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McDonald’s Switches to 100% Grass-fed Beef

by | Apr 1, 2009


UPDATE: April Fools!

Fast food mega-chain McDonald’s has just announced it will be making all its burgers from 100% grass-fed beef by the end of 2010.

McDonald’s is the largest purchaser of beef in the United States, serving more than 47 million customers daily. Since the company was founded in 1940, their beef has been supplied by feedlot livestock raised predominantly on a diet of corn and soy. As the first major fast food chain to make the shift away from traditional corn-fed beef, McDonald’s is hoping to be a leader in a new era of responsible fast food.

A spokesman for the company says the effort is motivated by consumer demand for safer, healthier products, as well as concern for the environment.

“The nation is ready for change and McDonald’s wants to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

The new grass-fed cattle used by McDonald’s will also be free of antibiotics, which are only necessarily when livestock are artificially fattened on grains. Grass-fed cows are healthier and do not produce as much toxic waste as cows reared on feedlots, but they also mature more slowly. As a result, more time and money are required to raise grass-fed cows. McDonald’s acknowledges that this will result in a substantial 40% increase in the price of their burgers, but believes consumers are willing to pay for the added health and safety.

“Consumers are nervous about the increasingly dangerous problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that results when livestock are given large amounts of drugs, as they are on feedlots. By switching to grass-fed beef, we believe McDonald’s can play a substantial role in reducing this risk.”

The company is also aware of the positive impact this move may have on greenhouse gas emissions. It has been reported that nearly 20% of all greenhouse gases are produced by cattle, even more than are produced by automobiles and transport. They are hoping that their move away from corn-fed beef will encourage more environmentally friendly practices by the beef industry.

This new project is part of an ongoing effort by McDonald’s to offer more high-quality, environmentally friendly items to consumers. McDonald’s began serving organic milk in the U.K. in 2003 and premium coffee was added to U.S. menus in 2006. But the switch to grass-fed beef is by far the most significant “green” change any fast food chain has made to date.

The shift has only been announced for U.S. restaurants, but insiders suggest grass-fed beef may reach global consumers by 2012.

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10 Common Groceries I Never Buy

by | Mar 7, 2009

In general I would say I eat pretty normal food. Admittedly the fruits and vegetables I buy are extraordinary (thank you San Francisco), but they are still just plants that grow out of the dirt in California. I realized recently that what is truly unusual about my diet are the groceries I do not buy.

10 Groceries I Never Buy

(and why I think there are better things to spend my money on)

  1. Sliced bread. Sure my grandparents think it is the greatest invention of all time (literally), but I would argue that the fluffy loaves that come in plastic bags at the market can barely be considered food. Don’t believe me? Check the ingredients list. If you don’t fall asleep by the time you get to the bottom, try pronouncing some of those words in the middle. Exthoxylated…wuh?
  2. Fruit yogurts. It is generally accepted without question that yogurt is good for you. That may be the case for old-fashioned plain yogurt (though I am still not convinced), but I guarantee you those sugary yogurts that take up the bulk of the dairy case do not qualify as health food. 15 grams of sugar is my cut off before a food transitions to dessert. Look before you eat.
  3. Iceberg or romaine lettuce. Besides being colorless and flavorless, these boring greens add little (zero?) nutrition to your life. Instead I buy the colorful, loose spring mixes that come in bags, boxes or bulk bins at the grocery store and farmers market. If you prefer to stick with one kind of salad green at a time, try green or red leafed lettuce. Mix it up occasionally with cabbage or radicchio.
  4. Corn-fed beef. As I have explained before, I love beef (even though I don’t eat much of it). When I decide it is worth the indulgence, I go straight for the gourmet grass-fed kind. Why? Cows were never meant to eat corn (industrial cows have been bred to do it), and those that do are sicker and less nutritious than cows that are pastured. Moreover, the factories that process this sub-par beef are likely to be huge, unsanitary and foster E. Coli outbreaks. Thanks, but I’ll pass.
  5. Soda. There was a time in my life when I drank quarts of Diet Coke a day. But since I started focusing on my health I gave it up and never looked back. Even natural sodas add very little to your quality of life. And if they contain full sugar, your life may even be shortened. When I’m thirsty I drink water.
  6. Pancake or brownie mixes. I am not immune from the occasional pancake or brownie craving (and sometimes my friends demand these of me!). So if it is a special occasion, why bother with the boxed stuff? Both these goodies are easy to make from scratch and worth a little extra time in the kitchen to make them spectacular! Isn’t that what indulgence is all about?
  7. Winter tomatoes. Need I say more? There is no room in my life (usually) for an inadequate tomato. Canned tomatoes are a better option during the spring and winter.
  8. Juice. Even 100% fresh squeezed juice is dangerous for your blood sugar and insulin levels (not to mention your BMI). If I decide to try some, I consume less than 8 oz. You can probably guess what I think about the phony 10% juice products from concentrate (see point #5).
  9. Deli meats. On the surface these purportedly lean meats seem to be healthy. But under the surface they are packed with salts, sugars and nitrates. For a quick protein fix, try canned salmon (boneless, skinless), sardines or lox.
  10. Cheese that comes in plastic. Similar to beef, I indulge in cheese so infrequently that I prefer to go straight to Cowgirl Creamery for the good stuff! My recent favorite is called Midnight Moon.
  • What popular items don’t you buy?
  • Have any questions about other common items in your shopping cart?
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