Red Meat: To eat or not to eat?

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March 26, 2014 by peoriaadventurebootcamp

There’s a lot of controversy out there about red meat and it’s hard to figure out what to do.  Red meat gets a lot of flak and before we throw the baby out with the bathwater and never order a burger again, let’s make sure we understand the pro’s and con’s of this often misunderstood dietary staple.

Red meat is often seen as the cause of evil heart disease, but the answer is not nearly so simple. Research has shown more clearly that it is the FAT in the meat that leads to heart disease and not necessarily the meat itself.

Ahhh a burger or steak on the grill- for meat eaters it’s hard to imagine anything more delish for a summer BBQ. BUT we are told: beware all those pesky carcinogens caused by grilling that lead to cancer. However again the devil is in the details and it’s not just black or white, good or bad.

Here’s some tips that will help cut through all the “research” and “warnings” and allow you to answer your own question “to eat or not to eat?” wisely.

First step: Avoid the fat. Purchase super lean cuts of meat, look for meat with “loin” in the name- which tend to be the leanest. Sirloin, Tenderloin, Loin chops.  Pick grass fed beef which is always leaner and has a bonus of extra omega 3’s which we can always use more of.

Second: Cook on the grill using indirect medium head. Turn the meat frequently and don’t press those burgers down on the grill causing juice to drip. This will reduce flare ups that cause the charing associated with carcinogens. Marinate first to prevent formation of HCA’s (aka bad molecules that cause cancer) and also cook to an internal temp of 145-160 degrees, NOT to hockey-puck-well-done status. The more cooked the more carcinogens, thus possibly the more cancer. (Plus your steak will thank you)

Third: Variety and portions. Don’t have red meat every day! Variety is the spice of life for a reason: it keeps us healthy and our bodies humming. Switch up your sources of meat and protein every day. Chicken, Pork, Fish, Tofu, Beans, Quinoa just to name a few. When you DO have red meat keep it to about 3-4 oz. Yup, the size of a McD’s hamburger patty. Make pork or beef medallions instead of that 1/2lb ginormous burger, OR put it on a shish kabob with a bunch of fruit and veggies to really knock variety and cancer out of the park.

Finally: Avoid all processed meats. Boot campers you already know that processed = bad and complete avoidance of this is a great goal to shoot for especially in the Meat Department.

So here’s to a great spring grilling! Leave your comment below of what recipe is your favorite to grill, and then get the heck outta the house and enjoy this beautiful weather!

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