Sunday, June 23, 2013

Meat and the Healthy Heart

There have been a number of new studies come out showing that the consumption of meat may not be the greatest thing for the heart. While this is not really new, what I have wondered was: is it the meat or how the meat is grown and produced. 

Grass-fed beef is  richer in Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) which help reduce inflammation,  by percentage, owing to the increase in omega-3s. Grass-fed beef is high in B-vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin K, and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium than feed lot  corn feed beef. Studies show grass feeding results in higher levels of  “good” naturally occurring trans fat. Studies also typically show lower total levels of saturated, and polyunsaturated fats in grass-fed cows, but that’s just looking at the trimmed cuts. If you look at the whole carcass post-slaughter, you’ll find it’s encased in a thick shell of saturated animal fat that gets removed because consumers are scared of it and many grass-fed producers love to market their meat as low in “bad fat” and low in cholesterol. Long story short: grass-fed beef has plenty of fat, it’s just distributed differently. More subtle marbling and more subcutaneous deposition. And, the taste is really so much better. 

Also knowing that your purchases do not have acres of waste pools polluting local ground water is a plus.

Feed Lot Cows Eating Corn

Something I learned was that the preserving techniques, which in industrially produced things like salami and hot dogs is done with nitrates that cause cancer, are in organic varieties done with celery juice and sea salt. Hmmm, nitrates or celery juice which by itself is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. No wonder the "old ways" did not make people as sick as these nuclear holocaust proof varieties.

Where to get the good stuff? Consider a 4H animal, it is summer time and county fair time. A great place to get a well fed and cared for animal is from one of the 4H members projects. You can also find local meat CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area, you can try Local Harvest to see what is in your area I can suggest a couple:

I am familiar with Burgundy Beef in Texas, The Taggart Family on their ranch!

Sage Mountain Farms in Temecula, California 

And for preserved meats, the best options are organic products made by Applegate available at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and well stocked markets. I suggest liking them on Facebook, they have great recipe ideas and fun posts.

The other is available through Amazon and fine grocers which is fine artisan salamis.

Here in Napa, I plan to do a post and show on The Fatted Calf which makes their products on site, and also offers classes

So if you must eat meat, you can do so and not harm your heart. 

Now that is something to celebrate!

Make sure to listen to the show for other ideas..............


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