What’s Up With Our Beef?

Is regenerative ranching just a buzzword, or is there a lot more to it than that? Let’s take a deeper look into what regenerative practices are all about.

Just another day at Wrich Ranches, one of AUPA’s sources for grass-fed regenerative beef.

Beef is one of the most popular meats consumed around the world, but not all beef is created equal. In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards regenerative beef, which offers a host of benefits over conventional beef production. In this blog post, we will explore the nutritional differences between grain-fed and grass-fed beef, as well as the environmental benefits of regenerative ranching. I’m hoping to convince you its more than a mouthful of buzzwords!

Nutritional Differences

Grain-fed beef is typically raised in feedlots and fed a diet of corn and soybeans. This diet is high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. This imbalance can lead to chronic inflammation in the body, which has been linked to a range of health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The two fatty acids are shown below and are identified by their different double bond locations.

Omega-3 (linolenic acid) and Omega-6 (linoleic acid) molecule structures with different positions of their first double bonds.

Grass-fed beef, on the other hand, is raised on pasture and fed a diet of grass and other forage. This diet is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in omega-6 fatty acids, which helps to balance the ratio of these fatty acids in the body. Grass-fed beef also contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of healthy fat that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

In addition to being higher in healthy fats, grass-fed beef is also higher in vitamins and minerals. Grass-fed beef contains higher levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is also a good source of vitamin K2, which plays an important role in bone and heart health.

Environmental Benefits

Regenerative ranching, which is a type of farming that focuses on restoring the health of the soil and the ecosystem, has a range of environmental benefits. One of the key benefits of regenerative ranching is that it sequesters carbon. When ranchers use regenerative practices such as rotational grazing and cover cropping, they help to build organic matter in the soil. This organic matter contains carbon, which is taken out of the atmosphere and stored in the soil. In fact, regenerative ranching has the potential to sequester significant amounts of carbon, which can help to mitigate climate change. Below is a simplified illustration of how this process works.

Illustration of carbon sequestration. The carbon is pulled into the plants, then micro-organisms pull that carbon and locked it in deep beneath the soils. Thanks to calrecycle.ca.gov for the graphic.

Regenerative ranching also promotes biodiversity. When ranchers use regenerative practices, they create a diverse ecosystem that supports a range of plants and animals. This diversity is important because it helps to create a more resilient ecosystem that are better able to withstand disruptions such as droughts or floods. Regenerative ranching also provides habitat for many insects and animals, including pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Optimizing Diesel Usage

Another benefit of regenerative ranching is that it can help to optimize diesel usage. Ranchers who use regenerative practices such as rotational grazing can reduce the amount of diesel they use to transport feed and water to their livestock. This is because rotational grazing allows livestock to graze on different areas of the pasture, which means they don’t need to be transported as often. This can help to reduce the carbon footprint of the ranch and save money on fuel costs.

Healing the Soil and Land

Regenerative ranching is an agricultural practice that focuses on restoring and healing the soil and land through sustainable and holistic management. This approach aims to promote the health and well-being of the ecosystem by regenerating natural resources and creating a thriving and resilient environment. Regenerative ranching involves the use of techniques that increase soil organic matter, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration, while reducing soil erosion and nutrient loss.

One of the primary ways that regenerative ranching heals the soil and land is by implementing rotational grazing. This involves dividing a pasture into smaller paddocks and rotating livestock through each paddock in a planned sequence. This allows the land to rest and recover between grazing periods, which stimulates plant growth and increases the diversity of plant species. This, in turn, promotes the regeneration of soil health, as the plants provide the necessary nutrients to feed soil microbes, which play a critical role in soil health and fertility.

Regenerative ranching also emphasizes the use of cover crops and reduced tillage, which help to improve soil health by increasing soil organic matter, reducing soil erosion, and promoting water retention. Cover crops are planted in between cash crops and provide a living cover for the soil, which protects it from the elements and helps to retain nutrients. Reduced tillage practices reduce soil disturbance and prevent soil compaction, which can help to increase soil water infiltration and promote healthy root growth.

Overall, regenerative ranching is a sustainable and holistic approach to agriculture that promotes the health and well-being of the ecosystem by restoring and healing the soil and land. By implementing practices such as rotational grazing, cover cropping, and reduced tillage, regenerative ranchers are helping to create a thriving and resilient environment that benefits both the land and the people who depend on it.

AUPA sources it’s beef from two top-tier grass-fed & regenerative ranched here in Colorado; Wrich Ranches & Flying B Bar.

Wrich Ranches

Best Beef in Colorado. Jason Wrich is a leader in the regenerative farm & ranch community, and devoted to building soil while growing the best animal protein on the planet. The proof is in the taste and texture – Grass fed and Grass finished. He also delivers to the Denver area and accepts bitcoin which is a plus! We are excited and proud to be doing business with such a leader in the space! Watch this cool video they just released and also check out their website.

Flying B Bar

Flying B Bar Cattle Ranch, located in Strasburg, Colorado, raises Black Angus cattle, and is the passion pursuit of the Buchanan family; Brad, Margaret, Grace and Will. Our cattle are all grass fed and grass finished, which means they are never fed any grains or corn.

Most cattle are sent off to feed lot at about the age of 6 months to “finish”, just after they are weaned from their mothers, and are penned up eating nothing but cracked corn, growth hormones and steroids. Cows in nature eat nothing but grass. In fact their stomachs aren’t even designed to process corn, but it sure will put the weight on quickly. This can get them to market in a little over a year old.

