

However, even finding a good source of nutrient-dense foods can be confusing. When it comes to foods with the highest level of nutrients, eating organic meats, poultry, dairy and eggs does not guarantee a nutrient-rich product as organic can mean many things–like feeding the animals an unnatural diet of organic corn and other grains–or even donuts (hard to believe)…etc. It also does not guarantee that the animal has not been raised in a confinement system either. Organic–which often is accompanied by the highest price tag, therefore does not necessarily mean nutrient-dense.

However, we can be assured of the highest level of nutrients in the foods we eat when the animal has been eating its natural diet and is pastured on organic pastureland. It’s almost comical to remind people that cows eat grass and chickens eat bugs and worms. The nutrient levels of the foods from animals eating their natural diets is quite remarkable. In fact the book Pasture Perfect, by Jo Robinson, (pub. Vashon Island Press) compares the level of nutrients from the foods of factory raised animals and pastured animals–and hands down–there is an enormous difference. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that eating corn all day inside a barn would not be a very good idea for a cow….

Pastured foods are becoming more and more available from small family farm coops and in some health food stores. For a good source of pastured foods in your area check out Who’s your farmer?

For more information on a healthy diet see our website at

To your health!

Kathryne Pirtle

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