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Corn-fed vs. Grass-fed Beef

I’ve talked about the general impacts of eating cattle on society, but this week I want to look into more direct impacts of the changes we have made in producing beef on individuals who aren’t necessarily victims of health disorders such as coronary heart disease, obesity, or type II diabetes. Generally, when we talk about corn-fed vs grass-fed we are talking about non-organic vs. organic beef.

70% of the cows we raise are forced to eat corn to reduce our surplus, speed up their growth rate, and increase efficiency in production. However, in terms of long-run, this method is not efficient at all. Not only is it less environmentally friendly and produces more industrial waste, but individuals eating grain-fed cattle receive several direct health impacts.

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Can you tell the difference between corn-fed beef and grass-feed beef?

Corn fed beef vs. Grass fed beef
-Corn-fed cattle receive antibiotic injections.
-Corn-fed cattle are injected with hormones. This can upset the balance in top-predators such as humans, leading to reproductive disorders, cancer, and other health impacts.
-Corn-fed cattle are confined in feedlots to prevent them from exercise and using energy so they grow quicker. This creates more fat and marbling in meat.

gr_beef -Corn-fed cattle provide reduced nutritional values. Their meat has significantly more fat. Grass-fed cattle have significantly more vitamins, minerals, omega-3, and Conjugated linoleic acid(CLA). Omega-3 is known to help lower blood pressure, depression, arthritis and others. Studies have discovered that CLA can help suppress tumor developments in rats, and possibly in humans.

These impacts affect anyone who consumes corn-fed meat. You can typically find grass-fed beef at a local farmer’s market, at Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and other organic restaurants. Studying the production of beef has helped me realize that there are other important factors to maintaining a healthy lifestyle other than simply eating vegetarian. Consuming organic foods, especially from local farmer’s markets is just as important as limiting meat consumption.

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My Experience as a Temporary Vegetarian

Hello, I’m Kiley, guest blogger to Kelly. Before you start skimming my post, this week I’ve written an interesting story! So don’t skim! You’re missing out! I also added a bunch of pictures to this blog post so it’s pretty long.

Anyway, for this week’s blog post, I decided to go vegetarian for six days. The challenge was pretty daunting at first, as I had never gone a day without eating meat in my entire life. It’s not that hard to believe as I come from a family of omnivores who made sure to always buy and stuff enough meat into my mouth to help me “grow,” become “strong,” and make me “smarter.” Below are a series of diary entries to assist in finding out how successful of a vegetarian I truly was and how the experience shaped me.

Note: Fruit was usually accompanied after dinner. Kiley usually eats two meals per day: brunch and dinner. 

Saturday 5/11
“Oh crap.” I had just eaten a bowl of noodles containing MEAT. More specifically chock full of pork bits, fish balls, fish tofu, and shrimp. I totally forgot to tell my parents about my temporary vegetarian venture as I camped out in Culver City over the weekend. Oh well, time to break out the hamburgers for dinner! “No big deal, I’ll probably start on Sunday,” I told myself, munching on a juicy, luscious hamburger.

Who could resist this sexy beast of a food?

Who could resist this sexy beast of a food? 

Sunday 5/12
“You’re going to die,” my mother warned me as I told her about my venture to vegetarianism. “You need certain vitamins and minerals from meat; only eating vegetables will cause you to die.” Well it was my first official day as a vegetarian. For lunch, I helped cooked a savory turned bland rice porridge as I was forced to take out all meat parts. It was meat that gave the rice porridge character, flavor, and substance. Dinner was a little better, although eating vegetables bundled with meat only stirred my desires for meat. Nevertheless, I got through the day, even as my grandmother lured me into eating meat: “It’s just a little meat, come on fill that bony body,” as she poured bits of pork, chicken, fish, beef, and oysters onto my dinner plate.

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Monday 5/13
“You’re going to run out of energy,” my fathered cautioned as I told him about my vegetarian venture. Well, I thought, at least this is better than not dying. For lunch I ventured onto the Bombshelter Bistro at the North Campus Center. Hunting for affordable vegetarian options proved difficult, but not impossible. I settled for a vegetarian patty melt sandwich at the price of $4.99. I had no idea what was in store for me, so I giddily dug into my sandwich. “Ugh, disgusting! The patty melt tastes horrible!” I told myself. More specifically, bits of carrots, and other mushy, yellowy, vegetables constituted the patty and it tasted, again, disgusting! So I took

the patty out of the sandwich and ate the sandwich with only the cheese and caramelized onions. Later I forced myself to buy fruit juice to supplement my lunch. My famished stomach ravaged my senses as I struggle to pay attention in Econ 2 lecture, choosing instead to wage a war between my brain , stomach, and that lingering aftertaste of that repulsive sandwich.