Beautiful day at Flying B Bar Ranch where the best grass-fed regenerative beef is produced!

At the Flying B our cattle spend their lives on grass pasture, and there they stay until they are ready to come home for dinner. And if the pastures need to be supplemented during the winter, we only feed hay farmed right here at the ranch, usually Sorghum/Sudangrass and alfalfa or hay from farmers we know and trust. Please check out their website.

Hopefully you now see the word ‘regenerative’ as more than just a buzzword, its the way cattle ranching was done in the old days and we need a return too the traditional methods as we’ve lost our way in industrials feed lots.

This post covers our beef sourcing, if you want to learn about all of our other ingredient sourcing, JJ has written an excellent post about that!

Steps We Take To Make Our Bars Safe for YOU!

At AUPA, we prioritize safety in our kitchen above all else. Our commitment to safety is reflected in every aspect of our operations, from our fully compliant kitchen that meets all health and safety standards, to our pending USDA processing approval, to our use of state-of-the-art water activity measurement technology and our isotherm analysis which predicts our products shelf life.

JJ doing some cleaning in our new commercial kitchen! I’m (Rob) in the back taking the picture.

Our goal is to provide you with the tastiest and safest products possible, with the longest possible shelf life. By continually investing in the latest safety measures, we ensure that we are always providing you with the highest quality products that you can trust and give you the upmost confidence they won’t get you sick!

Transforming raw meat (specifically beef) into a shelf-stable bar that has a long shelf life requires careful and precise handling & processing. The handling & processing of meat presents several challenges, including bacteria, viruses, yeasts and parasites, that can cause foodborne illness. The most common pathogens found in raw meat include Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter jejuni.

Illustration of various microorganisms.

At AUPA, we understand the importance of ensuring the safety of our products, which is why we implement a scientifically proven lethality process during meat preparation. This process guarantees the elimination of pathogens to levels that are safe and acceptable. By using this rigorous & repeatable process, we are able to provide our customers with products that are not only delicious but also safe to consume.

A fresh & safe Blueberry Almond AUPA bar.

Water Activity

Water activity is an important factor in the storage, preservation, and shelf life of food and pharmaceutical products. The aW (water activity) value of a product determines the available water in a product, which in turn affects the growth and survival of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, and mold. In order to measure the water activity of a product, various instruments are used, one of which is the Aqualab 4TE Water Activity Meter.

AUPA has invested in an industry best AQUALAB 4TE water activity meter so each batch of AUPS bars is rigourously tested!

The Aqualab 4TE water activity meter is an industry standard and state-of-the-art meter used in food and pharmaceutical industries. We will also explore the concept of isotherm plots and how they relate to water activity, product safety, and shelf life.

What is the Aqualab 4TE Water Activity Meter?

The Aqualab 4TE Water Activity Meter is a handheld device designed for fast and accurate measurement of water activity in food, pharmaceuticals, and other products. The instrument uses a sophisticated sensor technology that measures the relative humidity (RH) of the air inside a sealed sample chamber. The Aqualab 4TE water activity meter is capable of measuring water activity in a range of 0.05 to 0.999 aW, with an accuracy of ±0.02 aW.

Applications of the Aqualab 4TE Water Activity Meter

The Aqualab 4TE water activity meter is widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in academic research and quality control. In the food industry, water activity is an important factor in the preservation and storage of food products. The Aqualab 4TE is used to measure the water activity of food products such as fruits, vegetables, baked goods, confectioneries, and dried meat products. By measuring the water activity of food products, manufacturers can ensure that the products have a longer shelf life and are free from spoilage, contamination, and other quality problems.

In the pharmaceutical industry, water activity is an important factor in the stability and shelf life of drugs and other medical products. The Aqualab 4TE is used to measure the water activity of pharmaceutical products such as tablets, capsules, and creams. By measuring the water activity of pharmaceutical products, manufacturers can ensure that the products are stable, effective, and safe for use.

AUPA ensures all bar batches are consistent with a water activity below 0.6 aW to ensure safety and long shelf life. No microbes can grow under 0.6 aW. The table below shows the dangers of being above 0.6 aW.

Water activity (aW) values and corresponding microorganism growths.

If we didn’t invest in a state-of-the-art water activity meter, we would put the consumer at risk since the resultant water activity of individual batches can easily vary depending on incoming ingredients variability, processing variations and environmental conditions. Rest assure that each AUPA bar has been tested to ensure a rigorous compliance of less than 0.6 aW.

Isotherm Plots and Water Activity

Isotherm plots are graphical representations of the relationship between water activity and moisture content. An isotherm plot is a graph that shows the water activity of a product at different levels of moisture content. The x-axis represents the moisture content, and the y-axis represents the water activity.

Example isotherm of a product.

The shape of an isotherm plot can provide valuable information about the water activity of a product and its stability over time. For example, a steep isotherm plot indicates that the water activity of a product changes rapidly with changes in moisture content. This is an indication that the product is highly sensitive to changes in moisture content and may be subject to spoilage, contamination, or other quality problems.

On the other hand, a flat isotherm plot indicates that the water activity of a product changes slowly with changes in moisture content. This is an indication that the product is more stable and less prone to spoilage, contamination, or other quality problems.

AUPA is currently working the Meter Group advanced laboratory to generate an isotherm for each of our products. Armed with the information, we can use the exact water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) of our packaging to provide you the best possible shelf life and safety. This is not a cheap endeavor, but we firmly believe the investment into this information will set us apart from any other competitors and provide you with an optimal product that will make you into a repeat customer!

Rob holding our new AQUALAB 4TE!