Many people don’t eat meat for ethical or environmental reasons, but the ‘right’ kind of meat can be an excellent source of nutrition, supplying vitamins B3, B6, B12, iron, zinc and selenium.
However, the nutritional value varies depending on how the animal was reared and how the meat is then processed and cooked. Meat from grass-fed animals contains up to five-times more Omega 3 than that from grain-fed ones. It also tends to be leaner, with fewer ‘bad’ fats.
Sadly, much meat eaten today derives from factory farms with poor welfare practices and comes loaded with growth hormones and antibiotics. Therefore, try to source your meat from a quality butcher selling organic and wild meat.
Although, in nutritional terms, the best way of eating meat would be to chow down raw on a freshly killed animal, that’s unlikely to go down well on the genteel streets of North London. You do not need meat every day and I will always advise that eating a good range of fresh vegetables is the top priority.
Bear in mind, much of the cancer risk associated with eating meat stems from the production of free radicals when the meat is browned through frying, grilling and roasting. Microwaves are also best avoided. Instead cook using low temperatures and/or with liquid.
While organs and offal from grass-fed animals can be a super food, steer clear of those from grain-fed or factory farmed animals. A good broth made from animal bones provides a host of minerals and proteins, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid – great for the joints and healing digestive problems.
Try this tasty broth recipe.
• 1.5kg of any type of bone
• 2 medium chopped carrots
• 2 medium chopped celery stalks
• 1 medium chopped onion
• 7 smashed garlic cloves
• 2 bay leaves
• rosemary, thyme or other herbs to taste
• 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
Cover the bones with the water and vinegar in a heavy pan or slow cooker with a lid, then heat slowly and simmer – at least four hours for chicken bones and eight hours for larger ones. Some people cook for up to 24-hours.
Strain the liquid into another pot or glass jugs and cool in a bowl of cold water, before cooling properly in the fridge.
Remove any fat from the surface and you should be left with a jelly that can be added to soups, stews, or, if you are feeling brave, heated and drunk as it is. It keeps for a week in the fridge and freezes well. You will find something very similar in many top restaurants as one of their ‘secret’ ingredients.
By Lloyd Gee – Naturopath at Shine, Church Street.