Dinner cheered me up though, as I ate some awesome vegetarian Chinese food. Brown rice, chives with dried beancurd, and water spinach/Chinese spinach. Nom nom nom Chinese/Taiwanese food. Overall a mildly successful day.

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Tuesday 5/14
“Argghhh misleading labeling!” I said, as I bit into my lunch. For lunch, I decided on the weirdly named “Green Onion Pasta Cake.” It seemed pretty vegetarian so I decided to cook it. Unfortunately for me, when I bit into the “cake”, I was met with bits of meat! Pork to be exact. And then I read the label. There’s meat written in Chinese on the label! The label is only misleading for non-Chinese speakers, I thought to myself. I settled for a cheese sandwich; no way was I going to break my vegetarian pledge. Even if it meant eating a paltry cheese sandwich.

Dinner was a battle to be fought, as Vietnamese pho was served for dinner. This Vietnamese pho not only contained beef, but also was cooked in a beef stew. The pho was an immediate trap as the aromatic smell of beef and spices flew around the kitchen, seducing my sense of smell and entrapping my mind into a mad meat fervor. Much willpower was exerted breaking free of the kitchen and into the safe confines of my room. For dinner, I ate only a salad consisting of romaine lettuce with Chinese sesame dressing.

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Wednesday 5/15
Crawling to class, our hero has just marked her fourth day as a vegetarian. Her muscles weak, eyes bloodshot, legs jello, stomach screaming out for mercy, as the hero makes way into the calculated horror known as “Math 31B”. Three days of vegetarianism and poor sleeping patterns has taken a toll on poor Kiley. Her stomach cries for meat at bedtime and during the day. (3-4 hours after lunch and dinner) No amount of vegetables, carbohydrates, fruits and other food sources can satisfy Kiley’s stomach. As she walked into the dining hall for lunch, she passes the mussels and hamburgers. She grabs the vegetable and grain sources and starts

to munch on them. Eating a piece of lettuce, Kiley contemplates on the existence of vegetarianism. Can human beings really subsist without meat? How am I surviving without meat? Kiley’s palate yearns for more.

Our young hero leaps into the kitchen during dinnertime. Her mind vacillates between another vegetarian meal and suddenly….. Dennys! More specifically, ham sandwiches and fries. Should Kiley eat this sandwich? It’s quite rare that our young hero eats out during dinnertime. Our young hero again contemplates vegetarianism and the vow. Before she could finish contemplation of vegetarianism/existentialism, Kiley rushes to the sandwiches. In a moment of compulsion, our young hero picks up a sandwich, looks it straight in the eye, and promptly devours the sandwich! She has lost sight of the goal as all sandwiches are gone in less than five minutes. Kiley loses the fight between vegetarianism and the seduction of meat. Our hero has yielded her senses and willpower to meat. The vow is broken. Kiley’s vegetarian journey ends on Wednesday, May 15, 2013.

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Thursday 5/16
After that dramatic night, I reverted back to my omnivore habits. Dumplings were the choice for lunch; dinner, noodles. Overall I felt like I was back to normal.

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Conclusion: Vegetarianism is not for me. I’ve always wondered what it was like to be a vegetarian and this week has shown that I’m not fit for this lifestyle choice. These descriptions admittedly paint me as a drama queen but my body pretty much reacted dramatically. It was as if my stomach felt empty, and soulless at every meatless meal no matter how much carbs and vegetables I put in my mouth. I still feel pretty bad about eating meat therefore some meals I can probably skip meat. My parent’s predictions were wrong: I didn’t nearly die nor lose energy. (well Wednesday was sluggish but not total loss of energy) Vegetarianism has taught me to cherish every meaty meal and to balance out my needs as an omnivore. As I sit here eating a meat sandwich, I wonder how Kelly did it. Being vegetarian for a month that is.