Did you know that cows were made to digest grass? No, not corn!
It makes sense, right? We see a picture of a cow and it is out to pasture, eating grass. I just recently learned that before World War II, cows were only fed grass and went to pasture to eat.
However, to increase the production of milk, farmers moved to not just letting cows graze on grass but to feeding them grain and corn. This led to an increase production of milk, which is what we needed after World War II but it didn’t really benefit the cow or us, in the long run. Of course, I’m no expert but I’m giving you a run down of what I’ve learned in “layman’s terms” and it’s very interesting.
All Cow Milk is Not Created Equally
What a cow eats and how it’s raised, does impact the taste and nutritional value of the dairy product. For a cow, feeding it a high grain or corn based diet means the milk comes out different. The saying, you are what you eat, goes for a cow too! A diet of mostly grains and corn affects the milk production and makes it taste different.
The fatty acids in fact, changes when we compare grass-fed cows and conventionally fed cows. Milk from 100% grass-fed cows have a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids and lower in omega-6 fatty acids. Time and time again, we’ve heard how important omega-3 fatty acids are for our heart and brain health. This is not something most people realize because we’re used to eating dairy products that come from cows that are fed a mostly grain or corn diet.
We don’t realize there’s a nutritional difference or perhaps taste difference. However, I challenge you to try Stonyfield’s new Grassfed Whole milk Organic Yogurt. When my samples arrived, I was amazed at how smooth, rich and creamy it tasted. Try it and see if you can taste the difference? I love the honey flavor but my daughter was a vanilla fan!
To Clear up Any Confusion
Q: I eat a yogurt now that says from grass-fed cows, what is the difference?
A: There is no FDA regulation on putting “grass-fed” on a dairy product. However, if the yogurt is certified organic, like Stonyfield organic yogurt, this means means the dairy cow must consume at least 30% of its diet from grass. If you want to make the yogurt is coming from cows that are 100% grass-fed, look for this label:
Q: What’s the difference between Stonyfield’s other organic yogurt and the Grassfed Organic yogurt?
A: Let me start by saying, they all taste amazing and are good for you. They’re all certified organic and GMO free. The difference is what the cows eat. All cows raised for organic dairy products are required to be out to pasture for at least 120 days and most are out to pasture more than this, it is just a minimum requirement. The other days, the cows made be supplemented with organic GMO free grains. So the biggest difference is that the cows that help make the yummy Stonyfield Grassfed yogurt are 100% fed grass, no other organic GMO grains. If you want to learn more about what you get what you get Stonyfield’s organic yogurt, read this blog post. It gives you all the details!
Q: Why don’t all farmers raise their cows to be grass-fed?
A: I learned that sourcing organic milk from 100% pure grass-fed cows, it’s hard to come by. Which is why not all of Stonyfield’s organic yogurt is 100% grass-fed. Think about it, farmers have been raising dairy cows using grain, corn and putting them out to pasture since World War II. It’s a big shift in thinking and in the way the U.S. agricultural system is now. My hope is that overtime, this changes and we can go back to farming the way it was and the way cows were meant to eat. For now, if you’re aiming to find 100% grass-fed yogurt, you can choose Stonyfield. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong when you choose any of the Stonyfield products (I’m not paid to tell you this) but when you choose 100% grass-fed yogurt, there’s a healthier omega-3 and fatty acids component, like I referenced above.
Q: Should I only be eating yogurt that comes from cows that are 100% grass-fed?
A: That is up to you. The point of this post is to educate you on what 100% grass-fed means, so when you are at the grocery store you can make a personal and educated decision. I will say, that when you choose to buy any product at the grocery store, you’re voting with your dollar. So if you want to see more 100% grass-fed dairy products, the demand has to there. At the very least, I recommend choosing organic dairy products because at least the cow is out to pasture at least 30% of the time. That’s better than non certified organic dairy products.
Sources and Image Credits: Maple Hill Creamery via Stonyfield Grassfed Webinar