Local Farmer Explains the Benefits of Pasture Raised Animals
A Five Part Series
Part 3: Nutrition
If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably read the first two installments of our five part series on the benefits of pasture raised animals. Those posts outlined the benefits that raising animals on pasture provides for the animals and for the environment. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the benefits provided to the consumer in the form of nutrition.
If you’ve made the decision to become a conscious consumer, more power to you. If more people made their buying choices based on the greater good and environmental sustainability, we’d be able to make a dent in a lot of the world’s issues. The truth is though, even the most conscious consumer wants to know that the products they’re purchasing benefit them as well.
When you consume pasture raised animals, not only are you making a choice that benefits the animals and the environment, but you’re choosing a product that is so much better for you than conventionally raised meat. Among other things (such as the absence of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides in the meat), pasture raised chicken is so much more nutritious, and we’ll explain the how’s and why’s behind that in this post.
Pasture Raised Chicken is More Nutrient Dense
One of the core differences between pasture raised chicken and conventionally raised chicken is the varied diet that a pasture raised bird consumes on pasture. By foraging outdoors, they feed on a steady stream of insects, worms, bugs, and grasses available to them that their conventionally-raised counterparts just don’t have access to. This menu may not sound very appetizing to us, but it’s full of delicacies for a chicken! The ability to hunt for their food and the pure yet nutritious diet provides them with ample vitamins and minerals that afford the chickens better health during their lifetime, and that makes their meat much healthier to consume.
Pasture raised chicken contains 50% more vitamin A, D, and E than conventionally raised chicken
The vitamin content of pasture raised meat is just one of its many nutritional benefits. Because pasture raised chickens eat such a diverse and nutrient dense diet when foraging on pasture, they pass that nutrient density on to the consumer. The old adage “you are what you eat” is particularly true when it comes to meat. We also like to take it a step further and say that "you are what you eat, eats". Animals who were fed a nutrient scarce or unvaried diet during their lifetime are not going to be as robust and healthy as an animal who was well fed with access to a varied and nutritious diet, and in turn their meat will lack those nutrients as well.
Vitamins A, D, and E in particular are very important for a number of processes in the body, such as forming healthy teeth, bones, and skin (Vitamin A), boosting the immune system (Vitamin D), and both protecting cells from damage and repairing damaged cells (Vitamin E).
One of the easiest ways for us to become a healthier society is to be more conscious of what we consume. We’ve become so used to the concept of “fast” food, whether that comes from a drive thru or just overly processed foods in convenient packaging that we can nuke in the microwave, that we sometimes forget that there’s a price to pay for that convenience, and it comes in the form of poor nutrition. Making small and easy changes in our diet, like changing the source of our meat, can go such a long way to improving our overall nutrition and health.
Obtaining nutrients from real food sources is always preferable to popping a supplement, and making the easy switch to pasture raised meat is a great way to boost your body’s vitamin intake.
Pasture Raised Chicken has 3 Times the Omega-3’s of Conventional Chicken
In addition to providing a hefty dose of vitamins, pasture raised chicken is also an ample source of omega 3s.
Omega 3s are essential fatty acids that have been shown to improve both heart and brain health. The benefits of omega 3s to the brain and nervous system include aiding ADHD, fighting depression, anxiety, and psychiatric disorders, reducing age-related cognitive decline, and assisting in formation of the brain in utero.
The cardiovascular benefits of omega 3s include lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and preventing arterial plaque buildup.
Omega 3s have also been shown to help reduce inflammation and autoimmune issues in the body. The bottom line is - omega 3s are super important, and pasture raised chicken is an excellent source of this vital nutrient.
As if the higher nutrient value wasn’t enough reason to make the switch, pasture raised chicken is also lower in saturated fat, and higher in protein and collagen than conventionally raised chicken. Not only are you obtaining more nutrients from pasture raised meat, but you’re consuming less fat and more protein, making it an excellent choice for athletes or those who monitor their fat and protein intake as well, whether for health or fitness reasons.
Why Whole Food Nutrition is Important
Given the vast amount of supplements on the market today, you may think that it’s easier to obtain your nutrition through supplemental form than directly from your food. While it’s true that the average American diet is lacking in nutrients, whole food nutrition is by far the best way to obtain the crucial nutrients your body needs.
Whole foods contain fiber, phytochemicals, and trace nutrients that aren’t replicated in supplements, no matter how high the quality. While supplements have their place, such as providing necessary nutrients to someone severely deficient to the point where they’re unable to obtain enough nutrients through diet, these products are called supplements for a reason. They are meant to supplement a nutrient dense diet, not replace it.
A diet rich in pasture raised meat, including chicken (which is lower in fat and has a lower carbon footprint than red meat), healthy fats, and fresh vegetables is so important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In fact, Farmer Paul’s experience with such a diet is what inspired us to start this company. Switching from a “standard American diet” to a paleo-centric, whole foods focused way of life was actually life changing for Paul and inspired many members of his family to adopt the same diet and lifestyle.
At Pasturebird, our lives were impacted so much through a shift towards a healthier diet that included pasture raised meat that we wanted to make it easier for others to obtain the same life changing results. Because it is difficult to find truly pasture raised chicken on grocery store shelves (although we are working on this), and because you simply can't trust the labels of the chickens who are, we want to make sure you have access to truly pasture raised chicken that can be delivered directly to your doorstep. Our focus at Pasturebird is to make it easy and affordable to keep pasture raised chicken on hand at all times so it can be a cornerstone of your own nutrient dense diet and lifestyle.