Meat Quality and The Paleo Diet
Meat consumption is a keystone of the Paleo diet. The high percentage of meat in this lifestyle diet means that quality is extremely important. Optimum health benefits will not be attained unless paleo ideals are adhered to.
Most important of these are that meat should be unprocessed and the animals raised as wild-like or naturally as possible. The ‘garbage in, garbage out’ principle definitely applies here. High consumption of processed meats will not provide expected vitality gains, it will actually reduce vitality due to toxin ingestion and retention.
Meat is an excellent and natural source of nutrients such as iron, vitamin D, calcium and protein. These nutrients are indispensable for optimal health and fitness and easily ingested and assimilated by the human digestive system.
Quality – from Paddock to Plate
Very few people have the option to raise and butcher their own animals. Commercially available meat varies in quality, as does any commodity. Supply chains are highly regulated in an effort to protect both food safety and eating quality. This does not mean that every available cut of meat conforms to the Paleo diet ideals.
Countries and states have different rules regarding what is permissible in both raising and slaughter for animals for human consumption. To source meat that is most likely to be of a standard to be most appropriate to be included in a Paleo diet, try to buy meat from certified organic sources.
Failing that, at least try to ensure that the meat is from grass-fed animals that have not been fed growth stimulants or antibiotics. Some butcher buying groups certify this even if they do not meet organic certification requirements, and their buyers are instructed to not buy from non-compliant producers.
The problems to consumers of eating meat from animals that have been fed growth hormones or antibiotics is well known. Licensing authorities have sought to suppress the use of these by either banning products or applying withholding periods, whereby an animal cannot be sold for human consumption if it has been recently treated with a product such as an antibiotic.
Eliminate Processed Meats
Nitrates and nitrites are used for curing and preserving deli meats, hotdogs and other processed meats. These chemicals are also used for maintaining flavor and color while extending the shelf life of processed meats. Increased consumption of processed meats has been linked to several health problems which include heart disease, diabetes, obesity and bladder cancer. Once this processed meat is grilled its chemical contents such as nitrites and nitrates will turn into potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Taste vs Nutrition
Consumers who have become conditioned (a polite word for addicted?) to the richly flavored preserved and process meats may initially consider some fresh meat cuts to be lacking in flavor. This is not the case but is simply a matter of what one has become used to.
Undertaking a healthy diet such as Paleo is all about feeding the body what it needs to properly work and play, instead of being led by the taste buds in search of the next taste treat.
Processed meat production is mostly about chemically enhancing the taste of the product to make it almost irresistible, mostly with little regard for nutritional content.
Paleo dieters are advised to eat only whole foods and not eating processed foods that are packed with extreme flavors and hard-to-pronounce ingredients that can have serious health consequences.