Choose sustainable, rather than processed, foods for holiday cookouts.
This coming Memorial Day—and all summer long—millions of Americans will be tossing hot dogs and sausages on the grill. That means they’ll be eating their way toward diabetes and heart disease, a new Harvard study shows.
Whether it’s chemically processed, cured, salted, or smoked, processed meat can up your risk for heart disease as much as 42% and Type 2 diabetes by 19%. “Processed meat such as bacon, salami, hot dogs, and processed deli meats may be the most important to avoid,” says Harvard researcher Renata Micha, RD, PhD.
The good news is that this meta-analysis published in Circulation finds no higher heart or diabetes risk in people who eat only unprocessed meat. So treat yourself to a good, natural steak instead!
Meat from mostly grass-fed animals has 40% less saturated fat—and considerably more heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids including CLA—than grain-fed livestock. Grass-fed beef contains more beta-carotene and vitamin E too. No wonder research suggests this kind of meat can help lower your risk of body fat (think love handles) and cancer, as well as diabetes and heart disease.
Aim for a couple of 3 to 4 oz. servings of grass-fed beef a week. I have found Ranch Foods Direct grass-fed meats to be unusually tender and flavorful, definitely much more so than other grass-beef I’ve tasted. This meat also cooks 10 to 15% faster. Created by rancher/activist Mike Callicrate, Ranch Foods Direct has graciously agreed to give my followers a special discount. Please visit the website and then call 866-866-6328 to make your selection. Use the code “ALG.”
The agricultural “advances” that have given us totally grain-fed cattle and poultry have also introduced antibiotics, pesticide residues, and synthetic hormones and additives into our food supply. This type of livestock production impacts far more than our metabolism of fats.
100% grain-fed meat presents serious ecological problems, taxing our environment. But mostly grass-fed animals are climate friendly: Feeding them doesn’t require fossil-fuel fertilizers and pesticides. Considering the carbon sequestered in the soils of well-managed pastures, some research also finds grass-fed animals to be carbon neutral.
Because grass-fed meats do have less fat than grain-fed, you need to rub them with a little olive oil before grilling. Always marinate protein foods in a thin, liquid sauce first to prevent the formation of cancer-causing substances. For added protection, add herbs like garlic and especially rosemary to your marinade to further reduce carcinogens, add flavor, and “beef” up nutrient value.
Rosemary, for instance, contains powerful anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, as well as vitamin E (itself an antioxidant). Scientists at the National Institute of Agronomic Research in Dijon, France, find that rosemary encourages production of detoxifying enzymes including glutathione. Not only does this stimulate the liver to remove harmful toxins from the body but it also boosts energy levels.
For your Memorial Day cookout, try this recipe. It’s one of my faves.
Grass-Fed Steak with Garlic, Rosemary, Exotic Mushrooms, and Wine
2 cloves garlic
1 ¼ teaspoons dried rosemary or 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
½ cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds sirloin steak, about ½ inch thick
4 cups exotic mushrooms (1 cup each of crimini, enoki, oyster, and portabello)
Place the garlic, rosemary, and half the red wine in a food processor and pulse until mixed thoroughly, adding half the olive oil to make a paste. Coat both sides of the steak and marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Grill or broil the steak on medium-high about 3 minutes, each side, for medium rare, or longer for medium. If you like your beef well-done, cook slowly at a lower temperature, after searing in the juices.
Saute cleaned and dried mushrooms in the remaining wine and oil to serve over steak, after slicing meat on the grain. (If you happen to have any leftovers, toss them in a salad the next day.)
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