A Case for Red Meat

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Don’t give up on one of the oldest and most nutritious food sources on the planet.

Since most meat is red meat, why not make the most of this delicious and nutrient-dense protein source. Learn how to select it and how to cook it, then let it do its job of nourishing the body with micronutrients and savoriness.

Yes, there are many very good reasons for not eating red meat but that is a broad generality and only pertains to the origins of the meat. This is a recent phenomenon since humans have thrived on red meat for many generations. “Don’t eat red meat” is a common mantra displayed in modern society. To eschew red meat is the same as giving up cheese or celery. They all have good and bad versions. This article will focus on the positives of red meat, why it is healthy and why you should make it a part of a regular diet.

Photo by Steven Ashton

A Little Background

The difference between conventional supermarket red meat and truly 100 percent pastured red meat is significant in terms of nutritional content. Grass-fed means that animals consumed not just grass but other wild vegetation such as alfalfa and clover and many others.

The nutrient content of a 1/4 pound of grass-fed beef has roughly 2-3 times more omega 3 fatty acids than factory raised beef. The micro-nutrient profile is more complete. Red meat is a complete protein. The risk of contamination by bacteria and hormones is vastly lower. Include some organ meats from the same healthy animals, and you have all essential amino acids covered. It’s all about the quality of life that the animal was provided. Humane treatment and feeding of animals produces healthier flesh.

Typically, animals raised for food on pasture and forest are humanely treated and raised in a natural and healthy environment. What it comes down to is that with the exception of chicken breast and most fish, everything else is red meat.

There Are Nutritious Red Meats Readily Available

With a movement towards healthier food well underway in recent years, many big-name supermarkets carry 100 percent grass-fed beef, elk and buffalo. Some specialty stores take it even further by stocking deer, caribou and ostrich. Always make sure you are getting 100 percent grass-fed meat because there are also farms where the meat is “grain finished” which defeats the purpose of raising the most nutritious meat.  

Don’t forget pastured lamb and wild tuna!

Grow It or Hunt It Yourself

Hunters andfarmers have known for a long time the health benefits of wild and pasture raised meat. Even pigs that are wild or forest raised have red meat. Pork should not be white.

I personally have spent a great deal of time and effort hunting and processing feral pigs. These pigs mostly ate acorns and roots. Never was any of the meat white or pale. A growing number of small farms are selling pastured or “Forest raised” pigs where they fence in a portion of forested land and allow the pigs to eat their fill of the natural vegetation. These pens are rotated to other areas as necessary. The same goes for cattle grazing. Cattle are raised on grass and hay their entire lives.

Humans have a long history of eating red meat and in many cultures and it is the main sustenance and always has been. The vilification of red meat is a modern phenomenon that has been created as a result of the mass production of meat.


Photo by Steven Ashton

Preparation Is Important

Since high-quality red meat is not cheap, it should be treated with the utmost care and should never be overcooked. The protein becomes distorted and many of the micronutrients are removed while under long periods of high heat. Aging in cool temperatures is a natural way to bring out more flavor and tenderness.

When comparing the different types of red meat, be aware of the fact that meats that have had many additives such as sausage and bacon don’t count in this comparison. Pork has been commonly made into meat products that are not necessarily nutritious. When purchasing these types, look for the least amount of added ingredients and natural additives.

The practice of factory farming in confinement is barely a blip on the historical scale of human feeding practices. Humans have survived and evolved on various types of red meats but only very recently started consuming factory raised meats. If you have tuned out on red meat you might want to rethink the well-researched nutritional advantages red meat has over other types of protein. Continue to eat as our ancestors did but just be discriminating in your red meat choices; our ancestors had no choice as all of their meat sources were natural.

Resources

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=141

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=339

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/pork-other-red-meat

http://www.earthtoforknutrition.com/

Websites to locate pasture-raised products in your area:

Eat Wild

Local Harvest

I encourage readers to watch the well-researched and documented film: “The Perfect Human Diet” available on Amazon Prime.

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